February 23, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 49

Day 49 Benoa Harbor, Denparsar, Bali, Indonesia. As we head into the harbor it is raining, by the time we dock the sun is out, the skies are partly cloudy and the temperatures are only in the upper 80's. Some of the crew are getting off the ship to visit family, many other crew members have family coming to visit on the ship.

My 8 ½ hour tour first takes us to Bali Safari Park. A very well done drive thru animal park with all the usual creatures, hippos, elephants, tigers, buffalo, snakes, etc. Our first stop is for a bird show. The seating is mostly in the sun, and the heat is brutal I would guess the temperatures to be in the upper 90's and the humidity at a similar number, with no breeze. We then walk quite a distance to the Sapo Lion Restaurant for lunch. As the name implies, it is adjacent to the lion area, and they put their noses up to the windows. I suspect they see lunch. Service was quite slow despite the fact there were only 4 other customers in addition to our group of 25 in a restaurant that could easily seat 250.

Finally we board the air conditioned vehicle for the 45 minute tour of the animal areas. Definitely the bast part of the park.

After the animal park we travel to a wood carving studio. The work is beautiful and ranges from small carvings to some that are 15 feet tall. The carving detail and quality is unequaled by any I have seen previously.

This stop is followed by a stop at an art painting studio. They work in both water colors and acrylic. Once they have a design, they make may copies of the same image. I didn't see anything that impressed me, but I'm not an art lover either.

Our final stop is at a Batik factory and store. The cloth is very colorful, but again I have no use for it. Quite a few ladies took this tour specifically to buy Batik, and they did.

The architecture in Bali is very ornate, a reflection of their strong religious heritage. There are temples everywhere. Of course housing is very primitive by US standards, but the people appear very happy. Our guide tells us that the average wage in Indonesia is the equivalent of $400 USD per month. Any place that there is a few feet of open space is planted in either rice or corn. They grow two rice crops and then one corn crop on each plot each year.

Probably 75% of the vehicles are scooters, sometimes with 4 passengers piled on. I don't know how I manage this, but our bus was stopped by the police in a roadblock where they were checking every vehicle. The stop only took a minute or two, and we were on our way.

We arrived back at the ship about ½ hour after all aboard time, but we didn't hold up our departure time. The ship was unable to leave for several hours because the water was too shallow in the harbor and we needed to wait for the tide to come in.

After a quick shower I go to the Crow's Nest. Many passengers have seen Jack A. in action. Tonight he must have forgotten to pick up a napkin from the dining room, he picked up the peanuts and dumped them in his shirt pocket.

Quite a few passengers are less tolerant of his behavior than I am, and feel someone from the ship management should talk to him. Most of us know that will never happen. Thankfully he leaves the ship in Hong Kong.

Please don't think the passengers I write about most frequently are representative passengers. In reality they are a very small percentage, the majority of the passengers are delightful and very nice.

I spoke with Dan briefly before heading for dinner. Dan has been on 14 full or partial World Cruises. This year when the families of the crew were visiting he did the same as he has in years past, passed out candy to all the kids as they toured the ship. Another neat idea.

Totally unrelated. A detail I learned in Australia, that despite being a very democratic idea, would never be permitted by our politicians in the US. In Australia voting is mandatory, and each time you do not vote you pay an escalating fine to the government.

We turn our clocks back another hour tonight, and are now 12 hours ahead of US Eastern time.

Tomorrow is a sea day as we continue West towards Semarang, Java, Indonesia.