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Monday, September 30, 2013

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Log, Day 8 (September 30/Monday)

In port at Papeete, French Polynesia.

Breakfast and coffee and some upper deck shoots of Papeete from back outside section of Windjammer.

Walked around town for brief overview and photographs of historic sites, including tree reputed to have once had a bar amongst its limbs and where Gauguin supposedly drank Absinthe (below). Briefly met w. academic consultant Pierre Blanchard, a 37-year resident of Papeete, and spoke with him about Tahitian language, native religion, etc. Continued on to Paofai Park near the harbor and met with another couple from the ship, Steve and Dee Blackburn of Denver, Colorado.

Lunch in Windjammer of small roast chicken thigh, mashed potatoes w. cheese sauce, cauliflower, iced tea. 

Spent big part of afternoon, most of it pleasant, drinking wine in Star Studio, a cafe across from the port and from which I could see our ship. Diane felt neglected and, after intimating this in some detail, returned to ship alone while I took the opportunity to post first three days of this log to my TravelBlogue, post a couple of items to d-Infinity Online, etc. 


Sunday, September 29, 2013

'Radiance of the Seas' Cruise Log, Day 7 (September 29/Sunday)

In port at Bora Bora, French Polynesia, in town of Vaitape. 

Walked about three miles to the Bloody Mary's bar and restaurant, which is all the rage w. the tourists and popular for its T-shirts. Ordered a local Tabu beer at the bar and was promptly handed a pre-poured Heinekin by the barmaid, who clearly assumed we were on the bus tour that had just plowed into the place and would only accept cash; we found out after we had already paid that we could have used credit if we had ordered a couple of more beers and gladly would have done so if we had known. Many famous people have eaten and drank this place since it opened in 1979 and it did have a very nice, semi-open air dining area. Would not likely go out of my way, however, to come back here myself.

We had hiked out under the incorrect presumption that we would walk past a beach but did not. Could have gotten a shuttle to Matira Beach for $5 and should have; had seven hours left by the time we made it back to Vaitape and discovered all this but Diane decided to just go back to the ship and hang out at the pool. I hiked another couple miles up the road toward Faanui looking for a WWII gun emplacement marked on a large map at the port but could not find it and so just took some pictures and then came back.

Prior to dinner made good progress on "Opal" and like what I am accomplishing with it. Also read a little from the old Gygax "Sagard the Barbarian Gamebook #1: The Ice Dragon" and had some fun with it.

Had dinner at Izumi specialty restaurant. Had Pearl Sake Martini, miso soup, octopus carpaccio, Dragon Eel Roll with shrimp tempura and unagi/freshwater eel. Desert combination w. mixed tropical fruit, green tea mousse (ick!), flan, dumpling stuffed w. strawberry ice cream. Told Diane the lichi nut she was eating was a panda testicle. 

Heat, exertion, and alcohol took their toll and after dinner we staggered back to the room, read a little (The Bounty), and then passed out. 



Saturday, September 28, 2013

'Radiance of the Seas' Cruise Log, Day 6 (September 28/Saturday)

At sea, bearing south by southeast en route to Bora Bora. Had room service breakfast of milk, juice, and coffee, finished reviewing and slightly expanding lecture w. quote from Gauguin about marae (see "The Polynesian Theogony of Paul Gauguin"), and read some more from Rovings

Gave lecture on "Mysteries of Moorea" at 11:15 in Aurora and had very good turnout, w. many people sitting in front half of theater. John Robson had no lecture today.

Lunch in Windjammer.

Did about two miles around Promenade Deck; parts of it were blocked and we had to keep doubling back, so it was hard to get a good count.

Light snack in Windjammer.

Began work on "Opal," codename for a literary and gaming project the nature of which or who I am working on it with I cannot yet reveal.

Dinner at Cascades. 



Friday, September 27, 2013

'Radiance of the Seas' Cruise Log, Day 5 (September 27/Friday)

At sea, bearing south by southeast en route to Bora Bora.

Woke up little before 9 a.m. and spent couple of hours reviewing, editing, and expanding next presentation, reading Rovings, getting cleaned and dressed, and drinking coffee. Diane got my first cup at Windjammer and then I collected a second from crew mess when I went to the crew store to see if I could get her some throat lozenges; it was closed and I will have to go by later.

Gave lecture on "The History of Bora Bora"; went about 30 minutes plus 10-15 minutes Q&A, which included some exacting and irritating questions some of the askers already knew the answers to or would not believe my answers to. Will do a little research tonight and lead tomorrow's talk with expanded answers (Departments, Collectivities, and Communes of France, vis group names like Society Islands and Marquesas from Jim; currencies accepted and languages spoken in French Polynesia; dates and locations of French nuclear testing in the region). Somewhere between 100 and 200 attendees (hard to tell how many people are in upper Deck 6 balcony).

