Thursday, February 28, 2013

Day 54 - South China Sea

The sail away from Hong Kong last night was lovely.  They really do like to light up the buildings along the harbor.  We are lucky that we came to see this now because they are building a new cruise ship terminal where the old airport was, further down the harbor.  Passengers will still be able to see the buildings sailing in and out, but they won't have a view of the laser light show like we did. 
Hong Kong Pier & Shopping Mall where we docked

Hong Kong Sky-line

Hong Kong Ferry Terminal

"Junk" Tour Boat
 We have another sea day today, on our way to Taiwan.  For a sea day, it was pretty busy.  We got our tour tickets and a revised itinerary last night and there were quite a few changes.   We were supposed to be in most ports 2 days but the captain received info that, due to the way the currents are predicted to be, we need to leave Osaka at 4 AM on the second day instead of in the afternoon.  That means any tours scheduled for day 2 were re-booked for day 1.  People who had tours scheduled on both days had to decide which one they want and turn in the other tickets.

The other change was to the difficulty level for several tours.  We had tickets for 2 tours that were listed as level 1 (easy) but have been corrected to level 3 (difficult). These are for tomorrow and the next day in Taiwan.  We decided to try the one for tomorrow, but exchanged the second tour for something easier.

There were 2 great lectures today.  Sandra Bowern gave a talk on "Imperial China" at 10 am.  We were exchanging tickets and doing laundry this morning, so we watched this on on TV later in the day.  She gave an excellent overview of the history of the Chinese dynasties through the last emperor, who abdicated in the early 1900's.

The second talk was given by a new lecturer, Dr. Mark Elovitz.  It was part of a "World Affairs Hot Spot Series" he will be giving over the next few weeks.  Today's was titled "Whose Lunch Is China Eating As It Rises Peacefully?"   The main point was that China's current plan is to stay out of everyone else's politics and religious issues while gobbling up all the resources it needs to grow.  It is making deals with countries all over the world to import oil, natural gas, minerals, etc.  to grow it's production of all kinds of things, both for internal consumption and export.  China is pursuing a path of increasing it's world power through economic policies instead of war.

Ray Solaire, Cruise Director & Performer
Tonight was formal night, so we got all dressed up for dinner.  We went upstairs to the Italian restaurant instead of the main dining room.  The main dining room is always very busy on the first night out of a new cruise segment - all the newbies want to go there.  After dinner we actually made it to the show.  Our cruise director is a very talented man and he was the show tonight.  He has a wonderful singing voice, does ventriloquism with a bunch of cute puppets, and tells jokes in between.  We really enjoyed the show.  

Although I will continue to write these blogs daily, you may not see them posted daily between now and March 14th.  We have been told that satellite internet  signals may be restricted in Japan, and that there may be interference in Shanghai.  I will still write my thoughts for each day and post them when I can.

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