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Monica's World Journal
November 2000
November 1, 2000

Today was our last day in India. In a way I'm relieved, but in a way I wish I could stay longer. I feel like I'm finally beginning to be able to move around the city without feeling attacked at every turn. It's weird how I've learned to ignore people who approach me. I've seen that you cannot feel bad for ignoring the hawkers, or else the whole time you're here you'll feel bad!

This morning I did an FDP which was a Criminal Justice Overview. We went to the police training college where a man spoke to us about many aspects of police training and about the community policing group called "Friends of Police." He really wanted us to see that even though the police have a negative image in the eyes of the public, they aren't bad. Next, we went to a police station. I saw the cell where they hold people for 24 hours until their interrogation. The floors were dusty, the cells were tiny, and the cops gave me the creeps. I got the feeling that the Indian cops are not to be messed with. They claim a two minute response time to a call of distress, I highly doubt that! I found out they have a "reservation system" (like affirmative action) for women recruits; the goal is 1/3 of the police force to be women. Interestingly, only men spoke formally to us.

I returned to the ship around lunch time. After lunch, BJ, AJ and I set out to do last minute email, post office, and shopping at Spencer's Plaza. The first two were a breeze. We ended up paying WAY to much for the trishaw ride because BJ is just too nice for this haggling thing! We keep trying to explain to him that it's because of people like him that the merchants, drivers, etc feel they can rip us off. After arriving at Spencer's Plaza, we did email and shopping...

Finally, we made our way back to the ship. I'm happy to be halfway through the voyage.

I loved the bargaining. I loved the auto-trishaw rides. I loved traveling to Mamallapuram. I disliked the dusty and dirty streets. I disliked the people trying to sell me things every time I took a step. I disliked the amount of energy it took to go anywhere!

I feel like the people here think I am an endless money pit. Granted I have more money than most in India, but it's not like I have enough to solve the poverty, or even to help one person! It feels like no one here is genuine: I would talk with people, the whole time wondering when they would ask for money. I really wish I could have met more people. In India meeting truly good people is a challenge... Everyone tries to rip you off.

On to Kenya! WOW! I have absolutely no idea about Kenya. I haven't really had time to think about it except that it will be hot.

India is intense, that's what they told me...Now I see what they mean... I can definitely say now: India is intense. Not because of the poverty so much as how people treat you as a dollar sign everywhere you go!

November 2, 2000

One thing I realize I forgot to write about the Dalit village is the Hindu temple. It is in the center of the village. The goddess Gangai Amman is worshipped in this village. At first, I just peered through the doors to see the shrine. Then the priest of the village opened the doors for me. I saw a crude figure of the goddess. It was clothed. Everyday from 6:00-8:00AM the goddess is redressed and washed and the village people come to worship her. After exiting the temple, a man told me the priest never opens the doors outside of the regular hours! It was a VERY special thing to have been let in! I was honored.

Today we didn't leave port until about 4:00PM because of a problem with a water valve. Now, we're finally on our way to Kenya... I'm signing up for the camping safari tomorrow...I hope I get it!!

November 3, 2000

It's so hard to get any personal time here. Even meals are a social affair. There isn't really anywhere on the ship to go alone and when I'm in port I would never travel alone...I caught the sunset. I stood out by the railing, watching the sun dip behind a cloud. Sunsets here are so different. As the fiery ball nears the horizon it turns bright red and huge. It's nothing like the oranges and purples of sunsets near home. Even the sunset did not leave me time alone. I took my eyes away from the spectacle and saw about ten other people standing near me, also watching the sunset. I can do nothing to get away. I'll have to go in search of a place of my own somewhere on the ship where no one will find me...

November 4, 2000

Here I sit in my deck chair trying to feel alone. This ship get smaller everyday. I just had a great conversation with Jeff about life and classes and everything else. It's almost 11:00 PM now...I wonder when everyone will wander off to bed...I almost relish the thought of sitting here until every single person is asleep when I can finally have some time to myself.

After talking to Jeff I'm thinking hard about what course I want my life to take when I return. The more I think about it, the more I can't bear the thought of going straight into grad school. I want to travel. I will definitely finish school next semester. After that, I don't really know! I really feel like it will be nice to just not have a plan. For once in my life I won't have ANYTHING I have to do. I just want my life to take on it's own course...

Right now it seems like anything is possible, but I know that once I'm home my outlook will be different.

At this moment I'm almost positive that I don't want to go straight into grad school. I need to travel while I'm young. I can start my career later. I'll take the GRE just to get it over with, then in 5 years, when my scores almost aren't valid, I'll apply to grad school if I still want to go. I feel like I need to let my life run its course for a while. Everything doesn't need to be so planned. I think grad school was my choice because going to school is all I know how to do! It would be easy to just keep going to school and never really have any experiences...

My life seems so up in the air right now. It's almost strange for me to not feel apprehensive about this, but really it's very exciting!

It will be interesting to see how all these things play out when I get home... I hope this carefree spirit I feel never, ever leaves me...

November 5, 2000

My day began with excitement. I was pulled out of a deeply satisfying sleep by Daniel (our steward) who I heard say, "Oh shit, wake up wake up... Your floor's flooding!" Suddenly Liz and I jumped out of bed and started taking everything off our floor and piling it on the beds. The water was still coming in...we had a lake in our room! Luckily, the water level never rose above about half an inch. Nothing was ruined. So, I am now sitting on a little corner of my bed. The water has all been vacuumed up and there is a carpet drying fan in between Liz and my beds.

Our life vests were on the floor and they have water-activated lights on them...Suddenly my light came on! I guess it's good to know it works! :) My computer was on the floor last night and for some reason I decided to put it away, in the top of my closet. I'm glad I did now! Our carpet is going to take FOREVER to dry... It wasn't just our room, but our next door neighbors and a few doors down into Jordan's room, but it stopped there.

It turns out a hot water pipe burst, but they've fixed it now.

It's now 10:40 PM and the carpet is still wet. We have to leave the really loud fan on all night! I laid outside for a few minutes today and did some studying. Except for the flood this morning, my day was uneventful!

I'm still in the weird mood where I'm feeling entirely anti-social. Even more I'm feeling board and the ship is not getting any bigger. I have to watch out not to start eating a lot because I eat when I'm bored. I though about stating to work out again, but it's so much work! I don't need to impress anyone! :)

November 6, 2000

We had our crossing the equator ceremony this morning. People paraded down the halls to wake us up at around 8:30. We all gathered by the pool to see two thrones set up for King Neptune and his Queen to sit on and accept all of us Pollywogs and turn us into Shellbacks. Many people lined up and the crew dumped "fish guts" on them. Then each person jumped into the pool and passed in front of King Neptune (Lloyd) for approval. I didn't do it, but it looked like fun... Then it was time for head-shaving. Guys and girls alike lined up to get shaved... I though about it for all of two seconds and then wondered why I thought about it at all! I love my hair too much to shave it off! But a lot of girls did... I wonder if they'll regret it tomorrow!

Liz and I laid out in the sun on the deck for about two hours! I used a lot of sunscreen, so I don't know if laying out did anything to darken my skin...It's probably just as well because the equatorial sun is just that much worse for the skin. Now it's lunch time and then I have to study for midterms tomorrow and the next day...

So I survived the day with a little sunburn in a few patches, but nothing too bad. Studying for my midterm didn't happen until later in the evening because I could not get motivated. I tend to worry too much about tests in general. When I finally looked over the review sheet I realized it won't be too difficult! Still I'm a little nervous because I don't want my GPA to fall on this trip...

November 7, 2000

We officially crossed the equator today at 1:55 (13:55).

It's election day on the ship and in the states. I'm very interested to see who our next president will be...

Tonight we had a Colorado party. Everyone either from Colorado or attending school in Colorado was invited. Many people showed up, but a ton of people didn't. It's weird how there are people on the ship who I didn't even know who live/lived in Colorado! It was nice to talk a little about home with people who know.

November 8, 2000

It's 7:00 AM, I've been studying for an hour and a half. I woke up with the sun to see an absolutely beautiful sunrise over the extremely calm ocean. Now, as I take a study break, I look out the windows from the Union and see the ocean. Soft blue. Barely moving. Waveless. Small ripples. Like sand in the desert, but blue. Our ship does not seem to be moving. A flying fish! It's so peaceful! Even our ship only makes ripples, the waves do not crash as we cut through the water, but they shyly part for us to keep moving.

