2023 – 2 – Grand World 2.3 of 5 Farewell to Australia

On Monday, February 20, we were still at sea, going around the land down under.  I produced a talk in my Distinctive Speakers Series, and it went well and I got a Newsletter out quickly about the RPYC Nepalese Dinner available, tomorrow. The talk, on being a Navy Diver, went very well.  The man is a very entertaining speaker. 

The next day we docked in Freemantle, port for Perth. With just a day’s notice, I only had two couples take me up on the New Members’ Dinner at the Royal Perth Yacht Club, and both would be making it there on their own.  I decided to conserve energy (mine) by going out after noon, shopping a bit in Perth and taking a taxi from downtown Perth, which would be closer.  It was a long walk to the train Station from the ship, but the train was clean and pleasant to ride.  It dropped us off in the center of town, where there was a post office and an information Kiosk.  I got a map and found out where David Jones was.  I also got directions as to where to find “tea” after I had shopped.  The shopping was disappointing, as it is most places in the world, now.   I find nice outfits but they are usually made of heavy synthetics. I sweat in synthetics, and I like to travel light.  I’ll be wearing my old silk clothes until I die in them, at this rate.  Even when  am ready to spend money, I don’t seem to be able to.  The downtown core has been turned into a bunch of walking streets so it is like a big outdoor mall.  I found the recommended place for tea (the experience) and it wasn’t really, but they did have tea (the beverage) and a millefeuille, so I made do with that.  Then I walked around some more, had a gelato, and decided to go to the yacht club early.

When I got there, the new members ceremony was about to start.  I spent some time chatting with Kelley, the Club’s Marketing Manager and Janet, the vice Commodore.  Gillian, the membership person promised to look out for my people as they came in.  Then I noticed Becky and Mario, and excused myself to join them.  At that point the speeches began.  We got a short history of the club, the flag officers and the new members.  We also learned about a few of their traditions.  For example, they race dressed all in white.  In 2023.  Just imagine. They also have a nice tradition of ringing the bell to buy a round for the house.  You have to do it when you have done something wrong, like show up for a race in red, or something good, like winning an important one.  The vice-commodore rang it to welcome the new members, so we all got a free drink.  All but Tracy and Tom, who were still downstairs, too shy to come up while all this was going on.  We met up just after and in time for Kelley to give us a special tour of the Alan Bond America’s Cup room.  You can guess what’s in there and you’d be right:  a board room table and chairs, and a lot of photos and memorabilia af the 1983 America’s Cup that this club won from the USA after 132 years.  In a glass case, facing you as you enter the door, is the replica cup that the NYC gave to RPYC, when they won.  The real thing moves around every time it is won by a different club, of course.  They keep the room locked at all times, unless there’s a meeting going on.  They found it like this, when they came back from Alan Bond’s funeral.  Kelley was the one who opened the door.…..

We broke the contemplative mood by going downstairs to dinner, which was scrumptious.  The Nepalese food was a nice change for us.  They sat us at a table for 10 with a flag officer and four members.  We made a couple of new friends and I will certainly be getting the RStLYC to be writing RPYC for reciprocity.  None of our members should ever have to miss this place if they are in the vicinity.  OK, so it’s half way around the world, but…we travel.

Still in Freemantle, the next day, I went ashore in Freemantle.   First I had some DV business to attend to and I had a thank you note to write to the Royal Perth Yacht Club.  It included this:

PS for my Zuiderdam friends reading this, I found the trailer to Untold – The New Documentary about the America’s Cup that Kelley recommended.  It’s coming to Netflix and we’ll be watching when we get home.  New Documentary About Historic 1983 America’s Cup To Debut On Netflix (forbes.com)

I went out well after noon.  It was a long walk to anywhere from the ship here.  I took the free shuttle bus into Freemantle.  From the drop off point, I walked around, browsing the stores and sizing up where I would break my fast, come 4:00 pm.  I found a semi-upscale noodle shop, two doors down from a gelato place.  Those would do nicely.  Then I got on the free bus that circles the town, dropping locals off at the beach or the train station, and providing a scenic ride for the tourists, with a couple of good museum stops.  Things that are free have their own cost, mind you.  I noticed that the driver was in a secure looking cage, and that should have bothered me, but it didn’t, until a very dicey looking character got on at the beach.  We had had one of these guys on the train in Adelaide, too.  Substances obviously played a part in his behavior, and my fellow passengers and I gave him a wide berth.  He got off at the next stop, giving the bus a good hard bang with his bag, as he did so.  The bus driver went a half a mile down the road, stopped the bus, came out of her cage and checked us all.  We were fine. 

