Week before leaving -- (Jan 11-20)
Week 1 -- (Jan 23-Feb 1 Puerto Rico)
Week 2 -- (Feb 3-9 Salvador, Brazil)
Week 3 -- (Feb 10-16 On the way to South Africa)
Week 4 -- (Feb 19-24 Cape Town and African Safari)
Week 5,6 -- (Feb 25-March 8 Mauritius)
Week 7 -- (March 9-15 Chennai, India)

Week 8 -- (March 16-22 Penang, Malaysia and Singapore)
Week 9 -- (March 23-31 Ho Chi Minh City, VietNam)
Week 10 -- (April 1-6 Hong Kong, Guilin Shanghai, China)
Week 11 -- (April 7-13 Kobe, Japan)
Week 12 -- (April 14-20 On the way to Hawaii)
Week 13 -- (April 21-27 Honolulu, Hawaii)
Week 14 -- (April 28-May 8 Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

 

Week One -- Journeywoman's Semester At Sea...

 

Your emails...

Send comments to: editor@journeywoman.com

I found the link to your Semester at Sea blog and I am enjoying it so much! Thank you for sharing your beautiful stories and photos. I have been hired as an RD (Resident Director) on the Spring 09 voyage, so I will be experiencing a modified version of your voyage....we start out in Spain, Italy, Istanbul and Egypt, but then follow a similar course through India and the rest of Asia.

Good job, Evelyn. All the best to you.
Sidsell, California, USA.

I was excited to find your SAS blog and read all of it. I am from Saskatoon, Sask. and have the opportunity to join the last half of the Summer 2008 voyage with SAS - Italy, Turkey, Greece and Croatia. Your blog gave me a good idea of what life on the ship will be like, what to pack, etc.
Bernice

I was a student on the Fall 1985 voyage of SAS. Hard to believe that is, what, 23 years ago! Wow, what happened to the time? Sure, things have changed a bit- we did not have the Internet, and my photos are all real paper photos, neatly sorted by country and filed in photo albums. I remember waiting anxiously at each port of call, along with all my shipmates, for the mail delivery. Sometimes there was nothing at all, and I knew my mother had yet again missed the delivery deadline, and I would have to wait for the next port for a letter, for news from home.

The cabins look much more luxurious than when I went. Nonetheless, the excitement, amazement and pure thrill of travel, as well as the awe and appreciation of human culture, human relations, human history, human accomplishments, follies and sufferings- and the incredible realization that I too am one of them- one of those humans- shines through in your blog, into my memory.

A warning: for years afterward, and even sometimes now, I wake up in the morning, or in the middle of the night, and am surprised that I am not there, on the ship. For my literal dreams of SAS are not the confusing mystical things that dreams often are. Instead, they are quite realistic, repetitive in nature but never the same. I do not know if that is a common "after-effect", but you are hear by forewarned- pleasant reoccurring dreams of your past voyage may be in your future! Thank you for sharing.
Linda

I just finished reading your blog and I am completely hooked. It is as if I was on that trip with you.
Regards.

GM

Have been following your amazing journey!
Claire S.

You've had the experience of a lifetime.
Lynda

It looks so exciting! I will follow you closely during this gorgeous journey.
Irma

Dear Bubby, Im glad you are not sea sic. I hope you are having a good cruise. I miss you.
Joshua

I relate on the "blinking light" issues. I'd have lost my mind already. Get yourself a nice sleep mask at the next port! Or you can always make your own with a sock and 2 make-up remover pads (now there's a Journeywoman tip you can share).
Leslie

Starboard... I always remember it as: Face the front of the ship, my right hand is my "star" hand (being right handed). ;) Marcy

One word of caution....do not touch those condoms (unless they have interesting writing on them like logos etc. Then they can be souvenirs).
Flo

So the Explorer is the fastest ship but how are the stabilizers?
Marilyn B.

Have a WONDERFUL time. Anxious to hear all your adventures. Stay safe!
Nancy

Have an amazing adventure! We can’t wait to hear all your stories.
Erica

You’re probably just getting your feet wet – so to speak – and finding your way around. Stay in touch. Enjoy! Enjoy!
Claire

Hi Traveller!
Thea

HI TOOTS:
NO DOUBT YOU'RE JUST SETTLING IN TO YOUR NEW ROUTINE. CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR YOUR IMPRESSIONS...

