Had breakfast in the cabin. Had an early excursion. 8:15 AM.
We took a bus to the cable car station. The cable car took us up to the top of the rock. I bought what I thought was a DVD titled Inside the Rock or something like that. Unfortunately, I didn't read the case carefully. This thing is an interactive computer DVD and it only works with PC's. #$%^&* This is a mistake I think I may have made before and I prefer to make new ones but I'll survive. I'm sure I'll enjoy it when I get to one of those primitive devices. I guess I could ask one of my friends onboard to borrow theirs but I have been too busy or perhaps I don't want to admit I messed up and bought the wrong product. Hmmm. Well, I have to give myself a break on this. The thing was right next to the regular DVD's and I was a bit distracted by being on top of the rock right?
Anyway, I really enjoyed the tour. We went from the cable car into a cave. Stalactites and everything. This one was a bit bigger than the one in Halong Bay, Vietnam. They had an amphitheater in it similar but bigger than the one in the Glowworm cave in New Zealand. Our guide made it clear that they were not environmental idiots. The area had first been cleared to make room for a hospital during war time. Gibraltar does occupy a rather strategic location at the mouth of the Med. After touring the cave we emerged and proceded to the entrance to the old tunnels dug in the rock at the end of the 1700's.
Oh, we also got to meet the Barbary Apes of Gibraltar when we were above ground. They are actually Tailless Macaques (monkeys), not apes. They didn't bother us at all. One or two came very close and sat waiting to see if we had any food for them. We had been well briefed on how to avoid incidents and all behaved well (people and monkeys). l learned that earlier (we were not the first tour) Jack and Anita had had more personal encounters with the monkeys. One apparently jumped on Jack's back but didn't really bother him. He said it didn't hurt him and was surprisingly light. The "ape" population is apparently doing pretty well. They are well taken care of and fed daily. This is to keep the different groups (there are six distinct families or tribes) from fighting each other for the food available. Our guide said there is actually enough food available on the rock naturally to support a population somewhat larger than the about two hundred or so living here. Someone else heard that they are fed to reduce their temptation to try to steal food from tourists. Probably both reasons are correct.
As I was returning to the ship I met my old Scuba buddy, Jane. She had escorted a tour to the rock at the same time I was there and wanted to go out and have another adventure. She invited me and I said as long as it didn't involve beaches and old forts like the one we had in India I was game. We both laughed. The misadventures are often the most fun to recount after you survive them. Well, we had not had lunch and were thirsty and figured we'd find a pub and work on solving both problems. We passed a Pig and Whistle Pub and popped in. We had ordered Guinness and then discovered they didn't have any food. Well, we sat there for about an hour and a half sipping our Guinnesses and forgot about lunch. The bar tendress did a cute thing on the head of the Guinness when she drew it. The last little drizzle made a shamrock on the top of the foam. Very artistic. I took a picture and then she asked me if I would show it to her boss. I did and told him she should get a raise for such creativity. If I remember correctly he was amused but not impressed. Oh well, I tried.
Jane and I headed back to the ship because we had an early sail-out time. She's a crazy girl but has done some pretty interesting stuff. Life is never dull around her. Pity she is married. Such is life. I'm not sure I could keep up with her anyway. Still not married as you can see Judith.
At dinner we once again celebrated Daphne's birthday. As in many restaurants in the States, the wait personnel all gather to sing Happy Birthday (in Indonesian of course) for those celebrating their birthday. We didn't want to miss out on that just because we had gone to the Pinnacle the night before so we told the waiters it was Daphne's birthday tonight. They brought a cake and sang as expected. It seems that the 13th of April is a birthday for about half a dozen or so other passengers too. The birthday song got quite a workout this evening.
The show tonight was split between Hillary O'Neill (singer/comedian) and the Jugglers. Neither was quite as good as the first time they performed. The show was only fair.
It is hard to believe there are only about two weeks remaining to this great trip. Poor me....
Well, I am going to wrap this up now and try sending it. I'm actually writing it on the 17th of April but want to get it on its way and will run out of time if I try to catch you up all the way. Besides, it is long enough already right? I'll work diligently to get Lisbon and Funchal to you in the next 24 hours or so. Hope you all are doing well and I am getting excited about seeing my cousins, Judith and Barb, in NYC. Four more sea days, a stop in Bermuda and another sea day before that but I'm almost home.
By the way cousins, I am told we will be docking at Pier 92 (711 12th Ave) at or about 7 AM. There will be delays (aren't there always) for Immigration, etc. but that is the word at present. I don't think we need to have you there that early. It is likely I won't even be able to leave until 9 or so. I have my cell phone with me and will be glad to give you a call when they turn us loose if you like. Of course, the phone might not work for some reason but it should. I can always find another phone. I may have your cell numbers but just in case please email me your current one(s). Thanks.
Cheers to all!