Today is our second core test which is why I'm us so early... Now it's back to studying...

I'm so psyched about the Lion King coming on tonight!

I can't wait to get to Africa now! After watching the Lion King and seeing all the animals I'm so excited! Elephants. Giraffes. Lions. Hyenas. A safari in Africa!

November 10, 2000

I'm in Kenya! My first thought was how mellow it is here compared to India... We've been here all of eight hours and I already spent the money I intend to spend in this port...In cash at least. I also traded some socks and a shirt! (Oh ya, and some pens that they love).

Kenya is wonderful! Everyone here is so nice! "Jambo" is all I heard while walking down the street ("hello")... And this time it's not usually people trying to sell stuff! Even if it is a salesperson, they respect "no" and leave you alone. I fried in the sun, but I don't think I got burned.

The best thing so far is the bartering. I traded socks, pens and a shirt I never wear for some things from a seller. It's a great way to do business!

This morning I was a little apprehensive because our group of four grew to six. But, despite my fears, the day was amazing!

First stop: email, post office, general errands. One thing about the port is the $10 taxi ride into town and from town. So, we returned for lunch on the ship and hung around the ship to let the hottest part of the day pass. This is when I visited the hawkers lined against the wall of a building across from our ship... My socks, etc were traded... I know I really got ripped off, but it's ok because it's worth a lot more to them than to me.

I began to get annoyed though because we would agree on a price then the seller would add more money on top of what we agreed on. I literally ran out of money! It was okay though because I only brought what I wanted to spend. The problem was when I had to convince a man that the socks and shirt I handed him were all I had. I asked him what he would give me for how much I had. He asked me what I liked... Finally I relented and pointed at something that caught my eye. He said no, too expensive. Then we finally agreed on something. He started telling me I had to give him money on top of what I had already given him! I had NO MONEY! He did not believe me! He said, "you're American, you always have money." I tried to explain to him that I could not get money while in port...but he kept saying, "You get money off ship." Then he launched into other things I could give him... my watch, a baseball hat, more shirts, my shoes, my backpack...everything he could think of! Finally, I broke away and retreated to the safety of the ship. When I walked into my room I looked around and thought about how crazy it would be if the sellers could see all that I have...and that's just on the ship!

One thing I really like about Kenya is that instead of saying "ma'am" to get my attention, the hawkers call, "sister, sister." Anyway...

Around 3:00 we set off to Fort Jesus (set up by the Portuguese) and the Old Town. Our taxi left us in front of the fort. We wandered inside for about an hour and a half. The coolest thing about the fort was the "windows"...really they're places to stick guns out of... Every time I walked past one, a breeze came through. Each window/hole made a wind tunnel because of the way the sea breeze comes through. The view from the fort was beautiful! Ocean on one side, Old Town on the other.

Then we headed on a tour of Old Town with a random guy who just started following us and then leading us... We made our way through random streets filled with the voices of children playing. I was surprised to see mosques dotting the town. The children all said "Jambo" as we walked by. They were so friendly! After a while, our tour ended and we went on our way (after giving our guide some money of course). Next stop: dinner. We walked for a few blocks and came upon a crowded restaurant that looked good. We walked in, but could not be seated, so we left. At this point there was talk of returning to the ship for free food. I really didn't want this, but didn't say as much. Luckily, I didn't have to because a man came up and offered to take us to a good restaurant. He claimed to be a security officer from the ship...I don't really think he was, but he was wonderful!

I told him I really wanted to buy a chess set because I had seen them everywhere! So, he said after dinner he'd take me to buy one. We ate a very delicious meal at a restaurant that looked nice, but no one was there! After dinner we walked outside and sure enough, there sat the man who promised to take me shipping! So, after a little prodding, we set off to the place where I could get my chess set. (Oh yea, after the fort I exchanged a little more money). Finally I bought my chess set for $15 along with some other random stuff ... Satisfied, I returned to the ship with everyone.

Kenya is such a nice change from India. Here, everything is mellow, not rushed, uncrowded, and (best of all) friendly! I was shocked at one point during our walk through old town to see writing on a wall that read "$USA$ In devil we trust $." I wonder how long that's been there!

