Saturday 30th April 2016 – Sea Day 5 of 5

The Lasts have begun. Yesterday was the Last Friday night get together. Tomorrow will be the Last pillbox refill and the last port day/stop. Today was the Last new canister of deodorant. Monday will be the Last formal night. The Last, the Last, the Last. Most conversations now include, “Well, there’s still a week to go, but in case I don’t see you again…”. There is less than a week left now, in fact.

I think the reason I slept all afternoon today was possibly less to do with the persisting cold and fever, and more plain common or garden depression setting in. Everyone is sleeping a lot now, even the healthy ones. But at least I made it to lunch like a relatively normal human being today. Fever came back during dinner, but luckily, I had eaten by then. Dad and mum both ate well this evening, which is reassuring for me.

Question mark over the air con in the cabin. Is it set too hot if the elastics in your suitcase have PERISHED in the four months they have been sat under the bed?!

Friday 29th April – Sea Day 4 of 5

Stayed in bed. All day.

Made it upright in time to meet up and say goodbye to the Friday night crowd. Quite weak and wobbly and sweating/feverish, so definitely in no fit state for kisses and hugs!

Then dinner. Still feverish off and on. Managed to eat, but felt pretty dodgy afterwards.

Back to cabin. Back to bed.

The cough and rib pain are new, though. Maybe that counts as progress? Less sneezy, at least.

That was Friday, that was.

5AM UPDATE: Couldn’t sleep. Felt queasy, which is new. The ship isn’t moving about much, so it must be something to do with this monster lurgy thing that has taken up residence inside me, and shows no signs of moving out. Ribs still hurt too, which makes the, granted now fairly rare, coughs and sneezes all the more enjoyable.

I’ve really had enough of this now.

Did some packing, to pass the time. Dad is starting to fret, so I’m going to need to leave time to go and help them with theirs, as well as doing my own, so a head start is no bad idea. Amazingly tricky to pack stuff away, logistically. I’m seeing some people the night I get back, so I have to make sure I don’t pack their presents in the wrong place, by accident, and drive them back to my flat without delivering them. That would be most annoying. Although I’m sure I’ll forget something, in my current, somewhat befuddled, state (whilst typing this I have realised that I have, indeed, put at least one item in the wrong case, already).

The head rush that comes with trying to get the cases out from under the bed, whilst bunged up with cold and unable to breathe properly, was quite an interesting upside to the whole procedure, especially as, when done, they all had to go back under again! Who needs illegal narcotics?! Hah!

Which reminds me. I have a philosophy essay to write. Woohoo. No way this can go badly, oh no.

Thursday 28th April 2016 – Sea Day 3 of 5

Took a sleeping tablet (herbal, not prescription) and slept from 11 pm to 4.30 am. Woke up shaking with hunger and had to call room service. On the plus side, my fever may now have completely broken. On the negative side, it’s not easy to order from the already somewhat restricted overnight cold food menu during Passover. But on the plus side, at this hour, you don’t half get served quick.

For some reason, our BBC News channel visuals are now six full seconds out of sync with the sound. It’s very distracting.

Slept til 11.30. Mika rang to ask if she could change our dinner date tonight to lunch. She woke me up from such a deep sleep, I remember commenting on the phone ringing in my dream, before it woke me. But at least the awakening meant I got to watch Singin’ in the Rain on the telly, which I would otherwise have missed. There is an upside to almost everything.

Met parents for fruit and a chat. Then went and met Mika. We sat out by Aquarius pool and chatted. I didn’t eat – my fever returned – so I just watched her eat and then smoke, and we had a drink. It was very relaxing, just hanging out. The captain came over to say hi, and ask how my dad is. He commented on the irony of me now being the one who is ill. When he had gone, Mika was white as a sheet. She works on Reception and no one had told her that the Captain’s plans had changed. She thought he had disembarked at Aruba! I knew the communication on this ship was rubbish, but fancy not telling the Reception staff who their current captain is?! Shocking, really, if you think about it.

I went back to my cabin and had a rest before dinner. At dinner, dad ate properly for the first time in possibly more than a week. He had soup and steak and chips and he ate it all. He said he felt hungry for the first time in ages, it was all delicious, and the steak was the best he had ever tasted. It was quite a relief. I wasn’t so worried about parting company after that.

