Thursday, 2 January 2020

January 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 2020 from Cochin to Seychelles

January 1, 2020

It’s 12:45 (my body clock says 14:15) and I’ve recovered quite nicely from Azamara’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza beginning with a fabulous meal shared with Gloria (New York City) and Brian (London, UK) whom Terryl had been speaking with earlier and happened to have our third martini with at the Discovery Bar. The four of us were dining late by appointment and Terryl suggested we ask for a table for four. They agreed enthusiastically. Gloria declined the first table offered and accepted the next and settled in overlooking the passing ocean below. Again, the food was sublime and our conversation was agreeable. Gloria and Terryl were non stop and joined Bryan and myself on a few occasions to quickly return to their topic of choice. Tonight was the second time Trump (Donald J) entered any conversation on the entire trip. Brian knew his current British events, Canadian and much of the USA’s as well. He likes Boris Johnson and would have voted Trump if he’d been a USA voter. Brian articulated interesting points of view on these and other democratic leaders from several additional countries. We were the last group to leave the dining room at 23:30 to go to the Pool Deck where the music, dancing, fireworks, and sail-away from Cochin had begun. It was a party that many passengers and crew enjoyed without question. It was ‘hoppin’ up there! And again Terryl and I were the last to leave at 02:00 January 1, 2020. For me an incredible end to another very fine year I’ve been blessed to have lived.
The New Year Brunch began at 09:30 with the centre of the dining room filled with foods from around the world: crab legs and claws, fruits of many kinds sliced before your eyes, cheeses, eggs prepared any way you wish, lamb chops, pickled herring and much more, all served with as many Mimosa’s and Specialty Coffees one could possibly ask for.

I’m writing this in the Drawing Room where it’s quiet, and soon the Gym will beckon because I need it badly. I had promised myself to faithfully work out everyday, and as of now, I’m running at five days out of the fourteen we’ve been on board the Azamara Quest which is four days more than Terryl; but then she really is in much better shape and condition than me. 
Ten minutes on the bike at level 6, three sets of squats against a flat wall, three sets of arm-chest pushes and shoulder lifts with hand weights slightly heavier than last time and I was out in The Living Room enjoying an iced Sparkling Water (no beer today until much later) after a fast 40 minutes in the Gym completing workout #6.
Azamara has a cruise/golf package about once a month on at least one of their three ships whereby they coordinate their cruise with a Golf Specialty company for a package deal consisting of five or six golf games with all the arrangements made at each of the different golf courses included in the itinerary. There is one on this ship starting the day we dock in Cape Town. The price at this time is discounted significantly for the 11 day cruise from Cape Town and back at five fabulous South African courses. Gary Player and Ernie Els are behind at least two of them. I thought about it, and then said no because we had sight seeing planned for the seven days we are in Cape Town. Maybe another time.

January 2, 2020

The highlight last night was in the theatre where Tom Seals played Boogie, the Blues and forty-fives minutes of fantastic piano and songs entertaining a packed house. Tom dresses plainly to say a lot about his presence, however he has a kind of Elton John appearance without the feathers, hats and wild eyeglasses. And when asked about it post show he said, “Many have said that I should introduce something along those lines.” I bought his CD and will have it in the car when we are home. He’s a great entertainer that should be heard by any that like his brand of music. At the end of his performance he ripped into The Flight of the Bumblebee with his right hand and Boogied with his left - a fascinating sound that requires plenty of talent and practice I’m sure.
Yesterday was also a slow day for us, and a great deal slower for many passengers who partied hardy the night before last.

We continue on 210 degrees south west for the second day (it’s four days from Cochin, India to Seychelles) under pleasant warm conditions. For breakfast this morning Terryl suggested we might take a table in the sun, when Sundeep one of our favourites said don’t do it and added that we might be okay for a few minutes but in the sun it was to hot to enjoy our meal. Sundeep is quite young and comes from India, Terryl hugs him and I give him the closed fist hand shake recommended by Azamara to avoid passing on little buggies (of the bacterial type between passengers). He will be tipped (and so will Ihor) even though tipping is included in all of Azamara’s cruises as a matter of policy: one of the many attributes that attracts us to this cruise line.

January 3, 2019

Yesterday at 14:00 Chuck Richardson’s lecture The Intriguing Indian Ocean was all about those Tectonic Plates on the move over the life of this planet’s billions of years. This movement changes everything - albeit slowly - and it continues under our current Climate Change issues today. Among other things the warm waters of the Indian Ocean are moving into the Atlantic Ocean and the fish will go with it. I suppose this occurrence is not commonly spoken of, nor are the shifting plates causing Earthquakes and Tsunamis a hot topic. We are caught up on our Carbon Footprint and Plastic containers that will take 200 years to disintegrate, and the melting ice that will begin to eat away at our shorelines causing millions of citizens of many countries to move inland where the oceans have not gone….yet. In my view, Scientists and even Mark Carney the former Auditor General of Canada, and soon to be former money guru of United Kingdom are right: we had better do what we are capable of doing to protect our citizens and the planet, and to do it now. But will the politicians yield to their growing scientific knowledge and guide the world’s people at this time as the Tectonic Plates move a couple of inches and Earth’s inevitable change?

Today we continue to sail toward Seychelles under wispy clouds, blue sky and blazing sun at a temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Terryl will spend her Spa winnings on a nail fill at 14:00 and I will read and stay in the shade.
Terryl has made friends with Captain Filip’s wife and six year old daughter and we will soon have dinner with Nicola and Marianna while Filip drives the ship, makes the announcements, and generally is everywhere doing the job that he is very good at. Captain Filip also picked two of my photos for first prize in the Funny and Christmas categories. In acceptance, I did not mention the grand prize winning category on our Antarctic cruise in January 2019. I owe much to the Apple iPhone and the crew at Apple Store in Sherway who hooked me on photography and the digital process.

January 4, 2020

On cruise vacations one meets people; some you take to right away, and some you don’t right away along with others whose names are never exchanged. Last night we bumped in Sandy and Cathy Aitken - right awayers - in the Discoveries Bar where we enjoyed a couple of drinks and lively conversation until one of us suggested we get a table for four. Sandy and Cathy are Scottish from Chapelhall, Airdrie which is east of Glasgow. They are over 60 years, own and run a B&B highly rated by Trip Advisor, and Cathy has a medical condition similar to Terryl’s that has them discussing remedies and a host of other issues almost non stop. Sandy and I enjoyed talking politics and sports including plenty of golf until The Royalty subject came up, and then the four of us jumped in. It was fun and informative and the evening flew by.
Elton John’s music by the Quest singers and dancers rounded out the early evening. Unexpectedly, Terryl said lets hear a little music in The Living Room and before we even sat down I started to dance and Terryl quickly followed and the room came alive. She still dances as well as ever - and loves it too.

January 5, 2020

A select group of Azamara guests were invited to a specially restaurant Prime C for a brunch hosted by Captain Filip and several of his Officers and Crew. We were greeted by our hosts and taken to our table and a Mimosa for two was there in an instant with coffee a few moments later. The food was distinctly sumptuous with variety, beautifully displayed and served by excellent waiters. A great start to our day.
We are crossing the Equator at 16:00 today with a ceremony planned on the Pool Deck. This is day four of our At Sea experience and will dock tomorrow at 08:00 at Seychelles. People say this is a magnificent place on Earth, one that you will love and never forget.

We arrived on schedule in Seychelles on a gorgeous morning under a blue  sky filled with the most unusual cloud formation: all white with abundant coverage and an almost wall-like abrupt finish off the coast of our arrival in the Port of Victoria. Terryl has arranged a meeting with Gloria and Brian to hire a taxi and drive around to the tourist’s highlights and then luncheon at some swanky spot to be determined.
Seychelles is a country made up of 115 islands with a population of 95,000 citizens with 85% of them living on one island Mahé; and of course the capital (Victoria) is here as well. The temperature ranges between 24 and 32 degrees Celsius all year long, and the drinking water is safe.
Down the gangplank we go to face only three gentlemen offering tours in their air conditioned vehicles. I spoke with the first and his English was excellent and spoken enthusiastically about his Mahé Island. Somehow our focus was redirected to another man whose price was $25.00 less, and he was selected for our tour. On the trip he spoke infrequently and incoherently about the sights we were seeing, and at the same time he wanted to please and did his best while the air was turned on and off too numerous times as requested by the ladies - mostly the other lady in the back two seats while her escort was seated in the front. We saw one of their beaches which was as clean as a whistle with turquoise coloured water going out for 100 yards before it turned blue. And there are too many beaches to mention here. Mahé appears to be about 60 minutes from east to west, of wild turning roads going up and down hills that pass small houses and snack shacks on one side and another one that has ritzy hotels commanding the best views of their magnificent waters and mountainous terrain filling the island’s centres. A look at two Tortoise displays with signage proclaiming 200 year old animals was delightful. These are pet-able creatures who are fed and kept captive just for people like us.

A Few of the Boys and Girls at Lunch


Mahé greets its visitors with four giant windmills indicating they’re doing their part dealing with Climate Change. The island is clean and appears to be well managed by those who call the shots 4 degrees south of the Equator.
Creole is their first language but of course English is taught in their schools as well. They claim that Seychelles is one of the riches of African Countries - and that they are the happiest of people living on the African Continent. Our driver mentioned that this and that and the other are all paid for by the government, and furthermore when he retires he receives a 450 Euro pension for life.  


1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year. Glad to hear your getting exercise on the cruise. You're an inspiration!

    ReplyDelete

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