Day 38 Feb 11 (Sea Day)

Well, not much new today. The Vantage group talked about the Health System part II. Pretty much everyone agrees we should take care of everyone. I suspect that some of the R's as Linda calls them think to themselves, "but those of us who pay more taxes should get better service/care." But they're not saying that outloud. Lots of good people in our group who seem to truly care about others.

We had our second lifeboat drill today. This is apparently a requirement. Yesterday our Cruise Director, Bruce, reminded us after the show that today we had a lifeboat drill. He was greeted with a rousing collection of boos. He seemed genuinely upset for just a moment and then realized we were just teasing him. I can't remember ever being part of such a playful audience. It was really funny. We see Bruce almost everyday at the evening shows and a sort of relationship is developing between the crew and the passengers. We also give standing ovations to the best entertainers and they seem truly surprised by it but we all appreciate the effort and talent they display. I don't get out to live entertainment much in El Paso so this part of my cruise is a real treat. Having the same people (more or less) in the audience every night makes for a sort of unspoken camaraderie. Interesting.

Anyway, nobody fell overboard at the lifeboat drill. Two successful ones in a row. Fantastic!

We have a new lecturer about the area we're traveling through. His name is Mike Millwood. He is pretty good. Certainly an improvement over the Social Anthropologist! His topic is the settlement of Australia. Part I today. The first trip here with prisoners (the colonies were no longer available as a dumping ground for Great Brittain) took about 8 months and the guy in charge did such a good job he only lost about 3% to disease, etc. The next ship, a couple of years later lost 40%! Pretty brutal considering some of the prisoners were in jail for stealing food to live during a time of famine.

We had a meeting this afternoon of people interested in learning more about computers. I learned that the ship's computer guy, Felipe, is not a Holland American employee. He is on board to run the internet service which is a separate organization. I can't believe that Holland America doesn't realize that they need someone to help passengers, not just a technician. Well, on second thought, I think there have been so many complaints that perhaps they will add someone for the purpose on the next cruise (if not before). The group that met this afternoon is basically just passengers who would like to learn more or who know enough to share their knowledge. The guy who organized the meeting is just another passenger but we'll see how this goes. We signed up for subjects we were interested in and he is going to try to arrange rooms and times for the "classes". Some of the people at the meeting offered to "teach" the classes. This could be really helpful for those with little or no knowledge. Some of the programs being considered are: Excel, Word, Power Point, Income Tax filing, etc.

The show after dinner was a group called String Fever. It is a cute combination of a Cellist and a Violin (married couple). Very unconventional. Creative and clever with fun conversation thrown in.

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