Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Semi-final Frontier

Today’s program calls this Day 22 which it is technically. We boarded on Friday, July 23 but did not sail until the next day. Tomorrow, we dock in Amsterdam [Day 23?] to take on supplies and new passengers. We have no specific plans yet, but we do have several walking tours on D’s Kindle and there are always canal tours. Although we would like to revisit the Anne Frank House, our knees are no longer willing to climb the steep, narrow stairway behind the famous book shelves.

We have continued to talk excitedly, especially with Roxanne, about last night’s dinner. Being in the center ring of the MDR Circus was not the only intimidating aspect of the evening. The table itself brought a sobriety which we had not exhibited in three weeks.

The Table of Honor is a round table which can hold 10 people although there were just nine of us last night. It is right in the middle of the larger of the two areas of the La Fontaine Dining room and it was set as if for royalty. All of the plates were in the Rosenthal Versace Medusa pattern, dark red with a figure of Medusa’s head staring out as if it was statuary. The crystal was from the same pattern. Water goblets a foot tall and matching, but shorter, wine glasses [both red and white] with Medusa’s head in three dimensions at the bottom of the glass where it meets the stem.

To fill these wine glasses, the wine steward [sommelier] had selected an Australian white and a Napa valley red. He had decanted the red an hour before the dinner so it could breathe, as they say in the wine business. While the white was poured straight from the bottle, the red came from a clear glass decanter which looked a little like a flat, glass teapot on drugs. Wine was served at the beginning of the meal and then again when the entrees were served; thus, people could drink white at the start and switch to red if their meal called for it or vice-versa. It was oh, so terribly refined. Even the water was poured from fresh plastic bottles. Damn the recycling problem, full steam ahead.

One thing we talked about was the recycling situation on shipboard. In years past, there used to be a separate receptacle in each stateroom for the recycling of paper. Our cabins have not had this for several years although some at the table claimed that there were separate sections in their trash cans. Fermin talked at length about recycling on the Prinsendam. Crew members go through each trash can to pull out anything which can be recycled – paper, metal, glass, etc. Batteries from cameras and the like are also collected. The waste is then crushed and/or bundled pending its removal at an appropriate port and any money made from its sale is set aside for the crew. As a result, there is much less waste on board than there used to be, a positive for the pocket book and the conscience.

Trivia today was a disaster. The winning teams tied at 15 correct and we were not even close to that with our paltry 11. Even if we had made better decisions when answers were offered, we still would not have won. [The blue jay is a member of what bird family? Who plotted a revolution against Elizabeth I in 1601? Which continent has 5 of the world’s 10 longest rivers?]
MA had her nails done this afternoon, so lunch was very light, but we did go to the Indonesian tea at 3:00 with Roxanne. Eko, our dinner waiter, took care of us and recommended several pastries with names he did not mention. There was a pancake, as he called it, wrapped around coconut and brown sugar and another pastry which was sticky rice rolled in coconut. Roxanne had a meeting at 4, so we split up and went back to the cabin to read. MA is determined to finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo today.

Dinner tonight was sad. Barbara and Marvin are leaving us in the morning and the table will not be the same. Quieter but not the same. Of course, we will be able to see them when they return to Florida, possibly for good, in September. After last night’s formality, it was good to laugh and giggle again. [MA had sesame noodles and D had chicken again]

All through dinner, we could see what we assumed were oil rigs in the distance. At one point, Barbara took a picture of what we think was a little house in the middle of the North Sea; perhaps it is a caretaker’s cottage for the personnel who oversee the rigs. Most of those rigs seemed to be nothing more than a few pipes sticking out of the water, probably not real wells. We could also see a number of “Christmas trees,” full deepwater oil rigs. After the recent events in the Gulf of Mexico, we weren’t sure if we wanted to cruise so close to any of these oil rigs. Luckily, none exploded while we were in the vicinity.

We made sad goodbyes to Marvin and Barbara and made arrangements to meet Roxanne and Ed in the morning. All continuing passengers must vacate the ship to satisfy Dutch immigration officials. Since we have to go ashore to present our passports, we will start our exploring when the Passport Dance is done.

Tomorrow – Amsterdam, Netherlands


  1. I still say you try the "space cakes" in Amsterdam...that would be an adventure. I have the second book in the series mom is reading. I will leave it at your house.

  2. Since we were recently in Amsterdam, relived our time through your entertaining commentary.

    Bert and Sally