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South Pacific Cruise: 12 November 2007

At sea

Once again, I was up at 5:45am. The sunrise looked very nice from La Palette, so I went back to the room and got my camera. After getting some pictures, I took a cup of coffee to Chris and got her up.

Before we had a chance to get breakfast, Chris went to a Pilates workout in the Grand Salon. Claudia, our cruise director, led the session, and there were about seven other women in the group. After Pilates, Chris headed to the fitness center for a cardio workout.

While Chris was working out with Claudia, I had a light breakfast and let it settle. I went for my usual cardio workout at the fitness center around 8:30. As I was finishing up, Chris came in. While she continued her exercise, I showered and took the laptop to La Palette to catch up on this journal.

At noon, I found Chris near the pool and we proceeded to La Veranda for lunch. Afterward, I went back to typing and Chris went to the pool deck to read.

Polynesian Country Fair

While Chris was reading, the staff cleared the pool area and began setting up games around the perimeter. She made a quick trip to the stateroom to get the video camera. The members of the ship’s staff were setting up a “Tahitian Country Fair”. Each department – galley, housekeeping, entertainment, travel, etc. – set up a different game. When everything was set up, Chris came to La Palette to let me know I was missing the fun. I grabbed my camera and joined her near the pool.

What a crowd! After nearly two full days at sea, the passengers were ready for a diversion. All the games were pretty simple, and nearly everyone was able to win the vouchers that were given out as prizes. Each voucher gave the winner a chance in a drawing for real prizes.

At first Chris was just operating the video camera. Pretty soon, though, Helen, our stewardess, talked Chris into trying the housekeeping game – a magnetic “fishing” game. That was all it took to hook Chris. She went on to play all ten of the games and ended up with more nearly two dozen vouchers. She was only wearing her bathing suit and a wrap with no pockets, so she stuffed the vouchers into the top of her suit.

I spent most of my time taking pictures, but I did manage to win a roulette-type game for one voucher. Many of the passengers showed their competitive side, and it was lots of fun. There was even an ice cream social, but Chris and I were too busy to build a sundae.

Wheel! Of! Fortune!

Even with all those vouchers, we didn’t win any of the drawings. While we were listening for our stateroom number, Dixie invited us to go to the Wheel of Fortune game at the piano bar. It would start within half an hour. Chris changed out of her bathing suit and we headed to the piano bar to check out the game. We couldn’t imagine how it would be played without Vanna White and the rotating Wheel.

We soon found out. Michelle, the social director, handed out printed pages for the game. There were about ten rounds, and each round had a clue – such as “Movie” or “Place” or “Phrase” – and a set of blanks for the letters. Each blank was numbered. The participants divided into teams of up to four players. We teamed up with Dixie’s husband, Gary, and a woman we hadn’t met before, Carolyn.

As team #1, we went first in the first round. We guessed a letter. If that letter was in the answer, Michelle told us which blanks to fill in with that letter. We could then guess another letter. If we guessed a letter that wasn’t in the answer, the next team got to guess. At any time, any player could yell “I’ve got it!” After that, everyone had 10 seconds to solve the puzzle and raise their hand. The first team to have the right answer got two points. Other teams that got the answer each got one point.

Our team got two points for each of the first two rounds, and then we hit a drought. In round six, though, we got the answer without any letters being guessed (“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”). Something about the blanks just spoke to me. We ended up with eight points, which was enough to win the prize: four Regent sun visors. Yippee!

Exhausted from our mental exertion, we went back to the room for a quick nap, and then dressed for the evening.

Cannibalism; Followed by Dinner with Friends

We attended another lecture by Mark Eddowes. He talked about cannibalism and human sacrifice in the South Pacific. It has not been practiced since the missionaries came in the 19th century, but it was common before then. One point that Mark stressed was that humans were not a food source. Cannibalism was a ceremonial act, not dinner. The basic idea was that the power of one person could be transferred to another by consuming that person’s flesh. In the same way a person’s power could be transferred to the gods of the earth or sky by sacrificing them and allowing their blood to seep into the earth (for fertility) or fall from their bodies like rain (to strengthen the sky god).

Once again, Mark delivered the ninety-minute lecture without referring to any notes or relying on visual aids. His audience was enthralled. A few people left when he started talking about some of the more uncomfortable ways in which people had been killed. However they may have simply been leaving to make their 7:00 dinner reservations.

We had some time before our own dinner plans, so we went up to La Palette to listen to the music. All the tables were occupied, so we sat down with a man who was by himself. After a few minutes, we realized he was John, from Bern. He and his wife had been on our Land Cruiser off-road adventure with us on Bora Bora. We chatted with him for a little while. While we were talking, his wife, Marion, joined us. By that time it was nearly 7:30, and time for us to find the Salters and go to dinner.

We found Fred and Wendy outside the piano bar. Katherine showed up moments later, and we all walked to L’Etoile. We were shown to a table near the entrance. We joked about whether we could eat meat after Mark’s presentation, but we all ended up with red meat on our plates. Greg, Wendy, Chris and I all had the rack of lamb, and Katherine got a nice, rare rib-eye steak.

We enjoyed the good food, the wine, and the easy conversation. By 9:30 we were all full and were starting to fade. We said our good-nights and called it a night.

Back at the room, Chris and I got ready for bed and finally finished watching The Incredibles. We were changing to a new time zone the next day, so we set our clocks back an hour. When we turned off the light, it was still only 9:30.

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