At the stop for the train station, she told us that was the end for this bus and we should get out and take the next one.  I met up with Tracy Li, who had been to Perth and was now having a look at Freemanle.  As we rode into town, I told her about the noodle shop and asked her if she fancied joining me for yum cha.  She did, but wanted to take the bus around its route first. That was only twenty minutes so I agreed.  I had already forgotten about the local color.  Of course he re-boarded, where the last bus had let him off and made us all nervous again, this time for a lot more stops.  Really ruins the sightseeing, that.  He got off before we did, but this time, we did get off at the yum cha stop and went in and had it.  It was mediocre dim sum, but the décor was nice and it was still satisfying.  The ice cream cone at the gelato place was even more so. 

Sailaway was nice and I gave the entertainment a by.  It was the movie Armageddon Time, which I figured would be way too dark.

Back at sea on Thursday, February 23, It was about time I got serious about what I was going to do in Africa, so I got hold of Nona, who had just taken the Grand Africa in October and I picked her brain for the second time, parsed it as best I could and booked some ship’s tours.  I went walkabout looking for a room for the next Distinctive Speaker and came up with the Hudson Room, after Bridge.  There’s another room, The Stuyvesant Rom, which would have been perfect and even has a permanent screen, but the Friends of Bill W. have it every day at four o’clock, leaving no room for the Friends of Helen M.  We’ll go with the Hudson.

Then I did some research on restaurants in Cape Town to make use of the overnight there.  I found a good few and decided to narrow them down to ones with an African Experience or great food in a beautiful old building.  Speaking of dinner, we had a wonderful young guest, Leah Dann. She’s the current lecturer on bard and, by all reports, she’s excellent. She’s a PhD Candidate studying marsupials, so it’s no wonder we found her in Australia. She has put the more mature lecturers to shame. The show was interesting.  Our dance band took to the World Stage, with Jazzed-Up Beatles music.  Who doesn’t like that?

At sea again on Friday, I was still researching restaurants, when Barbara, the Virtuoso host, stopped by.  She and her husband had lived in Cairo for a good few years and they would take short vacations in Cape Town the way Elvon and I used to go to Bangkok or Singapore.  She knew the territory and helped me narrow our choices down.  She really vouched for GOLD, the African Experience, with the drumming and dancing and native African foods.  It was sold out on the Internet, so I crafted this sad little email:

Subject: At Sea and Hoping against hope

I am traveling around the world on the ms Zuiderdam, which will overnight in Cape Town on March 14. It would bea particular delight to be able to dine, with a few of my ship mates, at your Restaurant. We would be ordering the full Monte, with the drumming to start. I see you are sold out to Internet orders, but my experience at home (Montreal,now, and Napa for 25 years) is that you have a little wiggle room for particularly worthy guests. I can definitely get mine to dress up and behave. They are world cruisers, after all.

Please let me know how many of us you could possibly accommodate. I would need a minimum of four and could probably fill 8 seats easily. I will be meeting the group for dinner tomorrow night and would like to present then.

Thank you for your help.

Purrs, Helen

I also wrote to The Mount Nelson, Azure in The 12 Apostles Hotel and Ellerton House.  Our overnight, March 14, is a Tuesday, which a bad night to be dining out, but I had to try.  That’s the night we have.

I ate at the table and went to the show.  It was Trevor Knight, an Aussie, who had spent time in the USA in the 60s and performed with the Kingston Trio, John Denver, etc.  He was born in 1948, so one of us.  I thoroughly enjoyed him, right down to Puff, the Magic Dragon.  I can’t remember now if it was in this show or the next that he actually recited “The Cremation of Sam McGee” and all us Canadians recited along with him, as much as we remembered.  Quirky, and fun.  He’s a Horse Whisperer, too, and gave a few lectures on horses.

Saturday, February 25, was another day at sea, with a lot to do and a fun answer from GOLD, the African experience:

Dear Helen,

We would hate for you to feel lost at sea and a little hope goes a long way.

Please see what we can offer :

18h30 OPTIONAL interactive djembe drumming experience followed by a soothing hand washing ceremony R120pp

19h00 our Set African Feast (set menu attached) served at your table in sharing and individual portions, together with live entertainment R455pp + 10% service charge

We have made a provisional booking for you at 18:30 on the 14th of March 2023 for 8 of you, dressed and ready to behave as we do in Africa – with some rhythm and laughs.

Please let us know if there are any dietaries we need to be aware off. We look forward to welcome you and the crew soon –bring your land legs.

Kind regards

Lita Brits

PA to the Managing Director

So I started working on a newsletter, as this was very good value to us. 

Dinner in the Canaletto was a lot of fun.  Twenty-one people came, including the Sanders.  Instead of sitting at one of the tables for 8, I sat with them and Addy Adler, who had wanted a picture with me badly at the last party.  She got it this time:

And we made out in time for the Production Show: Classique, which was a repeat but better than the first one.  The cast is coming together nicely and we are getting to know them.  They are great kids.

Sunday, February 26 was another busy sea day. Dinner was fine and the comedian, Martin Ralph, was pretty good.