I am getting very cross with my grey hairs. Until now, they have only grown in my fringe, where they are the most prominent and obvious they could possibly be. Or so I thought. Turns out I was wrong. There is somewhere more prominent and obvious. My EYELASHES are now going grey. For goodness’ sake. Eyelashes?! Seriously?!

<Pause for sneezing fit> That’s it. I’m done. Time for bed.

26th and 27th

Tuesday 26th April 2016 – Sea Day – 1 of 5

Didn’t sleep well. Well, I did have a fairly stressful day yesterday! Very achy when I got up – even my hair hurt – so met parents for fruit and drinks and a chat and then went back to bed. Slept til nearly 5pm. Not quite the achievement it sounds, because we did lose an hour today at lunchtime, but still pretty impressive, I think. We are now only four hours adrift from the UK. I think the rotten pair of them have given me their cold – I am pretty sure I have a roaring fever. Still feel pretty rotten, to be honest. Unfortunately, I have an OU essay due that I haven’t even started yet, so I can’t just curl up and go back to bed. Boo. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m in no fit state to study. Gnite.

Wednesday 27th April 2016 – Sea Day 2 of 5

Slept til 2pm, which was 3pm, because the flipping clocks changed again. Then dad rang to see if I was okay, and then turned up with a bowl of fruit. I still have a roaring fever, which is probably why I didn’t sleep much during the night.  But I slept today, oh boy. At 5, I had a shower and put on some clean clothes, which felt good. Went to dinner and ate something and drank LOADS. Then back to the cabin for more medication and rest. Still sneezing like crazy. Still feverish. Dunno where I caught this, but it’s a corker.

Stephen Hawking talking about the Wow signal. If the governments of the world are covering up alien contact, they are doing much better at it than they do pretty much anything else. If not, where is everyone? 6EQUJS. It is a puzzle. The human race discovered the atom bomb quite quickly. If the other civilisation did too, over 200 light years away, they might have destroyed themselves before our answer could get there. Maybe they destroyed themselves as soon as they discovered that E=mc2. Or maybe they are already colonising the universe. If aliens ever visit us, it will be like when Christopher Columbus found America. Which did not go well for the Native Americans. He’s quite witty, is Hawking. And probably not wrong, either. We can either listen or talk. If we talk, what should we say? We get some quite thought-provoking stuff on our in-cabin tellies, you know.

Monday 25th April 2016 – St Maarten

Very annoyed. This morning’s arrival announcement – we’re here, you can go ashore, the weather for today is…the gangways are located… be back by… – came through the cabins on the Emergency Channel. Just when I think we have explained it clearly enough for them to understand that not everyone on board wants to be woken at 08:25. They may not want to go ashore. They may not be feeling well. They may have been quite looking forward to a lie-in. The bridge crew on this ship simply cannot get it into their thick heads that the pillow speakers are for EMERGENCIES, when we absolutely HAVE to hear what is being said, because our lives depend on it. They are designed to wake us up. That’s the whole point. Using them to tell us the effing weather forecast is NOT  acceptable. *Sigh* ANOTHER letter to write to the Captain.

Signal jamming. No internet today. No news, either. Just repeats of Sherlock Holmes, some nature thing and An Inspector Calls.

This island is literally in two halves – half run by the Dutch and half by the French. They hate each other, apparently. The French half has road markings, like white lines and road signs, but the Dutch side does not. It’s very obvious when you move between the two! The capital of the Dutch side is Philipsburg and the capital of the French side is Marigot.

Went ashore without problem. All fab. Took a taxi to Marigot.  Beautifully warm and sunny – perhaps a bit on the over-fierce side. The taxi dropped us by the market. We went to a little shopping mall, called the West Indies Mall, first, for a bit of air con and some VERY nice loos (one dollar). A rather unpleasant French man threw me out of his little nameless café in the centre of the mall. Apparently, old ladies are allowed to sit down to wait for their husband to come back, but not the people with them. When I offered to buy a drink, to thank him for letting us sit for a few minutes, he said we would have to move to a different table to order a drink and if we stayed where we were, we would either have to order food, or he would call security. Stupid boy. Lost a sale, and quite possibly more, because it was gone noon, and we needed food, as well as drink. Nasty little man. There are some lovely shops in that mall, but steer WELL CLEAR of the little café in the middle, whatever you do.

