Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy April Fools’ Day

Day 86 at sea; April 1, 2011

This is the third day at sea since Oman. Today is Friday—at least that’s what the rug in the elevators say.  I don’t know how I will keep track of time without them.  The days are going by entirely too fast.

We are now sailing in the Red Sea and headed for Safaga, Egypt.  Because of the political unrest our captain determined we could not stop in Egypt. Now, however we have been given clearance to go there and will dock in Safaga tomorrow am. We’re excited to have this port back on the itinerary.

Yesterday I taught on Writing about Things and today the class will share what they have written. As for me, I shall work on my book as my presentations are ready for the next few sea days.

I  have been getting up around 5:30 in the morning and going to the Library/Explorers lounge. I confiscate one of five leather chairs with ottomans so I can keep my legs up.  

Would really like prayer in getting my book finished.  And for clarity and the ability to focus.

Love to all, Pat

Dangerous Waters

Day 85 at sea; March 31, 2011
We have been sailing off the coast of Yemen, where there is so much unrest. We are flanked by two navy ships, one US, one Dutch.  Today we will leave the Arabean Sea (the Gulf of Aden) and sail through a small opening with Yemen to the north and east and Djibouti to the west. This is the entrance to the Red Sea.

Yesterday was deemed Celebration Day to collectively celebrate life. We had a formal night and free wine with dinner.  Then at 9:30 in the evening, we had a dessert extravaganza.  The chefs created an amazing and delectable array of sculptures, ice and chocolate and everything imaginable. All edible. We had white and dark chocolate fountains, a chocolate palace and ship.  Wow.  And what took more than 24 hours to create was torn apart and eaten within an hour.  Thankfully, we had a time to take photos before the guests could start eating.

We have four sea days in a row and I am hoping to get a lot of writing done. We are having trouble with our internet so I haven’t been able to get on. 

Salalah, Oman—City of Palms and Beaches

Day 83 at sea; March 29, 2011
We hadn’t booked a tour here even though our tablemate, Barbara, insisted we couldn’t miss seeing Job’s tomb.  The day we docked I had planned to spend the day writing.  However, a friend came up and asked if I wanted to go with her as her hubby was not feeling well.  Of course, I said.

The countryside was arid and not to interesting, but as we headed inland, I was surprised by how high the mountains actually were. They were dry, but lovely and apparently very green and fertile when the monsoons come.

We saw boswellia trees which produce frankincense—one of their major exports. This area and a small area in N. Africa are  the only places these trees grow naturally. The frankincense comes from the bark, like sap. We saw lots of camels along the road roaming free.  Beautiful vistas greeted us as we made our way through the mountains and eventually to Job’s tomb.  So, yes, I did get to see it. Is it really Job’s tomb? And is the giant footprint encased in cement for real? I’m not convinced—especially not about the footprint. Just how does one preserve a footprint for that long. But, the site was lovely. It sits at the top of the hill and is a mosque and mausoleum and one must dress conservatively—and women must cover their heads arms and legs.

When impressed me most was the city itself. A very large area in town is dedicated to growing bananas and coconuts.  Many fruit stands lined the road and much of the fruit is exported. Amazing to see all that green in the middle of town.

We went to a square where one of three of the Sultan’s Palaces, a gorgeous beach and a large souk were all within two minutes walk.  We shopped—lots of clothing, perfume and incense. The beach—white sands and turquoise water made us wish we could stay for a while.  But alas, the bus awaited and we had to say goodbye to Salalah. 

Each day here in Arabia we had temperatures in the 90s so coming back home to the elegant and beautiful Amsterdam and the pool is a joy. 


Muscat, Oman—Largest City of the Sultanate of Oman

Day 81 at sea; March 27, 2011

Muscat and Mutrah, where we docked has been an important trading center between the east and west since the 1st century. It is located on the Arabian Sea. Its current Sultan, Quaboos bin Sadi is said to be a benevolent dictator, who rules with an iron hand, but makes certain his people have everything they need. There are many beautiful mosques and the primary religion is Hindu.  The port here is beautiful and as we sailed in, we saw ancient forts  and lovely scultures. The sultan’s yacht is moored in the harbor and it looks like a small cruise ship. We took a shuttle from the port and were treated to a lovely waterfront with statues and gardens on one side and older buildings mostly restaurants and souks on the other. The shuttle dropped us off at the souk and we spent over an hour wandering around the maze of hundreds of cubbyhole shops with everything imaginable for sale.


