After 5 relaxing sea days, this afternoon we reached our first port of call, Honolulu, HI. You could see the anticipation & excitement on everyone’s face. And with the Serenity making her approach from the eastern side of Oahu rounding Diamond Head, the vista looking down Waikiki Beach was spectacular in the late afternoon sun. But there was nearly a full sea day of activities that kept everyone busy….
I was out the door at 8:45; and found myself waiting with quite a few others for the Bistro to open at 9. (Waiting for something/some place to open is a totally new concept for me.) I had some fruit, cheese, cold cuts & a pastry with my capp. Capt. Glenn reported at 9 am that we were 48 land miles from the island of Molokai. We’ve slowed down to 19 knots (22 mph) since we’re a little ahead of schedule. He told us to be on the lookout for Molokai on our port side. And soon afterwards, we would see the island of Oahu coming up just off our starboard bow. He predicted a partly cloudy day with high temps in the upper 70’s. The quote for today…..”If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”
Oh, BTW, lunch was very good today. He ordered an interesting looking appetizer, which I thought was worthy of a photo. It was Madeira wine glazed chicken liver on toast points garnished with balsamic onion marmalade.
I started with a Boston lettuce salad with tomatoes, grapes & crumbled bleu cheese. Followed by, another delicious soup…….cream of cauliflower with pumpernickel croutons.
We both had the grilled hot pastrami sandwich on rye, which came with French fries & coleslaw. The sandwich was piled high with tender, juicy meat; excellent!
I was a little surprised when we actually docked at Pier 2 at the big terminal. In the past, when I’ve sailed in & out of Honolulu, my ships were always docked right at the base of the Aloha Tower. You could easily walk on & off with shopping & dining right there at your feet.
Since we will be at the big pier, Crystal is providing a shuttle every 30 mins. between the ship & the Ala Moana shopping center. It’s a fairly good jumping off spot for those who want to sightsee on their own. And I expect tomorrow that I’ll go over there just to pick up a free w-ifi signal.
I never got around to a nap today. I did watch 2 lectures replayed on TV that I was unable to attend in person. Rob Warne’s talk this morning was on the strategy & logistics of the capture of bin Laden. He did divulge a few tidbits about their ‘intel’ that was not reported at the time on our newscasts.
The second talk I watched was by ‘character’ actor, Bruce McGill. And you may be wondering, who’s that? I was not aware that he was going to be one of our celebrity lecturers. A few days ago I spotted this man out on the pool deck; & the next day in the Lido buffet line. Both times, I thought there was something familiar about him; but I wasn’t sure what it was. And he mentioned just that, at the beginning of his talk today. People know his face & his work; but nobody knows what his real name is. I first knew him as Capt, Jack on the TV series, MacGyver. Recently he plays a cop that works with Rizzoli (& Isles). He’s done WELL over 100 movies, plays & TV series. Today’s presentation was mostly slides, clips & anecdotes from his 45 year career. He will speak again later in the cruise.
I ordered dinner a little earlier tonight. While I waited for Liz to bring it, I stepped out on our little ‘private’ aft deck to take some night shots of the city lights. One thing will be most notably different about tonight……..the sounds of sirens, as the stern of the ship backs right up to a major highway. I may have to turn the volume up on my sound machine tonight.
Liz returned about 7:30 with dinner. It was another outstanding meal that was delivered hot & as beautifully plated as it would be in the Crystal Dining Room. For my appetizer, I had a slice of lobster strudel, with something called a sauce choron. Don’t know what it’s supposed to be; but it was pink, ‘fishy’ (in a very good way) & had a little kick to it.
I got an appetizer portion of the pasta special because it just sounded so good. It was gemelli pasta with tomato sauce, cream, asparagus, prosciutto & parmesan cheese. It was….. the “O” word!
For my main course, I had the pan seared scallops on a bed of butternut squash risotto. The large, succulently tender & perfectly cooked scallops were topped with a dollop of chili-tomato marmalade. Snow peas were laid end to end to form a ‘frame’ around the bed of risotto. It was almost too pretty to eat. And it tasted every bit as good as it looked.
The good thing is, I won’t need to set an alarm for in the morning. No classes; just get up & get on the shuttle to the shopping center when I feel like it. But the bad thing is, there will be no vibration, pitching or rolling to help lull me to sleep. Not that any of the afore mentioned things have helped the cause thus far. A few more chapters of ‘Modern Buddhism’ & maybe things will be different. I’ll let ya know how that works out for me tomorrow……………..