Day 71 Mar 15 (sea day)

The last sea day before we dive back into India. Mumbai tomorrow. And the day after that I get up at about 3 AM to fly to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and a few other things in the area (about 1000 miles north of Mumbai). I'm told it will be worth the trip. I sure hope so. Sleep may become a much more important commodity before the next two days are over. Tomorrow we have been told that we will have to have a face-to-passport inspection by the Mumbai Immigration people between 6:30 AM and 8:00 AM. The said it would be alphabetical so I have set my alarm for 7:30. If they need to see me before then I may model my Holland America robe for them. We'll see how it goes. I figured I can eat breakfast afterward so if they are late, as they usually are, it should work out pretty well. Since I have to get up so early the next morning I guess getting up a little early tomorrow may help me get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

Well, that is tomorrow. I need to get this done and try to send it before I go to bed and it is after 9:20 PM here right now. So, here is today. Another sea day but a couple of interesting things. Tai Chi was a review of all 18 move to the form we're learning. We got the last three yesterday. Then the Vantage lecture from Chris was the second half of the Boer War. The Brits really messed that one up. You would think they learned something about fighting indigenous people in a little conflict they had in the late 1700's. Can you say don't wear red and don't stand around in lines??? They should have sent more troops in the beginning. (sound familiar?) But when they realized they were losing and couldn't bear the thought of the empire looking bad they invented the surge. They sent about an additional 270,000 men!!! Now that is a surge. It worked but in the aftermath they wound things down badly. Can anyone remember a war where the post war stuff was handled well??? Anyway, this one apparently set up the things which eventually led to apartheid. You remember that little policy of South Africa a few years back? Funny how all this history stuff seems to have consequences....

Trivia was not too easy today. I don't know how we did because I has a lunch invitation and left after the last question was asked. I'll find out from the team when I see them next. The lunch was with the Vantage folk. I have done that twice before I think. They have a table of 10 with the two program directors, Chris and Dee. They are lovely people and very savvy about travel. Having said that, yesterday Chris showed us his shorts from the day in Chennai! He said, "Remember how I've told you to keep track of the space around you? Well, here is what happened to me during the one moment I didn't do that." The shorts had a slit horizontally at the level of the pocket bottom. Another up the side was no doubt done because Chris did have the good sense to keep his wallet in his front pocket. So all he lost was a pair of shorts and a bit of pride wondering how many people saw his bum. Oh, interesting irony - the shorts were the fabric we had in the 60's called Madras! Chennai, where the slit occurred was formally (still is by many) called Madras. You gotta love it. The shorts were ugly anyway. Maybe someone just slit them for that reason so he wouldn't wear them again?? LOL.

Meanwhile back to today. In the afternoon there was a presentation by the Environmental Control Officer. They had a well produced video and then he gave a brief lecture about the ship's processing of waste, etc. Then he invited Q & A for about 20-30 minutes. It was pretty interesting. Long story short, as he said, his job is to keep the Captain out of jail and the company from having to pay fines. Actually, I think he was being a little modest. Holland America Lines has the best environmental scores in the industry. I'm not sure how much of this was motivated by the $50,000 fine they had to pay a couple of years ago and the five years probation they are on but the fact remains that they are meeting or exceeeding all requirements by all legal authorities. This is apparently not so easy. There are authorities in every port we use as well as a United Nations component which also has rules for the entire world. All ships are required to follow all the rules. I was amazed at how little solid waste we need to off-load at ports. It is only about a cubic meter per day. Liquids are highly processed to meet international regulations and then released when we're at sea and solids are either recycled or incinerated for the most part (again within limits set by legal authorities). A full time engineer is onboard every ship to anticipate and deal with any situations which might cause problems. One thing we had to do was get fuel with low enough sulfur content in Singapore to burn in the Venice area! Their restrictions are higher than those of most other ports so we are carting that special fuel with us until we get there because there isn't any available between Singapore and Venice on the route we're taking. All our crew members receive training about proper procedures and concerns related to the environment. As a retired science teacher it does my heart good to know all of this.

Took a short nap and then a run this afternoon. I liked the scale today. I weighed a couple days ago and I've lost a pound. I'm doing pretty well considering all the food that wants me to eat it. Of course, after watching Brad Pitt in Troy I have a long way to go...yeah, like I could ever look like that in this life! LOL!

The show tonight was comedian, Kevin Devane from England. He was very funny.

Well, gotta get some sleep. Cheers all. Hope I can send this tonight.

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