Monday, March 10, 2014

Report # 71 Sailing Towards Phuket, Thailand March 10, 2014 Monday Partly cloudy, 86 degrees

It sure was great to look forward to a lazy day at sea today. At least the TV is working once again with all of the new channels re-appearing around 10am. This is the first we have been hearing about a possible Malaysian air crash, somewhere close to where we are or have been sailing. Understanding the vast areas at sea, we are not surprised that nothing has been located, and can only pray for another explanation. Time will tell....

We kept a low profile today, due to one of us having a repeat of the cold bug that has been going around and around the ship's population. Nothing serious, just annoying. Despite all of the sanitary cleaning, they can't seem to get these super bugs wiped out. Wouldn't it be great, if someone could develop a vaccination for the common cold? On the other hand, the companies that supply us the cold meds are making a mint, so why wipe out the bug?? It's big business.

It was the perfect time to catch up on two days worth of photo downloading and updating reports to go with the pictures. The job was accomplished while watching a really well done movie, The Emperor. Based on a true story, it kept our interest the entire time. So did the film, Captain Phillips, a movie about the pirates that took the captain hostage back in 2009. Whoever programmed the start times for the daily movies, made a mistake. We ended up missing the first 45 minutes because they said it began at 10:30pm last night. We are certain that this movie will be repeated some time in the near future, and we will be able to watch it from the start.

Three lecturers took the stage today, beginning with Mel Foster, who spoke about the islands, explorers, brigands, and travelers of the Indian Ocean. He is an excellent speaker, who has been a guest at our table on past trips. We never miss his talks, even if we have to watch them on TV. Brian Stoddart spoke about the French influence in the Indo-China and Cambodia areas. And Bruce Lasky spoke about making a difference by developing justice champions. Not quite sure what that was about.

At 7pm, we totally forgot about being invited to another cocktail party in the Explorers Lounge with our travel agency's hosts and guests. Our tablemates did ask where we were, so it was nice to be missed.

Barb and Maureen had heard the real story concerning the guest with the missing passport. It was not made up, as we first thought. Here is the scoop. One of the passengers came back to the ship in Singapore, passing through the customs and immigrations checkpoint with his passport. But this was way before the passports were being collected by the front desk personel before boarding the ship. So he did have it upon boarding, but forgot to surrender it before the ship left. His name was one of those called on the speakers while we were waiting to sail away. But he could not find his passport, so they had no choice but to take him off of the ship. Debarked, period. We understand that his wife remained onboard, while he will have to stay in Singapore, and apply for a replacement passport at the American Embassy. Hopefully that will be expedited, so he can fly to Phuket tomorrow. If not, the next stop will be in Sri Lanka or the Seychelles, several days from now. Marianne pointed out that if had an Indian visa to go overland to the Taj Mahal , he would be out of luck since those visas are permanently fixed in your passports. That is why they have to be treated like pure gold, especially when we are required to carry them with us at all times while in Singapore. The immediate question came to our inquiring minds as to if travel insurance, if he had purchased it, would cover his expenses for the accidental loss of his passport and trip interruption? And what about expenses of the hotel, food, and replacement costs of the passport? Not to mention, the last minute booking of a flight back to the ship?

The other situation concerning the Pinnacle Grill Manager, Sam, is still somewhat of a mystery. We will more than likely never know what caused his sudden departure, but the good news is that Tina has taken over his position. She appeared at breakfast in the dining room this morning, dressed in her new uniform denoting her promotion. Tina has been a permanent worker, as well as part-time manager, in this specialty restaurant, and all that know her, love her. Life goes on........

Stephen Clark was the entertainer last night, and according to Bill & Marianne, he was quite talented playing the flute. This evening's guest singer is Eve Sherratt, an international vocalist who has performed all over the world. Reading between the lines, that probably means she has been performing on a lot of cruise ships.

Tomorrow's port is Phuket, a place we have visited numerous times. Tendering to Patong Bay, we will be on our own exploring the nearby area.

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