Saturday 23rd January 2016

Saturday – sea day before Rio

That was one of the worst night’s sleep I have ever experienced afloat. First the fire thing. Then I got up a few hours later to find my toilet had malfunctioned again and was full of water. So I had to call a plumber and wait for him to come and fix it. Then, when I finally got back to sleep, I was woken by screaming cramp down the front of my left shin. And then, just to add insult to injury, my bad toe started throbbing, probably caused by too much walking on it. By the time it was time to get up, I was so completely shattered, I was barely functional.

Went up for fruit and Sudoku. The roof over the pool was closed, although it had stopped raining hours before. A lady was at the bar, talking to the F&B Manager, and trying to get him to reopen it. I went over to try to get him to turn the music off. It had been quiet, and then he turned up and made them turn it on. So I went over and told him we didn’t want it on and he should turn it back off again. He said “It’s policy”. I said “We’re the passengers. It’s up to us”. He phoned someone else and then turned it off. Several people thanked me.

However, one bloke and his wife came over to my table and starting verbally abusing me for making them open the roof so that they got rained on. Which is just plain stupid because (a) I didn’t get the roof opened (b) they would not have opened it if it was raining, you imbeciles. The sun was shining. Then they walked off. I went after them and said that (a) I didn’t ask for the roof to be opened, (b) it’s not raining and (c) he had no business speaking to me like that. He showed me his glasses, with ONE drop of water on them. Moron. No way that was dislodged by the movement of the roof, or just condensation that had built up on the inside. What an idiot. He just kept yelling until an Ents Officer came over and asked him to stop. He made a right prat of himself. Several people came over to check I was okay and thank me for standing up to him.

So we had lunch and discussed our plans for Rio tomorrow. Dad went down to the Excursions Desk to ask for a better map than the one in the port guide. The girl said – and, remember, she sells excursions; it is her job to help passengers enjoy their visit as much as possible, by providing as much information and guidance as possible; that’s what she is paid to do – “I have my own personal map, but don’t tell anyone, otherwise they’ll all come and ask for one”. Er, yes, they will. THAT’S YOUR JOB, you cretin. That’s what passes for customer service on this ship. Yes, I’ll help you, but don’t tell anyone, otherwise they’ll expect me to help all of them too. Good grief. In the old days, when people gave a damn about doing their jobs properly, if they had a good map, they would put a pile of photocopies on Reception and everyone could just help themselves. Apparently, now, we’re not allowed a decent map. What a disgraceful attitude. Do we think she realises what an utter fool she is? What a shame the customer service questionnaire for the first sector is sitting on my bed waiting to be completed…

Then a swim – 12 lengths this time before my arms gave up. Not very warm today. Obviously relies on direct sunlight for some of its heating. And we have had none of that today. Met an Australian lady who used to live down the road from me, and works in the legal books business. Promised me a discount! Very nice. One woman pointed out that what we are really doing equates more to sea swimming than pool swimming, because of the waves and the currents. It is very hard work, it must be said, so I can’t disagree with her.

Then, not long after I got out, the roof closed. And the rain really did start. We have collided with the low that has been lying over Rio all week. It clouded over so quickly, they had to turn the lights on, on the deck, at 3.30 in the afternoon. In mid summer. Unfortunately, they didn’t QUITE close the roof entirely. I’m sure it is normally watertight. But not today. There’s enough of a gap to be able to hear the drops splatting onto the sun loungers below. That’s not my fault either.

Today’s BBC report regarding Zika virus was filmed today in Salvador. Weird to see the places we were yesterday on the news. Weather tomorrow for Rio: 29 and possibly the only dry day of the past week or the next. Montevideo 37. Hope that breaks before we get there!

Tonight at dinner we had to say goodbye to Sheila, who is disembarking tomorrow. She has been a delightful dinner companion and I will miss her dreadfully. We went to look for the photo we had taken together at the last party, but at nearly thirteen quid a copy, we decided not to buy it! We swapped addresses and I took a photo of her, so you can see her lovely face, and we have something to remember her by.

All the photos will be uploaded as soon as I have some free wifi with a decent signal, which, sadly, hasn’t happened yet. Still hoping.

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