Marilyn

Evelyn - Love the blog
Barb Baumann

This is the first time I’ve had a chance to look at your blog. I read everything, just loved it: your Evelyn-observations and fabulous photos!
Claire Dalfen

I've spent the better part of the morning reading your SAS ... but it isn't helping my homesickness for the ship and the people on it!! It's a great read, though.
Margie Garmey

I am so excited to read you blog! I will have to ration myself though. Maybe 'one day' per day so I can extend the memories. ;)
Becca Oman

OH EVELYN! I'm so excited to read it!
Marsh Allen Smith

oh evelyn...i just finished reading your blog and i'm homesick for the MV...again. thanks for sharing :)
Jenna Zorn

Hey Girl,
You are a vivid, fantastic storyteller! Can you teach me how to write like you do?

Stacey C. Ullom

I have just spent the past few days reading your entire SAS blog and found it absolutely delightful. While our specific experiences may have varied, the overall feeling of the voyage that you described was certainly recognizable! Thank you for sharing it with us all.
Margie G.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 23 -- All Aboard!

The trip was long. I left home at 7:15 and got to the ship by 5:00 and the Parent's Orientation Party had already started. I was the bedraggled one in the corner eating meatballs and chicken wings. I finally took my shower, unpacked, etc. by 9:30 and went right to sleep. My cabin is beautiful, the ship as nice as any cruise ship AND at meal times when you choose your food cafeteria style someone puts it on a tray and carries it to your table for you (just like at home:-).

Today, the kids are coming on board and everybody is busy unpacking, getting instructions, etc. Feels just like camp. I've already met some of the older learners and staff. Everybody is outgoing -- I think this type of experience attracts a certain kind of person but only time will tell. I'm disembarking for a bit to check out main street Nassau. So nice to be in light clothing and in explorer mode! Off to the Post Office to buy stamps for Josh, Jessie and Lotus.

I think this is going to be an interesting experience. Last night the ship's captain promised the parents he would bring their kids back safely but he couldn't guarantee that they would be the same. Hmmmm. Though not as extreme I guess I'll see a few changes in myself as well. Perfect.
Change is good!

 

January 23, 2008 - The ship has sailed...

What an incredible memory! At 5:00 PM this afternoon the MV Explorer sailed out of Nassau Harbour. The parents were all on the pier holding signs saying, 'Bon Voyage,' waving and yelling, 'we love you' to their kids. The kids lined the decks yelling, 'I love you, Mom' as the ship slowly pulled away from the pier. I took photos but the tears were streaming down my cheeks -- it was such a wonderful show of emotion. I stood there with a group of 'older learners' and professors and everybody felt the same way. It was a surreal experience thinking about the adventure we were embarking on. I'm trying so hard to stay in the moment but it's not an easy task with so many overlapping experiences and feelings going on at the same time. The sea is choppy tonight. Everybody medicating themselves as a precaution. I'm OK so far so I won't mess with patches or pills until I need them (or not)... are you listening, God?

P.S. As the ship filled with students this morning they brought a beautiful, effervescent energy on board. They're all pretty and polished and excited about their voyage. It will be interesting to watch the ebb and flow of energy aboard. I remember the mood swings from week to week at camp. Wonder if it will be the same?

Yesterday the Executive Dean addressed the students laying down rules of conduct and safety. He was direct and to the point. If I were a student I'd be VERY careful. Any drugs found (they do random checking and testing, too (I think) and you are off at the next port. No credits, no money back.
Nothing!

I should have brought more long-sleeved T-shirts. The air conditioning is on high and I'm freezing. The kids are wearing tiny tank tops and shorts (go figure!)

For everybody who is asking about the other life-long learners -- there are 12 people and each one has wanderlust and a sense of adventure. Seems as if it will be a very pleasant community. We're also very much a part of the faculty community. Most professors are American but I spotted one woman from Tel Aviv University (drama teacher).


The MV Explorer


Hello Nassau...


Students lining up to board...


Parents waving goodbye...


Journeywoman at her Muster Station...

 

January 24 -- Orientation Day...

This whole day was filled with lectures. How to choose your courses, safety issues, picking field trips, how to use the library, how to behave within a closed community and the doctor's sex talk (very funny but excellent). The doctor told the students, "love is not free but these are (holding up condums). There will be a basket outside the infirmary and you can take as many as you need." I'm pooped because I went to every one of those meetings. Just doing my job and trying to understand the program's philosophy and how the whole system works. I noticed that some kids didn't attend. They lay outside and sunbathed. You have to really focus and be disciplined in this type of program because there are so many enticing distractions on the ship. It's just about 9:30 PM now and I won't be up for very much longer. The ship rocked and rolled all of last night.

