I took a quick look at the details of my next assignment, in Singapore.  It’s Celebrity Silhouette, August 6, 14-Night British Isles Cruise and it isn’t London to London, as I had hoped.  It’s Amsterdam to Amsterdam.  So, if we want to see plays in London, we’ll have to take a plane or train over there, on the way in or out.  That’s not so hard.  Who wants to come with us?  Do not post on the blog to sign up.  Email me directly.

We pick up our story on February 16, in Cairns, Australia.  Nicola, the IT Manager, loved the idea of the 20GB-1TB machine, and so did I, but I am not buying a machine out here in the world, where the power supply is different and the warranty might not take.  Amazon is selling that one for an OEM that takes the biggest machine ASUS makes and soups it up.  It will probably be my next computer but I want to buy it in the States, even if I have to have it delivered to the ship, unless I really cannot help it.

So after breakfast and gym with Elvon, I set out with my computer and power supply.  The helpful lady at the dock told me to take a taxi to Cairns Centre Mall and the J.B. WiFi store.  The taxi rank was empty, but Stan and Marilyn were just pulling up in a cab.  They saw me and had him stop right at my feet.  I thanked them and hopped in.  The next thing I saw was Jan Yetke and another gal, calling a taxi.  They had been commissioned by the ship to buy wool for the Linus project.  I took them on and they kept the taxi, after it dropped me at the mall, and I paid them half what it would have cost me.

J.B. WiFi sold every brand of computer you have ever seen and a few you have not.  I found Scott, a funny, fat, bearded techie, around fifty.  He was great.  He couldn’t test my power supply, but he broke open one of the universal ones and hit the right tip on his first guess.  It’s positively ludicrous how many there are.  The world standards committee, whoever they are these days, needs to deal with this, but, in the meantime, I had Scott.  For a hundred Aussie dollars, I have a nasty, heavy, power supply, with a pound of plug on the end, an enormous plug adaptor, that’s also a USB charger, and 11 spare tips that likely do not fit anything I will ever own.  Never mind, it supplies power to the computer and seems to be solid as a rock.  He also told me not to waste my time with the WiFi in this mall because it sucked.  I should go to Orchard Plaza, just like Marsha recommended.  It’s closer to the ship, too.

My computer hopped on to the Internet and did its business, plenty of it.  I had Wells’ computer with me, too, because I wanted the AOL Desktop for it, just in case.  Here’s where it got spooky.  The Internet told Wells’ computer it had already used up its two hours and could come back tomorrow.  Sure enough, Wells had been in that mall, but with a different computer.  How did it know that this was his, too?  It has to be Microsoft…I just kept working on the backlog on my own computer, which was running fine.  When I thought to look at the time, I had less than twenty minutes before all aboard.  I packed up the two computers and Elvon’s Kindle and hoofed it back to the ship on the double, making it with five minutes to spare.

It was a nice sailaway, with Alan and Lynn, Dan, Bobbie, Michael and Wells, who was waiting for Dee, whose dive tour was late coming back.  That’s where I found out Wells had been on the web in Orchard Plaza.  When Dee arrived, we also found out that Donna Kasprick had made her 100th dive, with Dee as her dive partner.  There’s none finer.  Dee has over 2500 dives and takes fabulous underwater pictures.  The event has been recorded for posterity.160201-028 GBR Spine Cheek Anemone Fish B1

The entertainment was Dale Kristien, the West End’s long running star of Phantom.  She was wonderful.

The next day, when we were cruising the Great Barrier Reef, Donna stopped by my desk with Dee’s picture of her on her hundredth dive.  She had already told her son, who was sad not to have been her dive partner for it.  Dee texted him a beautifully worded message that covered the situation and then some, classy gal, our Dee.  Connie and Jim came to pick up their power supply and I was pleased to report that they could now keep it, I had a better fit, and I now owned it.

