Friday 18th March 2016  – Sea Day

0830 A good night’s sleep makes a tremendous difference, don’t you find? I feel almost human. I say almost. I’m stiff as a board, with particular grumbles coming from my hips, knees and calves. And neck and shoulders. And the middle of my back is a bit twingey too, particularly on the right. Scratch all that. I’m going back to bed.

1100 Two more hours of sleep later? A few less aches, I think. I’ll let you know.

That’s the great thing about sea days that fall after port days. They are 100% devoted to recovery time. I don’t have to do anything today at all, except take care of whatever hurts, eat and hang out. There isn’t even a formal night tonight to blot my horizon with upcoming effort.

Survey update: back seems less grumbly. Right calf still in a sulk. No coughs or sneezes so far.

Oo-er – weather forecast says Hong Kong 22 (which felt arctic after the 35 of Manila), Beijing 16. Yikes. More layers required, methinks. More digging in my future. Definitely. Need to find those gloves for a start.

Spent half an hour at Reception sorting plans for Sunday. Balloons on the cabin door, card from the Captain, flowers at dinner, gluten free, nut free cake for dessert – with singing. Each requires a separate email to a separate person. It’s not a simple process! She had better appreciate all this!

Today we are fog-bound. The visibility is so poor, you cannot even see the bow wave coming away from the side of the ship. That means probably less than 2 or 3 metres. Our mournful foghorn blasts are about three minutes apart, according to mum – I haven’t timed them, myself. Every ship in the world has a different pattern, just as with land-based fog horns and the beams of all lighthouses and lightships around the world. So, theoretically, you should be able to hear a horn and know which ship it is that is about to materialise out of the murk and run you down. That’s handy, then.

The sea is dead calm, which is unsurprising if there is so little breeze that the fog comes down, and stays. It’s quite eerie, if you pay enough attention. It’s a complete whiteout.

Have already met someone in the lift who was bitching about the lack of a view of the scenery. I tried to placate her by pointing out that, in the middle of the ocean, she’s not missing a great deal scenery-wise, but then she started whinging about the mist in Hong Kong yesterday, which ruined her trip up Victoria Peak. Well, you could see it from ground level, hiding the tops of the skyscrapers, so it was hardly going to be a surprise when you got up the top of the mountain, was it?! No one held a gun to your head and forced you to take a trip on one of the world’s oldest and best-preserved funiculars. I decided to get out of the lift early and take the stairs for the rest of the way, rather than listen to her mithering on any longer. Miserable cow. You’ve been at sea less than twelve hours, for pity’s sake, and you have three weeks ahead of you. This probably won’t last long. Lighten up! Yuk.

Remember what I was saying about Manila traffic? It’s not just me.

Dinner was a bit tricky. I asked for the fish goujons, but in GF breadcrumbs instead of batter, with some chips. What was served to me was fish in BATTER, with BOILED potatoes. It would appear that, at Hong Kong, we rotated the kitchen staff, and we have a new chef doing Special Diets, who thinks that he gets to decide what I am permitted to eat. I very rarely order potatoes of any kind, let alone chips, so I was pretty offended that he had decided I should not have any, but should be restricted to boiled instead. How dare he?!

But far more worrying was the batter. Because that meant it looked no different from the ordinary fish dishes, so how could I be sure it was GF and I hadn’t been served the wrong plate of food? I ordered it to be done differently for a REASON. The new waiters ran back and forth to the kitchen several times to confirm that it DEFINITELY was GF batter, because, frankly, I didn’t believe them. But after repeated reassurances, I did eat it. And some chips did appear, as well, so it was quite a tasty meal in the end.

But I’m still not happy. I’m not putting up with that kind of stress every night for the rest of this cruise. The head waiter said he would have a word with the Diet Chef, because he had been very explicit in writing down exactly what I had ordered, so the chef had no business changing anything. He said, if he does it again, he’ll be on the next helicopter home. I said we should just shove him over the side and be done with it. I was laughing, but inside I was seething. He had better not ‘interpret’ my instructions like that ever again, or I’ll be going straight to the F&B Manager to have him removed from his post. He cannot be allowed to be responsible for Special Diets if he is just going to cook whatever he bloody well feels like. We order our meals 24 hours in advance, so that they have plenty of time and warning to create WHAT WE ASKED FOR, not what he feels like letting us have. One more chance, tomorrow. That’s all he gets. How dare he? What if he had produced something that made me ill? Just because he couldn’t be bothered to do what he was told?! It’s absolutely not acceptable. Am very worried about a possible reaction later, but so far, so good…


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