Cruising the Yellow Sea & the port of Busan, South Korea
I must have slept like the dead. I woke up refreshed & was very surprised to see that it was only 7:30. I had time to take a shower before the morning show started. It was sunny outside, 37*. Didn’t have my thinking cap on however; & was unable to answer any of Rick’s trivia questions. We had been given a Japanese customs form to fill out; & I dropped it off at the reception desk on my way to the ‘office’. I was parked at our table before the Bistro opened at 9.
It was nice to hear Capt. Glenn’s voice after a 3 day absence. During his morning report from the bridge, I learned that we are cruising the Yellow Sea at 22 knots on 5 of our 6 engines. He predicted a beautiful, but chilly day at sea. His thought for the day...”The biggest room in everyone’s house should be their heart.”
I had some fruit & cheese with my cappuccino. Celeste & Che breezed in & out. They were busy attending various lectures, memoir writing class & other shipboard activities. So, with very few interruptions, I got a lot of photo editing done. The Cove was abuzz with preparation for the Viennese Sunday brunch. I went down to take photos; & liked what I saw. I don’t remember ever seeing this theme before; & I spotted some (never before seen by me) pretty unique food displays.
As soon as the crowds thinned out a bit, I fixed a plate & carried it back to the Bistro. Smoked sausage, sauerkraut, baby back ribs, mini quiche, herb crusted cod, roasted vegetables, scalloped potatoes with crispy fried onion rings, chocolate covered bananas & a strawberry tart. Talk about comfort food....I had to unbutton the jeans to get comfortable afterward!
Other than a few ‘happy stops’ & a visit to ShorEx to change a tour, I pretty much sat there all day; mostly by myself. During the afternoon, Pat stopped for a short chat twice; Che came by again. Rick stopped to chat in mid afternoon; & was shocked to see me still sitting there at 6 pm. I wasn’t paying that much attention to the time. I knew it was 6 when the Bistro closed; & then I heard the cocktail crowd. I didn’t pack up & go home until 7:45. For all those ‘friends’ who complain that I spend too much time in my cabin......where were YOU when I spent the entire day out amongst the masses???
I had OD’d on heavy comfort food at lunch, so I was thinking burger for dinner. Lizzie came at 8:25 with my cheeseburger & fries (sorry no dinner photos, you know what a burger & fries looks like by now). She stood & talked for a while. I’ve really missed her adorable, smiling face those last 3 days. After dinner, I went back to work on photos. Pat, Celeste & Rick wanted copies of some of my Beijing photos; so I edited & put them on a flash drive to loan them.
I’d had enough of the computer by 11pm; so I got in the bed with my Kindle & read for another hour. Nice, gentle rocking.....sleep will be no problem. Gotta love it!
I was sound asleep when I heard the ‘ding’. The Capt. was making an announcement that the ship had been cleared; & all were welcome to go ashore in Busan. He said it was a beautifully sunny day outside; 39*. His thought for the day.....”It’s better to be a failure at something you love rather than a success at something you don’t like.”
At first I thought I had overslept; but the clock read 8:15. I was in no particular hurry. I had struggled with the few excursions that they hurriedly added when our itinerary was changed. I was so looking forward to going into Seoul; & when that didn’t happen, I guess you could say I lost interest. There was a blurb in the Reflections today stating that all Passengers going ashore would have to pass a temperature scanner in the terminal. This appears to be a fairly common thing in Asian countries. I understand the need to prevent foreigners from bringing contagious diseases into their country; but from my side of the fence, doing this again & again makes you feel like a leper. Wonder if they do this to arriving airline passengers too?
I tried to log onto the internet; but was unable to do so. So, I continued photo editing offline for a while. I was getting hungry a little before noon; so I went up to the Lido for the buffet. I rode up the elevator with Josef (Hotel Director) & Gregg Michel (President of Crystal Cruises). That’s the first time I’ve ever seen the man himself in person. Very nice looking, pleasant small talk; & then of course, there’s Josef! You just want to melt when he smiles.
There were some delicious Korean delicacies on the lunch menu. I had BBQ spare ribs with a spicy soy-oyster-garlic sauce (truly outstanding); roasted chicken with plum sauce; braised veal stew with tomato sauce; butternut squash & cheese polenta; hearts of palm; & chinoise salad with julienne veggies.
The piece de resistance was pear honey crisp with caramel sauce for dessert. It was totally ORGASMIC!!!