Lynn & Alan stopped by to book a Pinnacle Dinner and have a chat as did Marcia.  We were all interested in what Blanc de Blanc at the Sydney Opera House was, and Marcia had been.  It turned out it was all singing, all dancing, tassels, contortions,  acrobatics, nudity, the ultimate in adult entertainment.  The Sydney Opera House?

Marsha Rankin came to say that Jake, the Fitness Instructor, was killing her, but she had lost twenty-one pounds and her back hurt a lot less.  You don’t see her with her walker much, anymore.  Wells and Dee Westcott celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary in the back room in The Pinnacle and we were honored to have been invited.  It was a lovely party.

We were still Cruising the Great Barrier Reef on February 18.  I had some time to work, but I also had a presentation to prepare.  It was just Kathy and Mike at the table with us, which was nice for a change.  The entertainment was Greg Andrew doing a tribute to Elton John.  We’ll give that one a miss next time.

At sea on February 19, I solved a bunch of problems at the desk, one of which involved Bali.  Made Seneng, a former HAL dining room steward, runs a little business out of Denpasar.  His drivers are all friends, mostly ex-HAL employees, and they speak good English.  I emailed madeseneng_a@yahoo.com  for two cars, one for us and one for the Cohen party.  Dee Westcott had already got her own.

The Old Time Radio Show was fun.  There were eight of us.  Some did not hear well, and missed a lot of the jokes, but it was still a fun, raucous, evening, and the food was very good.  We got out in time to catch a second helping of Patrick Murray and Matilda, too.  I love that dummy!

February 20, we were docked in Darwin, Australia.  Elvon and I had breakfast in the Lido, worked out in the gym, and I tried to use the onboard Internet to avoid taking the computer off again.  It was ridiculously slow, even in port, so I logged out and loaded the thing into my backpack.  The Darwin Hilton provided good WiFi in its bar, another day in a nice city, sacrificed to the call of duty.  Doc Gisella Schlosser and her SOB (spouse on board), Chas Stutz, had been out on their bikes in a bag.  I met them in the terminal.  They were coming to our table tonight and, since it was Saturday, I invited them to happy hour in the Crow’s nest, too.  It was a good one, Dan Samaniego came, as did the Laurins, Healings and Westcotts.  Everyone enjoyed the Doc and Chas.  The entertainment was a movie, which we gave a miss, so I could get up early and work on my Hong Kong presentation.

So, the next day, I got up an hour early and finalized the slides and handout for Hong Kong. Gail Janney was at my desk when I opened.  She was upset and announced she was getting off at the next port.  She has glaucoma in her right eye, and something happened when the photographer’s flash went off back in Panama.  It has been steadily getting worse since then, to the point where she is all but blind in the eye and very, very concerned.  She came for advice on how to arrange her travel.  I told her she would have to get our Doc on board to write a letter explaining why it was necessary to fly back and/or to put the doc in contact with her insurance company.  If she ever wants to see a dime of their money for travel costs, they have to know before the travel is started.  They would probably help her book it, too.  It would also be good to have a professional opinion on whether flying would be okay or whether it might cause further damage.  She decided to wait a day or two, as we are at sea, and try to get an opinion.  I offered to put an appeal out in the newsletter I was writing today, and I did.

I finished the newsletter, delivered it, and retired to the promenade deck with Elvon and a bunch of Hong Kong brochures.  My talk is tomorrow.  We did go to the show at ten, though, it was another production number, and we like those a lot.

Since I was speaking at 4:00 pm, I went over my talk in the cabin before going to my desk.  It’s a good thing I did, because it was a very busy desk.  It usually is when I have just published a newsletter.

Thirty-two people came to my talk on Hong Kong and walked away with maps and handouts.  The HKTB stuff was two years old, because the shipment I had expected in Sydney never arrived.  I had put a tracer on it and am pretty sure it was Carnival’s fault, but that was no help.  I also re-ordered and expect fresh supplies from them in Indonesia.

Paul Adams, a comedian, was the show, and he was very, very funny.  It looks like he is making it up as he goes along, so his comedy is ever fresh.