I made a mistake yesterday. Lunch was provided with our tour at a 5 star hotel and conference center located next to the temple. I drank ½ glass of water before remembering I shouldn't do that. Well, I paid the price during the night for my slow response time. By morning my wisdom dictated that I skip my tour today, 5 hours on a bus would not be a good thing. A smart decision. By late afternoon I am feeling better.
The cruise terminal is in the middle of a heavy industrial port. There are container ships and docks all around for as far as the eye can see. Thousands of containers piled on the docks. Since it is raining fairly steadily, "far" is only a mile at the most. The center of the city is probably 10 miles or about an hour away.
As the day progresses the skies clear of rain, but the smog is ever present. I'm sure it would have been much worse without the rain. By afternoon, the sun is out but temperatures are only in the low 80's, much lower than predicted.
We are visited today by about 700 family members of the crew. I can only imagine how overwhelmed many of them are with the elegance of the ship compared to their surroundings at home. They are extremely friendly, and ask to have their picture taken with many of the passengers. We are happy to oblige them. Some groups appear to be exploring the ship on their own, most are accompanied by a crew member, most likely family.
The captain leads a group of about 15 uniformed officials on a tour of the ship. He poses with many of them for photographs as they depart on the pier several hours later.
Most passengers go ashore, most for a shuttle bus ride to a shopping center an hour away, a much smaller number on an organized tour.
We do not take on any provisions, but the workman from Harding tells me the propellers and shafts for the life boat are scheduled to arrive today. I see a box on the pier that most likely contains the two shafts. Hopefully the propellers have already been loaded aboard, as they are not on the pier.
With our departure scheduled at 6:00 There is a sailaway party with free beer, wine and soft drinks from 5:30 until 7:00. I attend until the ship has cleared the harbor, hoping for some photo ops as we leave. There are none. A quick bite in the Lido and then listen to Debby until 8:00 and then catch the main show. Yes, I am pretty predictable, beverage, dinner, Debby, show, it is my usual evening routine.
Our entertainer tonight is a Flautist, Clare Langan from London. She gives an excellent performance, Debby agrees and says it is one of the best shows she has ever seen on the ship. Playing the flute herself, she is qualified to judge. Strictly by coincidence Debby Bacon, her husband Ron, and I, often wind up seated together at the back of the Queen's Lounge. 95% of the seats are on a flat floor, and we sit at the one area that is raised by about 2 steps, always guaranteeing we have an unobstructed view. The theater is so small, being at the back isn't that far away. I feel they are the best possible seats, I hope none of the other passengers catch on. After 7 weeks I doubt if they will. Normal human behavior will dictate that they seek a seat as close to the stage as possible, even if their view is blocked.
For the next four days we will be at sea headed about 2000 miles North to Hong Kong. Tomorrow we will be crossing the equator for the second and there will be a King Neptune ceremony at 10 AM. With no tour, I intend to sleep late. I may or may not make the ceremony.