Dubai—the Emerald City

Day 78 at sea, March 24, 2011

If Mumbai was the image of suffering, Dubai is the image of wealth and prosperity. The United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf. It is the most populated City in the UAE next to Abu Dhabi and continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the world.  The construction and development of Dubai is stunning. Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building.  There is an amazing building that houses a mountain on which people can ski.  The malls here are very high end and it isn’t unusual to see women, who still wear black berkas and cover their hair and face, buying stilettos and fashions right off the runway.

High-rises abound. One resort was built in the shape of a ship’s mast. The architecture here is unique and breathtaking. Most of the city is less than forty years old. Still in this beautiful and clean city, there are touches of the old world. An ancient walled fort, once home to a sheik, is now a museum featuring life as it was centuries ago. There are old-time markets or souks with pushy venders. We visited a gold souk, a spice souk and saw all manner of souvenirs, clothing, fabric and the like.

Most of Dubai’s population is made up of expatriates, the majority immigrants from Asia, who act as the primary workforce.  Nationals are in the minority here.  Dubai is one of seven emirates (kingdoms) still ruled by seven sheiks who are among the wealthiest rulers in the world. They have servants for all of their many palaces and yachts--ready at all times to serve.  They are men who can afford many wives and children.  Oil has made them wealthy as has our dependence on oil, but these sheiks know the oil is finite and are diversified. Tourism, desalinization, commerce, and brokerage also provide an income as well. 

In fact we could learn from their desalinization process.  They have only seawater and desert springs and use desalinization of ocean water for irrigation and even for drinking. Most people, however, use bottled water for drinking as there is still a higher than desirable salt content. 

We took a tour in Dubai and enjoyed visiting the museum and art gallery, the beaches and seeing the buildings. All is not as shiny as it appears on the surface. Dubai is having financial problems and some of their most magnificent projects lay unfinished until such time the developers are once more able to get backing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mundai—Images of Suffering

 Day 75 at sea; March 21, 2011

There are some beautiful old buildings and new high-rises and lovely hotels in Mumbai—for tourists and people with money. A yacht belonging to Kingfisher Airlines and Kingfisher Beer rests in the harbor—pristine and glowing white amidst the gray naval ships, the dirty degrading row-boats, ferries and tankers. The lovely buildings are protected by armed guards. In front of the Taj Mahal Hotel are armed guards and a military tank. Visitors must pass through a security gate and be screened before being allowed to enter.  This is the hotel that fell victim to a terrorist attack about two years ago.  

It sits near the water’s edge, a jewel surrounded by run-down market places and slums.  Never have I seen such squalor.  Millions of people live on the streets, they have no toilets and you can guess where they squat.  Traffic? Think of the worst traffic you have ever driven in and multiply it by ten. I heard that Mumbai has the highest rate of traffic fatalities in the world. I believe it.

The first day I escorted the Panoramic Mundai tour.  We saw all the highlights—remnants of British royalty. Cricket fields, new highways. The Taj. We saw Mumbai’s elite district.  But woven through it all were hovels, people sleeping in the street, women—young girls really—holding babies and knocking on windows of cars, begging for rupees. No one stops to help.  Day two we went out to hire a cab driver—men who surround you--all talking at once.  We make a deal and off we go.  He is an older man, he speaks decent English, but he is not happy. Perhaps he has been doing this for too long. He hopes we will stop at several of the markets where he gets a cut and buy something. He drives too fast.  He argues that we have to buy something and tells us we have to go to one more shop. Ron is firm and tells him where we want to go, but the man stops at another market.  Finally, we arrive again at the Taj for refreshments.  He waits and guides us into another shop.  We do look here because a friend recommended it. I don’t buy. I can’t find what I want in a price range I can afford.  I don’t trust the quality.

Our driver is very unhappy with us because we have not made a purchase. We tell him we want to go back to the ship. It is nearly noon and we want to have lunch. He wants to know when the ship leaves. Ron tells him that if he hurries and gets us back right away he might be able to get another fare.