I'm so excited for my safari tomorrow! I'll be camping for two nights in Tsavo... waking way before sunrise...seeing tons of stars at night...seeing all sorts of exotic animals - elephants, lions, giraffes...

I can't wait!

November 11, 2000

Camping in Kenya. Africa on safari. Our camp is located about three hours from Mombasa between Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park. I share a pup tent with Allyson. We have chefs to cook for us and a sheltered area to eat under. There are about 50 of us camping here. The description said we'll be "roughing it." We have toilets and chefs! It's luxury camping to me...but I'm not complaining! I feel like I'm home. Camping is definitely what I need after being cooped up on the ship between India and Kenya.

At about 7:15 this morning our safari trucks rolled up. They are diesel and hold about 16 people each. They are high, so I had to climb some steps to get in. There are no windows, but there is a roof (it's pretty much all open).. I was in heaven when I saw them! Around 11:30 we rolled into Shasha Camp where tents were awaiting us (already set up). Lunch was soon after. Then around 2:30 we left for our first game drive. We made our way to Tsavo East where the assistant warden talked to us about the elephants, rhinos, and other endangered species within the park. Then we were off...

Soon the animals we had seen did not include the "big 5," but were more like animals I've seen before.

Birds and other small animals. The rumbling of our truck was putting me to sleep. Suddenly we stopped. I looked out and saw, in the distance, 3 or 4 giraffes! They were beautiful! Then, farther down, a lionness was lounging in the grass! She was definitely posing for our pictures!

I could never shake the zoo feeling. I've seen these animals in the zoo at home and since we were in a park on dirt roads, it never really sank in that these animals are in their natural habitat. It still has not sunk in.

Now, I'm in camp, after a wonderful dinner... The landscape here reminds me a lot like home. Mountains. Dry plains. And camping is wonderful! The sunset was gorgeous behind the mountains, just like a postcard.

November 12, 2000

Giraffes are the most beautiful animals I've ever seen in the wild. We saw a TON of giraffes on our game drive today. When they run they are so graceful (who would imagine that!). I probably took about 15 pictures of them! They'll all look the same in the end, but I couldn't resist! So today we woke early, ate breakfast, and set out for an all day game drive. We saw giraffes, elephants, buffalo, impalas, an ostrich, jackals, things that look like prairie dogs, a lionness, zebras, hippos, a crocodile, baboons, and a bunch of birds. It's so cool to see them all in the wild. Today I didn't have the "zoo" feeling like yesterday. These animals really were in the wild, just living on their own. It was amazing.

I got a bit by a tree today. Yes, a TREE. Our trucks are open, so when we drove by, all the tree branches came in. The only problem with that is that the trees have spikes about the size of a toothpick, but sharper on the end. They hurt! I ducked because I saw a branch coming, but it was a big branch and a thorn stuck for a second into my shoulder (through the two shirts I had on). Then another branch came and got the back of my head and behind my ear. OUCH! But I'm okay now.

I saw Mt. Kilimanjaro. We visited springs from the runoff. When I stepped down from the truck I saw monkeys running toward us! They were so cute! Then I saw a crocodile! And a hippo! It was such a good day... Out in the wild, seeing animals I've never seen wild before.

A big part of the game drive is watching the scenery while looking out for any animal or sign of movement. I was really tired this afternoon because of this and because of the bouncing of the truck. Anyway, I'm tired now, so I'll sleep.

Oh yea, I have to watch Ghost and the Darkness now because it's about man-eating lions in Tsavo a long time ago...

November 13, 2000

Today was more of the same. We woke early, ate breakfast, packed our stuff, and went on our way. The most exciting part of the day was the leopard we saw lounging in a tree! Through binoculars I could see how beautiful it was! We also got a little closer to elephants... My pictures will hopefully show all the animals I saw.

We finally arrived at the ship around 5:00 PM. I dropped my stuff off in my room and headed to the sellers outside the ship to buy something with the few dollars and shillings I had left (and an added bonus of three blue Bic pens!). Finally, with stuff in hand, I boarded the ship to stay...

Some things to remember about Kenya:

Stuff is money; Jambo is the coolest word for hello; they really say hakuna matata; rafiki means friend; EVERYONE says hi to tourists; the trees bite; safaris are definitely worth it!

The only thing I disliked about Kenya is the $10 cab ride from port into the city.

This is another port I WILL come back to!

