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Daily Log of a 111 Day World Cruise on QE2 - Entries 16-20

We had some wonderful clients take a 111 Day World Cruise on the QE2 and they documented each day. Once home, they published their cruise in a book and sent it to us along with pictures they had taken each day. Needless to say, they had a great time and we thought it'd be neat to share their experience with you here. We'll try and add a "day" each week.

Interested in a World Cruise? We'd love to help make this once-in-a-lifetime event special for you - give us a call, we'd love the opportunity. In the meantime, enjoy this tournal!!


Entry 16          Entry 17          Entry 18          Entry 19        Entry 20



Posted September 9, 2008

February 10, 2006: Tauranga, N.Z.


 Notes From Bill:

 Weather: High 60's, rain

     Actually, I faintly heard through the closed cabin door the Captain's 7:30am take on the day ahead: rain, heavy at times, drizzle... nasty. That turned out to be overly negative. As soon as Pat left the ship to do you-know-what***, the sheets of rain stopped and the wind died down.

     *** I saw NO POINT in hanging around inside, inhaling germs and listening to people cough, when fresh air and walking awaited outdoors. Actually I did find a fabric shop and was treated to a "Good on you!" when I told the saleslady I'd brought a sewing machine with me.

Bus Tour of Tauranga

     This was an all-afternoon, 2 stop tour on a partially filled bus. The rain let up and after 45 minutes we toured The Elms, a restored mission complex dating to the 1830's. This consisted of the original library, roughly 15' by 15' housing 1,000 books originally brought over from England. There was also a main house with many of the original furnishings and pictures of the families. A chapel was also there at the back, beautifully replicating what was there 100 years ago.

     Following a long description of the local real estate developments by our local guide/ bus driver, we then visited a very large kiwi farm which grew all manner of other nuts and citrus. After a snack of tea, coffee cakes, kiwi juice, orange and kiwi slices, it was on to the predictable souvenir shop. Did you know they even make a kiwi fruit wine, medium or dry which I tasted and found very dry indeed. That and other wines (by the half-liter, mind you) were in the $24-40 range. Generally, almost everything in Tauranga seemed very high priced (Gas, by the liter, was NZ$2.40). By now, 3:45pm, it was really pouring buckets so instead of cute little golf-cart type vehicles, we had the tour by our motorcoach. Very informative and apparently very lucrative: there were hundreds and hundreds of kiwi trees, pruned like grape vines. This is because they normally grow up like any fruit tree but become totally entwined and would make it nearly impossible to pick the fruit without a great deal of uneconomical effort. Each one produces over 1,000 kiwis per year (same for avocado plants). They ship over 100,000 cases each spring. And did you know that kiwis, kept out of the refrigerator, will stay fresh 9-15 months (as long as the sugar content stays below 6%)?   


Notes From Pat:

     It's Saturday, February 11, 2006. We're just back from a very entertaining lecture by Mary Higgins Clark. A few things ahve come to mind that I'd like to share.

     Most of them involve Doris, our tablemate from England, the 'veddy propah' appearing English widow. She told us early on that she buys a piece of jewelry from her late husband Francis for every birthday and Christmas because she knows he'd like her to. But she's now two pieces behind so can do some serious purchasing when she finds the right thing (Francis needs to exert a little extra-sensory leading. Or maybe he's NOT in favor).

     Anyway, she has gone on many voyages and has her onboard group of friends who know all. So I asked her about the couple from Milan. "Oh", she said, "They've been on many trips with us and we think maybe he as the money and she has to do what he says. We call her The Fish." That, dear readers, descripes her lips which are very prominent (Botox gone wrong??). This group calls it like they see it. Doris went on to say they thought she'd had serious plastic surgery and commented on other parts of her body which seem to be... differently positioned. It was a rather surprising assessment, it seemed to me!

     We did run into the Italian woman yesterday and found out her husband (?) is okay; later saw them walking down the hall.

     Returning to Doris: she sat at a table very clost to the front the night we saw the Maori dancers and, with a real twhikle in her eyes, told me about seeing more of the male dancers than she thought they'd intended to show. She said, "I wondered if what I was seeing was what I thought it was... and it was!" Their grass skirts/ codpieces covered only the front and back. She and I are going to the opera in Sydney together. Stay tuned!

     Right now we're on our way to Wellington, for our last NZ stop. The ship is doing some rock and rolling. My patch has been on for a week so must have outlived its usefulness but so far, so good... After Wellington, there are two days at sea before Sydney so that may tell the tale. After Australia, there's a stretch of 5 days at sea. Some of these spots are not known for their calmness so time will tell.

     Okay, I'm done for now. Pat

     P.S. No, I'm not quite done. Remembered that Marion found out the Diva is 94 years old!!! Kudos to her for THAT!

     And that reminds me that we've quite forgotten that we sat through another talent show. This one lasted 2 hours and I've now taken the vow of abstinence from future ones. She sag last, once again, but the effect on us was less than the first time. You can't go home again.

