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Topic: A Tale Of Four Cities Day 6

  1. #1
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    Default A Tale Of Four Cities Day 6

    We were awake bright and early shortly after 7:00. The Windjammer Cafe was already open, and we decided to get up and get some breakfast. Even though it was still early, it was pretty busy already. We headed straight to the back part of seating area and there was space there. As an added bonus, we were just around the corner from where they normally have an omelette station, but on this cruise, it was a soup noodle station. I was in heaven. I had some soup noodles with beef. Graham had some fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, bacon, sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes. I tried some steamed pork buns. On Quantum last year, the steamed pork buns were absolutely delicious with a moist and flavourful barbecue pork filling. The ones I had that morning were nowhere near as nice. I wondered if they had been mislabelled, but somehow steamed wallpaper paste buns does not seem to have the right ring about it. What amused me a lot that morning was that there were a lot of people dressed up to nines already that early in the morning. That evening was formal night, but people were getting in the spirit rather early. I started to feel rather underdressed in my leggings and plain swing top.





    The Windjammer Cafe started to fill up quite quickly. Once we had finished our food, we decided to go elsewhere for some coffee. We went downstairs to Cafe Promenade. Once we had our coffee, we then went to sit down next door at Sorrento’s. The coffee was as bad as ever. When we had finished our coffee, we headed up to the Schooner Bar for morning trivia. The turnout was pretty good, and the questions were fiendishly difficult. We did OK and came second. After trivia, we briefly went back to the cabin. I picked up my iPad and Graham got his telescope and then we went to the solarium to chill.



    Our next commitment was another round of trivia. This one was visual trivia about flags. There were a couple that eluded us and a couple more we got wrong and other people did better. Still, it was a lot of fun. After trivia, we went up to the Windjammer Cafe for some lunch. I was not inspired by the choices that day. Graham had some salad with cold cuts and I had roast pork, steak fries, some cheesy pasta and a burger. I had a few mini cakes, who satisfied my sweet tooth, but were not very memorable. After lunch, we headed back to the solarium for a while to chill out.





    Graham had spotted that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was due to be shown in the theatre this afternoon. He quite fancied going to see it. I have never rated the original and had no wish on watching the new version. On the flip side, I had nothing else to do so I decided to go with Graham. Well, to may utter surprise I really enjoyed it. Well, at least the 75% of it I managed to watch. The comfortable seat, the gentle rocking of the ship and the darkness made me fall asleep for a bit at some stage. I really need to make the point to watch this in full.

    Once the movie was over, we went back to the Solarium for a bit to relax. About 17:30, we were on the move again. There was a session of bumper cars in the Seaplex at 18:00. Unlike on Quantum last year, there was no charge to ride the bumper cars. Also, unlike Quantum, the line was huge already at this point. We decided to sit down and watch how this was going to develop. More and more people kept on coming. Before the session started, the line was once around the Seaplex. At that stage, I decided to give up. However efficiently they were going to run the session, the waiting time would be huge.

    There was something else that I wanted to do, but that had the potential to draw a long line and that was the Captain’s photo. We went down to deck 5 where we could overlook the Royal Esplanade. It did not look too busy at all. I went up to the cabin to get changed. Graham stayed to people watch. It did not take me long to get changed. I had invested in a new gown for the gala night at a work conference. This was a bit more understated than the other gowns that I have owned over the years, but I absolutely love this. It just makes me feel very special wearing this. Originally, I was not going to take this on this trip, but then I had a change of heart and brought it after all. About a week before we left, I decided that this gown needed to be accessorized with a fascinator and this works really well. I quickly got changed and put some make up on. Then I headed back down to deck 5.

    When I got back to where I had left Graham, he had disappeared. It turned out that he had decided to watch the sunset on the promenade deck. I figured that I would catch up with him again soon enough. I headed forward to go downstairs as the staircase leading straight down to the Royal Esplanade was blocked off. I got as far as the Bionic Bar when I was stopped for the first time. I was addressed in fluent English by a Chinese gentleman saying that he does not wish to cause any offence, but he would really love to have a photo with me. I was somewhat taken aback by this. The issue was not that he wanted a photo with me. This is par of the course in China as I had found last year. What surprised me is that he thought this would cause offence. I told him that this was no problem at all and he had the biggest smile on his face. Of course, Chinese people on the ships tend to travel in extended families and friendship groups and this man was no exception. All over sudden I was surrounded by people and they all wanted photos with me. I will never understand this, but I am more than happy to play along. I am enormously privileged that I am able to travel to so many beautiful and diverse places. If this is the way of giving something back, then so be it. I definitely seemed to have made their day and it took about 5 minutes out of day. Most of the group did not speak English, but they all said "thank you” in English. They were not the only people that left with a big smile on their faces. I did, too. It is those little moments where you connect with people beyond cultural differences, language barriers and anything else that could set you apart that I live and travel for.