Dad has had a cold for a few days, and not much appetite, and now has a rather wheezy cough. So he and mum sat in the shade on a bandstand wall while I browsed a few stalls. When I went back over, he said he felt dizzy and should probably have a drink. So I went and bought three. I gave mum hers, and then opened his. He tried to put the straw in his mouth and missed. Then he took one gulp, dropped the can on my foot and keeled over. I was terrified. I thought he was having a stroke. I ran to a stall and asked for an ambulance. The bloke said he didn’t know the number. Like, seriously?! Then I ran back and he was lying back on the floor of the bandstand. I tried to wake him, but he wasn’t coherent, just making noises.  When I tried to move him, he fell sideways onto the ground, and hit his head on the concrete with a crack the like of which I hope I never hear again. By now some people were coming and helping, and we rolled him into the recovery position and he started responding to my shouting at him. I put my bag under his head and someone put a cold bottle of water against his neck, which he said was lovely. I made him stick his tongue out, which reassured me he wasn’t having a stroke. Then the ambulance people came. They took his blood pressure, which was very low, which confirmed to me that he had fainted, and his details from me, and then loaded us up into the ambulance. By which time, dad was using whole sentences again and apologising for all the fuss.

We drove to the hospital and I had to give his details all over again. Then we went through and sat with him while they did a 12-wire ECG  – normal, blood pressure, a bit low, pulse fine, oxygen sats 95, a bit low. Then they basically left us for over an hour. I think they were figuring that if he had damaged his head when he fell, he would exhibit some symptoms, but after an hour of me trying to get drinks out of a machine that only took one dollar bills, he was pretty much back to normal. He ate two Mars bars, which seemed to perk him up considerably. The doctor said he fainted – a mixture of dehydration, low oxygen saturation because of the liquid in his lungs, the heat and not having eaten a proper breakfast before taking his meds and going out in the Tropics. He told dad he could go, but when dad stood up to tuck his shirt in, he went a bit pale and said he was dizzy, so they laid him down again and put him on a saline drip for an hour. THEN we went back to the ship.

I think there was also caffeine or something in the drip, because dad was more perky and chatty during that taxi ride that I’ve seen him in days. The whole escapade cost fifty quid – including the ambulance, the ECG, the drip, and having a private room despite the fact that two women were treated in the corridor on trolleys –both having drips and one having a bandage applied and a conversation with a surgeon. It will probably come to less than the excess on the insurance policy! (FYI here, at least, EHICs are only relevant if you are admitted as an inpatient – they are not valid for outpatient care). Dad had a rest and then came to dinner as normal, looking just fine, although he used mum’s Luggie to get there, because he had damaged his (already bad) knee when he fell.

Scary afternoon but problem solved.

After dinner, I went back out – we weren’t leaving til 9pm – to see if I could find some postcards, but everything was shut, despite the whopping great cruise ship still sat in the port. Rather short-sighted, because lots of people were still milling around looking for stuff to do or buy. But their loss.

Sea Day 1 of 1

Not enough sea day for my liking. One, pah. That’s rubbish. Bring on the multiples, I need a rest.

Woken by the noon announcement. Warm but cloudy today. Lovely, actually – very pleasant. Sunday roast barbecue out on deck, too, which was nice. Went up to find mum and dad fast asleep. They both now have coughs and colds, which may be why yesterday was such hard work for all of us. Tomorrow will be fun…

The sea is quite purple today – cobalt blue in the sunlight, but definitely purple in the shade. Reminds that my painting teacher said that shadows are always purple.  And I’ve painted them that way ever since, and it never looks wrong, so she must be on to something. Maybe it’s like water actually being blue in colour? Maybe the air is too? Maybe we don’t just make it blue when we swear; maybe it’s always like that?

Had another massage today, while gazing out at the said blue stuff – sky and sea alike. I always think of the Caribbean as being quite narrow, but there is nothing but sea in any direction. Just us and a few bits of algae/seaweed – hard to tell the difference from fifty feet up; a brown strand of something is a brown strand of something. No more birds. Only had those between Huatulco and Aruba. I suppose we are too far away from land at the moment. Or possibly there’s just not much worth eating around here?!