He takes a very long way around and mentions another shop.  Again Ron tells him to return to the ship. I have a headache from the heat and the bickering.  I think we have been driving in circles. Finally we reach one of the port gates.  The driver asks for and takes Ron’s stamped card (with copy of passport which we need to renter. We’re a bit nervous as he parks and goes over to a guard station. Apparently he must show that he has a ship passenger in order to enter the gate.  While we wait an old woman with a crutch knocks on the window.  My heart aches and I have to close my eyes.

He comes back and we breathe again as he takes us to the gate—we show our cards and are allowed through. He drives too fast again—like a horse heading for the barn. I leave the cab and hurry into the terminal where I have to show my ID and card again.  There are stalls in the terminal—jewelry, saris, tops, souvenirs.  I look again as I did the day before. There are necklaces I like, but I am quoted $1200 US dollars and reminded that the stones are real rubies and emeralds, etc.  I walk away and he tells me that he has one for $600.  How do I know the stones are real?  I don’t. I’m tired and hungry and sad.

Would I go back again to Mundai?  Perhaps, but I have to process what I have seen. The pictures of poverty on television do not compare to the reality. In truth, I am happy to leave India behind. 
Now we are off to Dubai where things are new. There is a mountain inside a building where one can ski for $60 an hour.  Dubai is home to the tallest building in the world. There are shops and I have made plans to go with friends from the ship. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kochi—a Near-Death Experience

Day 72 at sea; Mar 18, 2011
We were greeted by dancers and some rather interesting and colorful oversized plants.  Since we didn’t get clearance from the ship until 11 am we decided to eat lunch before heading out. We had planned to hook up with another couple to share a cab, but alas, everyone had already gone.  We finally decided to walk to the Taj Hotel which was 2 k away.  We got as far as the port gate and were swarmed by cab and Tuc-Tuc drivers.  One voice seemed to rise above the others and he offered to take us to the hotel for only one dollar.  He was a very handsome young man and his tuc-tuc looked fairly new. Think golf cart with three wheels and a little more power. 

Anyway we employed him for the ride and since we wanted to go the city to see a couple of sights, he insisted on being our driver. He waited for us at the Taj—a beautiful plush hotel on the water’s edge. Security guards and gates kept the poor of society out.  The driver stayed outside the gate.  We enjoyed the grounds and drinks in a lovely restaurant and eventually wandered back out. 

Defir, our driver jumped up from where he’d been waiting with a number of other drivers and ran to get his tuc-tuc. This is where the excitement or should I say, terror, began.  It took about forty minutes to get to St. Andrews church, our destination, and let’s just say that the worst you have heard about India is true.  Garbage everywhere—smells like you wouldn’t believe. While there was a line down the middle of the road to separate traffic, no one seemed to pay any attention to it. Bikes, tuc-tucs, buses cars and people shared the narrow streets narrowly missing each other.  We held on white knuckled as we passed hundreds of street vendors and beggars.  The poorest of the poor.  No wonder Mother Theresa had such a heart for India.  It is painful to see this. You want to help so much, but we were told not to give anything to any of them or we would be swarmed and basically trapped. We were also told that some will fake injury or main themselves and even their children so that people will take pity on them and buy their wares or give them money for whatever purpose.

Past all of this we went as Defir proudly showed us the area where he lives with his wife and two children.  He invited us to come to his place for tea, but we declined. (This is a ploy to get the tourist to give them more money. Our cab fare was whatever we wanted to pay.)  We finally reached the church and after looking around and taking photos, we asked Defir to take us back to the ship.  But first, he said, we had to stop at his brother’s shop—his uncle’s place, where his mother works and his wife and on and on.  Ron had to firmly tell him over and over, no shopping—go straight to the ship.  The “shops” lined the streets, where many of the people slept.  The traffic was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I had to close my eyes more than once, fearing we’d smash into something. It was terrifying at times as Defir honked his horn and came to with half an inch of a bike or bus or a person.  A harrowing experience to say the least.

We finally arrived home and Defir let us off at the gate. He was not allowed inside the port area. He gave us a card so we could tell people coming out to hire him. Unfortunately for Defir, people were coming back to the ship, not going out.  We paid him a little more than the going rate.