Lunch in Windjammer of sausages, mashed redskin potatoes w. butter and gravy, braised cabbage w. caraway seeds, banana rice pudding w. vanilla sauce, iced tea. Skipped deckside barbecue or eating outside at all as it was hot and noisy and I was still in my lecture clothes.

Attended John Robson's excellent lecture on "Bougainville and La Perouse," about French 18th century exploration of the Pacific. Perhaps as many as 50 attendees, as poor John is having to compete w. lunch! But, as I often say, it is the one who comes that counts.

Back in room to meet Diane for walk around the deck but she is on third day of a cold and sick in bed to I decided to read Rovings and update daily log and drink lemon tea from crew mess; crew store out of throat lozenges and directed me to passenger giftshop.

Physical activity of seven turns/2.1 miles around Promenade Deck (below), and then 15 minutes each in sauna and steamroom. 

Afternoon snack in Windjammer of hot dog, french fries, and small chicken thigh. OK, but too much and too heavy for that time of day!

Dinner in Cascades. Prawn appetizer and leftover wine from yesterday, Singapore noodles entree and Peroni beer, pecan tart and vanilla ice cream desert w. coffee. Chatted w. gentleman we passed walking the promenade deck and an Australian couple, Ron and Michelle.

After dinner drinks (Sandeman Port for me) at Schooner Bar. Chatted with an Australian couple, Terry and Pam; she was descended from convicts and very knowledgeable about history. Both complimented me for mentioning the WWII Japanese attacks on mainland Australia/Darwin. 



Thursday, September 26, 2013

'Radiance of the Seas' Cruise Log, Day 4 (September 26/Thursday)

At sea, bearing south by southeast en route to Bora Bora.

Woken "a little before 9" a.m. by Diane. Got up little after nine, put on trunks, went to find her at pool, but it was gloomy, windy, and drizzly and she was not there or at Solarium, and I found her at the Windjammer.

Breakfast there of poached egg on English muffin w. Hollandaise sauce, ham, and coffee.

Crossing the Equator Ceremony at 11:15! Our captain played the part of King Neptune and our Cruise Program Administrator JulieAnne Slade played his Queen. Everyone who decided to participate was divided into either Group 1 -- all women or un-resilient looking men -- or Group 2, of which I was part and who were told to come when called sans shirts, sunglasses, etc., and be prepared to "have some fun." Group 1 came forward, bowed before King Neptune, and were forced to kiss a giant fish (probably a tuna). Group 2 then came forward, knelt, and first had eggs crushed on their heads and then were pelted with spaghetti, tomato sauce, and parmesan cheese by crew dressed as pirates and ruffians.

Lunch in windjammer of beef schnitzel w. gorgonzola sauce, mashed potatoes and au jus, sauteed zucchini, iced tea, etc.

Went to HRC to see if I needed to respond to passenger letter about going to present passport to French Polynesian Immigration Authorities.

Ordered tumbler of Pyrat rum on the rocks and then drank while attending John Robson's lecture on "The Polynesian Diaspora" at 13:15 and chatted w. him and passenger Jim from L.A. a little afterward. Learned some interesting things during main body of presentation and Q&A (e.g., jumping off point for Polynesian expansion probably Taiwan, how Polynesians probably sent systematic scouting expeditions in search of new habitable islands before following w. colonists).

Got coffee at crew mess and then went back to room to update log and read Rovings in the Pacific until Diane comes back from pool.

Spent about 15 minutes each in dry sauna and steam room w. cold showers after each. Picked up cup of green tea in Solarium to drunk in room while reading a bit more from Rovings and preparing for my presentation tomorrow. Did not get enough sun or exercise today and will have to do better tomorrow!

Dress code for dinner was casual/Country Western! Idiotic. We opted for tropical instead and hope not to see anyone in cowboy hats, dusters, etc.

Dinner at Chops specialty restaurant; excellent mushroom soup, 18-ounce in-bone porthouse steak cooked rare, crimini mushrooms w. leeks, mashed potatoes. Finished good "Phoenix" cabernet sauvignon and ordered "Aussieres" French cabernet sauvignon from Domaines Baron Rothschild that was very dry but had almost no body (but which did improve a bit upon breathing). 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

'Radiance of the Seas' Cruise Log, Day 3 (September 25/Wednesday)

At sea, headed south by southeast en route to Bora Bora.

Woke a little before 9 a.m.

Breakfast in room of milk and coffee while I reviewed my lecture on Paul Gauguin.

Gave "Painter of Papeete" lecture on Paul Gauguin in Aurora Theater. Ran about 30 minutes plus 10 minutes Q&A; need to expand 10-15 minutes (e.g., w. quotes from Gauguin, additional art, notes about his children).

Lunch in Windjammer. Mostly Indian specialties, including dal/lentils, rice pudding.

Attended John Dobson's lecture on European exploration of the Pacific and left at beginning of Q&A.

