February 20th
Sea day

Sleep was short but sweet; & I was awake before 7:30.  It’s a miserable day outside; rainy, humid & the sky looks like ‘pea soup’.  It’s another one of those days made for reading & napping.  But that’s not happening because it’s another busy day onboard Serenity.  I watched the morning show where I first caught wind of the changes in our arrival time in Bali.  Capt. Glenn gave more details later in the morning.  But in essence, we must time our passage into the harbor during a high tide.  That means arriving later tonight instead of very early tomorrow morning.  So we chugged right along through the pea soup at 18.5 knots.  As he says almost every day….it’s going to be a beautiful day.  But today, he had to follow that up by saying, “even if it’s cloudy outside, it’s always a beautiful sunny day onboard”. 

Capt. Glenn’s thought for the day….”Friends are like stars.  You don’t always see them; but you know they’re there.”

The Bistro was abuzz when I arrived about 9:15.  I got my capp. & the usual assortment of cheese, meats & lots of those beautiful strawberries.  I also ordered a glass of grape juice.  I could tell by the color when he set it on the table, that it was ‘that’ juice again.  And it tasted like another flavoring had been mixed in with grape juice.  Maybe I was wrong to even mention it; but all I really wanted was the same grape juice they served me a few weeks ago.  As far as the waiters are concerned, all grape juice is created equal.  (And the only reason I’m pursuing this subject is because it has a comical ending.) 

This great mystery was resolved shortly when Mario (Head Sommelier) was brought in on the case.  They (rightfully so) reported to him that a passenger was ‘complaining’ about the grape juice.  Now Mario brings out a jug of white grape juice & a can of ‘red’ grape juice.  I agreed there is a big difference between those two.  If only I had a glass of each, so he would clearly see the difference in the color & the density.  I tried to let him know that I’m not upset, I just didn’t understand how it tasted different from day to day.  Maybe he consulted someone else; because a few hours later, I ran into Mario up in the Lido & he had solved the ‘crime’.  There is the usual grape juice; & then there’s kosher grape juice.  He tells me that non-kosher has 11% alcohol???  Then he laughingly said that it must be the alcohol I was missing.  I had no idea there was even ANY alcohol in grape juice (don’t’ you have to ferment that stuff to get alcohol?).  The question now stands.....are they going to train the bistro staff to read the labels & know the difference between the two?  And since, I know basically nothing about the Jewish religion, is it BAD if a Jewish person is served alcoholic grape juice???  Someone PLEASE enlighten me.

Back on track now…..I was going to skip bridge class this morning, so I could pick up where I had left off with Photoshop class.  While I was still sitting with my capp., Celeste & Bill came in for breakfast.  And then Keith & Anne Marie came in & sat down.  The five of us had several conversations going on at the same time; & before I knew it, I had missed my class(es).  No biggie; I was enjoying my discussion with Keith about how vastly different segments of a world cruise are in comparison to regular cruise itineraries throughout the year.  I had been e-mailing him for about 8 months with my concerns about being a segment cruiser amongst a great majority of full WC passengers.  This topic has come up on Cruise Critic in years past; & there are some who feel that “we (us)” are treated differently from “them”.

Now that I have 2 segments ‘under my belt’, I can see just how minimal that difference really is.  Yes, there has been one occasion when I couldn’t get a burger from the Trident Grill at 5:30 because it was closed due to a WC function.  There are a few events ashore that I will not be a part of.  BUT, the equalizing factor is that there are almost too many additional special events taking place on a WC segment that would not be found on a regular sailing.  In my humble opinion, there’s almost too much to do.  And this is coming from someone who normally does very little ‘extracurricular’ activity.  That being said, I would do this again in a heartbeat!

Since I had now blown off my 2 classes, this allowed me the opportunity to go to the “Ocean Views” panel discussion that was held at 10:30 in the Galaxy Lounge.  Harm de Blij acted as moderator for the panel of four (Shelby Coffey, Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts, Major General Michael O’Brien & Joe Snyder) to air their differing opinions about various global political subjects.  The audience members are given an electronic voting device so that we could let the panel know if we agree or not with their projections.  We voted on topics such as….. Should the US &/or Israel bomb Iranian nuclear plants?  Is NATO still necessary?  Is the Arab awakening a threat to Israel?  How will the relationship between the US & China play out in the future?