Internet signal is a bit patchy here, which is odd. We’ve done quite well so far on this cruise. A couple of patchy signals at night, which presumably coincided with the entire United States logging on after work, but this is the first daytime problem I can recall (other than the in port jammings, of course). Oh well, I’ll just have to read a book or something. *sigh*

Saturday 23 April 2016 – Aruba

Happy St George’s Day. And Shakespeare’s birthday and deathday (allegedly).

And welcome to Aruba. Or, as my phone has just told me, welcome to Jamaica… ?! Erm…

I have had three text messages today so far. One from one of my credit cards, saying my credit limit has been increased. The next saying, oops, no it hasn’t, sorry. And then one from my other credit card saying your statement is available for account ending ****. That’s not my card number. What’s going on?! Has the entire UK credit card system gone haywire? If so, quick, buy stuff now, they’ll never know.

Hot, sticky, sunny, stupid weather. 30 in the shade and air so moist you can almost drink it. Draining people like leeches. Apparently, so many people collapsed due to dehydration in the Canal that the Medical Centre could not cope.

We pootled along the front, with mum in her Luggie and us trying to find dipped kerbs for her to use – rather few and far between, thanks very much, Oranjestad – via the new purpose-built terminal, that sadly has replaced the lovely stalls we went past last time. We stopped for a drink in The Paddock, the bar that Mac and I drank in last time we were here – it still has a cow and a tyrannosaurus rex on the roof, and a lovely view of the marina. But now the music is so loud the waiting staff cannot hear you, even when you ask them to turn the music down, which caused much amusement all round. “Please could you turn the music down”. “Sorry?” “EXACTLY. Please could you turn the music down!”. They didn’t, so we left. Shame, because if they had, we might have stayed longer, spent more money and we even dallied with the concept of eating there. Well, it’s their own stupid fault.

We asked the World’s Most Unhelpful Person In A Tourist Information Booth (and believe me there is competition for this award) where the nearest hotels were. He (eventually) said fifteen minutes away in a taxi. Then we asked if the building opposite his booth was the Renaissance Hotel. Yes. WTF?! I know you are very put out at being interrupted in the middle of a text message, but really, is that your best attempt at doing your job?!

In fact, we all noticed that people here are not very welcoming and not very helpful, and they are all uniformly OBSESSED with their phones. You have to beg them to look up long enough to take your money. It’s bizarre. I think they have become so blasé at the amount of money they take very time a ship comes in  – probably several a day at high season – that it’s just routine to them now. They really, truly don’t even bother to look up any more. Very sad. I hope the Americans are more forgiving than we are, because we were very put out. If I want to be ignored, I don’t need to travel halfway around the world for that – I can get it much nearer home for much less expenditure, thank you very much. Don’t think we’ll bother coming to Aruba any more. Mind you, if you’re a massage therapist or a chiropractor, looking to branch out, I recommend moving here. Because their necks are going to really start to hurt soon, and their posture is going to go to pieces. Mucho dinero in someone’s future, methinks.

We went into the Renaissance Hotel for lunch, in their excellent buffet, in their blessedly enthusiastic air conditioning. Our matzahs had survived the journey relatively unscathed, so mum had cheese sandwiches. I had a salad. Dad just had a drink. There was something on offer called tempura sushi. It looks, essentially, like they made perfectly good sushi, dipped it in batter and fried it. It looks horrible. I cannot vouch for the taste, obviously, but it doesn’t sound good either, does it? The ordinary sushi looked good, but no rice for me this week. *sigh*

Then we used the fairly good hotel signal to Skype home.

Back on board by 3pm. We all needed a rest. The humidity is very hard to deal with, if you’re not used to it.

Wore the new white top, that I bought in Korea, to dinner, and promptly splashed brown salad dressing on it. Marvellous. Then helped Dad fill in the World Cruise Event survey. Then washed the white top. Then an early night.

Sea Day 4 of 4

Seder night. Very little happened today that wasn’t preparation for the dinner in the evening. Except I had my ceremonial Last Bowl of Pasta – quite an emotional moment.

We had 14 at the table, including the captain and his wife. I think it ended up 50:50 Jews and non-Jews. We did it mostly in English, so that everyone could participate and understand, and we explained bits as we went.

Dinner took three hours from start to finish – although we did cut some bits from the service, in order to make it a little shorter. Not really sure that the non-Jews at the table were particularly interested in the petty word games and arguments between medieval rabbis!

