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Old March 24th, 2006, 09:20 PM
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Mike M Mike M is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: You're Looking At Me
Posts: 24,364
Default Heading to Beijing

Greetings 3-25

If it’s a sea day it must be Saturday. We left Shanghai five hours early due to the tides and other issues so another day of exploration was out of the question. We had a nice sailaway with Mimosas on the bow of the ship and a nice, but smoggy, view of Shanghai as we left. Last night’s entertainment was an English vaudeville act. His act was taught to him by his 92 year old grandfather. He did some comedy, juggling and a magic trick. I think he used his grandfather’s same jokes. Kuki and I could be headliners with our bad material.

Because of the lack of time in Shanghai a number of people who had booked Holland America tours felt somewhat slighted because their tours seemed like whirlwind excursions with only a few minutes in each location.

We also found out that the port entrance for Xingang is thirty miles from the ship so it will be a bit of a ride to meet our driver. I confirmed that he will not be able to enter the strictly controlled port area. Email is a good thing. I have found that Holland America has been very lacking in the information that they provided people prior to this cruise. They have informed us onboard that a bus will be available to get us to the port entrance for $2 American. The land division of the shore excursion staff did a terrible job and the corporate headquarters needs to really get their act together on all fronts.

The other issue is their cruise preparation. They have no Chinese currency onboard. This was also in direct contradiction of the front office. This isn’t as much of a problem with passengers as it is with crew. ATM’s are available and if you are on their tours then you are OK. However don’t bother with travelers checks. You do not have your passport and you can’t cash one without it. Copies are not accepted. There were a few “selected? vendors that accepted American currency but many do not. Especially if the eyes of the local police are anywhere near. Visa is accepted at some stores but not in many of the market areas.

I also have to admit that the beginnings of inside cabin psychosis are setting in. The “Front of the Ship? channel is becoming my favorite. If I was a Nielsen Family it’s ratings would be through the roof. Also, what’s with the curtain? Who are they trying to fool? It just knocks anything over you have set up there. I wake up at 5:00 a.m. and all I want to do is see what it’s like outside without waking up Betty so I quietly put on my pants, shirt and shoes and sneak out to have a peek outside. All the time hoping I don’t come in contact with another human in fear of having to say good morning and smell morning breath.

I also think there is one other psychosis setting in. Betty has become addicted to doing laundry. I think it’s because she puts quarters in it and thinks it’s a slot machine. I’ve been wearing the same three pair of underwear the whole time. At least they’re clean.

Another sea day is ahead of us. So I will get ready for trivia and sign off. BTW: We have won each day. I have a key chain, luggage tag, document holder and gave away another key chain.
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"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me

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