     AND in Auckland we heard the story of their building a fine bridge several years ago, only to find out it was too small about the time it was finished. So they hired a Japanese firm to design and construct two more lanes to be clipped on to the existing 4 lanes. The new sections are called the "Nippon Clip-ons". Actually they ahve a life expectancy which is good for a few more years. Same problem in Tauranga, too.

     In Wellington, if I've got it straight, they can change barrires to allow more lanes coming in in the morning and out in the afternoon.

     Forgot to say in Auckland that the scariest part of the Sky Tower is walking across the plexiglass sections of the floor where you can see the traffic, etc., below you. We'll try to send a shot of that view. And that's it for now.


Posted October 17, 2008

February 12, 2006: Wellington, on the way to Sydney

Notes From Pat: 

    Well, this is scary: a blank sheet of paper/ screen... However, I shall persevere. Right now it's closing in on 5:30pm and we're about to leave Wellington Harbour. I wouldn't have given you two cents for the weather when we woke up this morning BUT the rain has gone and we've had a lovely, temperate and sunny afternoon in which to do the Highlights of the Capitol or some such tour.

     They do call this The Windy City and that's certainly true. Move over, Chicago! This morning I strolled around the B deck, outside and thought it was strong when I climbed up a level on the starboard side. I was nearly bowled over when I got to the port side!! By the way, did I mention that when I came back to the ship from walking in Tauranga, the crew was fishing with a line (no pole) from the bow, on some lower deck where they could get outside? They were hauling them in like crazy. Our bus driver later told us Captain Cook called it The Bay of Plenty because it's loaded with all sorts of seafood. I have a picture showing a fish on it's way up. We're wondering where they had them cooked!).

     We were here for a day nearly 3 years ago when it WAS rainy and we did a part of their best museum (Te Papa) and had a tour of parliament plus a bus ride around town for kicks. So today we went first to Mt. Victoria, the highest point here (neither of us can remember its name but Bill says it's 632' high). Nest we were taken to the Rose Gardens which were lovely although past their prime plus the stupendous begonia house which really took our breath away.

     The next stop was Old St. Paul's Cathedral, now owned by the government and used only for weddings and funerals. This reminded us of being somewhere and asking people where some old church was. Nobody could tell us, not even older women how, we thought, had been around long enough to know and might have been raiised in a time when folks went to church! I don't remember being at this edifice and we'll have to check our records when we get home to see if this is the right place. I'd almost forgotten about that. This building, by the way, has windows depicting the apostles but they left out Judas and installed Matthias. Interesting.

     After that we stopped in front of the government buildings so I took the obligatory shots plus of the sign on The Backbencher's Pub across the street.

     Yesterday we had a day at sea. We went to a lecture by Mary Higgins Clark who still is entertaining. She closed with the opening paragraph of a prospective book in which a murder has taken place on a cruise; the revenge will take place on the day that we lost, crossing the international date line. She also promised some launderette activity in it, too (today I overheard a man talking to his relatives on the phone, telling them about those shenanigans).

     The other speaker we haven't mentioned, I think. Dr. Jerry Labriola is his name. Suffice it to say he gave his theories on the OJ Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey and JFK crimes. He things the brother did it; that OJ had help and the police were stupid, to say the least; Oswald had help, he things from the Russians. I'd like to check some of his "facts", too. Actually he's written the book with Henry Lee who has a good reputation so he's probably got some credibility.


Some Other Things From Bill: February 13, 2006

    Codes. Wellington gets a major number of earth quakes each year so there are severe building restrictions. One is that the tallest building can not exceed 32 stories. Now I ask you, does that take into account ceiling heights? I mean, if I build witn not 12' but 20' ceilings, wouldn't that get the older homeowners attention behing me on the hill?

     The Compass. As we came into the Wellington Harbour, the ship had to be turned 360 degrees. This was called the "Compass Adjuster" whose job "is to try to eliminate as much as possible the effect of the ships own inherent magnetism, on the magnetic compass, so that it points as nearly as possible towards magnetic north" *for those who care, see in italics below*. First, those uses of try, as much as possible, and as nearly as possible. Those are very vague terms for a ship that already seems to have successfully navigated almost halfway around the world at this point. Another important omission I see is the direction to take. We know in Potsdam that water down the shower drain goes counter clockwise. But here, we are in the Southern Hemisphere. Shouldn't that make some difference?! We have been expecting a knock on the cabin door at any moment to come up to the bridge and have a chat with the Captain about this!

     *The magnetic compass which is situated on the "Monkey Island" above the Bridge houses many different magnets and correctors. The compass adjuster will ask the Captain to swing the ship through 360 degrees off the berth in a known position and take magnetic bearling of objects in know positions and bearings. He will adjust magnets in the compass to decrease the amount of deviation. It is not possible to eliminate all errors so the compass adjuster will draw up a Deviation Card which shos how much allowance has to be made for compass deflection for any particular heading.