November 15, 2000

Everyone on our safari was sick yesterday. It's to be expected I guess because we ate a lot of what we were told not to: vegetables, dairy, etc. I had a fever, stomachache, and other sickly symptoms. To say the least, I was happy to wake up today and feel a little better, just hungryÉ

Olympics Round One:

The Andaman Sea didn't even come close in the Mr. SS Universe Explorer, we were out in round one...

We fared better in the lip sync contest, taking the bronze behind the Ionian sea and the Baltic sea...

Tomorrow the rest of the Olympics are held. We'll see how I do in the charades contest...

All in all it was a very fun night with everyone dressed in sea colors (yellow - Caspian; Blue - Andaman; Red - Red; Purple - Ionian; Silver - Arabian; White - Baltic; Orange - Aegean (Bali Brigade); Green - Mediterranean) and singing chants and cheers.

November 16, 2000

Well, the results are in after a long hard day of Olympic events...

The whole day the Andaman sea was tied with Bali (the Aegean Sea). Everyone was sure one of us would come out on top. After waking up early, I participated in the scavenger hunt. Definitely a communication game because 15 of us were tied together with string. We thought we did well because when we returned to the union about an hour later only Bali had returned. Apparently we were wrong because three other seas placed in the even.

Then I got drafted for our limbo team. I made it through three rounds, then fell when the ship shifted. (As a side note, I think I pulled muscles in both legs because they still hurt now after three days) We didn't place in that event either. By this time we knew Andaman took first in tug-o-war. Also, we were tied at 39 points with Bali for first.

This afternoon I did charades where we took second. Events were going on all day, so it was really hard to keep up with the scores...

We tied for first with Ionian Sea in the Twister tournament. We took third in the steeple chase. In the spirit competition we took third (I think).

The overall standings:

4th - Arabian Sea

3rd - NO ONE!

2nd - TIE! Andaman and Aegean (Bali)

1st - Baltic Sea

How the Baltic sea won I have no idea... It's actually a fitting way to end this Olympic competition because Andaman and Bali have been neck and neck throughout. Only on our voyage do strange things like this happen... The whole Olympics was based on a points system, and we got exactly the same amount of points. That's Fall 2000 for ya!

All in all it was a fun and friendly competition. I think the whole thing actually brought our community together, not only each sea, but also between seas.

The waves are picking up and the boat's a rockin'! WOOHOO!

Oh yea, I saw a funnel cloud today! I'm really glad it stayed on the horizon and never came close!

After all the cheering, yelling, etc today I'm exhausted! For the last couple of weeks all we've been doing is marching the halls chanting and scheming on how to get spirit points... I'm kinda glad it's over.

November 17, 2000

Liz got her Simpson's CDs to work! She has 11 seasons on CD, almost every episode! I'm so psyched to watch them! There's nothing like a little reminder of home.

I attached three digital photos of animals I saw in my safari. Now I'm in Stellenbosch and we're staying the night here... I'll attach more pictures later!

November 19, 2000

My new goal in life is to go to at least one place on every page of my atlas. I would be satisfied with that! (Side note: I looked through it and it's really not that much more than were I've already been since a lot of the pages are the same and a lot cover a huge area).

South Africa tomorrow. I've heard that it is very much a first world country. Because of that I have visions of a city not too different from a US city. Once again I'm probably all wrong, but that's okay!

Tonight is pre-port. I love pre-port...We learn a little of what to expect in the country. Then Lloyd gives his batons and boots to people onboard who have done good, bad, and stupid things. They are hilarious! Finally, some different people and groups do talent acts to end the evening. All in all, it's a time for the community to come together.

Desmond Tutu is coming on board tomorrow! WOW! That will be a story to tell!

I'm looking forward to taking the train to Stellenbosch with Jordan and BJ.

I can't wait till tomorrow...

November 20, 2000

South Africa reminds me of the states. The port area is commercial with a hotel and a mall within walking distance. Thankfully, the phones work (with my calling card) without a problem!...

After I got my phone call wrapped up, Jordan, BJ and I went to the Two Oceans Aquarium. It was interesting. we watched a feeding in the predators exhibit. Two scuba divers went down with a metal box full of food and fed stingrays, sharks, and turtles...we spent a few hours there, but there's not much more to tell...eels, seals, fish, jellyfish...

