October 11th, 2005

“You gather the idea that Mauritius was made first and then heaven, and that heaven was copied after Mauritius”
– Mark Twain 1896

What an amazing country. I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I should preface all of this by saying that I believe that the decision we made when we got off the boat was the best decision we could have made. Me, Shane, Lyn, and Mandee packed our backpacks for 2 nights and decided to get as far away from Port Louis as possible. Not that it wasn’t a beautiful city but we knew that if we stayed here we would see nothing but SAS students for 3 days straight. In a country with a population of less than 2 million, 700 additional people in a relatively small port city is very noticeable. Anyways, so we took the water taxi from the ship to Port Louis ($1 and it was only 2 minutes) and went to find a pay phone so we could call some of the places from Mandee’s Lonely Planet. We had tentatively decided to go to a city called Mahebourg because it was pretty far down South and it looked interesting enough. We found a grocery store and bought water because we needed change for the pay phone. We decided to sit down somewhere for a little bit and figure out what we wanted to do so we found this cute little park and just sat on a bench looking through the Lonely Planet. Doug, the video editor and his wife Erin ( they’re really young) were thinking of going to Mahebourg too so we just decided to go together. We called the “Nice Place Guest House- owned by a lovely elderly Indian couple” and asked them if they had room. They said they did so we told them we’d call when we got to Mahebourg.

We found our way to the bus station and it took us a looong time to find the bus to Mahebourg. The stop was at a building a couple blocks down from the actual bus stop. Somehow we found it and as soon as we got on the bus it left- lucky us! Too bad we didn’t even know what the bus fare was, we just got on. The ticket collector came around and the price ended up being 23 rupees- less than $1! The trip took about an hour and a half but that’s because it wasn’t an express bus so it made stops every now and then. I like taking public transportation because you can see more people and more scenery. Mauritius is gorgeous- so many different types of landscape and it’s such a small island that if you had a week you could really explore the whole of it. Anyways, we got to Mahebourg which is a smallish town on the southeastern coast. We found the Nice Place Guest House but decided to check out Aquarelle and Coco Villa because they were right on the beach. We stopped at Coco Villa first and just decide to stay there. It was kind of like the Towne Hotel of Mauritius haha. We got 1 big room with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and a small kitchen with a fridge. It wasn’t dirty but it wasn’t clean either. I guess it wasn’t that bad for $11 a night! We had a nice balcony overlooking the ocean though so that made it worth it.

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The view from our hotel.

We threw our stuff down and went out to find some food because we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast on the ship! It was Sunday so most of the places were closed but this one Chinese restaurant was open- Monte Carlo I think was the name. I got vegetarian fried rice that was really good. After dinner we walked back to the hotel but not before picking up some provisions. The hotel had a lounge with a pool table so we went to go sit there. Guess what movie was on TV? Yuva. I only recognized it because I had seen it before I left. I thought it was a pretty good movie but it dragged at the end. The ideology behind it was good though. I watched that for awhile because it reminded me of home…haha. Everyone went upstairs and the movie was almost over so I stayed. I made friends with a nice taxi driver while we were watching- I think he was kind of contracted to the hotel so he just hangs around until someone needs him. He was really nice and we had a nice talk about Bollywood. After the movie was over I went upstairs to go to sleep but everyone was still up so we sat around and talked for awhile. I went to go to the bathroom and there was a HUGE cockroach in there! Shane nicely came and smushed it and put it in the shower for us to wake up to the next morning. The shower was a spectacle in itself. It was described in the Lonely Planet as “electrocutioner style” because you have to turn the shower on and the turn the water heater on. If you want high pressure you have to take a cold shower.