     He will counter the magnetism of the ship by setting up a contrary field around the compass using two soft iron spheres, one on either side of the compass binnacle, and for those forces acting on the vertical soft iron by placing verticle soft iron in a brass tube on the front of the binnacle. This isknown as the "Flinders Bar", and so named after Matthew Flinders, an Australian Navigator. In addition he will open up the binnacle, which is honeycombed with holes, and makes further fine adjustments with small bar magnets which are place in the holes and left here permanently.


     Time. Sunrise here is 6am and sunset about 9pm which makes for a lot of sun-burning time for a lot of people on board here. And we are now 17 hours ahead of you, as well as over the international date line. Give a new dimension to how time flies...

     Meals. Every day, there are at least 8:

     Continental Breakfast (6-7),

     Breakfast (7:30-9)

     Lunch (12-1:30)

     Light Grill Dishes (12-3)

     Freshly Filled Baguettes on the Sun Deck, Weather permitting (12:30-2)

     Afternoon Tea (4-5)... not to be confuse with...

     Childrens Tea (5:30-6)

     Dinner (7-9)

     and Midnight Buffet (11:30-12:30)

From the looks of those getting on the elevators with us, not many miss these opportunities. More later.

     Decks. There are the usual such as Boat, Upper and Quarter (and where do they store the rest of it?), and strictly by the numbers, from 1 DOWN to 7 so far as passenger access is concerned. There are not first, second, etc. but rather One Deck, Two Deck...


     News. Each day we get an 8-page (8.5x11) summary called the U.S.A. Times, a lightening-fast read of events, and every bit as slanted as it's NY Times source. Like all notices, letters and passenger information it arrives under our cabin door, usually preceded (we think around 5am) by a copy of the days lunch and dinner menu selections. Keep in mind that with this menu, at the actual meal itself, there will also be a standard second (optional) menu of filet steaks, shateaubriand, lobster as well as a whole two other pages of different appetizers, soups, salads and deserts. Most anythign ordered in advance, like the day before, is possible, like sea scallops sauteed which I have done now several nights over the last weeks.

     I did try for fresh kiwi fruit juice which drew the immediate attention of Andrew, the Major Domo who said it would take many fruit to get a glass (that however does not stop them from offering mango and papaya...). Just thought it would be nice, being that we were in the Kiwi Colony, you know, 'do as the natives...'. 

     "Groundhog Day" the movie. For those who have not seen this, it is basically about a guy who needs some improvement in dealing with others (not my point here) and so wakes up each morning to relive the day all over again exactly as before but, as he makes minor attitudinal adjustments, progresses over time. We feel like we are in that time warp some days when we are at-sea, where time between meals in the mornings flies by after two successive lectures, and after lunch, with walking/ sewing/ reading/ or something hwere once again it is time to change for dinner. This is a Bill Lewis dream come true, whereby it seems 5pm is always at ahnd once again. Trips ashore make a difference.

     Like I said, it's already after 5pm once again. It's time for our solemn Clinking-of-the-Glass hour.


Back to Pat:

     Haha. We don't go for a drink till about 7. After that we mosey in for dinner which ends about 9ish. Then we sashay down the hall and either stand or find a chair to watch the last of the show. VERY strenuous! Also: Marion told us last night that several of her friends, who've done this trip many times, would be happy to leave now if they could. The problem, as the rest of us discussed at lunch, is the dearth of good speakers. 

     The veterans theorize that this is becoming an "Amuse Yourself" cruise with many pickup games of bridge, mah-jongg, etc. to say nothing of the men who are doing apparently serious gambling in the casino. They do speak fondly of former trips where there were a lot more speakers. I definitely agree. We had only one today. There are opportunities to bring your own needlepoint, meet the social director, singles, people who have published their own books, Friends of Dorothy (lesbian group) and today, an informal get-together of old-car aficionados, Hal! Maybe Janet and I should advertise for quilters... 

     I miss going to The Chaplains' Hour so might return to that forum for kicks. The problem is that usually there's a major speaker scheduled at 10 which is before the padres finish.

     During the first leg, they held a "Meet the Captain" session whish was well attended and people were free to ask him questions. One had to do with the future of this ship an dhe said as long as it's in the black, they'll keep it. Judging from what I'm hearing from people and the creaking of the vessel itself, my guess is once the Queen Victoria has launched, this one will become history. After all, Carnival owns Cunard.

     At the end of this day, we are grateful for a sunny day an done in which the "wobbliness" hasn't been a major problem (an English woman came into the elevator and said it was wobbling). I had a good walk and have gotten into a book so it ain't all bad. Now I've got to play dress-up for dinner........


