2023 – Grand World – Part 1.4 Polynesia

Monday, January 23 to January 29

On Monday, January 23, we were docked in Uturoa, Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia.  The Internet is good on Port days, so that’s when I make any phone calls I have to make, using WiFi Calling.  I also book things, like the van for the ride back, lunch at the Occidental Bar in Auckland, where they have the best green tipped mussels, and Dim Sum for a lot of people at Zilver, in Sydney.  Then I put the finishing touches on my pre-Cocktail Party Newsletter, which I planned to deliver on the 24th.

Around mid-day I went out for a walk around the town of Uturoa.  It’s a neat little place.  I walked as far as this pretty little roundabout, which shows off the geography nicely. 

Then I walked back along the main street, browsing shops along the way, finding nothing at all to buy.  But I was never so glad I had gone out as when I came upon this Lion Dance, ushering in the year of the Rabbit and calling down prosperity on, wouldn’t you know it, a bank.  They were suiting up in the street when I came upon them and I followed them right into the bank. 

How good was that?  It was a lot better than the ship’s entertainment that night.  That was the Biddys a good concept but the jokes were old and the rewritten songs, just silly.  The Lame Old Ladies, Lynann, Dee and I, could have done a sight better. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia 

I didn’t need to go out again, although Linda Starr later informed me I had missed some good, cheap snorkeling.  A local boat was taking people out for $25 each.  They went to a little atoll, with a reef, and the fishies were very, very pretty.  It only took a couple of hours, total, and is a one-of-a-kind experience.  I felt rather a dunce.  I did get my newsletter out, though, and more nice deck time, both lounging and walking.

There was a lovely sail away.  I introduced two of my Hawaii people, Bob Todd and Beryl Mitton, to each other.  Then I enjoyed a good dinner and a good entertainer.  He was Stephen Barry, and he’s headed for Broadway in March.  He’ll be in “The Bridges of Madison County”, doubtless with a lot less grandstanding. His voice is excellent and he’s easy on the eyes.  Watch for him. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Bobi Salzman’s electric wheelchair is still giving a lot of trouble.  It won’t hold its charge for more than a half hour or so.  She has a new power supply and the whole joy stick apparatus on order, as well as a power supply for her oxygen, to be delivered to the ship in Auckland.  She’s being awfully good about it, but it’s not fun. 

My office hour was pretty busy, with signups and opera traffic, still.  Now they are starting to pay for the ride home that I have arranged.  I wish I had got a picture of Henk striding through the Atrium with a broom in his hand, announcing “new Broom, Sweeps Clean”. 

At five o’clock we had our second Cocktail Party, supposedly to welcome guests who boarded in Papeete.  I didn’t have any but was happy to host another free cocktail party.  Some people are just discovering that the wine is free at these things.  I’ll have to mention that in a newsletter and see if attendance goes up. 

There were about six tables, all on a raised section and poor Bobi couldn’t eat with us after all.  I’ll try to have that fixed for the next time.  On the Amsterdam, there was a ramp up to the raised part, but this is a different ship.  The Chinese people were at my first table, and so were Tracy, with her bit of Mandarin and Mario, who had been communicating with them by translating machine.  It was so good to see them smiling and becoming part of the group.

I figured out a new fun trick. I table hop and let the servers choose which will be my main course and dessert tables, when I order from the first place I sit down.  Then I order a bottle of wine from my package and have it delivered to the table they are planning to serve me dinner at.  It’s half gone by the time I get there and it’s a very happy table. 

Since dinner was earlier than usual for me, because of the cocktail party, I killed some time in the Rolling Stone Lounge, where I was joined by Peggy, Vicki and Doris.  We had a wonderful time.  I was even dancing.  At 9:30 pm, I joined my table mates at the main show and it was excellent, Saxophonist, Barry Seacroft, from New Zealand. 

Back at sea on January 26, I dealt with some business by email and some more at my office hour.  Cher is interested in a DV that goes to Alaska.  I told her there were plenty of them I could help her find and started by referring her to the one I am hosting this summer.  I worked over the pictures I took last night and had tea with Bobi again.  This time I didn’t run off to deliver newsletters, but I did make a couple of laps around the Promenade deck to work off the scones and all.  At 6 o’clock, I went poolside in my fascinator for the Derby Party.  It wasn’t much, and at 6:30, I was due in the Crow’s Nest anyway, for Happy Hour

On Friday, January 27, we were still at sea at Sea.  My nailpolish started to go last night, so I called as soon as the Spa opened at 8:00 am and got an appointment for 9:00 am.  Now my fingernails are as red as my toenails.  I wasn’t happy with the creamy color I had chosen a couple of weeks ago, anyway. 

As usual, I found too many small things to do with my day and didn’t have time to write.  After dinner, I decided to skip the Biddies and had a delightful night in the Piano Bar.  Lots of my people were there.

Saturday, January 28, 2023, was a lost day crossing the dateline. For us, there was no Saturday.  That caused a little problem in the Hudson Room on Friday night when the Rabbi’s Shabbat services, held on Friday night, collided with the Priest’s Saturday evening mass, held the eve of Sunday.  They did manage to sort it out.  They are the friendliest of competitors, probably even friendlier than the hosts on board.  And we are very friendly.

Sunday, January 29, was a sea day, so an office hour.  One of my people got me going when she found something booked in the Explorer’s Lounge at the time of Sandra Hobson’s talk on hearing.  I investigated and all was well. Sandra’s talk went very well.  There were 15 people in attendance and any comments I got later were very positive.  I learned we start developing speech and language in the womb and about the challenges deaf people face growing up, the biggest of which is figuring how not to look stupid when you can’t hear.  I also learned why they now sell you a pair of hearing aids, when it used to be just one.  We hear differently with each ear.  The left ear is dominant for pitch and music, while the right ear performs better with speech and grammar.  We want her back to get into the nitty gritty of what, and what not, to pay for when buying a hearing aid. 

For Happy Hour, I had finally organized for Bob Michie and Dee Wescott to meet face-to-face.  I am sure it was disappointing for him, when she told him she wasn’t organizing any diving this trip and doubted that her friend, who was doing it, would welcome another person.  By coincidence, a couple who had lived 15 years in Waikoloa, HI, where the Wescotts live now. Mario and Becky and Sandra and Dan were there, too.  A good happy hour. 

There was a production show after dinner and it was good, too.