The catering staff were amazingly helpful, and our Seder plate looked very good indeed. We used the wine, grape juice, haroseth, matzah and gluten-free matzah that we bought in San Francisco. And they stuck a lamb shank bone from the night before last’s dinner and an egg under a special grill they call a Salamander, which makes things very hot very fast, so that was impressively perfect.

After the egg and salt water, we had vegetable soup, poached salmon with new potatoes and broccoli, and sliced fruit platters for dessert. Everyone ate and everyone seemed happy. Turns out the captain’s wife is allergic to eggs! The captain said that, in over 40 years at sea, he had never been invited to a Seder.

We ate by the Neptune Pool, with the roof partly open – enough for a breeze, but not enough to let the rain in. Very pleasant, but not quite as private as we might have liked, and definitely a bit too warm. Very odd, having people walk past in their swimsuits while we were eating!

During dinner, I asked some of the Jews what they felt about the change in the kitniot rules last November. They had never heard of a change. So being told that, officially, corn, hummus, rice and several other yummy things, are no longer considered chametz was revelatory to them. I don’t think anyone is planning on changing their habits, mind you.

The oddest thing was that, an article I read recently said that there are only actually five chametz products in the texts: wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt. Which, as a coeliac, made me laugh out loud. Because we can’t eat: wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt.  What puzzled me was that there was no mention whatsoever of yeast. Whether you allow pulses or rice or corn is one thing, but yeast only exists to make things rise, doesn’t it (marmite aside)?! So surely that would be forbidden? As usual, with any clarification in Jewish law, I am now more confused than I was before. Anyone care to clarify this for me?

Sea Day 3 of 4 – Panama Canal

Well, not really a sea day, technically. It’s Panama Canal day. Although I think it counts as a sea day, cos we can’t get off, so it’s not a Port Day either.

Awake at 6am, because we were still. You get a time slot because it is single alternate line traffic, so you have to all be lined up in a queue before you go. That’s why they have been building more (and much bigger) locks. And haven’t finished on time. Surprise, surprise. If anyone can find me an infrastructure project anywhere on Earth that came in on time (and prove it), I’ll buy you dinner. So it’s the old locks for us. Which is nice. Because it means if we ever come back, we will have a different experience to look forward to.

Canal Factoids:

I won’t bore you with the sizes and weights and lengths and numbers of rivets and tonnes of cement. If you want to know all that, you can Google it for yourselves. These are just the highlighty bits that struck me as the most interesting.

A visit to the building of the Panama Canal by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906 was the first time an American President had EVER visited a foreign country while in office. Wow, think about it.

It took the Americans seven years to build the Canal.

The French failed for thirty years first, because they failed to clear the area of malaria and yellow fever first, so their workers were too busy dying to get much done. They thought it would be easy, because they had already done the Suez Canal. 22,000 men lost their lives, most at Calebra.

Calebra is not really one mountain. It’s solid volcanic rock forming part of the Continental Divide.

At the time, yellow fever killed more than half the people it infected, in less than an eight days.

Four hundred men fumigated the area three times over, screened windows and closed sewers. They used 120 tonnes of sulphur-based pesticide, the same used in the whole United States in a year.

Dr William Gorgas, who eradicated yellow fever ENTIRELY from Panama (and Cuba before that), and reduced malaria in the Panama “Great Ditch” (as Roosevelt insisted on calling it) to below the levels then prevalent in North America, received a State funeral when he died. And well he deserved it, too. That’s quite a feat.

Stevens (the civil engineer in charge) called the supply railway built by the French, “two streaks of rust and a right of way”. He built a proper one. From scratch.

The dirt removed from the Calebra Cut filled enough trains to encircle the planet four times.

The workers ate 40,000 loaves of bread a day.

Twelve villages had to be evacuated to create the lake in the middle. They built a new town called Gatun, at higher altitude, for the villagers to move to. It then took five years to clear the area, by hand, of trees and obstacles.

The canal reduced the journey time between San Francisco and New York by over a MONTH.