We are alive, have probably gained a few gray hairs, but I would hire a tuc-tuc again. I would spend a little more time seeing more of the sites—find a reputable market and not be so frightened.  I would take a boat ride and explore the shore and I would spend some time in the country and maybe not so much in the city.  
Now, we have another sea day before we dock in Mumbai (Bombay).  Will it be more of the same? Worse?  We shall see.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Raffles, home of the Singapore Sling

Day 67-68 at sea;  March 13-14, 2011
I spent the first few hours in Singapore working on my book.  Then we went exploring. Took a cable car sky ride above the city that took us over to Sentosa Island which was a rather magical place.  Views were spectacular.  In addition to several parks, we hopped a tram and went from Beach Station through Merlion Park to Resort World which has Universal Studios, fabulous restaurants, a casino and convention center. HUGE complex. The parks were wonderful and I’ll post some pics on Facebook soon.  There is a carving of the Merlion that is several stories high and has a number of water features at its base.  These people know how to do parks. 

BTW I posted some Hong Kong photos on FB the other day.

Singapore is a city and a state. While it adheres to British ways,  it has Chinese, Hindu, Maylay, Islamic, Confucian, and Buddist elements. About 5 and ½ people live here.  In early years, people were forced into certain areas—Chinese, Indians and Malaysians had their own territories which are still  in place today as Little India and China Town. There are a number of Hindu and Chinese temples.

The laws in Singapore are very strict and enforced—there are a lot of rules. If one does not take care of their elderly parents, one could land in jail.  Drug traffickers can expect a death sentence. There are no street people—everyone in Singapore has a home. The literacy rate is 93 percent.  It is safe and it is clean—mostly. It is probably the busiest seaport in the world.

These people know how to build malls.  We have nothing in comparison.  I shopped and again bought nothing.  Their idea of sizes here is small and extra small.  J 

I was to escort a tour on the second day, but my bus was cancelled so I went along with Marie, the watercolorist on hers to “learn the ropes.”  It was a wonderful 4 hour tour and our guide had a good command of the English language, which is the primary language here.  We went through Little India and saw a temple there and another in China Town.  The highlight of the tour was a bumboat ride on the Singapore River.  Lovely.  At the end, we went to Raffles, a very old and expensive Hotel and the famous Long Bar where the Singapore Sling was invented. It’s a wonderful place and would be a fun place to stay if you could afford the $1000 per night rate.  The drink costs $30, but ours was complimentary (included in the tour).

We had to be aboard by 1 pm and did make it back to the ship, but when I went to get my passport and my room card I discovered my room card was missing and I couldn’t get through security without it.
Totally embarrassed, I had to wait for someone from the ship to get me a new one.  Marie was kind enough to wait for me.  We ended up being a bit late boarding the ship, but others were behind us. I am so glad it wasn’t my passport. The day before A very sweet elderly lady lost her passport (or it was stolen), but they brought her through and took her to the US Embassy the next day to get a new one.  

Finally, at 3 pm we sailed away, gazing in awe at this beautiful city.  Oh, the skyline here is amazing. The Sands has a hotel Casino here that has a park on top.  There is a structure—three skyscrapers with a ship on top than spans those three buildings.  You have to see it to believe it.  We left Singapore feeling as though we only scratched the surface. I want to come back and stay a week or two.  I’d shop more in Little India, I’d eat at Bait, a world famous restaurant, I’d do the Zip Line—and so many other things to do and places to explore. 

In the meantime, we are at sea for three days and then arrive in Kochi, India.  Captain Olav gave us the sad news that due to the unrest in Egypt, we will not be stopping there. Instead, we will go to Israel.  Some are disappointed. I am a little, but I’m excited to be wherever we are.  J

Signing off for the moment, Pat

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Welcome to Phu My, Vietnam

Day 65 at sea, March 11, 2011

There is nothing here except a few stalls on the pier. The towns Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon are quite a distance. A number of people took tours, but it is 100 degrees and humid here so we passed.  I’m sure it is beautiful here but I understand traffic is crazy.  We’ll be in Singapore soon and I am delighted to announce that I will be escorting a tour.  I’ll share  details on that later, but it involves a trip on the river.

So, I am sitting on a lounge chair enjoying a slight breeze, sipping ice tea and taking the occasional plunge into the cool water.  A number of fishing boats have sailed by along with tugs and cargo vessels. It’s quiet here.  We have been joined by a grasshopper that’s big enough to toss on the grill and eat for dinner.  J  Actually he’s about 3-4 inches long. I think one of the servers made him disappear.