Rushed up to art auction and chatted w. auctioneer Wayne and fiance Lianna. Accepted bottle of champagne as thanks for mentioning art auction during my presentation. (Displayed painting, ostensibly by Dali and titled "Mount of Geryon," showing two downward-facing clasped hands, which Diane and I both believed was mislabled -- checked later, however, and confirmed that we were wrong!)

Second lunch in Windjammer. Spaghetti w. creamy pesto sauce and black olives; then, hot dog w. sauteed onions, macaroni and cheese.

Exercise consisting of seven turns around the Promenade Deck/Deck 5 (2.1 miles).

Evening before dinner read for a few hours, including the balance of Noa Noa and a chapter from The Teaching of Buddha; drank Earl Grey and black tea.

Dinner in Windjammer; Oriental noodle soup that you cook yourself in a pot, Kirin Light beer, Bami Goreng (not enough noodles/too many vegetables) w. peanut sauce, curried lamb, curried eggplant. Chatted afterward w. one of the Australian couples from our first day dinner; discussed immigration policy and Australia's Christmas Island, etc. 

Went to crew Internet cafe; kitchen staffer from India named kindly Pinto taught me how to set up my account and told me that rates dropped from 75 cents a minute to 12 cents a minute after 11 p.m. Was not able to log in either there or in stateroom w. laptop but got on at crew terminal for just 6 cents a minute and responded to couple of messages, birthday wishes, etc. 


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

'Radiance of the Seas' Cruise Log, Day 2 (September 24/Tuesday)

At sea, headed south by southeast toward Bora Bora.

Woken by Diane 8 a.m. 

Finished in-processing at HRC. Was pleased to hear that $100 was generously loaded onto my crew ID! Will probably use for Internet access (but later discovered that this was simply $100 worth of credit).

Breakfast in Windjammer Cafe (lox, tomato, cucumber, capers, lemon, 1/2 bagel w. butter and cream cheese).

Lunch in Windjammer consisting of two pieces Beef Kofta and Indian specialties, including beet Masala that tasted better than it looked, white rice, and crispy bread, coffee creme brulet w. vanilla sauce.

Discovered that I forgot to pack my laser pointer!

Physical activity consisting of four turns around the Promenade Deck/Deck 5 (1.2 miles), two climbs up the climbing wall on Deck 12, and then some time in the steamroom and dry sauna. Met and chatted in sauna w. ship's magician Matt Fallon, from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Beautiful, big, newish facility, w. cedar-planked sauna, and tiled steam room w. ceiling painted like a starry sky.

Attended Captain's Reception in Colony Club lounge, met Captain in receiving line, and had glass of champagne; seated near back and could not see much of the introduction of officers, etc.

Dinner in Cascades. Felt increasingly tired and rundown during dinner. Ordered bottle of red wine, had one glass each. Diane prompted me to order two entrees, beef tenderloin and lobster ravioli, so that she could pick at them. Ate half the beef, which was good, and then decided to skip desert and head back to room. Passed out as soon as I could get undressed (and slept about 11 hours).

* Create a checklist of critical items! There are some you won't remember.

* Bring a highlighter to mark up the cruise newsletter for activities and other things pertinent to you! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

'Radiance of the Seas' Cruise Log, Day 1 (September 23/Monday)

Boarded ship in Honolulu after taking cab from Hale Koa. We had told the cab driver that the cruise terminal was near the Aloha Tower and then, even after we could physically see our ship at the terminal before that he tried to take us to the wrong ship and went where we needed him to only upon our firm insistence. Diane watched me tip him $3 above what he claimed for the fare and then, after he drove off, told me he had already padded the fare by $5.

Arrived at port c. 15:15 and finally made it onto ship c. 16:45; ground crew unsure what to do with us and seated us on a bench for what we were concerned would be an indefinite period. Discovered we could have boarded as early as noon despite 10 p.m. departure.

In-processed at crew human resources office (HRC); could not complete everything and told to come back next day between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Went to hour-long crew safety training.

Dinner in Cascades, the main dining room. Bought 12-bottle wine package and ordered bottle of Spy Valley 2011 Pinot Noir (Marlborough, New Zealand). Asian seafood soup appetizer, seafood spaghetti entree, slice blue cheese and lowfat mango pudding desert). Sat w. three couples from Australia, including Terry and Pam and Kevin and Jen-Jenny-Jennifer (J3) Furness (all of which we have bumped into and chatted with subsequently).

Mandatory passenger lifeboat drill 9:45. Walked around deck afterward and took pictures of Honolulu, Aloha Tower. 

Read a third of Noa Noa and a chapter from The Teachings of Buddha.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Random Images (Hawaii)

Following are some more-or-less random images from around Waikiki! First is from a restaurant at the International Market, second is an Art Deco-style bridge from historic Alamoana Park, and third is from the shopping district along busy Kalakaua Avenue.