All this was garnered from a documentary called “Panama Canal: The mountain and the mosquito”, produced by National Geographic in 1999, and shown on a loop on our in-cabin telly. Narrated with typical American hyperbole, it is, nevertheless a fascinating insight into how this thing was brought into existence. If you have the time and the patience, I recommend seeking it out. It’s quite riveting (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Lunch was the usual. I was late, because there was no noon announcement. The bloke doing the commentary on the canal was hogging the mike. Had an apple first, which I thought would be enough, due to my continuing lack of appetite, but the apple seemed to remind my system that it ought to eat, so I then found the appetite to eat the pasta.

Dinner was just avocado vinaigrette for starter and another avocado for main. Just couldn’t face anything else.

(No GF bread came on board, in case you were wondering).

Sad news: I have packed my first case – the big one.

There are only two formal nights left, so I have packed almost all the dresses and some of the t-shirts. Part of the problem with packing is that some of the dresses are in plastic protective sleeves, and it takes time to squeeze the air out, so by packing that one now, it can lie and settle, with the assistance of gravity, and then I can add more to the case later on. I have kept out the long-sleeved t-shirts, because I think the drop between 30+ degrees here and 15 degrees at home will be quite a shock. If you could perhaps work on raising the temperature a little over the next fortnight, prior to my return, that would be much appreciated, ta.

Sea Day 2 of 4

Fruit, Sudoku, pasta, massage. Oooh lovely. With a view of the ocean from my massage bed, which is so still, here in the Doldrums, it looks like a fitted carpet that has come away in one corner and rucked up a bit – rather like those in some of the corridors on board, in fact! Hot and sticky. Even the wind is so hot, it’s like when the nozzle swivels on your hand dryer and you get a unexpected faceful of hot air.

Then back to the cabin to finish the David Silva book I am reading (The Kill Artist). It’s a real page-turner. I was late for dinner, simply because I could not bear to leave it unfinished. Very enjoyable. So glad my San Francisco cousin recommended this author. I had never heard of him before, but I really enjoyed this. We actually bought the second in the series as well, but mum’s still hogging that one. Tsk.  In fact, now I come to think of it, both mum and dad are currently reading books that I paid for! There’s something wrong with this picture…

I am currently also reading one of the most fascinating non-fiction books I have ever read. It is called Rust. And it’s about… rust. It’s hypnotically interesting. I can’t break my gaze from it. It’s astonishing. Did you know, for example, that the USA spends more on anti-corrosion products and research per year than the entire GDP of Sweden? Feel free to read that again, if you need to. Yes, that much. Or that sea-based oil rigs have an extra number of feet added to the length of their legs, to compensate for the “rust layer” that will be eaten away over it’s lifetime?! I’m telling you, this book is un-put-down-able. It’s absolutely fascinating. I will never look at a flyover in the same way, never mind the Statue of Liberty. Or this ship, come to think of it…!

At dinner, had to send back the avocado, because the dressing they had covered it in was oil and mustard, with no hint of vinegar whatsoever, and then it was 70% oil. Olive oil, which I hate anyway. It was utterly inedible. The head waiter apparently stood over the chef while he made a fresh batch, which was better, but still not ideal. Still, the roast chicken and roast potatoes were very nice. The portion was enormous though. I only managed one potato, and that was overdoing it – they served me with two. Must remember to skip the potatoes altogether in future. I don’t normally have potatoes at all on board, but it’s hard to resist a nice roastie, now and then.

Tomorrow we traverse the Panama Canal – all day, and it’s the Queen’s 90th birthday, which has been commemorated on board by? A crown on the front of tomorrow’s newspaper. That’s it, apparently. Pathetic, isn’t it? Ninety years of service and they can’t even summon up a bit of bloody bunting.

Recent rumours #1: There was a punch up in the Belvedere self-service restaurant yesterday. Apparently one passenger has the shiner to prove it. Whether it really was about who got the last portion of trifle, I doubt, but anything’s possible. People do get very grumpy in the Doldrums.

Recent rumours #2: TWO people got taken off at Huatulco, ostensibly to the  US Naval Hospital near the port. Allegedly both died. Caveat: This is third, maybe even fourth, -hand information, so perhaps don’t take it as gospel.  They don’t normally tell us when people die. We’re just supposed to marvel at their sudden disappearance and hope for the best.

Tomorrow is also a rather sad milestone. It marks 14 days to Southampton. That’s it, game over. No wonder we’re all so depressed and grumpy. This is day 101, only 14 left to go. Time to actually seriously start worrying about packing! Argh!