Posted January 20, 2009

February 15, 2006: Sydney, Australia

Temperature in the 70's and overcast


Notes From Pat:

     Well, guess what we can see out our porthole... The Sydney Opera House. Not too shabby!! And ferry boats going by seem to slow down so folks can get a good look at this ship. Very interesting to be the object of interest to the natives! 

     I woke up at 5:30am (we gained ANOTHER hour overnight), got up a while later and was on deck with my glasses (forgot them the first time and had to return to the room. Duhhh) a little before 6am. The sun hadn't quite come up; lots of pictures taken to prove it. After all, how many times will this happen again in my lifetime?

     Right now we are waiting for the recalcitrants to get through Immigration here. This means going to The Queens Room, picking up your passport and immigration cards, talking to the Aussies for a second while they stamp the passports and handing them back to the ship for (we hope) safe keeping. Doris regaled us with the story of a woman who wasn't getting off and slept through all calls to her, sunning on the Funnel Deck. She thought she didn't have to go through the process since she didn't intent to get off. WRONG. We have been warned but they've announced about 4 names to hustle along. Twice.

     Yesterday was a very lazy day on board. The Tasman Sea has a reputation of being nasty but actually our crossing (two days) wasn't bad. At first it was a bit rough and I did take a Dramamine, leftover from last years Quilting Cruise, I believe. Anyway, it did the trick. I still haven't removed my old patch; looking at it as a talisman, I guess. But with 3 days in port maybe it will detach on its own.

     We attended two piano events yesterday. One from a Grammy-nominated jazz (old style, stride, etc.) pianist Bill said exuded sex appeal. Judy Carmichael. She was VERY good. The second was a classical: Dan... MacDonald? Anyway, he was just fine, too. No sex appeal; trust me.

     Okay. The last have been found and we can go ashore. I'm changing into something cooler for a predicted hot day. More later. Are you sick of this yet?  


Notes From Bill:

    Our stroll downtown. Some of you reading this may remember that we used our frequent flyer miles for a month's visit to NJ/ Australia 3 years ago, staying in Sydney 3 of those days where we took local buses and walks so the only major difference this time was a maritime arrival... Wrong! Pat was all for hot-footing it out to shore and up to Pitt Street where there was just an incredible mass of walkers up and down the pedestrian-only street. And it just seemed totally different from any other large city, even abroad. For the most part, all were very smartly dressed, coats, ties, and many women in nice long business-class dresses. For another, in general they impressed us as being rather trim (or that could be that we are now too much into the shipboard heft around us all the time?). But the other thing is that they walk on both sides of the walk/ street, 3-5 abreast, and in doubles and trios and they seem to come right at you from all directions. There is no custom here of walking right-of-way, except that is, at the street-crossing lights where all (except the French perhaps, and a few ignorant Americans) ALWAYS wait for the green walk-light with the audible beep-beep-beep that goes with it. [Note from Pat: The other thing that gets me about business women here is that they wear high-heeled shoes and no hose. Don't they get blisters? And, on my own, I kept heeding Bill's admonition that I not act like an American and jay-walk.]

     Strolling mission #1. We (really it is I) of course had to have some sort of destination other than search in every store window: an Australian Starbucks mug. These are useable collectibles, meaning that the one Pat wanted to buy three years ago (now that we were home) was replaced with a koala of a different hue this year. Another Starbucks (but no coffee yet) and still no 2003 koala. But now Pat needed some mid-day nourishment, so into a Starbucks finally for what they are usually known for. [Note from Pat: Hey, last time it was a cute, pink koala; now it is purple and has a mean look on it's face... Maybe in Melbourne? Unlikely. Not a biggie!]

    Strolling mission #2 (it could very well have been #1 all along). Of course, our mission, whereever, always has a second part, so I nurtured my cappuccino and Pat set off across the street to a BIG department store, but returning a short time later without any you-know-what. But there was a Lincraft just down the block...

     Now, as you may guess, I have become a rather well-trained finder of local Joanne Fabric stores, the ones that have an irresistible weekend sale, every week of the year (a skill once exlipsed by that of sniffing out Beanie Baby sales tables). Other than that, this is not my true area of expertise, other than finding Rare Stools for Patient Husbands, where I scored big time with an upholstered chair with a price tag but no sitter on it where, situated right by the UP escalator, I spend a happy hour just looking. [Note from Pat: This place must be the Aussie answer to Jo-Ann's but they do NOT have sales! Egan - all the prices are out of sight. Of course most things are here (the exchange rate is 1 US dollar = $1.20 Aust.). AND their quilting fabrics are either from the US (at $12.99 a yard)! Korean stuff can be a little less. I was about to call it a wash when (Alas! Oooops!/ Aha!!!) my eye fell on some stuff featuring 5x7 rectangles with a swishy sweing woman in each one. So, to make a long story short, that's coming home with me. Too cute; made in Korea.

    Also, in protest: I resist a LOT of Jo-Ann sales. And learn to spell it. When we got back to the cabin, we talked about sharing so I hiked back to get another meter+ to share with quilting friends. You know who you are; forget this and be surprised.   

