|The ceiling fixture in the main lounge area, the Centrum.|
Cruising is ideal for us. We love the routine we naturally slide into within a few days, hanging out with new friends, meeting more people at meals each morning, evening, and when wandering about the ship.
Yesterday afternoon Tom attended the daily “Shed,” an Australian tradition whereby men get together and shoot the breeze. He had a great time and most likely will return again each day. How unusual for us to be apart for a few hours. I easily filled the two-hour time slot working out and taking photos.
In three days, we’ll reach our first port of call, Moorea, Society Islands, where we’ll get off the ship to check out the island. It’s especially enjoyable for us when we have an opportunity to visit new locations to see if it’s a place we’d return to someday for an extended stay.
|Tom refused to partake in the “Sexiest Man Aboard Ship Contest” that transpired yesterday afternoon. We both got a kick out of watching the contest poolside.|
If not, it’s still interesting to see other parts of the world, the local customs, the way of life, and the dedication many islanders must exercise to fulfill the expectations of tourists constantly flooding their area.
We’re very sensitive to that fact and we make every effort to be kind, patient, and appreciative when services are provided to us. Many island nations have lived off the cruise business and tourism to sustain a quality of life that may be impossible without it.
|Part of the competition was pushups. This passenger did the most number of pushups, 66, and eventually won the competition with his excellent dancing skills.|
Most of the islands we’ll visit between Saturday, May 30th and June 11th have small populations, high poverty levels, and struggle to make it through life. It is through the naivety of us travelers that a simple beautiful life can be had living on a tropical island.
But, for the masses living on these islands, life is hard, fraught with poverty, illness, and strife often without running water, electricity, and modern comforts and conveniences.
|This poor guy couldn’t do one pushup. This made Tom especially happy he hadn’t participated.|
We have no delusions in our pleasant way of life of following the sun, that the people that serve us in any manner share in what appears to them to be an affluent life. For us, it’s hardly affluent when we’ve made many adjustments and sacrifices in order to live this life we’ve chosen.
We’ve often said this and continue to remind ourselves…we are humbled by this life we live. Humbled by the beauty of the people, the environment, the way of life, and how simply one can live and find happiness at every turn.
|This guy did a “moon shot” while the dancing part of the competition took place.|
Sure, it’s easy for us to say this as we lounge on a cruise ship writing to our readers today using modern technology, eating good food, and having all the “creature comforts” one could want.
From one laugh fest to another, one great philosophical conversation to another, to one enriching expose of our lives to theirs, we strive to maintain a degree of gratitude and humility.
|One of the buffet tables in Romeo and Juliet, the main dining room.|
However enthusiastically we share our story that often leaves mouths agape as to how we could possibly manage to let go of all of our worldly goods, the people we love, and a place to call “home” we don’t forget for a moment that is could change on a dime.
As each day comes, we find ourselves being grateful for one more opportunity to become engaged in our surroundings whether its people, scenery, or wildlife, and when, on occasion, it’s all of these.
|The dining room as it was being set for breakfast.|
At the moment we’re sitting outdoors near the pool in a dining area with tables and chairs drinking cold beverages on a hot, humid day and a somewhat overcast day at sea. We don’t have a complaint in the world. The seas are relatively calm so far and that too could change on a dime. If it does we’ll be ready to take on the challenge with aplomb.
Please bear with our less than perfect photos aboard the ship. There are only so many photo ops on the ship. However, in a few days, we’ll have more exciting photos to share of the many islands we’ll visit on the journey to Australia.
Photo from one year ago today, May 27, 2014:
|At night the island of Madeira became a cacophony of lights and magic as we enjoyed this view from our veranda. In the entire two and a half months, we never tired of either the daytime ocean views or the lights. For details, please click here.|
Comments and responses “Sexiest Man Aboard Ship Contest”…Tom and the “Shed”…
Firstly I can't believe Madeira was a year ago already!
Secondly I am most upset Tom didn't enter the 'Sexiest Man' competition- but maybe he knew he would win hands down!!!! I sure you concur Jess, there's a time when you step aside to let the 'youngsters' take the floor! (Aren't I cheeky?)
I totally agree about how life can change in a moment. I know this all too well as I am sure many readers do too. The fortune of our birth and the life style in which we thrive determines our expectations in life. Not a day goes by without me being hugely grateful for my life and the seemingly easily reached resources and amenities. I am very aware that there are many in the world who do not have this luxury.
Liz, Tom's flattered you'd think he'd have had a chance. But, he wouldn't have been able to do the pushups!
Yes, life can change, as you so well know and we have to grab every moment.
Much love to you,
Jess & Tom