Saturday, September 27, 2008
Although today will be a day much like all of the other so far, it may be significant elsewhere. As this is written, it is 10:20 Saturday morning on the ship but it is still Friday in the States. The first of the McCain-Obama debates is scheduled to begin in less than 45 minutes according to CNN. This is perhaps as good a time as any to talk about politics on the Amsterdam.
Like the weather, everyone talks about it but no one is really doing anything. We have heard no real political discourse, just the occasional whisper. Roxanne and Ed are Obama supporters and have found a few more Friends of B.OB, as Roxanne phrases it; we think Russ and Patti are split. For the most part, there appears to be interest but no really overt partisanship expressed although we suspect the majority of the passengers are McCain supporters. Many will not even vote because they could not get absentee ballots before sailing; others are having them mailed to Hong Kong and hoping the ship’s shore agent delivers them. As for returning them, we have been spreading the word [learned on Cruise Critic] that ballots can be sent from Singapore in the diplomatic pouch. Of course, we will be home in time to pretend that our vote will count in Palm Beach County.
The day started out gloomy and a bit bumpy but has become sunny and clear. Even so, tonight’s formal night has been declared “optional” because the staff doesn’t want women to wear high heels. As it turned out, most people came to dinner dressed in formal attire; most of the women wore black and white since this was supposed to be the Black and White Ball. The wait staff was duded up and the dining room and lobbies were swathed with black and white drapes. There was so much material, in fact, that it was almost impossible to reach the Purel dispensers by the dining room doors; large flower arrangements made the task even more awkward.
Our dinner discussion was lively and included lots of early television memorabilia/trivia – Winky Dink, Marcus Welby, westerns, sci-fi shows and more. The six of us got on famously which bodes well for our impending shore adventures.
Menu Flash! For those of you keeping track, MA had meatloaf, not the vegetarian entrée, for dinner; D had lamb chops. After dinner we went to the casino and played the pennies again with moderate success, then returned to the room to read before bed. Seas have been calmer than predicted, but no one is complaining.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Calm seas and clear skies! It doesn’t feel like a Sunday, but then all of the days have blended together. We know it’s Sunday because  the elevator rugs say so and  it is time to refill the pill container. Because we crossed the Date Line, we are using Wednesday’s pills today.
We ate in the dining room again this morning. While the choices are more limited than they are at the Lido buffet, it is a little more formal and almost elegant. We shared the table with four others this morning and talked about our assorted home states, current states and the debacle that is the Palm Beach County Board of Election Supervisors. We still don’t know the outcome of the August 26 judge’s race but are not interested enough to look it up on line.
Our daily routine may end after today. We arrive in Hakodate, Japan, tomorrow and have to “walk the line” to get our passports approved. Everyone must go through this procedure, but passengers on HAL Shore Excursions will go first so they can board their buses with enough time to complete their tours without delaying departure. We have no plans but may go ashore if the town is within walking distance or HAL operates a shuttle. As for today, it will be trivia [where we are 4 for 8 so far], lunch, nap, drinks with the captain [us and 400 other people], dinner, casino, bed. What’s not to like?
Later -- We won at trivia again, making us 5 for 9 so far. D has begun collecting the questions and answers for Ted so he can study for his trip in November. Patti didn’t come to dinner tonight, a disappointment. We hurried out to play Name That Tune [with Russ, Ed and Roxanne]. We were second by 1 point but had a good time pretending to sing. MA and D went to hear the flute player after that, then returned to the room. MA read and then went to sleep while D went to the computer center to try to get the blog posted since it was recalcitrant this morning.