     After that, I was quite pooped so took a long, hot, restorative soak to prepare for: (see Part Two next).



Notes From Pat - Pat's Night at the Opera House: 

     Bill and I got on the elevator with a lot of other folks all dolled up. When he said he was just coming down to be the photographer, I wondered if the other men wished that was their role (it was a good opera for everyone, actually)!

     There were a goodly number of folks going; dress was mixed - some fancy, some just good 'church clothes'. We were in the latter category since Doris had been before and filled me full of Bad Things That Can Happen such as peanut gallery-seats (if we're given opera glasses, that's the sign) and freezing up there because the a/c is just overhead. AND, she added, people in Sydney don't dress up for the opera. Some did, some didn't, just like home.

    Dinner was a lighter menu and okay. After that we were ushered into our own 'limo', a nice car with a lovely young man driver who wended his way through town although you can about hang a U-ie and get there from where we are. We did get there over an hour early so did a little walking about and gift-shopping. (VERY expensive!)

     And, yes, we had gotten opera glasses along with our programs ($15 at the SOH) before leaving here. So we expected poor seats and, of course, to freeze. She took her coat!

    Doris was full of comments about the poorly-executed interior of the place and in many ways she had a point. I don't recall wwat the problem was with the architect but he left before the project was completed; she things there is a connection with the lack of patron-comforts.

   For one thing, no elevators and too many stairs (well, we did see one but it obviously wasn't for customre use)!!! Also the bathrooms are on the bottom floor and we went up three flights, if I remember correctly. A glass of wine was $10 during the intermissions. We didn't bother; she doesn't drink anyway and I certainly didn't need it.

    HOWEVER, the main event, Falstaff, was a good success, in our opinion. Here's another revelation to me: it was sung in Italian with English subtitles! I know that's done on PBS but didn't realize it happened in opera houses! It might have been more comfortable on our necks to ahve been seated higher up since the words were above the stage. Someone said it would be interesting to have a movie of us looking up and down, en masse. Oh, well, we seemed to laugh in the right places.

   She laughed because the daughter of an English couple was sung by a Korean soprano. She was very attractive AND had a wonderful voice, as did her lover/ husband. They got a lot of applause at the end. AND the temperature was no problem. Very comfy. Took the tour bus home and all was well.

   So, as I am finishing this up it's 4:30pm. We had such a walk today that my hips down to my knees are complaining. And I went back to walk a little more after lunch, probably not a really smart thing to do but I love it here. The Circular Quay area has a constant busyness to it; there are musical groups ranging from a couple of aborigines with a didgeridoo and drum to rock-ish groups. Both mornings there has been a piper out early. There are seagulls with a few egret-types mingling in and all sorts of people of all ages; have seen some very young babies out and about. When I left the ship, the new voyagers, in wheelchairs and looking very old, were getting on.

     I think, if it was necessary, Australia or New Zealand are very livable places. Expensive as all get-out but with lots of good features. Of course we've been here in decent weather, not up into the 90's as Sydney could ahve had this time of year! Lucky us!

     I'm going to quit here and let Bill's part end this mailing. Best to all, Pat.

    P.S. Except, after reading about Marion below: We had orders that we should report to Immigration yesterday by deck number. However, as we were headed to breakfast, the announcement was made that it was ready and there was no line so anyone could come. So, with a bunch of other sheep, we headed on over and scooted through. Apparently this went so well that all but 3 of us had gone through about half-hour early! They wanted to wrap it up early and that's why Marion was 'caught'.


Notes From Bill - My Night at Dinner: 2 Revelations:

   1. Above, Pat related how on a previous trip passengers held up for debarkation of everyone until all could be accounted for. This morning, at 9am they were announcing that 3 guests had not reported. Well, tonight at dinner, Marion, our tablemate, 'confessed' she had been one of this morning's Missing Three: "Oh, but they said we had up until 9:15 to report. I got there at 9:14!"

   2. Joan, with all the gold around her wrists and fingers dripping diamonds, misses almost every breakfast, many lunches and not unusually dinners, showed up. She is a self-acknowledged vegetarian who scarfts up soups and salads. But she showed up this morning and ordered a PLATTER of Canadian bacon for breakfast. We said nothing. but with Pat gone, and only my other 4 female table-mates there, I watched as she ordered tips of beef in a wine sauce (Ohhhh, did we mention that she also said she cannot ever have a drink?). I asked her about it and she just shrugged and sait that, well, sometimes she has to have this sort of protein.


Posted March 4, 2009 

February 16, 2006: Sydney, Australia

Hyde Park Barracks Museum


     Another morning and we are off again at 9:30am and on across the city on foot to this 3-story memorial in Queens Square. Built between 1817-19, it housed convicts overnight to work on government projects around Sydney during th eday. It has been nicely restored but the displays behind glass were in very subdued light, small fonts, and at a low level where to focus one has to stoop an deven then, not everything on display was well identified. I found particularly frustrating the original diaries and accounting ledgers, again just not readable, and no overhead transcription of the page's contents.

