March 07, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 62

Day 62 Da Nang, Vietnam. No tour today, no alarm. Another beautiful day. Partly cloudy, low 70's with a nice breeze. I have a bowl of Special K for breakfast and then take the 30 minute shuttle bus from the pier to the center of Da Nang. For $10, including a generous tip, I take a hour and a half pedal cart ride around the central city area. Shops, traffic congestion, some old buildings and some new. More shops filled with nothing I need. Traffic rules here don't exist, everyone just honks their horn and goes where they please. The pedal cart doesn't have a horn so the driver just yells, probably obscenities, at the other drivers. I take numerous pictures including several of the "dragon bridge", a suspension bridge designed and painted to resemble a dragon.

Back at the pier there is all kinds of activity. The coal carrier and scrap iron carrier are gone and the dock is swept by hand and then washed down with a hose. Another portable immigration office is brought into place. Within an hour 5 new ships are tied up. A large container ship. A cable laying ship with about 5 miles of power cable coiled on the deck. A ship that I think is unloading limestone, a ship with another load of scrap iron, another empty bulk carrier next to us ready to take on some unknown cargo, possibly wood chips, and a cruise ship, the "Libra" of Star Cruises which we think is Chinese despite its Nassau registry.

There are at least 15 ships still anchored in the harbor waiting for dock space. Definitely a very busy port.

Yesterday there was a muster drill for all the new passengers, and today there is one for everyone. I believe it is an international rule that there must be a muster drill at least monthly for every passenger and crew member. All passengers are present for my lifeboat, I think a first.

I didn't write about this yesterday because I wasn't certain of the ending. A lunch was included with our tour of Hoi An. As many of you are aware I am allergic to fish and seafood. HAL has a procedure for this. It is noted on the list of passengers given to the tour guide. I personally make a point to tell the tour guide. The tour guide calls and talks to the restaurant where we will be stopping. The tour guide talks to the servers/managers when we arrive. I am pointed out to the staff as the person that can not have fish or seafood.

This was the procedure yesterday, then they start bringing food. They put a bowl of soup in front of me. It smells fishy. I ask, the waitress says yes it is fish, I explain to her again I can't eat it, I would become very ill. I set the bowl aside.

Next an appetizer with raw fish. I guess being raw is supposed to make it OK. Same waitress, same process. I do take some rice, it looks safe, and a few bites of very tough cooked beef.

Then comes the whole fried fish to be shared, again she tries to serve me some. The waitress just doesn't like being told no. The people sitting around me try to come to my aid. They don't speak Vietnamese any better than I do, it doesn't help.

A different waiter comes with a little plate of BBQ pork. He got the message that I couldn't eat fish. It tasted OK, but I was skeptical. We all have a fruit and ice cream desert. I think I can now safely say, much to the displeasure of the waitress, I never did eat any fish. The waitress certainly tried hard and I wasn't convinced I won the contest, until I awoke this morning still alive and healthy.

All aboard is 4:00 PM with a scheduled departure from Da Nang about 4:30. At 4:45 Amy, Pepper, and River are missing, they have been paged to call the front desk. Just before 5:00 I see her running down the pier pushing a stroller with the two kids. A fork lift is poised to remove the gangway. Two staff members quickly carry stroller with kids up the ramp, Amy is right behind. We get under way 10 minutes after they board. I suspect Wayne and Irene won't be happy with their daughter.

The Lido tonight is all decorated in a festive Vietnamese theme. The menu is almost all Vietnamese with many fish and seafood items. I settle for penne pasta with plain sauce.

Tonight's entertainment is a World champion Japanese juggler and magician. Again another excellent show, far above the usual jugglers I see performing on ships.

Tomorrow is a sea day as we continue south towards Phu My, Vietnam, our closest stop to Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as it is still often called. The forecast is for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 80's.

The last few nights I have been able to send and receive email about 10 pm. I think many passengers have just given up trying to use the internet, or just use the it when they can get free service in port. I'll probably keep trying just before bed time until I again find it doesn't work. Getting up in the middle of the night deprives me of my beauty rest, and we all know how much I need that.