I didn't mind the motion; it kind of rocked me to sleep. My bigger problem was a big safety florescent light right outside my window that is on all the time. As the boat swayed to and fro, different degrees of light came into the room; dark- light, dark-light, dark-light till I thought I would go mad. It reminded me of those detective stories that describe the neon sign going on and off outside their cheap hotel room. Tonight I'll sleep with the blanket over my head.

Cool things I learned today...
1) What is the difference between a ship and a boat? Size. A ship is always big enough to carry a boat but a boat can never carry a ship
2) The Explorer is the fastest cruise ship in the world. It's the size of two football fields.
3) The smoke/heat detectors in our cabins are so sensitive that the steam from a hot shower taken with the bathroom door open can set off the fire alarm. Within minutes you will have marine firefighters at your door.
3) Volunteers from the ship will be helping to build a Habitat Home for Humanity when we are in Cape Town.
4) This traveller's cautionary quote from TS Elliot -- "We had the experience but we missed the meaning."


The deck outside my window...


The light right above my window

 

January 25 -- Choosing classes...

Today is the first day of classes. Each sailing day everybody meets in the union (the biggest lecture hall on the ship) for one hour to listen to a Global Studies Lecture. This is the time you are being prepared for the next country you will be visiting. Today, we learned about Puerto Rico -- politics, music, economy, history, etc. I learned that P.R. is the second largest Caribbean island (but you already knew that, right?) It's 100 long X 35 wide miles (you knew that, too?) They have US passports, they don't vote in US elections and they don't pay US taxes. There is a 94.1% literacy rate and canned tuna to the US is one of their largest imports (I thought that fact would fascinate you). I now know about the African drum called la bomba and will definitely keep my eyes open for pirates (this is the land of Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean). The Puerto Rican tree frog is called the coqui and I'm told that if I listen I'll hear them singing when we explore PR tomorrow. I didn't tell anybody but my first stop in P.R. will be Walmart. I need more long sleeved shirts for the ship.

Oh to be young again. It's just two days into the schedule and already everybody is running to their classrooms AND finding them. I still haven't figured out which side starboard is on and I get lost every time I set out. We 'life long learners' have to wait for drop/add courses to finish next week. Then we will be invited to sit in on classes where there will be room. From what I'm seeing I'm sure that they'll be plenty of room available and the choices look extremely juicy -- Creative Writing, Intro to Music Therapy, Multimedia Storytelling, World Theatre, Leaders of the 20th Century. Yum!!! I might just float and pop into classes when I can. However, before that I have to figure out how the course schedule works. Which is an 'A' day and which is a 'B'?

Today I realized that there is a pool area where you can buy snacks. I wondered where those smoothies were coming from. Everybody is out in their bikinis, reading, chatting, flirting. Imagine having this wonderful experience when you're young. Just incredible. For the first time since I came on board I sat outside in the sun with 30 sunblock and finally took my long sleeved shirt off. I lasted one hour in the heat talking to another 'life long learner' (that's our title on the ship) and am now a bit less pale. Of course with my gray hair everybody thinks I'm staff. They ask ME directions and I try to act knowledgeable. Today there was a lineup at the bookstore. I asked the kids in front of the line if they heard the rule that anybody with gray hair on the ship gets served first. They were absolutely ready to let me go in before them but I explained I was joking and we all had a good giggle.

There is a young man from Texas who, whenever he sees me in the hall says, 'How are you Maam?' He promised to show me how to set my alarm clock. And the most beautiful Malaysian waiter has adopted me. He calls me, 'Princess' and has a plate ready to hand to me when I walk into the dining room. Wonder how long that will last?:-)

The anthropology teacher (American from Norway) has asked her class to keep a journal of their observations on land. Today at lunch she asked me to speak to her three classes for 15 minutes each on how to write a journal. I said OK. I think it will be fun and it won't really involve a lot of work. Besides I like her and will be happy to do the favour.

I just learned that my website has been posted as a free site (you generally have to pay to use the internet) on the ship. The powers that be feel that JW information will be very helpful for the students. I am DELIGHTED.


Allan the Waiter...

 

January 26 -- San Juan, Puerto Rico...

I got up at 6:00 in order to take pix as the sun rose and we made our way into San Juan's harbour. It was spectacular! Then I was served breakfast outside on the deck (well... not exactly served. I picked up my own food cafeteria style and then everything else was brought to me. Juice, coffee.You know... the stuff you have to keep jumping up for).

