Day 52-53 - At Sea
|Thursday, November 30, 2023: We'd set our clocks back an hour before going to bed, and were awake very early. We had breakfast of muesli and congee, and two very cold Diet Cokes, ...
|... and then several hours later opened the package of biltong that we'd bought in Durban so that we could try it. It had an interesting flavor, and was not as dense as beef jerky.
|Coincidentally, they were also serving biltong when we went up to the Lido for lunch. We didn't get any, ...
|... because they were also serving poutine. Priorities, people.
|Debbie got regular poutine with fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy, but Tom dressed his up with mushrooms and carmelized onions. This time, we were smart enough to ask for the cheese curds first, and then ask for the gravy.
|In the afternoon, there was almost no wind on our balcony so we set up the permethrin factory and sprayed some more clothes before our visit to the jungles of western Africa.
|Tonight's dinner was a celebration of German foods, so LEGO Debbie and Tom dressed up in their dirndl and lederhosen and joined us in the main dining room.
|The menus were specially printed for tonight's event, ...
|... and the legend had been changed to German food-inspired icons.
|We ordered two of the special beers to have with dinner. Tom got the Dortmunder Maibok from Germany, and Debbie got the Windhoek Premium Lager from Namibia. It took a good fifteen or twenty minutes for the foam to settle on Tom's beer from a spectacularly bad pour by the server. Debbie's was poured by a different server who had seen a beer before.
|Debbie's starter was the Kartoffelpuffer German potato cake, with shredded Black Forest ham and sour cream, ...
|... and Tom's was the Bavarian wurst salad with Emmental cheese, pickles, and briny dressing.
|Tom's main course was braised beef Rheinisher sauerbraten with raisins, almonds, red cabbage, and späetzle. Debbie agonized over her choice for a main, and ended up getting the Club Orange special Peruvian roasted chicken because she loved it so much the first time and was afraid that they wouldn't serve it again.
|We gasped with amazement when we saw Rocky Road ice cream on the dessert menu. It had been available a couple of times in the Lido but always disappeared before Debbie could get some. Debbie ordered it as soon as she saw it, half expecting that they would tell her that they didn't have it, but instead, a dish of two scoops of delicious Rocky Road ice cream showed up. Yay!
|Tom ordered the Bienenstich (Bee Sting) Cake, which was a brioche with crème patisserie, honey, and almonds.
|The sky had been overcast most of the day, so we were surprised at bedtime when it had cleared up and there were stars peeking out. We looked for the Southern Cross, but it hadn't risen yet. Tom set an alarm for 3:00 AM, hoping to be able to see it then, but when the alarm went off, it was back to being fully overcast.
|Friday, December 1, 2023: After another delicious breakfast of muesli, French toast, and Diet Coke, it was time to change the calendars.
|We'd been aboard for October, November, and now December.
|It was time to break out the holiday decorations. LEGO Debbie, LEGO Tom, and LEGO Grogu got right to work hanging stockings and getting out their Advent calendar. Lightsabers were hung by the chimney with care, ...
|... in the hopes that their starship soon would be there. Chewbacca, Finn, Rey, and BB-8 decorated the Millenium Falcon as well.
|We hadn't been to the pool in a while, so we got on our suits and went to the Sea View Pool. It was a little chilly out, so we started in the hot tub to raise our core body temperature. After soaking in the hot tub for a good long time, ...
|... Debbie jumped into the pool to test the water temperature, ...
|... and got right back out. It was waaaay too cold. We went right back into the hot tub to warm up, ...
|... and then wrapped ourselves in towels and sat on loungers at the back of the ship to dry off.
|Lunch in the Lido wa a celebration of the foods of Italy, with an incredible display of pasta on the left, tempting desserts in the middle, ...
|... with an impressive bread display on the right.
|We didn't get Italian food though, because for us, Italian is a food of last resort. Instead, we went to the Distant Lands Asia section and got Szechuan chicken and rice noodle salad. And sushi, of course. Always sushi. Yum!
|In the afternoon, Tom took advantage of the clearing skies to read out on the balcony.
|There were rain clouds on the horizon though, ...
|... and it looked like we were going to be going right through them. Sure enough, a few minutes later we were in a light rain and Debbie basked in the feeling of the tiniest raindrops ever.
|We used the opportunity to clean the glass on our balcony with the squeegee we'd bought at the mall in Durban.
|Starting at 3:00 PM, there was an ice cream social at the Lido Pool where the crew was distributing tiny ice cream welcome drinks to everyone. Cheers!
|As with the last ice cream social, the line was long, ...
|... so we went into the Lido Market and got regular ice cream instead, then had our own ice cream social in our cabin.
|By late afternoon, the ocean had become as smooth as glass, ...
|... with no swell and no waves. The texture was amazing, looking more like hammered metal than water.
|There were flying fish jumping out of the ship's wake, but we weren't successful in getting photos of any of them.
|It was a beautiful day at sea, the best we've had since leaving Cape Town.
|Dinner in the main dining room was Indian food. Tom had a lamb appetizer, ...
|... and we both had the Tandoori chicken. It was flavorful but not too spicy. Holland America's food is absolutely top notch.
|After dinner, we went out on the Promenade Deck to look for flying fish. We'd hoped that being closer to the water would help us get a photo, but we didn't see any at all. It was probably too late in the day, ...
|... with it getting close to sunset. Is there anything better than a sunset at sea? Well, yeah, but not many.
|We set an alarm for 3:00 AM again, hoping to be able to see the Southern Cross, ...
|... and the weather cooperated this time. The skies were clear, and the only haze was the drifting smoke from our smokestack. The Southern Cross and the False Cross constellations were both visible right off the back of the ship. In this photo, they're both on the left side, with the Southern Cross being lower and to the left of the False Cross.
|Here's a zoomed in view. The Southern Cross has five stars in the constellation, with the fifth star appearing on the right side.
|This is the False Cross. It is much larger and fainter, and not far away from the Southern Cross, but its fifth star appears on the left side. Tricksy. False.
|The lights of an unidentified Angolan city were visible in the distance.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy