Our next port is Benoa in Bali. My room steward will be getting off the ship to have a short visit with his family. HAL has extensive ties to Bali. For many years they have sponsored a training school here for many of the service positions on the ship. The school has mock ups of the many cabin configurations HAL has on its various ships, and much of the different equipment found in the galleys etc. Many present trainees are the third generation from the same family.
Other passengers have also told me that HAL has a financial agreement with the government when Indonesians take employment on a HAL ship. I don't know any details nor can I substantiate if it is true. I do know you will find many Indonesians working on HAL and many other cruise lines.
Many passengers are asking their room stewards not to service their cabins while we are in any of the Indonesian ports so they can have a little extra free time. I also have given my room stewards part of their extra gratuity so they have it for their families.
Tonight is another formal night, or gala night as HAL likes to call them. There are no special decorations. It seems like a contradiction, but on gala nights the menu is very limited compared to other nights. I will go to the dining room and I plan to order half of the surf and turf, maybe 2 halves – yes, just right halves, the halves that won't kill me.
Tonight's show is a production show of the singers and dancers. This is their next to last performance as they are scheduled to leave the ship in Hong Kong. Though they are very professional performers, they do very few shows compared to what is found on most ships. Again another adjustment for a world cruise so as to maximize variety in the entertainment.
The safe in my room is like a bank vault as I have currency for the many different countries I will be visiting. So far my planning has been excellent as I only have $10.50 in Australian money that I didn't spend. The bills I can convert to USD when I return home, but the 50 cent piece may be best used to make a refrigerator magnet.
I have over 1,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah for my next three ports. Before you jump to the conclusion that I must be filthy rich, you should know that is the equivalent of about $75 USD.
Tonight we set our clocks back another hour. 25 hour days sure sound nice, but the biological clock just doesn't change as quickly as one can change the hands of a clock. I have heard of several passengers that are having a very difficult time sleeping during the ships "night" time, and staying awake for dinner. Yes, an afternoon nap just may be in order for today.
Well I never left time for the nap, choosing happy hour instead. I almost couldn't control myself, but the laughter was worth forgoing the nap.
In Sydney we took on quite a few new passengers. This has provided the usual entertainment of lost people such as the couple looking at the piano, and saying I wonder where the piano bar is? It must be downstairs. Etc.
Fortunately I don't know his name, so I'll just refer to him as JA. He joined the ship in Sydney. JA sits next to me in the crow's nest and orders a double Happy Hour drink. He starts bragging to Ron on the other side of him about how he just got on the ship and is going all the way to Hong Kong and then getting on another ship to go home to the US. He doesn't realize Ron has done multiple world cruises plus others. Ron is not impressed, remains a gentleman, and says nothing.
JA then carries on about how he smuggled two bottles of vodka onto the ship by refilling water bottles but leaving no air space so there would be no bubbles if shaken. He didn't say how much he paid, but the same two bottles on the ship would cost him $21. A few minutes later I happened to turn towards him and he is pouring something into his drink under the edge of the bar. I just looked, I may have even glared. JA noticed me and offered the explanation that he was adding more vodka to the drink he just bought at the bar. How cheap can one be. This is behavior I would expect of a college student. I decided it was in my best interest just to move so I didn't say something I shouldn't. Besides he was about 6'- 6'' even if he did look to be 60+.
I pick up my drink and go talk to Brian and his wife. Ron leaves at the same time for dinner. Five minutes later I watch JA take a dining room napkin out of his pocket and unfold it on the bar. He walks along the bar picking up any remaining glasses of mixed nuts and dumps them on the napkin. He folds it up, puts it in his pocket and leaves. He is fast, he has had practice with this before. Jeremy and Oliver, the bartenders, don't notice. I'm flabbergasted at the behavior of this old man in a tuxedo.
Tomorrow is another day at sea, who knows what entertainment awaits me.