Yes, it was deep & serious stuff.  Being totally ignorant about world affairs, I was better able to understand what’s at stake, rather than getting an (often) one-sided view as reported by the various news media.  After the serious issues were debated, they asked the audience a few questions to see how intuitive we were.  For example, what percentage of people worldwide are NOT living in the country in which they were born?  It was a multiple choice question; but we overwhelming got it wrong.  Answer is less than 3%. 

Take a guess at this one…..Under what (one) circumstance should the US allow migration into the US?  Again it was a multiple choice question.  The results were:  44% of us believed that all well educated professionals should be allowed to come in; 24% said ‘guest’ workers should be allowed; 20% said only those seeking asylum should come in; 7% believe that being reunited with family members here was acceptable reason & 5% believe we should let EVERYBODY who wants in, in.  We were all surprised by our own answers. 

Took care of a little business before lunch.  I went to the front desk to drop off the QAP survey & to pick up a copy of the passengers list for this segment.  And then I went up to the photo gallery to let them make copies of the 3 photos I wanted to submit into the World Game competition.  Then it was up to the Lido buffet for lunch.

I had a great lunch; samplings of several things.  I started with an awesome soup, farmer’s cabbage that had sliced chorizo sausage & cheddar cheese.  Then I had some hearts of palm salad (with tomato, onion, cucumber, feta cheese & roasted nuts); vegetable enchilada with black bean salsa & coriander crème fraiche; one of those cute ham cornets with herbed cream cheese; fried calamari, shrimp & scallops with remoulade.  The only disappointment was the half chili cheese dog (a little dried out under the heat lamp).

During lunch, Petar came by the table; & we chatted for quite a long time.  Within the last 24 hours, he & Jelena have worked out a vacation schedule.  Since they work in 2 different departments (hers being from a small pool of staff members/his, very large), there was a lot of back & forth between supervisors & compromises before they could work it out.  I give Crystal a round of applause for trying so hard to accommodate the wishes of their long term staff.  They both will disembark in LA at the end of the world cruise; but she has to come back one voyage before he does.  Gives him a little more time w/ his Beamer!

I stuck my head in Silk Road hoping that some other beginners might come up for social bridge play at 2:30.  Elaine was the only person who came; & we did the best we could practicing bidding on hands with just two people.  It wasn’t very productive; & we are the two most lost people in the class anyway.

I stopped into the Computer Center to apologize to Jessie for not showing up for Photoshop class.  I hate to be one of those people who signs up, doesn’t bother to cancel & possibly preventing someone else from sitting in.  They gave me the hand-outs for all 5 Photoshop classes; & signed me up for a few of the classes on the next segment (yeah, I know, you heard the same thing on the last segment).

I went back to the cabin; & got yesterday’s blog up; checked mail & the message boards.  I thought about going out on the verandah to read.  By midafternoon, some of the ‘soup’ had cleared up & the rain stopped.  But it was terribly humid outside; so instead, I laid on the bed with my feet propped up.  And magically an hour slipped by. 

I ordered dinner early.  I wasn’t sure if we would actually pull up to the dock tonight or just have to sit anchored inside the harbor.  If we were going to dock, I wanted to be outside to watch us come in.  Liz brought dinner about 7:45.  Tonight’s was not the best menu; but what I had was very good.

I started with a Caesar salad & had the pasta special for my main course…..cavatappi pasta with fresh tomato sauce, cream, green asparagus, prosciutto & parmesan cheese.

After dinner, I went out on the aft deck; we were slowly working our way toward the dock in Benoa (ben-WAH).  It was so humid the camera lens kept fogging over.  There really wasn’t much to see anyway.  Two observations…..we must be right under the flight path for the airport; & there is a distinct smell of smoke in the air.  Is all of the southern hemisphere on fire???

I tested the internet; & it's surprisingly fast tonight.  So, I'm jumping the gun & getting TODAY'S blog up while it's still today!

Because of the port change, our tour times tomorrow have been altered; & now my afternoon tour has become an 8:15am tour.  The only good thing I can say about that… won’t be near as hot in the morning as it’s gonna be late tomorrow afternoon.  The bad thing…..I should be asleep already.