So far I love South Africa. I feel so comfortable here. Probably because it's so first world. In a way I feel guilty for liking this port because of its modernity, but then I remind myself that a good part of our voyage has been less developed countries. Even though it's good to be out of your comfort zone, sometimes it's not necessary all the time.

Anyway, Jordan and I head to Stellenbosch tomorrow for a little adventure. I'm so excited!

November 21, 2000

So, I'm in Stellenbosch, South Africa at the zevenwecht vineyards. Jordan and I traveled by train this morning from Cape Town. Then we ate lunch at a cute outdoor pub in Stellenbosch. Later, we found our room at the vineyard. It's a pretty upscale hotel. Our room has a patio that overlooks Stellenbosch. In the distance is Table Mountain. The weather here is perfect! not too hot, a little breezy...

We did a little wine tasting earlier, but I'm not a big wine fan so that didn't last too long. Then we wandered the estate and ended up back in our room where we made phone calls home.

I really love South Africa. However, I still see evidence of apartheid. Stellenbosch is a college town and mostly white. Most black people I see are doing service oriented work. sometimes I feel strange being a white person...

One thing I forgot to write yesterday is that I saw Desmond Tutu speak! He came on our ship and made a speech to us in the Union. He is so energetic and animated! I could see genuine excitement in his eyes as he spoke. That is definitely something to remember.

November 23, 2000

Last night Jordan and I went to Kennedy's Restaurant. It is a low-key, pleasant place with a great jazzy/relaxed atmosphere. We had a few drinks... I ate crocodile tail (!) and Norwegian salmon!! The croc tail tasted like turkey. The salmon was delicious. ..It was nice to be in a place with no SASers...

This morning the ship changed docks, so I was forced to get off the ship an hour before my trip was supposed to leave...

At 9AM I left for a tour of an African township. Our first stop was the District Six Museum. District Six is a part of Cape Town which was designated a "whites only" area. When the government tried to relocate the "blacks" and "coloureds", the people of District Six would not leave. In the end, the government bulldozed the entire area, leaving only churches and mosques standing. It's amazing to me how the community pulled together... Even after being relocated to different neighborhoods the people still commuted every Sunday to go to church at their own church in District Six. The museum was powerful. That is when I began to realize how apartheid really affected the people and how adamant these people were toward opposing it.

Next we went to a shanty township. I went inside a hostel where about 21 people live in each of the six rooms. The rooms are TINY (like a normal sized bedroom)! As I descended the stairs outside the doorway, children ran toward us. They made us take their pictures; they wanted to play with us; they laughed and yelled. They were so full of life! At this point it really began to sink in that apartheid had been abolished in legal terms, but not really in practice. I felt that the people in South Africa who are in power pushed the blacks to the rural areas so they don't have to deal with the poverty. Out of sight, out of mind. Also, I again felt strange about coming in, taking pictures, and then leaving on a nice tour bus. Again I wonder how it feels to be a tourist attraction. Our guides said the people don't mind us being there because they know we're there to learn about the conditions of these people. Even so, I felt that something was not right.

We headed on to another shanty town where we walked through a house in what is called an "informal settlement." I was very surprised to see a working television and some couches! Then, there was loud hip-hop type music coming from one shack. Some teenage boys were leaning in the doorway. A few of us entered the shack. I was amazed to see a makeshift bar, complete with a pool table! It looked like a relatively nice table too!! I didn't get a chance to play, but it was cool to see.

Then as I walked outside, I realized what the trip needed to make it feel less weird. I saw Spence (a professor on the ship) carrying a bucket of water on his head for a woman. I realized that any sort of service work to help these people would definitely make me feel better about invading these townships. Then, once again we boarded our tourist buses and came back to the port.

The township visit really made me feel guilty for being white. Everyone says that about India, but South Africa made me feel horrible for being white. I know there are people who never made it out of the waterfront area... How can these people claim to have seen South Africa? Essentially they do what the government does: turn the other way and ignore the poverty.

I will never forget what apartheid is and how it profoundly affects the lives of blacks, even today.