Monday- We woke up today to cloudy skies and rain. Mandy and I decided to go over to the school across the street just to see if we could look around and visit. We sat outside the principals office waiting for an audience with him- we kind of felt like kids that got into trouble. Anyways, we met with him and just told him that we were from the US and were interested in the education system. He was so surprised that we wanted to see his school because he didn’t think it was anything special. He showed us around to the library, some classrooms, and the field. We met the librarian because Mandee wanted to meet him and one of the librarians gave us gulab jammun! 🙂 The headmaster then asked us if we had lunch yet and we said no so he drove us downtown in his car. He got Mandee, Shane, and Lyn these sandwich things but they had chicken in them so we went on a quest for vegetarian food. I had some dal roti thing from a street vendor that was really really good. We walked through the market while we were eating and it was pretty intense, to say the least. It was more of a produce market so it was reallly crowded. It was fun to see though. We walked back to his car and then he drove us back to Coco Villa so we could change for the BEACH. He drove us to Blue Bay and then went back to school. We sat on the beach for awhile and then we decided to take a glass bottom boat ride. It was GORGEOUS. The color of the water was just amazing and we saw all types of coral and fish.

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Look at the differnce in the water color.

We came back and tried to get a taxi back to our hotel. The first guy we asked said it would cost 300 rupees. We decided to wait for the bus. We waited for a loong time and another taxi came by so we decided to ask again just in case. He said it would only be 50 rupees. Great. We got back to Coco Villa, changed and then walked down to the market again. We went to this one place and got fresh fruit juice and Lyn, Mandee, and Shane got chicken briyani at another place. Ooh yeah Mandee and I bought these really pretty skirts from the market- they jingle!! On the way back to the hotel we stopped and got ice cream from a really colorful truck. Vanilla ice cream with nuts and coconut on top- it was soo good.

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Me, Mandee, Shane, and Lyn

We walked back to the hotel and had nap/reading time and then went down to the little Chinese restaurant downstairs to have dinner. We figured out what we were doing the next day and slept kind of early.

We woke up around 8am on Tuesday so we could catch breakfast (bread and Laughing Cow cheese). We then went over to the school to see Kim. He thought that we were going to stay for lunch so he told all the teachers to make a dish for us! They just packed it up for us to take. It was so unexpected and so nice…we didn’t even know what to say. We talked to him for awhile and decided to meet him back at 5pm. We rented a taxi for the day so we checked out of the hotel and went on our way. Our taxi drivers name was Malleck- he was Muslim and it was Ramadan so he was fasting all day! We wanted to share our lunch with him but he couldn’t eat until sundown. The first place we went was a Textile store- it didn’t really have any historical significance it was just cheap knock-offs and our taxi driver probably got commission so we humored them for a little bit and then left. We went to the volcano next which was awesome. We had to drive around the rim to get to the top and once we got there it just looked like a huge crater but there was an amazing view as well. The store we went to next was really cool considering our situation…it was a factory store that hand made model ships. We got to go upstairs and see the people actually making them. It was really interesting. We went to the Colonial House next and strangely enough they had a miniature Eiffel Tower on the grounds. I don’t know what the significance of that was? On the way to the temples in Grand Bassin we stopped for lunch. The food they made was delicious- puri, rice, pumpkin something, something that looked like khichdi, cabbage, a dal type thing, and kher. We were so stuffed afterwards. The temple we went to was gorgeous and they had these huge statues in the water- it was really interesting architecture.

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Mandee and I at the temple.

We did aarti, looked around and left. Next we went to Bois Cheri tea plantation which was fascinating.

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Tea tasting.

They had a museum and a factory tour. Unfortunately the factory wasn’t up and running when we were there but we still got good explanations of everything that went on and we got to see some of the processes. For some reason I think mass production is very interesting. I love seeing the factory process and how everything is automized. I don’t know- it’s a weird fascination. Ok so after the tour they had tea tasting! We tried the 5 types of tea that they made there- exotic fruit, earl gray, mint, coconut, vanilla, and black. They also had a loose white jasmine tea which was my favorite. We bought tea (and a children’s book about how rum is made) and left. The last place we went was this Crocodile Reserve which was AMAZING. We had an awesome guide who really knew what he was talking about. We saw crocodiles, monkeys, tortoises, koi, carp, bats, and a lot of other things I can’t remember. But i do remember seeing TERRAPINS. They had “Red-Eared Terrapins”!!!!!! I had my MD hoodie on too. 🙂

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Red Earred Terrapins!

