Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February 24 - at sea in the sunshine

Tuesday, February 24, 2009 – At sea – headed to Papua New Guinea!!
Swam early this morning and it felt great. 10:00 lecture on the volcanoes around Rabaul, Papua New Guinea and it was fascinating! Did you know there are strato and shield volcanoes? I guess I missed that lecture during school! Strato is for a conical shaped volcano and shield is for a rounded, sloping volcano. There were two large eruptions in this area – 3500 years ago and 1400 years ago. The most recent eruption in 1994 covered the area in ash with a 24 feet high tsunami. Imagine what happened 3500 years ago...We saw photos where the ash covered cars up to the door handles! The sea was covered in PUMICE, which was spewn out of the volcano into the sea. The boats were still floating but the pumice around them made the area look like land!

Another digital camera workshop and then lunch with friends in the Golden Lion Pub (my first hamburger onboard!). We headed up to the buffet for coffee and realized the Executive Chef was grilling hot pancakes for Shrove Tuesday! Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the shriving (confession) that Anglo-Saxon Christians were expected to receive immediately before Lent. This day is also known as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday and it is customary to eat pancakes. They are slightly thicker than a French crepe and are served with a sprinkling of super fine sugar, and a dash of fresh lemon juice or with syrup. Delicious!!

At 2:30, the crew had a Pancake Challenge! Each department had costumes and they had to run down the path holding a frying pan and flipping the pancake in the air as they ran the course. 12 teams competed and it was fun. The costumes were imaginative! One department dressed up as cannibals and actually carried a person out on a stick; he was hanging over the top of the stick like he was being speared! In a pail they had two hands and a leg sticking out…what creativity!...and how appropriate for the area!!

Met with the purser’s office and then I took a nap in the sun! The monsoons never came and we had the most glorious afternoon. It was a real summer day with beautiful white clouds in a blue sky with high humidity and calm seas. I went for another swim in the pool in the back of the ship and we dressed for formal night. We had box seats in the Royal Court Theater and sat in the “Royal Box” where Prince Charles and Her Highness Camilla sat in December 2007. We were escorted in by red uniformed ushers to a private lounge. In there, we enjoyed chocolate coated ice cream balls and strawberries decorated to look like a tuxedo and drinks and then were treated to special chocolates at our seats. We were entertaining the couple who were on their 30th consecutive world cruise and we all have fun. The show was DANCE PASSION.

Where did the term POSH originate? This colloquialism for “grand”, “swell” or “first-rate” is said to have originated in the old days of constant steamship travel between England and India. Passengers traveling would book their return passage with the arrangement “Port Out, Starboard Home”, thus ensuring cabins on the cooler side of the ship, as it was unbearably hot when crossing the Indian Ocean. Passengers would book “POSH” accordingly, and “POSH” soon came to be applied to a first-class passenger who could afford this luxury.