Friday, March 25, 2005

Transpacific-LA to Hong Kong-Feb. 22 to March 18, 2005

Dinner Table

We crossed the International Date Line and thus we skipped Monday entirely; we went from Sunday night to Tuesday morning. Right now it is Tuesday evening 9:30 PM; tomorrow it will be Wednesday here; whereas it will be Tuesday for you. A little confusing, to say the least. We will make up the day on the way home.Today it was extremely rocky. I was having buffet breakfast on Deck 11 when a rogue wave hit the ship and dishes and trays began crashing to the floor. I had just finished my breakfast when they closed the Lido Café and extended the breakfast hours in the dining room on Deck 5. Since I had already eaten, I went to the Bistro on Deck 6 to have my extra cups of hot water; however, very often I now order Ginger Twist tea, caffeine-free herbal tea. Shortly afterwards, the Captain announced that neither passengers nor crew members were to go out on deck under any circumstances until further notice. Also, he announced that he was going to slow the ship down and sail a little farther south. They cancelled the dance class on Deck 11. They cancelled buffet lunch on Deck 11 and extended the lunch hours in the dining room. I always have lunch in the dining room anyway, but today it was packed despite the extended hours. They moved the 3:30 High Tea from the Palm Court on Deck 11 to the Crystal Plaza (atrium lobby). I was in the Computer Center, Deck 11, when another rogue wave hit. It sounds like the roar of thunder as it hits the ship and it sprayed the windows….I am talking about the windows on Deck 11! I left the room, using the elevator instead of the stairs, which I usually prefer. All the lectures, which I really enjoy, were held as scheduled. I spent the rest of the day on Deck 5 or on Deck 6 reading my book and conversing with anyone who stopped by. The Crystal Plaza was packed with passengers. Some people went to the movies; some played bingo; some, of course, spent the afternoon in the Casino, and a great number, probably seasick, remained in their staterooms. I took only 1 photo of the sea. By the time I realized that another wave was going to hit, it was too late to get a photo. Inasmuch as I did not get sick and I did not get hurt, I found it all very exciting. Curiously, as a teenager I hated the roller coaster! I was very careful to hold the railing at all times on the stairs and even in the corridors. I even took a shower, holding the grab bars, but I did not wash my hair as I need two hands to wash my hair and to blow dry, and I got dressed up for dinner. We were ushered by the waiters to our table at dinner, and when I was leaving, one of the men took my arm. The evening production show was cancelled; instead, the multi-award winning pianist, vocalist and composer Craig Schneider, from Australia, entertained us. His style was reminiscent of Hugh Jackman (another Australian), who played the part of Peter Allen (another Australian and Liza Minelli's first husband) in The Boy from Oz. Ça va sans dire, I did not go dancing. Rather than use the stairs, I took the elevator to come up here to the Computer Center on Deck 11 to email you. In Hong Kong I disembarked the ship for a 3-night package at the Intercontinental Hotel. We visited Stanley Market….what a labyrinth! I had High Tea on two of the 3 days at the Peninsula Hotel. This was an exquisite experience, with 4 musicians playing both classical music and standards from a balcony overlooking the immense lobby where we were enjoying our repast, which sufficed as our dinner. At 7:00 the quartet was replaced by a jazz trio for cocktail time.

You will be interested to know that I had never heard the term rogue wave before the Captain used it; then about a half hour later, while reading my book, Invisible Eden, I came across the term! At some point someone explained that we were in a whole gale plus rogue waves.

The Pacific Ocean is indisputably the world's largest ocean. The next largest body of water is the Atlantic, which pales by comparison. Thankfully, we are sailing south where the warmer waters, not to mention the endless sunshine, make for the ideal South Pacific get-away. Or as Reflections (the daily ship bulletin) tells us, the balmy breezes and tepid waters that envelop many of the nearly 2,500 Pacific islands combine to form a paradise on earth. Of course, they don't mention the possibility of today's rogue waves.

I have the main dinner seating at the Vice Captain's table, and he has joined us nearly every night. It is a very congenial group and we have interesting, lively discussions. One of the men has arranged with our unanimous consent that the whole table will dine at Kyoto the evening that we are in Yokohama.

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