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Monday, October 7, 2013

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Log, Day 14 (October 7/Monday)

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND -- Arrived in port here c. 10 a.m. Cold and windy and I am still under the weather; slept OK, but had weird dreams as with last several nights and woke up a number of times coughing. 

Breakfast in Windjammer; had congie, vegetable fried rice, scrambled egg, coffee. 

Finished reading The Bounty! Did not get read as many of the articles on regional matters I brought with me, mainly because I have also been trying to write, but have overall done a pretty good job with my reading list (especially when one considers how many other things we have been doing and how slowly I read). 

Visited the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand and viewed exhibits on natural history and Maori culture, the whare, or huts, and greenstone weapons being high points for me. 

Discovered that food is, indeed, very expensive here; had lunch at a nice but relatively modest cafe across from the visitor's bureau and city hall called the Lido and had a dish of lamb stew, a bowl of soup, and a glass of wine, which came to NZ$41. 

Boarded bus for 2:30 tour of Lord of the Rings filming sites in and around Wellington, especially in the Mount Victoria parks. Then went to Weta Studios and got a behind the scenes look at things it has done and has in the works, its prop and model creation methods, etc. Wellington Movie Tours owner/guide Ted Guise did great job and graciously drove tour attendees directly back to port instead of just visitor center. (See "On the Trail of 'The Lord of the Rings'" for more details and photos!) 

Dinner in Windjammer; nice coconut curry shrimp, Indian vegetables, OK Manhattan clam chowder, sugar-free/taste-free rice pudding. Ordered bottle of Charles Krug Merlot, thanks to recommendation from Kevin Furness and had one glass each (and am having another as I write this). Furnesses and John Robson came in while we were eating and joined us. John and Kevin each told a joke and I followed up with a hilarious one about CIA agent trainees that I think I first heard from Scott O'Connell. 

Agreed to meet K. and J3 Furness and J. Robson at Champagne Bar at 6 p.m. and to bring our bottle of champagne. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Log, Day 13 (October 6/Sunday)

At sea heading west en route to Wellington, New Zealand. Cold and wet and we are regretting that we packed for French Polynesia and not the colder spots that would follow. 

Woke up feeling under the weather. Had a couple of cups of coffee in room while getting ready for "Xena, Hercules, and the Lord of the Rings," my presentation on the New Zealand Fantasy film industry. Some sort of tour of the theater was still going on when my presentation was scheduled to start at 11:15 and I went on about 15 minutes late. Had also been announced and listed in the daily newsletter as being about Wellington, so I clarified before beginning for benefit of anyone who was there for shopping tips or the like; some left after this sank in but we still had good turnout and response. 

Lunch in Windjammer; absolutely packed and nothing was made easier by rough seas, me being dizzy, or the significant minority of passengers who cut in line, stood in common areas eating their food instead of going to tables, etc. 

Attended John Robson's lecture on "Tasman and the Dutch Explorers in the Pacific." Learned some interesting things, especially re. how powerful and oppressive the Dutch East India Company (VOC) were in the 17th and 18th centuries, and how the Dutch named many places throughout the Pacific that the subsequently exerted no interest in (e.g., New Holland/Australia, New Zealand, Van Diemen's Land/Tasmania). 

At 16:30 met Kevin and J3 Furness and fellow lecturer John Robson for Progressive Trivia, Part 2, in the Colony Club. Scored 32 points, coming in behind the lead team with 33, out of about 20 teams playing! Categories for one part were "Where would you find it" (geography), which we had selected for our double point scoring, and "Spelling Bee"; we got ALL of the geography questions correct and eight of the spelling ones for 22 points, plus 10 of the 12 art ones (and we second guessed ourselves on the two we got wrong; as Diane said, "we were smarter than we gave ourselves credit for"). John had brilliant and correct answers to a number of questions we would not otherwise have gotten and Kevin and I dubbed him our "secret weapon"; I proposed calling him "V-2" and Kevin suggested "Exocet," which was better, so we went with that. Drank a dirty vodka martini during the game (no one else had anything). 

Had drinks afterward w. Kevin and J3; Pernod for me, and I told story of my first experience w. Absinthe, and we all followed w. interesting drinking and/or prescription drug anecdotes. Broke to change for dinner and then met up at Cascades c. 7:25 to eat. 

Tried to finish reading The Bounty but passed out w. four pages to go. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Log, Day 12 (October 5/Saturday)

At sea westbound en route to Wellington, New Zealand. 

At 16:30 did Progressive Trivia, Part 1, with Kevin and J3 Furness in the Colony Club. Categories for one part were things that were Green and Mood Music, eight questions for each, and for other part was identifying 20 celebrities, politicians, etc., whose faces had been warped with Photoshop. Scored 11 points on questions and seven on the celebrities, 18 total (versus 25 for the winning team -- who, it bears mentioning, got double points for each correct answer in one of their categories). 

Met Kevin and J3 Furness and John Robson for drinks at Champagne Bar ahead of dinner at Samba Grill. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Log, Day — (October 4/Friday)

We had no Friday, October 4, 2013, aboard Radiance of the Seas, and lost this day in its entirety as a result of crossing the International Date Line! Presumably an effect applauded by the persistent old gods of this pleasantly benighted region ... 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Log, Day 9 (October 1/Tuesday)

In port at Moorea, French Polynesia. (This is the first of four days that, for various reasons, I did not keep up with my cruise log! A relevant thing to bear in mind is that one is virtually never able or inclined to go back and reconstruct these things ... We did spend half of this day at a beach on Moorea and get some fun pictures there.)

This is me swimming with some gregarious blackpoint sharks and manta rays! Isn't the way they are circling me fun? 

Still being inspired by Gauguin at this point, I decided to call this one "Spirit of the Beach."

Not being inclined to spend too much time on beaches myself, I went inland to explore the jungle a little bit and get a better sense for what the interior of a French Polynesian island looks like. 


After departing Moorea we passed this para-sailor while many miles out to sea and were unsure if things were going as planned for him or had gotten terrifyingly out of control ... We hope he made it back to shore but make no assumptions.