Monday, October 6, 2008
Our semi-private verandah is now furnished with two chairs in addition to two stacks of loungers. We sat outside and read this morning before trivia and lunch, and again in the afternoon. It affords a nice view of whatever we have already passed [unless we go in reverse] which today included an increasing number of boats. Most seemed to be small fishing vessels, but there were some freighters on the horizon. The closer we are to Shanghai, the more boats we will see.
We are scheduled to sail up Shanghai’s river tomorrow morning beginning around 5 a.m. Two years ago, D video-taped our arrival in Shanghai aboard the Statendam, so there is no need to get up at dawn to do it again. Besides, we are reasonably sure that we will be docked farther from downtown than last time. This is not a major issue except as it impacts our field trip tomorrow. D sent an e-mail to the tour company this afternoon to double-check pick-up arrangements. Frustratingly, the ship’s internet connection was down most of the afternoon and evening. Rather than stay up past midnight to look for a response, he will check his e-mail first thing in the morning. Stay tuned for more details in tomorrow’s post.
The Chinese Passport Dance was much easier and quicker than the Japanese. We reported to the upper level of the dining room after breakfast, were handed our passports and led to the Chinese officials. They simply looked at the pictures in the passports and then at us and handed the documents back. We then turned them back to the HAL staff. We were in and out in less than five minutes.
We were tied for second in trivia this afternoon and will miss the next two contests while we tour the Shanghai area. D is trying to finish World Without End, as mentioned earlier, but it is almost 1000 pages long and he is only on page 250. Instead of reading this evening, as he intended, he was lured to the blackjack table where he spent 45 minutes breaking even. It could have much worse [and almost was].
We are to meet Ed and Roxanne at 8:30 tomorrow morning at the usual spot, the Ocean Bar, in hopes of being able to disembark for our tour of Zhouzhang, a village dating to the 13th Century, known for its canals and formal gardens. Lunch is included, but we will be careful not to eat raw veggies, etc., or drink the melamine-laced milk.
Only two days until the next debate – we will be ashore when it is broadcast live here Wednesday morning but should be able to see a rerun and at least snippets as the week goes on. My how time flies!