Last night we had a wonderful ventriloquist and very funny. Has entertained several presidents at the Kennedy Center and elsewhere.  He talked about how as a kid he learned to throw his voice and make his mother crazy.  He made his year-old brother talk. He’d get out of school by having the PA system call him to the principle’s office. Some really cute stuff.   

This evening we have a lovely lady named Eve. And for dinner we have Vietnam specialty foods.
I’m getting caught up on classes and working on the book today. Sail away is at 5:30 this evening and then we have a day at sea, then Singapore. 

I’m off to take another dip in the pool.  Hugs, Pat

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Leaving Hong Kong

Day 62 at sea, March 8, 2011

Our second day in Hong Kong was not what I had hoped.  Ron left to explore on his own and I had the bright idea of walking to the ladies market 45 minutes away.  The streets of Hong Kong are not easy to maneuver.  Many of them have no pedestrian crossings and one must go underground.  I walked around, fearful of tunnels.  I learned later that the tunnels are so clean you can eat off the floors. Very safe.  So I walked miles out of my way and went into a few shops.  Shops, my foot.  This is where they have all the runway fashions that regular folks can’t or don’t wear and cost more than a car.  I wonder how many such shops can survive but then one sale in any given day would likely pay their salaries for a month.

I came back to the ship for lunch and met up with Ron.  He talked about riding across the bay on the ferry and walking a covered bridge to another shopping mall.  BTW there are more Starbucks here than in Seattle.  Hopefully I will see Hong Kong again and I’ll know better where to go.

We arrived back on the ship in time for me to sit in the hot tub for a bit and soothe my aching body.  After dinner the Chinese cultural center entertained us with music, dance and a wonderful changing faces artist.  A dance troupe of your people did the dragon dance with a magnificent multicolored dragon that glowed in the dark. The kids each held one or two sticks and maneuvered around the stage with exact precision to make the dragon twist and turn.  Amazing. We also had two lovely girls do a ribbon dance.

After that we enjoyed another light show and all too soon came the sail away party.  It was Mardi Gras so we all got beads and music.  At ten pm we undocked and sailing out to sea we were mesmerized by the city lights.  It’s impossible, I think, to explain but imagine thousands upon thousands of high rises some apartments with lights some without against a nearly dark sky.  I have never seen a more beautiful city. I would have loved another day there.

But we must look again to Viet Nam and crossing the South China Sea.  We’ll have two days there as well.  In the meantime we have two sea days and I must teach.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hong Kong: City of Lights

  Day 61 at sea; March 7, 2011
Oh, my.  Like Sydney, Hong Kong is a beautiful port to sail into.  We have the primo dock as everything is so close.  There is a shopping center that you have to go through before you can even get to the street.  Mostly high end stores and it goes on forever—four levels.

We arrived at around 6 am. The city was a study in gray. Hazy mountains butting up against thousands of skyscrapers. A waterway separates us from the mainland and ferries shuttle people back and forth.

We have a tour this morning at 8 so after being enthralled with our arrival, we ate breakfast and ducked into our room to get ready.  The tour promised highlights of Hong Kong.  We expected cloudy skies and around 60 degree temps, but the sun came out and the weather was absolutely perfect.

Our tour guide, Richard, his business name is Chinese and very talkative. We learned much about the city and its pluses and minuses.  We went through a tunnel and through the city to a small harbor where we boarded Sampans for a trip through the harbor. We passed a lovely floating restaurant and hundreds of boats from junks to yachts and everything in between.  We learned that Hong Kong builds highrises because there is very little room for them to build because of the mountains.  So they go up. 7.7 million people live in Hong Kong, but because they don’t have strict immigration laws, the actual number is much higher. 

We were then taken into an industrial part of town where craftsmen designed and made jewelry, then left to browse for half an hour.  The jewelry was lovely but far beyond my budget.  How nice of them to also include a room full of costume jewelry with affordable prices.  I didn’t buy.  I am looking for a carved rose jade necklace. 

From there we went to Stanley Market. We bypassed the stalls and went to the harbor, which was lovely. A long boardwalk, a temple and a museum. We walked around and headed back to the shops and stalls.  One woman had a vast assortment of lovely women’s clothes, neatly displayed. I was temped to get something there, but we were only given an hour.  I may go back tomorrow.  Or I may just go to the ladies market and the jade market, which are closer to the ship. A long walk though.  I’ll take my time or take a taxi.