Oh the excitement on the ship as everybody prepared to leave and go on their Puerto Rican excursions. The custom officials came on to clear everybody (anybody not American had to be cleared via a DIFFERENT desk-- I am a foreigner on this ship:-) I chose not to go on any trips because I've been here before (a few times) and I wanted to use this time to catch up (do laundry, finish up my writing, sit in the sun for a bit). I also want to save my money for the big trips and, of course SHOPPING. Once everybody disembarked the ship became very quiet and I finally had a chance to think. Because of all the new experiences thrown at me so quickly my mind has been on overdrive. I haven't been sleeping well so I need to give my body the opportunity to catch up. These few days in port with almost everybody gone will definitely help. Yesterday afternoon I went into old San Juan to do some shopping. In the evening I joined two women from 'the ship's mental health team' for dinner at a restaurant called, 'Raice' (Spanish for the word 'roots'). The food was interesting (Puerto Rican food and beer -- mofungo (cubed steak and mashed plantains), casava fries (excellent!). The fun part were the servers dressed in costume, singing (in Spanish, of course), playing drums and fooling around at every table celebrating a special event (like waiters in North America who come to your table to sing Happy Birthday). After dinner we strolled in town (gorgeous warm, but not hot, evening). Honestly I keep forgetting that it's winter time at home. Sorry everybody:-)


Sunrise coming into San Juan...


Up at 6:00 AM to take pix...


El Morro guards the entrance to the city...


San Juan harbour...



San Juan Terminal

 

January 27 -- Sunday in San Juan...

Saturday -- Did laundry early this morning (see photo below). I've included it because so many of you are telling me how jealous you are of this adventure that I thought you should see that I do have a few chores.

I wash all my stuff in the sink and hang it up in the shower. I could send it to the ship's laundry but my gut tells me that my stuff would not come back the same. Walked into old San Juan with a few women this afternoon (one the wife of a professor on board the ship and the other from the mental health team). Boy, was it hot -- we wore lots of sunscreen, tried staying in the shade as much as possible and took great pix of graffiti, kids playing in the park and the ocean. The sky was perfectly blue and so was the water. I got some really wonderful photos but (drats!!!) I can't find them on my computer now. I'd like to blame it on cyberspace but I think it's my stupidity. Maybe when I least expect it they'll show up again.


Laundry...


 

January 28 -- Goodbye San Juan...

The students all went to the beach or on field trips today and we, oldies, went back to town for stocking up on things we'll need for the next leg of the voyage -- seven days of straight sailing to Salvador, Brazil. I bought a thermos so I could make myself a cup of tea in the evening. I also wanted a water bottle. All the kids have these wonderful Nalgene water bottles (with no toxins in the plastic) but all I could find in San Juan was a kid's fairy water bottle made in China (UGH!). I bought it because I had no choice. (UGH, AGAIN). However looking at the bright side I'm sure no one will ever take my bottle by mistake.

Visited Hotel El Convento, a very posh hotel. Poked around and chatted with the manager. Originally a convent it is now one of the small luxury hotels of the world. It's a juicy spot I'd recommend for drinks and lunch. I loved the ambiance, lots of ceiling fans and potted palms. Expected to see Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman checking in at the desk. Next it was on to the San Juan post office. The guy who served me was so pleasant, smiling and joking with all the customers. I told him that one envelope was much heavier than all the others. He said, 'don't tell my supervisor' and he adjusted the price (down). I also bought three padded envelopes and again, he charged me less than the $1.75 each he should have charged for them. Just a small gesture on his part but I'll always remember my discount at the Puerto Rican Post Office.

Tonight everybody had to be on board by 9:00 PM and we set sail at 11:30PM or '23:00 hours' as the captain says. We were all checked in via our photo ID cards and all our shopping bags were inspected for alcohol. Adults can bring stuff on discretely but regular students cannot. They even have to empty their water bottles before coming on to the ship. The drinking policy is well policed. Each student can buy a monthly $65 liquor pass. Every time they order a drink it is recorded. No one can have more than four drinks on any night (but if they do that their monthly pass is used up very quickly) and no one is allowed to use someone else's card. If they do and they are found out both of them are expelled. I just found a few of my San Juan photos but not the best ones.


Fairy water bottle...


Ship ID...


El Convento courtyard...

 

January 29 -- Salvador here we come...

