Sunday, April 26, 2015

time will run

People who know Titanic are familiar with its clock -- an important symbol in that waterlogged piece of melodrama.

Well, our ship has a clock, too.  Several of them.  But I doubt Kate Winslet will be waiting underneath it.  Any of them.

So, what's my point?  Simple.  Today was one of those transitional travel days.  That also means that not much happened.

Our hotel is about an hour's drive from the port where we would meet up with the Celebrity Millennium.  And, since we did not need to be there early in the day, we decided to take a leisurely morning at breakfast -- and an even more luxurious drive in a Mercedes.  No teeming buses for us.

It turned out to be a great deal.  We arrived rested -- without the usual frazzle of cruise bus transfers (three words that can cause a traveler's blood pressure to peak).

Shanghai has one of the best cruise terminals I have visited.  It is beautiful -- and it appears to be quite efficient.  But, efficient it isn't.

After checking in, all of the passenger were forced to wait for an additional hour and 45 minutes for the Chinese authorities to open the security equipment and the immigration desks.  We looked like refugees -- the ones who are about to be sent back to their home countries.

Having recovered from that setback, the Chinese authorities kicked into high gear and turned us over to the good folks at Celebrity, who did a passable job of getting us into our cabins.

That gave Roy and me an opportunity to watch the boat traffic on the Yangtze.  If you wanted to make a film about the thousand boats launched by Helen's beauty.  You could not do better than shoot this water ballet.

One of the least favorite events of most passengers is the muster drill, where we learn what to do if our cruise ship starts going down.  Today's was no better or worse than the others I have witnessed.  However, I have noted that the cruise ship sinkings in Italy and Antarctica have ratcheted up the attention level.

Freshly reminded of how we should react in an emergency, we were off to what I could classify a rather mediocre dinner of French onion soup and roast pork.  Like the cruise port facilities, Celebrity's food seems to be mainly form without much substance.

But that was just one night.  No performance should be finally judged on one evening's offering.

The central staircase of the ship is a fitting symbol of how I view cruises.  Don't draw conclusions on the first step.  You can get the full view only after you have experienced it all.

We are now on our way to South Korea.  That will be my first tourist visit to this part of Korea.

I usually perform a lot of research before I come on these trips.  Not this one.  I thought a bit of spontaneity would spice up the series of essays coming your way.

We will find out together.

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