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Travel Diary, Oceania

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Saturday March 2. Spent a lot of time talking to people beginning at breakfast but throughout the day as BGM having eaten twice the day before came out of the cabin only for Yoga. We did, however, have to the cabin for drink and snacks the friends, Garry and Nicki with whom I had dinner. Neither of us attended, but there was a very good wine tasting. For $55 attendees could have has much to drink of 27 different wines. None of them were great wines, but everyone seemed to have a good time. Lost in poker again. There was some excitement during the poker game. Just a few feet from the poker table there were about 8 paintings on easels which have been displayed several weeks as they are for sale. Although I think two have been sold, I think it is unlikely that many more will be sold because one does not have to be an art critic or even semi-knowledgeable about art to know that the paintings range from “horrible to REALLY horrible”. Anyway, we hit some turbulence and all the paintings came crashing down making a very loud noise. Fortunately, no one was walking by or someone could have really been hurt. The biggest thing that happened is that, because a crew member became ill, the ship is going to arrive in Sydney at about 4 p.m. tomorrow which is Sunday until Monday morning. The illness is, obviously, “bad news”, but the “good news” is that we get an additional half a day in Sydney. I had told BGM that I wanted to go to Chinatown, but her research showed that it was much more exciting at night. We probably would not have gone had the schedule not changed, but now we have plans to go with friends to Chinatown. It is unclear what, if anything else, we do. There are some major customs hoops to jump through when arriving in Australia. I am not significantly expanding the number of friends being made on the ship. Over 200 (about 220) people are leaving the ship in Sydney and a few more than that are getting on including our friends Paul and Pat Feren whom we met on a previous cruise. They are from Atlanta and traveled down to Florida to attend my 75th birthday party and visited us in Italy. I think we will be able to incorporate them with the group of friends we have made during the first almost 50 days we have been cruising, but BGM and I both think we would never want to take less than the full cruise if it is an around the world cruise. Oceania does so much more for the ATW passengers than it does for those just taking a segment or even more than one segment. There are eight segments in all, the longest being the one just ending from L.A. to Sydney. Not only does the cruise line favor the passengers taking the whole cruise, but the passengers themselves treat each other differently. One frequently hears when introductions are made, in substance or in form, “how far are you cruising?”. Some real and lasting friendships can be made on a six month cruise that are much more, if not impossible, to forge in a much shorter period of time. There are about 320 passengers taking the whole cruise and they seem to seek each other out and kind of “stick together”. Unless you already know someone on the cruise when getting on a segment, it is really hard to get assimilated. Our good friends Bobby and Elaine Baer are getting on in London for the last segment, and they will not have that the same kind of problem, both because we will be there, and because of Bobby’s personality. If he could navigate, he might be the Captain before the segment he is on is over. Those who know me well know that I do not like to talk about the rhubarb crop. For many, I am overly intrusive because I ask a lot of questions, and people who are private by nature get put off by me. I never ask a question I would not answer if I were asked the same question, but the problem is that I will answer just about any questions. “It is none of your business” is simply not a phrase that often come out of my mouth. Thus, I get attracted to people who are willing to share their lives with me as I am with them. This, in turn, has led to some fascinating times. I read a lot of books because I like stories, and I was attracted to family law because every time I see a prospective client, I hear a new story—“once upon a time I married…..” So, the more conversations in which I engage, the more I listen, the more I realize, for those who remember “Naked City” that “there are eight million stories in the naked city” That quote ends with “this has been one of them”. I have heard some unbelievable stories as I sit and share thoughts with people. One friend is fighting both liver and lung cancer and has to immediately go to a doctor when we dock in Sydney. Another friend has to has to wait with baited breadth every thirty days to see if a very rare medicine she needs to live will arrive on time. If I have learned nothing else, and I hope I already knew this, it is “never judge someone without knowing the whole story”. I have also learned to “never just someone by the opinion of others” although there are a handful of people in my life whose opinions come with a strong presumption of correctness/

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