March 17, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 72

Day 72 - Phuket, Thailand. We arrive in port earlier than expected. I think the captain was allowing extra time for having to back into the harbor, a maneuver that did not take as long as expected. But if it were windy, or foggy which many mornings it is, it would have been a different story.

The forecast for today is partly cloudy with highs in the 90's. My 5 hour "Panoramic Phuket" tour on an air conditioned bus would have been excellent if the air conditioner worked. I don't know how hot it was in the bus, but with no windows that would open, it was definitely much cooler outside.

A surprise stop that wasn't listed in the brochure was a stop at a Cashew factory. No, I know cashews aren't manufactured, but the harvesting, packaging and sales area is called a factory none the less. They had cashews in about 25 different flavors from chocolate to chili to butter and salt. Being my favorite snack food that I have been deprived of for over two months I just had to buy a few bags at approximately double what they would cost in the US.

Thailand is much cleaner than Cambodia or Vietnam. Phuket has many resort hotels, and numerous smaller rental units. There are several very large nice white sand beaches which were very busy. Phuket, the only island we visited, is almost 100% dependent on tourism. Natural rubber is still harvested, but the market has been almost entirely displaced with synthetic rubber products.

Pineapple, bananas and a number of other tropical fruits are also grown. Interestingly coconuts, are harvested by trained monkeys which are capable of harvesting 1000 per day, many more than a person can, because they go from one tree top to another and don't need to climb up and down each tree.

I gambled and took my old camera today, it worked just fine. Now I have a spare. But please realize that if I hadn't purchased a new one I wouldn't have been able to repair the old one. Murphy controls things like that.

Last night we were again given information on the Zika virus which has spread to this part of the world. Fortunately I haven't heard or felt a mosquito yet on the entire trip despite a considerable amount of time in the tropics. Actually there are very few passengers of child bearing age on the cruise, a larger number exists within the ranks of the crew, staff and entertainers.

Wayne had shared with me a month ago that a lot of passengers really don't like the fact that his two grandchildren are on the ship. It is not that the children are doing anything wrong or disruptive, it is just that they don't like any children on the ship. On the bus this morning I heard first hand a number of passengers venting about how terrible it is that HAL allows children on this cruise. I suppose none of those vocal people were ever children themselves, and maybe if their parents had exposed them to a little more as children they would know how to behave now that they are retired. Of course that would deprive me of much material to write about.

We are scheduled to set sail about 6:00 with a sailaway party from 5:30 to 6:30. This is St. Patrick's day so the bars and lounges are all decorated in green, and corned beef is on the dinner menu. In addition to the normal entertainment, tonight there is a "pub crawl". I don't participate but do go to the crow's nest and have a sprite zero after the 8:15 show. There is hardly anyone I know there. When the "crawl" arrives I understand why. I know just about everyone in the pub crawl. I'm not quite sure what conclusions should be drawn from that.

Tonight we set our clocks back one hour. The next two days are sea days as we head towards Sri Lanka.