Saturday 28 December 2019

Silver Muse cruise, Day Five - Tasman Sea sloth

With thanks to Silversea for this cruise
Days at sea are like a holiday, on a cruise. No excursions to busy yourself with, no - well, no excursions is pretty much it. But once you slip into cruise mode, with everything done for you, all desires met, not even having to think about paying for whatever takes your fancy, the discipline of an excursion looms large. So having, right now, two consecutive at-sea days as we cross the Tasman, the danger is that we won't be able to stir from our lethargy at all when we get to Burnie, Tasmania, on whatever day it is (at-sea vagueness about such things as dates not helped at all by the usual Christmas-New Year limbo).

That's not to say, of course, that there aren't things going on, on board. Meals, naturally - breakfast notable to me for the animated conversation witnessed between married couples, which really doesn't seem like normal behaviour. And today there were also a couple of lectures: the first an American woman talking about the Aboriginal people, which is a dicey topic to discuss, especially with Australians in the audience, but she managed well, I thought; though she did let slip the phrase "victims of an incomplete genocide" which rather gave the game away. Most of it I was familiar with - but I had no idea about the huge animals that used to live in Australia when the Aboriginal people first got there, maybe 70,000 years ago. Wombats eight times the size of today's - imagine! Bit of a shame she used the name Ayer's Rock though, and not Uluru.

The sea was mercifully calm today - and remarkably so too, for the notorious Tasman - but the waves in the swimming pool were dramatic as we lunched alongside it, wrapped up against the wind. There was napping - including, I'm ashamed to say, during the rather dull afternoon lecture by a Major-General OWM about convicts in Tasmania, which ought to have been a lot more riveting - and then we roused ourselves for Team Trivia, which was very popular today. We had six in our team but still managed only 14/20 again - though for once that was good enough to earn third place points. Not that we deserved them: the blatant cheating continues, with the quizmaster and waiters quietly supplying answers as they wander around, and a loose attitude to the final marking. Not right at all. Questions this time included: Sherlock Holmes's address; where did canasta originate; who voiced Porky Pig; who wrote Rigoletto?

There was a classical piano concert before dinner which I had hoped to enjoy but although it featured mainly Chopin, it was pieces that mostly allowed the pianist to show off, rather than deliver an actual tune, so my low-brow musical appreciation faculties went unsatisfied.

At dinner in Atlantide (Chilean sea bass - very nice) we shared a table with a Singaporean couple - he had a big hand in sleep apnoea research - and some Aussies from Melbourne. Conversation topics included: 60 laps of the pool deck takes the Aussies 90 minutes, spurred on by step-counting sibling rivalry via Apple watches; growing olives; spurning a Green Card in favour of moving to Australia (no regerts); Christmas decorations in Reykjavik; and (shhh) the superiority over Silversea of Crystal cruises - entertainment-wise, at least.

The proof of that was in the concert that finished the evening: 60s pop songs sung enthusiastically but not 100% well by one of the six cast members on board. The audience was on her side though, until she made the alienating statement: "That was a big hit for Dusty Springfield in 1967 - which was the year my mother was born." Cue sudden chill.


the queen said...

22 Baker Street; uuhhh ... Venezuela; Mel Blanc; and I should know this after seeing it this summer ... Verdi?

TravelSkite said...

221b Baker Street (we missed the 1); Uruguay; yes; and Verdi.


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