The sky is gray today and the seas are very rocky. All those people who are going on a trip to the Amazon when we get to Brazil are starting to take their malaria medication. Each day at noon there are announcements. This time we heard the instructions from the ship's doctor... 'take your medications' (it's like having mommy here to remind you). I didn't need to worry. My excursion will be to Cachoeira situated deep in the oldest farmlands in Brazil. This is where the tobacco and sugarcane plantations worked by African slaves used to be. Will report on that after the trip.

Thought I'd tell you a little bit about Global Studies. This is a compulsory course that everybody must attend each morning we're sailing. Basically, it serves as preparation for the next port. We learn the history, politics, music, language, customs, etc via lectures from the staff as well as inter port experts. The Brazilian expert came on board in San Juan (Dr. Javier Escudero, www.brazilcultural.com) and he'll sail home to Salvador with us. He told us all about Carnival and the Samba Schools, how wonderful and crazy but unsafe it is if you're not in special viewing stands guarded by security. This is the time young men take the opportunity to grope and french kiss women (without escorts) that look attractive to them. I had read about all this stuff (including the fist fights) so I opted for the more mellow carnival in the suburbs with security. It won't be as fabulous but it will be a lot safer (I hope). We were told not to bring big cameras or even purses. Just to put some spending money in our shoes. (Anybody out there still jealous?) P.S. Javier is also a black and white photographer and I'll be buying one of his prints for my collection.

Both yesterday and today we learned about the slave trade in Brazil, the healing curanderos (shamans), the herbs they use, and the healing songs they sing. The musicologist on board recorded shaman songs in the Andes, learned to reproduce those songs and sang them for us this morning. Can you think of a better way to learn?


The sky is gray today...

 

January 29 -- Volunteering ...

One of the very lovely aspects of Semester At Sea is the understanding that we're all part of a community and we're expected to become involved with the running of day to day life on the ship. There are a 1000 ways to volunteer. These past two mornings I helped with course registration for DROP/ADD. I offered to take the 7:00 AM shift because the 'young ones' hate early mornings. I don't sleep half the night anyway so I could be a hero by getting up early. This DROP/ADD period is so important to the students (some need only one particular course to graduate) that they tried to sleep outside the registrar's office the night before so they had a better chance of getting what they needed. Just like a rock concert ticket sale! Anyway, they were eventually sent to bed (because all those sleeping bodies were a potential fire hazard) but they policed themselves and left a list of what number they were in line so they could form the line again in the AM. Very impressive!

Imagine! I got on this ship understanding that I would be leaving the Semester At Sea community after six weeks aboard. The plan was that on March 15th (my 68th birthday) I would be flying back to Toronto from Chennai, India. However, today I was almost invited to stay on the ship for the full voyage (through Malaysia, Viet Nam, Japan, China, Hong Kong, China...). How did that happen? Well ...yesterday Dean Kenn Gaiter asked me how I was doing. I told him I was crying already, thinking of leaving everybody in India. Without skipping a beat he said, 'So stay with us.' The ship sent a request back to head office in the USA asking for permission for me to stay longer. The message came back that when I get off in India there will be someone else getting on to take my cabin. However, if anything changes they will get back to me. Am I disappointed? Not at all. But, believe me if something opens up I won't say 'no.' This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Today I got a new teaching gig. The first archeology prof I presented for gave me a good evaluation so I'm going to be speaking in a few English classes and a communication class next week. I've had a few students come up to say that they benefited from my 'How to Journal' presentation. Made me feel good because I was a bit nervous -- very much afraid of talking down to them. Guess I must have hit the right cord.

A note on how the ship is organized, who's in charge and who they answer to. Decks are divided into dorms -- each named after a sea. (i.e. I'm part of the Silver Sea (as in gray hair for those of you who are slow) Red Sea, Bering Sea, Dead Sea (the teaching staff), etc . Each of those decks has a dorm leader called an RD or Resident Director who oversees their section and takes care of problems, etc. They are in their twenties, thirties, and forties and have had this kind of experience at other colleges (one woman is actually a JW reader). This is a paid position (for anybody considering applying). These young people are overseen by a Director of Student Life and his assistant. There is also a Conduct officer who patrols the halls of the ship and keeps students in line often during the wee hours of the morning. The students basically are asked to police themselves but if they cross any conduct lines they get one warning, that's it. A favorite punishment for minor infractions is 'dock time' (kind of like a time out). That means that when the ship arrives at the next port the offender can't get off the ship with his or her pals. So if you have one hour of dock time and you must be ready to catch a train with your buddies, you're out of luck. Trust me no one wants DOCK TIME and they do everything to avoid it.