I loved being able to drink the tap water again. I loved traveling to Stellenbosch on the train. I loved the perfect weather. I disliked feeling guilty about being white. I disliked the hill we had to walk up at our hotel in stellenbosch every time we went to our room from the restaurant. I disliked the "Tablecloth" over Table Mountain today when we wanted to hike up the mountain.

I love the South African accent!!!

November 24, 2000

It was SO ROCKY today! I woke early because I was rolling around in my bed from the waves. I went to my 8:00 class, but we were let out early..so, by 8:45 I was back in bed. I stayed in bed ALL DAY. Every time I got up I felt icky, so I stayed in bed. Kim brought me a PBJ sandwich for lunch... Finally, at about 5:00 I forced myself out of bed and I talked with Shaun in the union for about an hour at which point I made another PBJ for dinner...

Now I'm back in bed. Every once in a while it hits me that if we were still going to Spain I would be seeing Matthew in a week...at times I feel sad, but I have to remind myself to just enjoy the two ports left and then before I know it I'll be home.

November 25, 2000

I can't wait to travel more after I graduate! I talked to Jordan today about what to do if Matthew and I go to Australia...

November 26, 2000

The big event of the day was the green flash. I went out to watch the sunset...Just before the sun completely dips below the horizon a green flash comes at the horizon where the sun is. It was very cool! The whole time I've been on this voyage I never completely saw the sunset, sometimes because of the clouds, but mostly because I was never outside. Now I'm glad I've seen a full sunset.

Today was a good day filled with some classes and mostly procrastination.

November 27, 2000

I was talking to Kim today about how I heard about SAS. I remember watching Road Rules and telling Ru how cool that would be to do... I picked up a brochure and the next thing I knew, my application was accepted! Now that I look back on everything...the forms, the essay, the year of preparation...it seems so strange that my journey is almost over!

Wow...a little more than three weeks... Mostly I'm excited to get home and share my experiences...I think these last few weeks will be the hardest.

November 28, 2000

Today they showed four episodes of Road Rules SAS. IT SUCKED! It did not portray the real SAS. The people were so shallow...At times I was yelling at the TV.

At 9:45 I did a tour of the bridge. That's where it all happens...driving the ship, monitoring course, charting, etc. Although there was a LOT of modern equipment, some old equipment there really surprised me. I saw the thing that determines our speed. The speeds are: full, slow, dead slow and some others I don't remember. I laughed when I saw the "dead slow."

Today was also picture day for everyone on the ship and also individual groups.

The main event was Thanksgiving dinner. I ended up eating twice! First with my friends, and then with my on ship family. All the food was so good! The only thing I missed was deviled eggs! But the pumpkin pie definitely made up for it!

I don't know if I've talked about my shipboard family: Frank and Harriet. Then there's Jenny, Bill, and Tiffany who are other students on the ship....We get together at least once between ports. So tonight we ate Thanksgiving food together...

November 29, 2000

Tonight was the charity auction. Some people have WAY TOO MUCH MONEY! A life ring, signed by the captain went for $725! That's ridiculous. The money raised does go to charity, so it's not a total waste...but still! I wish I could even THINK about that much money. Breakfast in bed, on the ship, for 5 days went for $100! That's $20 a day to be lazy...I think I'd rather get up and walk down the hall! My $5 raffle ticket donation didn't win me anything, but that's $5 for charity.

The last raffle prize was the first off the ship in New Orleans...That would be a cool prize to win! But no luck...oh well...The most annoying part of the whole thing was that the bar was open and the people in the bar line would not shut up! They were so inconsiderate! Even after they stopped the auction to tell them to be quiet, no one listened.

Tomorrow is crew appreciation day. We're telling our stewards not to clean our rooms and bussing our own dishes at meals. We bought Daniel some cookies, candy, and cigarettes. I found out that even though we're trying to give him the day off, he still has to be on duty. So instead of cleaning he'll be standing around in our hall...It seems kind of backward!

November 30, 2000

"Remember the Titans" is an awesome movie. Tonight we had popcorn and a movie in the theater as our prize for second/third in the Olympics.

Not much happened today...It was crew appreciation day. Daniel likes the candy and stuff we bought for him...

Three weeks and one day.

That's it for this time! The next time I talk to ya'll I'll be home! There's no communication to the US from Cuba (obvious reasons), so hasta luego! (that's Spanish for see you later.)

Continued in December 2000 Journal - click here to go there

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