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Feeding the monkeys! They’re not mean like they are in India.

They also had this amazing collection of insects and butterflies- mounted ones I mean. My goodness some of these butterflies were so gorgeous. We finally headed back to Coco Villa, chilled for a little bit and then left with Kim to go back to port.

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Coco Villa

He drove us back a different way than when we came so we got to see some other parts of the island. We discussed so much in the car about anything and everything. It was so great. That’s what I wrote my paper about actually. Here, maybe I should just post it. The assignment was to imitate the style of one of the authors we are reading so I chose to mimic Byron who incorporates conversation into his analysis of a country. Ok so real quick- we drove back to port and rushed on board to pack up books from the library that we were donating to their school. We also wrote him a quick thank you note. We walked back to his car with a few boxes of books and said our goodbyes. It was interesting to hear about everyone’s experience in Mauritius but I’m still glad we left Port Louis. OH Tejal- guess what movie some people saw while they were here? NO ENTRY! Oh my goodness…we saw the preview for that when we went to go see The Rising and it just looked like it would be the worst movie ever. I think that’s what the consensus ended up being. Ok, so here’s my paper:

Mahébourg, October 11th. – We drove back to Port Louis from the southeastern coastal town of Mahébourg with a new acquaintance we made over the course of our stay in this lovely town. For two days we woke up to the easily carried sound of screaming and shouting boys. Lo and behold, right across from our quaint oceanfront hotel was the Emmanuel Anquetil Mahébourg State Secondary School. On our first morning in Mahébourg we made our way over to the school in hopes of meeting a teacher or student who wouldn’t mind showing us around for a few minutes. In retrospect, we should have rehearsed a response for the questioning that ensued. We also should have realized how difficult it is to explain the concept of Semester at Sea to people who have never previously heard of it or anything similar. We sat outside the headmaster’s office for about thirty minutes waiting for an audience with him all the while feeling like students who were sent to the principals office for getting in trouble.
“Hello, do you need something?”
“Yes, we were just interested in visiting your school.”
“For what purpose?”
“Oh, we just wanted to learn more about the education system in Mauritius.”
“Are you teachers?”
“ No, we are students.”
“ So why are you interested in our school?”
“ We just wanted to talk to some of the teachers and students.”
“ Oh, I see. What are you doing in Mauritius?”
“ We are traveling on a ship that is going around the world.”
“A ship?”
“Yes, we docked in Port Louis.”
“Are you working on the ship?”
“No, we are students.”
“What are you doing on a ship then?”
“We are taking classes on the ship.”
“So you are students.”
“Yes.”
“Why did you stop in Mauritius?”
“Well…you see, we were supposed to go to Kenya but there was a travel advisory for maritime vessels traveling off the east coast of Africa so we came to Mauritius
instead.”“Terrorism?”
“Yes, terrorism.”
“That is unfortunate.”
“Is there terrorism in Mauritius?”
“ nobody even knows Mauritius exists.”

Eventually we were given a tour of the school by the headmaster and we soon realized that he was so inquisitive as to the nature of our visit because he was in shock that people actually wanted to visit his school. He didn’t believe that there was anything special about it. It was indeed dilapidated and in great need of repair but that was not what attracted us to it. Somehow we saw past all of that and simply saw it as a school. On the way back to port we had a good time conversing with the headmaster on a variety of topics.
“We noticed that all the boys have to wear uniforms.”
“Yes, we do have uniforms but I do not like it.”
“Why not?”
“If a child does not wear the uniform it is not his fault but his parents fault.”
“So what do you do if you see someone not in uniform?”
“Nothing.”
“Nothing?”
“How can I punish the boy when it is obviously the parents at fault?”
“Are most schools single sex?”
“No, there are some mixed schools as well.”
“Do you prefer all boys?”
“Not at all. Girls and boys have to work together eventually. Why should we inhibit something so natural?”
“Don’t you think it hinders their ability to concentrate?”
“No, of course not. Both sexes do better when they are together.”
“Really? We believed the opposite.”