     We also threw in several chruches before getting back at 1:10pm for lunch. This former Boy Scout is looking for his hiking merit badge! (Pat: We'll have to figure out something for him. And it was only 2 churches, including St. James, across the street from the place where the convicts came back to sleep. They'd flog the deserving and then have them go to church to think it over. That really made Sunday special).


February 20, 2006

Rollicking our way to Adelaide on the Great Australian Bight. About 60+ outside.


Notes From Pat


     Well, we've been ignoring this since leaving sydney. Time to catch up. You haven't been told of the Rainbow Over the Opera House. The evening of the Wednesday, the 16th, we had a little discussion of where to have our pre-prandial an ddecided to sit in the Queens Lounge where we could see the Opera House. 

     It had been raining but the sun came out, treating us to a FULL rainbow over the Opera House of which I took several pictures (Dr. Peter Crimes was out there with his slide camera shortly thereafter. I asked him later whether prints would be for sale but he said not since he slees them to advertising agencies, etc, etc. This was quite a coup for him. He has the lens so he got the complete shot, something I couldn't do). After that a second, fainter one, appeared, also full.

   Wahoo! That was a treat. the next morning (Thursday the 17th here), before our 2pm departure, I had Bill come across the street to a shop called "Naturally Australian" where everything from $10 bookmarks for the guys back home to drool over and I did a little credit card activity, including a stylized bird, called a "wozo". That's the Aussie spelling of "bird" in French.

     Then, the Departure: First of all we had a perfect day - warm and sunny; calm seas. Lots of people were there to see us leave, to say nothing of a group at the Opera House having a memorial service for some Cricket star! Then, of course, there were the boats - sailboats of all sized and, as we came out of the harbor, which is quite long, there were scads, like hundres of sailboats!! These included a sailfish and many others including big ones with people decked out in "uniforms" of the same color.

     Doris wondered at dinner if there had been a race and I think we might have been going past one, suspended while we went by, because the daily British newssheet said something about a Volvo race between Melbourne and Wellington. Maybe checking the sails on pictures we took will give us a clue. At any rate, it was like nothing we'd ever seen and we loved every second of it. I really hated to leave Sydney; it is a lovely cit. Melbourne, yesterday, was definitely not a highlight.

     Pat and Louise, our mother/ daughter tablemates were picked up by the husband/ father an dtaken home. We'd gotten fairly chummy with them although they never got that much easier to understand: low voices (hard for Bill) and the accent. I keep wanting to say something about that - it makes me think of Prince Charles, very nasal and high for a man.... Anyway,  we haven't gotten new people there yet so Bill still has his little table-harem of joan, Marion, Doris and moi.   

     It was gray and rained a touch while we were queued up, waiting for the train. Incidentally, we were clued in when we asked the evening before (we got here at 5 but it wasn't smart to go into town then - for us, anyway) to purchase "Sunday Saver" tickets at the IGA doing a booming business 50 feet away from the track. We paid $2.50 for an all-day bus/ tram pass in Melbourne. Others who tried later, found they were all sold out and had to pay six! It's actually a "tram" of three cars where people can also stand as well as sit in the relatively few seats. Probably ought to be called a "cram" because that's certainly what it was when we finally got on. We stood all the way into town - 20 minutes.

    But, alas, Melbourne had lost its charm for us so, after wandering around and taking one bus ride, we opted to return home, had lunch, a little rest and then... we were both thinking the same thing: An Assault on the Launderette.

      Actually it went very well since a lot of folks were in town. Joan was finishing up as we were getting underway. I pressed off a bunch of quilting pieces while waiting. you haven't heard the latest store going around: a woman took off everything she had on, including shoes, and three them into the washer. Another woman gave her a towel to wrap up in. One gets the feeling she really didn't care about that!   

     We were talking to Dr. Peter Crimes about it and whether or not it's true that some folks were ejected from teh trip on the grounds of fighting in the Launderette. He said that he had heard about the nudity (exposure in the Launderette!!) from the crew and they usually know what's going on. He added that on one voyage he knows for sure that one coupls was ejected for taking their clothes off on the dance floor. Who else would tell you these things?!

    Back from two lectures....... I did want to say that I felt a little bad about commenting on the seeming-fragility of oncoming passengers in Sydney. HOWEVER, Louise reported that night at dinner that the Sydney papers had written about the "aging 'millionaires'" getting off the ship and the decrepitude of many getting on and off. In this case they had it right since they agreed with me.

      The most poignant case is a tiny Chinese (appearing) woman who gets around with some form of a walker, accompanied by her nearly or totally blind adult son who keeps his hand on her shoulder. They were in the Launderette yesterday. She seemed to be telling him want to do and he provided her the height she lacked to reach the tryer on top, to say nothing of reaching into the washer!Bill said he reminder her of the wicked threshold we have to step over getting into the room.