    There may have been a bit of a bounce in my step as I carried on to where I had been heading. I had just got down to deck 4 when I stopped again. This time it was because I wanted a photo. The penguins from Madagascar were out for photos. I am not sure how I had missed this fact in the Daily Compass. I am not sure what I found so amusing in the professional photos, but it was an amazing interaction. I was just about to say goodbye to the penguins when the character manager, who was in attendance, asked if I had a camera or phone with me. I told him that I had, and he offered to take some photos. I was more than a little surprised about this as there is normally a strict no own camera rule when the professional photos are in attendance. Indeed, this had been strictly enforced the previous day. Still, I was not going to argue and handed him my mobile. He took some photos and I said goodbye to the penguins. I stopped for some photos on the staircase and then I went over to the Royal Esplanade.










  2. #2
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    It was not immediately obvious where the captain’s photo was going to be. There were plenty of people milling around on the Royal Esplanade, but there was no obvious line. I was offered a glass of sparkling wine on my wanders, which I happily accepted. About halfway down the Royal Esplanade, I got intercepted by a Chinese lady who told me that her husband really would like a photo with me but did not want to cause offence. I told her that this was not the first time that somebody wanted a photo with me. There was an animated discussion in Mandarin, which was followed by the biggest smile on the man’s face. His wife took a photo of him and me and then the rest of the extended party took turns getting a photo with me as well. In the meantime, a little line had formed and there were a few other families as well that wanted their photo taken with me. I almost felt like a celebrity. The whole thing made me think though. Twice within half an hour, it was mentioned to me that people did not want to cause offence by asking for a photo with me. This did not happen on Quantum last year nor did this happen on either of my visits to mainland China. I started to wonder if the Chinese guests had been given a pep talk by either their tour operators or Royal Caribbean or even both. Unfortunately, I have since found out that this is precisely what is happening on ex-China cruises nowadays. This makes me both sad and a little angry. It is a very sad state of affairs if people in their own country get told to modify their cultural behaviour as to not to offend the foreigners that are travelling to their home country rather than expecting the visitors to adapt to their environment.

    I then went off to find the location for the captain’s photo. I did find it tucked away near one of the lounges. There was one family with the captain and another family in front of me, so I only had a very short wait. Once I had my photo, I made the round of the other photo opportunities and then went back to the cabin as I figured sooner or later, Graham would turn up. I was right about this. He came back shortly afterwards. He had watched the sunset on the promenade deck. While I was waiting for him, I completed the landing cards for the Philippines. Most of it had already been filled out for us, which was great.










    Graham got changed and then we headed up to Coastal Kitchen for dinner. Graham started with the Slow Smoked Salmon with pumpernickel, horseradish crème fraÎche and caviar. I had the shrimp wonton soup with noodles, chicken stock and bok choy. For his main course, Graham went with the grilled Sirloin steak with truffle potato purée, asparagus and Bordelaise sauce. I stayed with the Chinese theme and had the Kung Pao chicken with rice. For dessert Graham had the seasonal fruit medley and I had the Baked Alaska. The whole fest was washed down with a bottle of Caliterra, which is rapidly becoming my favourite wine.













    After dinner we made the rounds of the photo opportunities together. During that process we bumped into two photographers that we had met on our Transpacific cruise last year. It was nice seeing them again. Once we had finished our round, we headed back to the cabin. We had been left a towel animal. We checked out the Daily Compass for the next day and then got ready for bed.


















  3. #3
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    Sounds like you had a lovely relaxed sea day.

    I'm with you, the visitor should modify their behaviour to avoid offending the host. If someone doesn't like Chinese culture then maybe they shouldn't travel to China?
    5 Trips to Florida, Christmas in LA, Disneyland Paris twice and odd days here and there.

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    Sounds like a classic sea day, with plenty of good food to go with it! There are some lovely formal photos, too

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    Quote Originally Posted by spencem View Post
    Sounds like you had a lovely relaxed sea day.
    It was just the right mix of relaxation and fun.


    Quote Originally Posted by spencem View Post
    I'm with you, the visitor should modify their behaviour to avoid offending the host. If someone doesn't like Chinese culture then maybe they shouldn't travel to China?
    My sentiment exactly. Neither of us are getting this kind of attitude, but I have encountered this plenty of times. I am still not over people complaining that the ship was full of Chinese on our December cruise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Veness View Post
    Sounds like a classic sea day, with plenty of good food to go with it! There are some lovely formal photos, too

    I had a lot of fun with those photos and they are fantastic memories.

    Corinna





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    I seem to have missed this first time round! That is a beautiful dress DG, I love it and such a gorgeous colour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
    I seem to have missed this first time round! That is a beautiful dress DG, I love it and such a gorgeous colour.
    I really love this dress, too. Royal blue is my favourite colour, but I love this dress so much that I got a red one for our upcoming cruise. I am going for a Christmas theme for that one with lots of red, green and gold.

    Corinna





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    Sounds like a lovely day ... I love that dress too ... and the photos are fab

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    Quote Originally Posted by ELAINE View Post
    Sounds like a lovely day ... I love that dress too ... and the photos are fab
    Thanks. I had a lot of fun with the photos this time.

    Corinna





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    Every time I see you in that colour I think how much it suits you.

    A nice sea day. Simon and I occasionally do trivia on sea days, and I think we'd love to have you as partners. You seem to do well each time!









    Midlife: when the Universe grabs your shoulders and tells you “I’m not messing around, use the gifts you were given.”

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