Anonymous said...

Really enjoying your blog, as usual--thanks so much for the effort!! Will you/have you posted the pictures you entered?


Ashley said...

Becky, we are simply loving your blog. Reading yours and Keith's each day is good balance and we are living each moment with you. Thanks for the great photos and for sharing Benjamin's family with all of us. Can I please ask a favor when you are next at dinner? Will you please give our best to Petar who looked after us for a month recently. We disembarked as you arrived in LA on Jan 18th. He is quite simply one of the best senior waiters we have ever had. He and Jelena are a wonderful couple and I hope they enjoy their upcoming vacation. I believe she was recently promoted to the ShoreEx dept. Thanks so much.
Ashley and Kelly

Anonymous said...

My best recollection of Bali is the smell of smoke from cooking fires in homes mixed with the sweet fragrance of tropical blooming flowers. You are hitting Bali during their wet season. This is not the ideal time for a visit but enjoy anyway. Smile and look natives right in the eye and they will usually return the gesture.

Janet said...

I can't believe that any grape juice has alcohol in it -- whether kosher or not!! I once read that grape juice naturally turns into wine and something is added to it for it to remain non-alcoholic. I love traveling with you -- you are a great writer! And an excellent photographer. And the food, as is usual with Crystal, looks great! Janet

drtee said...

Your personal researcher here, Becky. It's not that non-kosher grape juice has alcohol--it doesn't. But because grape juice is associated with wine making, and wine is part of Jewish ritual and has to be kosher, meaning not produced by non-Jews.
I also suspect, though I can't confirm it, that the non-kosher g.j. may be "contaminated" if it is processed at the same location as wine or even grapes designated for wine. I know that issue has come up in my attempts to go gluten-free. Regular oatmeal doesn't have gluten, but it is processed in machines where wheat is also processed, so it is gluten contaminated. So I can have only steelcut oatmeal.

Quiz tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky. I found your blog on Cruise critic. I have followed Keith's blogs for years now but unfortunately don't know his web address for this cruise. Anyway, I found your blog & I am really enjoying following along. You seem to be having a fantastic time. Love your daily accounts & of course the great photos. I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip- how can you not. All that yummy food & sailing.
Cheers from Sue in New Zealand.

Unknown said...

Note to "R": I have not posted the photos I entered in the World Games. Since I didn't win, I was waiting to see just how good the winning photos were. They were put on display this morning; & I was blown away by them. I was way out of my league. Or shall I say, I didn't go as far afield as the 3 winners did. The scenes that they captured would have also caught my eye had I been in that setting. They saw quirky things in everyday occurences. And I'm in awe of what they did.

The photo gallery is closed for the night (formal night photos to be taken later). I will photograph their winning photos & post them so you can see just how unimpressive my photos were in comparison. I'm always learning.

Unknown said...

Ashley, I've made a note to myself to pass along your best regards to Petar when I see him. I almost never eat in the main dining room; but I do see him most days at lunch in the Lido Restaurant.

Unknown said...

Janet & Lou,
Thank you all for your input on the great grape juice debate. I need to make a correction in regards to who the person was that told me they were serving Kosher grape juice. It Mario, who I mistakenly labeled as an Asst. M'D. He is, in fact, the Head Sommelier.

Another person sent me a private email saying that way back when....Kosher grape juice did in fact have alcohol in it; but it doesn't any more.

I appreciate y'alls input; but we still haven't uncovered the secret to the difference in color & density. So, the mystery continues.

Anonymous said...

Becky! Where are you? We are absolutely addicted to your fabulous blog and have missed your posts these past few days. We sure hope you will start bloggin again soon!

Unknown said...

Message to anonymous.....

These past 5 days have been so busy. Full day tours; hundreds of photos each day; pages & pages of notes to decipher. And I've fallen way behind.

I'm hacking away at it as fast as I can. I've got Java, the last sea day & most of today in Singapore already typed up; but don't have photos edited yet.

I didn't want to post out of sequence; so I have yet to go back & reconstruct Bali (that was on 2/21). I've cancelled my tour tomorrow so I can get laundry done & hopefully get caught back up on the blog.

I'm tickled that you're enjoying this adventure with me. Just hang on a few more days; & you'll have TONS to read.