I stepped out on deck & took some photos. There were some very interesting things right around the area of the pier. Not that I knew what I was shooting. I did know that the line of rocks popping up just outside the breakwater were the Oryuk-Do Islets. I recognized the unusual lighthouse on the first ‘rock’.
I suppose all my friends had gone ashore, since I couldn’t find anybody to play with. So, I went back to the cabin & edited photos for several more hours. My eyes were growing weary; so I laid down & took a nice long nap.
I had received an invitation to dine in Prego tonight with Josef & Elise at 6pm. Josef greeted me outside the restaurant; I was the first to arrive. In a few minutes I saw Elise walking down the corridor with her significant other, Kinsey McLean, who has just come onboard for a ‘family visit’. They were followed by a woman named Jeri & her companion, Jim; & then another lady, Karen. After we sat down, Elise said, “I guess you’re wondering why you all were invited tonight.” She informed us that the 5 of us had all decided to extend our stay for the full world cruise. How bout that? There was another lady, Margaret, who also extended; but she was staying in, nursing a bad cold.
The conversation flowed very easily. Kinsey, with his bright red hair, is an actor. He’s had guest roles on several shows that I watch regularly (i.e., CSI, NCIS:LA, Cold Case & House to name a few). He’s so sweet & funny. He looks like a cross between a young Mark Wahlberg & Ron Howard’s character, “Opie”. He & Elise make an adorable couple.
In between courses, we started talking about the possibility of snow in Russia & Alaska. I brought up the subject of snow cream. It still amazes me that only a tiny percentage of the people I ask have ever heard of snow cream. So, I proceeded to explain the process of taking very dry, powdery snow & mixing in sweetened condensed milk until it’s the consistency of thick homemade ice cream. They said it sounded good; & I told them I’d be happy to whip up a batch if I could get my hands on a big bowl & some sweetened condensed milk. Josef looked at me, very seriously, & asked what that was. I thought he was joking at first; he’s the hotel director after all. Aren’t they supposed to know their way around a kitchen, at least somewhat?
I assured him that there had to be some somewhere on this ship. I doubt a pastry chef could do his thing without sweetened condensed milk. We moved on to another subject; but I happened to notice that Josef was on his cell phone. He was calling somebody to ask about the milk. Exactly four minutes later, Mario (Head Sommelier) walked into Prego & presented a can to Josef. I know it was only four minutes because of the time stamp on my photos. It’s nice to know people in high places. IF we have the right snow conditions, he promised to set me up with everything I needed....as long as he got to taste it too. What a deal!
We had a fabulous evening; & I had 3 of my favorite Prego dishes. I started with seared macadamia nut crusted scallops over a bed of greens, followed by caesar salad.
I’ve never been a lemon lover; but I will make an exception for Prego’s lemon risotto with prosciutto & prawns. Oh Lordy. It was hard not to moan in such distinguished company.
I made another exception tonight & attended the 8:30 show entitled “Curtis, Beverly & Friends”. The show started with Min Kwon at the piano; followed by Colin Salter playing with 2 members of the Creative Quartet. During their numbers, Curtis & Beverly dazzled us with newly choreographed dance routines. Then Karen & Dave from the Entertainment Staff danced.
For the finale; two specially selected crewmembers were chosen to participate in a “Dancing With The Stars” type performance. They were mentored by & performed with Curtis & Beverly. First up was Beverly dancing with Jerome from the Engineering Dept. They danced a salsa number; he did himself proud.
Closing the show was my dear, Jelena (from ShorEx). She was rolled out onto the stage wearing a fuschia fringed mini dress in a large ‘birdcage’ (which was actually constructed from a bellman’s trolley).
There were a few moments when she had that ‘deer in the headlights look’; but once she got into it, she rocked the house. She & Curtis did some very impressive lifts & spins. My girl’s got the moves. I was so proud of her.
There was much more entertainment on tap for the night. The Crystal Cove had been decorated in black, white, gold & silver in preparation for an evening of swing music & dancing (“Stompin’ at the Savoy”). That would not start for a another hour or so. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep myself entertained until the festivities started. But I have been onboard when they played swing music in the Cove on farewell night; & it truly was a wild & crazy time. The Galaxy Orchestra really throws down with the big band sound.
What a great day it has been. So, I took myself home, before I turned into a pumpkin.