The headmaster conveyed all of this to us with such conviction and insistence that it was easy to tell that he was passionate about the subject and obviously frustrated with the state of his school. We therefore decided to change the subject and talk about his family instead.
“What does your wife do? Does she work?”
“Oh heavens no! It would not be fair to her.”
“How so?”
“She already has to take care of the baby, the house, my needs, the household needs and all of that. If, on top of that, she has to work and bring home a paycheck every
week? This is not fair to her, you see.”
“How high is the divorce rate?”
“Not very high.”
“Oh, that’s good.”
“No it is not.”
“Why?”
“The domestic violence is very high. Husband and wife fight. Also, there is the mother-in-law. You understand about the mother-in-law? Everyone in the world
understands this.”
“ Yes, we understand very well.”
“Why is there so much divorce in America?”
Silence
“People get married too fast. They jump the gun and think they are ready for anything”
“I think it is because you have too many lawyers.”

What was most interesting about our exchange was that since the language barrier was at a minimum the appeal came from the exchange of ideas as opposed to confusion and misinterpretation. Our conversations were humorous due to the richness of the content and not the lack of comprehension.
At last it was time to say our goodbyes at Port Louis. We exchanged the standard niceties and promised to keep in touch.
“You all must come back.”
“Of, of course we will.”
“I can find you a nice husband.”
<laughter for lack of a better response

October 12th, 2005

I’ve done it again. Overextended myself a little bit. Oh well, it’s just like being at home! Haha no, jk. This is just a crazy crazy week for everyone. Thank goodness I’m only in one event now for the Olympics (the Academic Bowl). I was triple booked because the basketball tournament and musical chairs were at the same time as the Academic Bowl. I wasn’t really stressing about musical chairs, but I was going to get some basketball coaching from Brandon. Last night, however, I got a call from Michael (my RD) and he asked me to put together a talent act for the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. I guess I could do a dance but it’s not going to be any good and we’re going to be judged on this! I’m debating whether I should do a goofy dance ( e.g. guys dressed up as girls) or a serious dance ( Jiya Jale maybe? that’s the only dance I really remember right now). THe Olympics are in TWO DAYS. Eeeeks! On top of that, I have 3 papers and 1 midterm in the next few days. Not to mention a presentation for Film class, charity poker tournament, Myanmar trip organization. Aaaah. I’m going crazy. No sleep this week for me! Oh well, it’ll be fun hopefully. I love being busy. There’s somethign wrong with me. I just don’t like being idle. I don’t even remember what it feels like to be bored. I’m not saying that I’m doing more work than anyone else, I’m just saying that I’m very restless! haha I’m also kind of sad that this is the last of our long stretches at sea before Japan. Right now im in global studies and we just had a lecture on India’s history. It was interesting. I just perk up when anyone talks about India. Maybe that’s why this week is so much fun for me- everyone’s all about India this week. Haha
The choir is learning the national anthem and some other songs I believe-Raghupati i think. I met the two interport students from Chennai this morning. All of our interport students from now on are girls and we finally have a female interport lecturer. The girls are nice. Maybe I’ll ask them to do this dance for the Olympics. Hmmm…

Today is Coming Out Day on the ship. I think the national one was yesterday but that was too soon after port so they planned it for today. Jed went to look for ribbons in Mauritius but they didn’t find anything sufficient .Instead, they just put up signs for people to wear white either to show solidarity or to come out. They have an Open Mic session tonight so that should be good. Somehow I signed myself up for the poker tournament tonight…Mischa organized it as a charity event. He organized it really well because he got the ship to deduct the $10 donation from shipboard accounts. He raised about $400 and is donating it to Missionaries of Charity Orphanage in India. (note to self: look up Roots of Peace)

I’m beginning to feel a little bit like I did this summer when people would get mad at me for being busy. I can’t even expain why I’m so busy but I always seem to have something to do. Likewise, people on the ship are like ” what on earth are you doing that keeps you so busy?” I think it’s just a combination of things. I don’t even know. I think people think I’m mad at them because I’ve been kind of MIA lately but that’s not it at all. There must be something wrong with me. I don’t know how to divide my time well. Time management…what an important skill to have.