For the most part the city is very clean and unlike Manila you don’t see a lot of poor people in the streets. That doesn’t mean they are not there.  We are warned not to wear jewelry or carry bags containing anything we would not want to lose.  Also, some merchants have been known to substitute your purchase with a rock or charge your account more than once.  Never let your card out of sight. 

Our tour took us past beautiful coves and scenic view of their many beaches. Most of the beaches are protected from sharks by nets, but our tour guide said that people are still wary because a number of people were killed by sharks (6, I think) prior to using the nets. 

We arrived at our final adventure—a shopping mall near the top of Mt. Victoria were we used facilities, ate. Ron and I grabbed our usual Starbucks. It was a lovely mall and I’d have liked to shop there, but we were there to take a cable car down the mountain.  We started at the peak—above most of the skyscrapers and creaked our way down the mountain—backwards.  Going up, people sit facing forward.  A very steep incline or decline depending on your point of view.

Once the ride ended, we boarded the bus again and headed back to the ship. We ate and off we went to the mall at the pier.  I browsed the stores, cringing at the prices and wondering how they all stay in business. Ron went off to do his thing and we met up again at dinner.

As darkness settled over the city we were treated to the most colorful display of lights from the buildings downtown.  From 8 to 8:15 a spectacular light show complete with lasers and all manner of colorful lights entertained us.

Tomorrow we get to explore on our own.  I expect to do a fair amount of walking.

Manila: City of Many Faces

Day 58 at Sea; March 4, 2011

The people welcomed the boat with a band and dancers.  The works.  I worked on the manuscript GP and around 10 took a break to go into town. Manila is not my favorite port.  It's dirty and smelly and going into town was sad--real poverty here.  There are many children on the street.

We caught a shuttle to one of the biggest shopping malls in the world.  Maybe on par with Mall of America in Minnesota, but I think this one was bigger.  Robinson's Plaza.  Many restaurants. Lots of high end stores.  Most geared for teenagers. Robinsons is by far the largest store I have ever seen in my life. The shoe department along was about the size of  Texas—okay, maybe not quite as big.

We had Starbucks coffee and shopped a until my legs ached.  I got lost three times.  There must have been a couple hundred security guards in and around the mall itself. Also on the streets.  We saw a lot of strange looking jeep busses called Jeepnys. Open air. Very warm and humid here. We have about 200 crew members who have families here—many got to bring their families on board so we had lots of smiles and joyful hearts.

Though the town itself was not impressive, the people are great. About 50 children from an orphanage came and performed for us.  So adorable. We presented them with $6000. The mayor of Manila had grown up in the orphanage and spoke for a short time.

We had a sail away party at 5 and the band played again.  What a goodbye.  We took on a number of new crew members lost others.  Many stayed and were thankful for the extra time here, but sad to have to say goodbye so soon. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Two Sea days and Another Formal Night

Day 57 at sea; March 3, 2011

Yesterday was another day of sailing.  I worked and taught and was invited to have dinner with one of my students.  She is an amazing person with a colorful past like many of the people on board. She has written a children’s book—self published. Oh the stories she has. I’m encouraging her to write her memoirs. We had complimentary wine with dinner—to make up for not stopping at Palau. Since she has late dinner seating, I ended up going to the 10 pm show—a wonderful master guitarist. Francis Diatschenko from Australia.  We are so privileged to be entertained by artists from all over the world.

Today (day 57 at sea) we had a silent art auction to raise money for the Hospicio de San Jose, the first welfare agency in the Philippines. The paintings were done by the watercolor students here on board and the auction raised $1600. Watercolor classes are offered twice a day on sea days. I have not been able to take advantage of them as the timing hasn’t worked for me.

$10,000 so far has been donated for the Red Cross to help earthquake victims in Christchurch. We’ll be sending that in on the 6th. 

We have another formal night tonight and Ron doesn’t want to go again. I don’t blame him in a way as the dinners are rather long. He got up at four am this morning to run.  So he gets up way too early for me. I tell him he can do what he wants, but I am going to the formal dinner.  I rather enjoy them. We have Tamara Guo “A Superstar Throughout Asia and a Singing Sensation” is performing tonight. In the Queen’s Lounge.  Then later at ten is the Royalty Ball. I don’t know who is reigning, but will probably go for a bit to see what’s happening. If I can stay awake.

Tomorrow Manila.