Last night we had a big meeting run by the RD's who each had time to talk about a volunteer project they were leading. Everybody is expected to give some of their time to at least one. The options were incredible. Tutoring a student with learning difficulties, fund raising for a charity (they raised $40,000 last year), Olympic Day, adopting a student and being on a welcome committee for visitors to the ship, etc. I'm I'm raising money for charity and I'm on the Olympic Day planning committee. My silver team gave me strict instructions to include activities that seniors can be good at and we laughed so hard thinking of great categories. i.e.men's over 65 synchronized swimming. We'd be a shoo-in.

 

I found my San Juan pix...

Graffiti San Juan...

 

February 1 – All About Fuel…

Today I learned from Sal Moschella, VP Chief Operations Officer that Semester At Sea has bought the MV Explorer, the ship we are sailing on. He is getting off the ship in Brazil but it has been his job in this last two weeks to look at the changes that need to be made to the ship in order to accommodate this floating campus. (eg) While the casino sign is still up, that room has already been converted into two spaces – the ship’s library and the computer room. Since SAS is at capacity enrollment this year it looks like many of the classroom spaces will have to be enlarged. I also learned that it takes 20 million dollars per semester to run the ship. Hal’s job is looking at ways to improve their spending to minimize costs. Right now one third of spending goes towards fuel. Imagine! 80 metric tons of fuel is used to run the ship each day.

Global Studies the class that everybody must attend each classroom day has ‘conservation’ as one of its themes. Since our next stop is Brazil that was the topic for today’s class – ‘Conservation in the Amazon Basin’ and ‘Oil Extraction in the Amazon.’ I learned that (1) 20% of the world’s fresh water comes from the Amazon Basin. (2) 30% of the world’s forests are in the Amazon (3) 15% of the world’s oxygen comes from here as well. (4) Its home to 20% of the world’s bird species and (5) 20% of the world’s plant species. But with its recent huge oil find, Brazil is becoming one of the fastest growing oil producers in the world. Thankfully, they are starting to put demands on foreign oil producers working in their country to consider the environment. However, this hasn’t solved the problem -- since the government has taken over oil producing facilities in the Amazon they are sometimes far less eco-friendly than the foreign producers were. (Oops, sorry. I didn’t mean for this to become a lecture).

It was busy, busy, busy on the ship today as everybody collected in Timitz Square (the center of the ship) to fill in all their custom forms for the rest of the trip. I only had a few because my journey ends in Chennai (India) but everybody else had a huge job. Long tables were set up with samples of completed cards for each country taped to the table top and groups of kids and staff sat in front of the form they needed first and then in front of subsequent forms as they got to them in their pile (Vietnam, China, Japan, India, etc.) The organization needed for clearing 700 students and staff at each port is incredible and I think these people are doing an incredible job.

Ate lunch outside on the deck with Avi (ship videographer), Tom (ship’s photographer) and his wife Sue Tan. What an absolute pleasure to hear about what these thirty-somethings have already accomplished and what their dreams are. Sue is raising money to build schools in Pakistan’s Taliban country for the young girls in the area. She gave me a copy of the book, 'Three Cups of Tea,' The Story of One Man’s mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time (authors Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin). Published by Penguin Books if anybody is interested. I’m learning something new every day!


Even Puerto Ricans get headaches...


Lush foliage


San Juan cutie...

 

 

End of Week One

 

Week before leaving -- (Jan 11-20)
Week 1 -- (Jan 23-Feb 1 Puerto Rico)
Week 2 -- (Feb 3-9 Salvador, Brazil)
Week 3 -- (Feb 10-16 On the way to South Africa)
Week 4 -- (Feb 19-24 Cape Town and African Safari)
Week 5,6 -- (Feb 25-March 8 Mauritius)
Week 7 -- (March 9-15 Chennai, India)

Week 8 -- (March 16-22 Penang, Malaysia and Singapore)
Week 9 -- (March 23-31 Ho Chi Minh City, VietNam)
Week 10 -- (April 1-6 Hong Kong, Guilin Shanghai, China)
Week 11 -- (April 7-13 Kobe, Japan)
Week 12 -- (April 14-20 On the way to Hawaii)
Week 13 -- (April 21-27 Honolulu, Hawaii)
Week 14 -- (April 28-May 8 Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

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