Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day 8, October 11, 2014, Symphony Crossing – Sixth day of cruising

The seas were much rougher this morning.  We also gained another hour.  So, we got up even earlier and went out for a walk.  It was pretty difficult.  On the starboard side, the sea spray and wind was pretty brutal.  The port side didn’t have the sea spray, but the wind was also really bad.  We did the machines and decided that it was just too rough to walk.  So, we went in on deck 7 and walked the decks all the way up to deck 11 (walking both sides).  We ended up working out only about 40 minutes.  We probably should have just gone to the gym and walked on the treadmills.

On the morning show, Paul showed that we had taken a slightly more southern path to get to Grand Turk.  The reason was a storm was in our way and we would have gone right into it.  The storm was not a tropical storm or hurricane, but had gale force winds and seas exceeding 4 meters.  He showed on the weather maps our original path and the new one, which mostly misses the storm.  The seas will get to around 3 meters and will be worse from around noon to 6.

Paul showing on the map, the plot of where we were going (the yellow ship) and our modified path.

After breakfast (we went a bit lighter this morning in terms of food), we went to the talk by Robert Schrire on “The American Dream and the Future of Democracy.”  It was a great, non-partisan talk by a political scientist analyzing what the American Dream is and why there is such disillusionment with the American government.  He says that Americans are getting so fed up that they just might do something about it.  He said that we have to remember that politicians are just like everyone else and always looking out for their own self interests.  He made a number of really good suggestions to fix things: a) term limits for all (if it is good enough for the president, then it should be in there for Congress too); b) like Australia make it a crime to not vote (the effect of this is that for the most part, Americans are all centrist and this would allow their voices to be heard and control the agenda instead of the extremists on either side); c) like in most other countries, do not allow individual contributions to campaigns.  Instead the government gives candidates money to run their campaigns.  d) change the budget voting so it is all or nothing.  Have it prepared by experts and then make it an up or down vote, just like we currently do on trade agreements.  This will eliminate all of the extra pork and additions that is always done.  It was a very nice talk.

After that we went to our room, worked on the computer and then went to trivia.  Bob listened to the Captain at noon (they don’t broadcast in the Starlight lounge, so he has to go into the atrium – which seems like a mistake since they are supposed to wait until the Captain’s talk is over, why don’t they just broadcast it in the lounge too).  The storm that we were in just was named last night as tropical storm Fay.  Currently we have 34 knot winds which is gale force and seas around 3 meters.  It could get a bit worse as the day progresses, but we have missed the major portion of it as the Captain altered our course.  We have traveled 2550 nautical miles and have 800 more to go (note a nautical mile is 1.15 miles and is based on the circumference of the earth).  The storm is about 150 nautical miles to our north with winds around 60 knots, which is close to hurricane force.  It has seas around 10 meters, which would reach up to the promenade deck.   It is supposed to track northeast and will likely not make land fall.  The trivia was the worst so far and we didn’t even make it to the page of teams and scores.  We only got a few right.  These questions are just so hard and obscure.  It isn’t like information that you might have known at one time, it is just information that you simply don’t know.

After lunch (Julie had a salad and Bob had a burger no bun) we decided to pass on the two lectures and instead go to the movie at 2:30, “Million Dollar Arm” – a Disney movie about an unconventional way of finding new great baseball pitchers in India.  It was really a great movie.  All of the characteristics of a good film with the main character changing and the crisis and resolution.  What is even more amazing is it is a true story, and apparently the movie was pretty accurate.  We were very glad that we saw the picture and highly recommend it.

We then changed for dinner (resort casual) and went to the before dinner concert by violinist Michael Bacala at 5:15.  The guy is a virtuoso from Poland and was truly amazing.  It is hard to describe his talent.  He was able to do things with the violin that we didn’t think was possible.  We strongly recommend that if you get a chance to see him you do so.  It is well worth the time.

We then went to dinner in the dining room at our usual 6:15 time for dining by reservation.  It is interesting that we have sat either on the left side of the center section or the right side in only 3 different tables.  It is all pretty consistent, I think based on the fact that we show up at roughly the same time and so does everyone else (getting into a rhythm seems to be the key to these long voyages, something that we have certainly done as well).  For dinner this night, Julie had the Sauteed Tiger Prawn with Peach Compote and Balsamic Crystals from the Modern menu while Bob had the Vine Ripened Tomato & Mozzarella with Red Onions and Basil-Caper Dressing; we both loved them.  For the second course, we both had the Cream of Asparagus “Argenteuil” soup, which too was excellent.  It is interesting, it seems that every soup that we have had has been amazing.  For the entrée, we both had the Black Angus Prime Rib with Corn on the Cob, Broccoli, Baked Potato with Condiments, and Natural Gravy.  The prime rib was terrific.  Julie had the Flourless Double Fudge Brownie a la Mode for dessert while Bob had the Soufflé Grand Marnier with Sauce Negresco.  We loved it all (as usual).

The Tomato and Mozzarella salad:

The prawn:

The soup:

The prime rib.  Notice how it is cooked perfectly.  Ok, we forgot to take a picture, so this is the empty table after we consumed a great entree.

Like the above shot, we forgot to take pictures, so this is a partially consumed Soufflé.

And the flourless cake:

After dinner, there was a movie at 8:30 (3 Days to Kill) or we could wait and see the Liar’s Club show at 10:15.  Instead, we went back to the room and relaxed and watched some College Football.

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