     The captain is on, giving the noon report; the stabilizers are on but we are rocking and rolling. I felt fine till I did this earlier; took a ginger tablet and am now feeling good again. Bill seems to be doing well without any help. Maybe we are getting used to it

    Oh, yes: there was an English woman waiting for the tram to return here yesterday in Melbourne. We practically got her life story; she and her husband owned a house in Florida where they wintered and that worked well "till he decided to die", poor sport that he was. She's sold it and now takes this cruise to avoid the winter. in England! She should live in NY!

       5 minutes later: Talk about retribution - I put my head up and made a quick trip to the john. Take back what I said about getting used to it. Will quit for now because I am feeling better!   Pat 


Tidbits from Bill:

        First of all, if you ahve been reading this and have not been to this part of Australia, you've probably got it all wrong. The natives' "correct" pronunciation is "Mill-Bin"). Pat took on major responsibilities for the laundry such as guarding our washers, watching sharp-eyed for soon-to-be-abandoned dryers, and remaining alert to any gossip that might be dropped in her vicinity. We decided to do this mainly because of our frustration with having done nothing this mroning in our old haunting ground (namely another failed Starbucks mug quest), no fabric stores to be taken advantage of, and a rather long walk ahead to return to the gangway, certainly a daunting trek for the elders "with sticks", as they referred to in the elevator last week. So while she toiled in teh bowels (3rd deck) of the ship, I went to find a place to read for a while. I was shocked at every turn at how empty the ship had become... three 3 open decks with only 5 epople trying to entice sunchine in 50 degree weather, one other in a major bar area and now, as I remember, even at lunch, maybe there were at most a dozen of us in all showing up to eat. As a result the launderette was almost an amicable community where people were all very civil, even to sharing the few chairs in there. I feel we carried off a major coup! There now, you've certainly been thirsting for such trivia. Done! 


Back to Pat:

       Thursday the 23rd here. Continuing on after what I wrote above.

      That day was definitely a learning experience for me! When Bill went for lunch, I ordered in tea and crackers. Lesson One: Take it easy. They went down pleasantly enought but the return trip included a pulsing headache. So I caled the medical Office, being worried about the headache. It subsided enough that I didn't go down but learned the so-called 30 day shot for seasickness doesn't exist. They give one which is good for 8 hours (an dputs you right to sleep, we've been told) and the medical folks give pills to avoid this situation again.  

     Then the next lesson: When one calls the Medical Office, one gets a visit from the Bathroom Sanitation Committee. I think 3-4 uniformed men with interesting, unplaceable-by-me accents, knocked on the door and spent some time in our bathroom. Looked splendid later! Bit it was neat to begin with. Just another piece of Useless Information for you, gentle reader.

     I've got another patch on so feel quite safe. There's one left but from now on, no more Mrs. Tough Guy.

       To digress a while: Several evenings ago there was a hypnotist at the evening show. We didn't go but now I wish I had. The next day, Doris (who generally goes to all fo the shows with her pals) said she didn't believe it; thought it was a set-up. They all went under too fast for her. She said the hypnotist told one man he was missing the back of his pants and one of the women volunteers took off her jacket and put it over his exposed area.


   The next day I ran into my quilting buddy, janet, and while we were talking, another couple of women I know came up and called her the star of the show. She was the one who administered the jacket. Said she felt 'heavy' and although she didn't 'see' his bare bottom, she believed when she heard and felt a compulsion to cover him up. The hypnotist said in 20+ years of doing this, no one had ever done that before. See, quilters are a very humane and thoughtful group... until it comes to guild elections.


   Speaking of that... last night I put two narrow sashings around the 5 quilter/ seamstress blocks which all our tablemates signed. They do look quite smashing, if I do say so. I'll just whip them into a table runner when we get home; think I have something good for tying it all together. Didn't bring it because it hasn't been chopped into little pieces yet. Okay, that's all for now. We have Friday and Sunday in ports...


 Posted April 13, 2009 

February 21, 2006: Adelaide

Weather: Mid 80's but felt like 72, bright clear blue skies

From Bill 

Morning: Port of Adelaide

     Despite the historic memories of an expensive bus service or infrequent trains by our well-traveled tablemates, a free shuttle bus went to the Port city this morning which we took at about 9:30. This was a stop brutally but honestly described by our tour historian/ photographer as worthy of an hour os so, if we lingered. Well, it was a nice small town (founded in 1836) where Pat was able to telephone the USA while I lounged about across the street nursing a large cappuccino. This is Southern Australia where they get 29 inches of rain a year, an dthey speculated that this February weould be one of the driest on record. This time of year they can expect 100 degree weather; we were lucky.

