May 27th

It is now 0500, I woke up after a very nice sleep to the sound of the tugs pulling alongside. I had expected to be awakened much earlier as we were scheduled (or re-scheduled) to be docking at about 0200. We just docked after I enjoyed watching the tugs do their work, very cool boats.

Last night I was once again not too hungry, good thing since the dinner entree was liver, a huge slab of liver. I am not against liver and in fact would eat it if I was hungry enough. It is not one of my go to foods, in fact I do not think I have ever prepared liver. I think it is an American thing and perhaps a recent generational thing, that organ meats simply do not sit well with our tastes. I am sure that my parent’s generation and those before ate organ meats with somewhat regularity. As a kid, we never had liver or kidneys or tongue or brains or other organ meats so we never developed a taste for it. Now, over here I eat that kind of thing pretty much all the time but it is a component of a soup or a wok dish, not a slab on a plate. In fact, pork intestine and liver are pretty much a staple here and considered nothing less than perfectly normal.

In any event, I was pleased to have the opportunity to avoid returning an uneaten plate to the kitchen. There are two people to be on good terms with on this ship; the Captain and the Chef. I did have a salad, cheese, bread and a pear sliced up so I could eat it in small bites.

After dinner, I sat out on the deck with just the house lights on and enjoyed the cool air that had settled in at nightfall. As we move up the coast and head north the weather is becoming a wider temperature range with the daily highs still in the low 80’s but the nights are much cooler and may even require a sweater. I prefer this over the weather further south where the difference in temperature from day to night is only 5 degrees or so.

I bought a jar of instant coffee while provision shopping in Hong Kong and there is an electric kettle in the passenger lounge. I am making use of it in the morning and in the afternoon. Instant coffee can be bitter and harsh but it satisfies that wake up cup desire I have. I drink too much coffee while at home, usually 3 or 4 cups in the morning. I have noticed that it makes me anxious and a little shaky so one of my trip benefits is to reduce that consumption. I am drinking one cup in the morning, after I shower and shave. At home I kind of shuffle out of bed straight to the coffee maker which has been preset for the morning. I think coffee is a wonderful thing and I love it but I also recognize that the side effects of drinking too much are not good for me. Between the dry spell of Coke and my reduction in coffee I think my body is getting used to a lower caffeine intake? Maybe I am being hopeful. I still have a few days to go before I can have that Coke, although I am told that Sunday is a special day on board and that the Captain hosts a social time on the bridge where they serve beer, wine and yes, Coke. I wonder if tomorrow (which is Sunday) this will occur.

Breakfast was coffee and oatmeal with honey, I also had a Japanese yogurt. We said good bye to Canada today, that is what I called Michael, the Canadian passenger. I decided to stay on board today, the taxi ride was too long to go to town and I will save that for tomorrow in Shanghai. I think there are several crew members going ashore so we can share taxi fares. I should have about 5-6 hours in Shanghai to walk around and have lunch and that elusive Coke.

Today I will lounge, nap and read. The sun is out but I cannot be out on deck for long, they are loading and I am just a nuisance out there.

We had a vegetable quiche and pork curry for lunch, dessert was watermelon. Each day at lunch there is an information sheet on the table, as I am now alone at a table this information is really targeted at me. Today it advised that we will depart Ningbo at 1700. The information sheet also advised that tomorrow the kitchen will be cold food only, the chef is one of the 6 that are going ashore. So that means if I get clearance I will join them in going ashore in Shanghai. I think we will have about 4-5 hours on shore. The run up to Shanghai is short but the guys cannot get a shore pass until the ship has been loaded and unloaded. I think they are planning on going ashore around 1500 tomorrow and then being back by 1900 hours. I will take it, I just want to have a coke and a candy bar. I have seen Shanghai several times, the cheapo souvenirs, the street peddlers, the amazing skyscrapers, the complete cultural mélange that Shanghai is. It really is a wonderful blend of old world colonialism and new world architecture thrown in the center of Chinese heritage. Shanghai may be one of the most diverse culture cities on the planet. All I want out of it is a convenience store. Funny.

The water in the bay here in Ningbo looks like Nestle Quick. A deep ruddy brown, the entire thing. It looks like when a river dumps into the sea after a big storm but there have been no storms, the bay is just a sediment filled hole that is large enough for big ships. It is not a bad looking place, just not a beautiful place. There are wind powered towers in the hills, like the ones you see when you enter or leave Palm Springs and they just look odd here next to the belching smokestacks that appear to have been built in the mid 1900’s. That sounded odd; the mid 1900’s. I am still not wrapped around it being 2017. I think this year is the 40th reunion for my high school. Gads, 40 years. What in the world?




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