     The lawns and roadside brush were very brown but still not a desert. The streets were wide, to accomodate the truck trains, and lined with elms planted long ago and of courst palm trees everywhere as well. However, once we got off the main street there were a surprising number of large food stands, grocery stores, a furniture store (going out of business), and dozens of others that belied a small port of perhaps 10,000 people. Going and coming, the road was mostly arrow-straight ahead, as the whole town of Adelaide including the port was all laid out in advance when first founded. Still, we were back on the ship by 12 noon.

Notes From Pat


Afternoon: Bus tour of Adelaide/ Mt. Lofty/ Hahndorf Village

      This wasn't painful but still definitely is a "been-there-done-that" experience (the only t-shirt I've bought so far was marked down by a third in NZ). I think we both liked Adelaide. It was named for an English queen who came from Scandinavia... or possibly Germany. From what I read, a woman from Adelaide realized no one knew much about her so she founded some sort of local group of women in her honor. Everyone's mother would have wanted to join. 

      Adelaide was laid out in straight lines by Col. William Light who also worked in other cities doing the same thing until his rather early-in-life death.

      There is a wide boulevard going down a long stretch of the road from teh harbor. This was to have been a canal into the city but was never built. So it's grassy with palm trees, etc. Very appealing. The sity streets are 1.5 cannon-shots wide because they thought they'd be attacked in some war. Never happened. Good for that!!

     Both bus drivers emphasized that Adelaide was settled by free people, not convicts. Well, humph (our Australian historian lecturer told of moving into a new parliament building several years ago, and asking the oldest member to speak. He said what an honor it was, etc, etc, never mentioning he was about the last surviving convict to have arrived here. Our speaker said if others had known, he wouldn't have been asked to give the opening speech)! Another thing I've not heard any Australian mention is how they took the aborigines babies and young children away from their families... in the 20's?... all in the name of doing the right thing.


Aussie angst. 

      Then we went to Mt. Lofty, their highest hill. Neither of us can remember how high it is. No oxygen deprivation! The view was still a bit hazy; the effects of serious recent brush fires were evident and interesting. Can't remember that date, either; very poor on remembering statistics. After that, to Hahndorf, a village named for Captain Hahn who got some persecuted Lutherans out of Germany, shepherded them into his ship and looked after them after they got here. There was some German look to it but mostly it was a bunch of tourist shoppes.


     Then, back here, and sailing away under the watchful eye of some folks on shore who came to see the show. Very low key.

      Now we are halfway through our second day in a row at sea. This is nothing since we'll have 5 of them next week. Last night we went to nearly all of the show which featured a jazz fiddler and the "Wonderful QE2 Band". I'll find his name later... Carl something. Anyway, he mentioned Grapelli as one of his inspirations; I have a CD which I like very much with him and Mendhuin (sp!). They ended up walking through the audience playing When the Saints Come Marching In. Fun!!

      Ah, yes: the dining table has changed a bit. Since the beginning of the trip I've noticed a little (size 2 - Bill asked), elegantly dressed, woman, apparently traveling alone. She's like a Barbie doll mother!! Well, she's Lillian, a widow, living in Florida, with a French accent. I guess she asked to be seated with us; she knows Doris from former voyages (of course!). But she never eats a full meal because she wants to dance with the Gentlemen Hosts. Last night she ordered a plate of something light but left to go dancing before it arrived (that's how we could all become a size 2, said Doris: don't eat and keep moving)! So now Bill has another woman in his table-harem. Will she ever sit long enough to get to know her??

      Marion has been away in her room for 3 days now, with a very bad cold; Doris' shoulder has been acting up and giving her a lot of pain. She went to the Physiotherapist yesterday but the good feeling was leaving at dinner time. She found lots of calcifications.

     AND, another "human interest" story: Just behind our table in the dining room, up about one step but right next to our table, a fascinating (to me) couple sat. When they walked, they walked together, as if leaning on each other for support. They are both tall, slim and she is elegantly dressed an dcoiffed with her blond hair swooped around her head in a VERY becoming upsweep. After some observation it became clear he is the one in percarious health although sometimes we could hear him talk in a strong-enough voice. He, at the beginning of the trip, rarely spoke or interaced with people. Bill had asked and found out her name is Vickie. When we got back from Port Adelaide, an ambulance was here and they were taking a whelled stretcher with defibrillator into the ship. When we got back from our tour, Vickie was getting off with luggage.

     He has congestive heart failure; was in the hospital in Sydney where the doctor wanted him to stay. He couldn't offer much hope. So now they're in the process of finding an air ambulance to take them home to California, we heard from a couple of their friends.

      And here's something you'll be relieved to hear: it's strictly through the grapevine from the supposed source: the man in charge of the florist concession on board. They had to move the flowers out of the cooling room because there were 7 bodies needing the facility. So it's nice to know there is "space available" if needed!!!

      Well, that's probably more than you needed to know so I'll stop for now. Stay well!! Pat