October 14th, 2005

Eeks. It’s almost 4am and I just finished studying for my Anthropology of Food midterm tomorrow. Actually, it was 3am but we had to advance our clocks. Today was exhausting too. 8am class and Global Nomads was filming me and Lily for one of their segments. Too bad they didn’t tell us before so we looked horrible. 8am classes are bad enough anyways. The rest of the day was fine, studied like crazy in between classes. in phil and film we watched aparjito- the second in the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray. I really liked it but the room is so stuffy and congested so it makes me sleepy. You know what? In the Apu Trilogoy he marries a girl named Aparna. How weird is that? Yeah so after that I studied until our Bering Sea meeting. We learned our chants (i’ll post it) and high fives and talked about the Olympics. We had dance practice after that and it looks like it’s just going to be me, Moriah, Jess, and Whitney. That’s perfectly fine with me. They’re only doing the first minute or so and then just improvising in the back while I have a solo kind of in the front. I really don’t want to do it by myself but we definietly don’t have enough time to do it any other way. The end of the dance is going to be great though 🙂 both Glenns (hopefully), Jed, and Grover are going to wear skirts and dance to Sajna ve Sajna (the Usher “Yeah” version). It’s only 45 seconds so I’m just going to teach it to them tomorrow. This whole talent show act is so haphazard and put together so quickly…it’s really not going to be any good but it’ll be funny at least. oh yeah, did i mention how hard it is to dance when the boat is rocking like this?? it’s crazzy. whitney did a full roll today on the ground when we were practicing. I hope its not this rocky tomorrow. ok this is cutting into my 3 hours of sleep for tonight! will write later
love to all!
I MISS HOME SOO MUCH. I haven’t talked to Mom since South Africa!! toooo long.

October 17th, 2005

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I LOVE THE BERING SEA! Our awesome dance group.

These past two days were probably the best days of the whole voyage. I would say the best days of my life, but my standards are ever-changing! Saturday night was the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and all day Sunday were the Olympic events. I live for this. The Opening Ceremony was great. Each sea had to put on 2 talent show acts. One of our Bering Sea acts was our dance and the other was an impromptu skit that was put together after the singer in our sea lost her voice. 😦 Ok, so our dance turned out much better than I thought it would. I didn’t expect the type of reaction we got at all. We did Jiya Jale because I remembered most of it from when Jess and I did it for the Taal show. I cut out parts of it because I only had one day to teach everyone! Teaching was a lot harder than I thought it would be but these girls picked up so fast. It was just me, Whitney, Moriah, and Jess so that was good. In the time we had, I was only able to teach them the first minute and a half so the rest of the song they made me do it solo! Aah! I’ve NEVER dance solo before so I was much more nervous than I let on. I also thought that we needed some comedic relief so I added a minute of Sajna ve Sajna (mixed with Usher’s Yeah!) and coerced Jed, Glenn, and Grover into dancing this last part.

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These boys were awesome.

We wanted it to be kind of ridiculous and funny so we made them wear skirts and makeup and stuff their shirts. I choreographed the short part of Sajna ve Sajna with a little bit more girly moves so they would stand out even more. It was HILARIOUS. Roll on the floor laughing kind of hilarious. I taught the boys the dance at 6pm the night of the talent show…they were awesome. Yeah, so when i say we “made them” do all of this that’s not relaly accurate. They were more than happy to do it. I just wanted them to wear skirts. Stuffing their shirts and wearing make up was their OWN idea. I love it. I guess that’s what happens when you stick 683 extroverted people on a ship together So the act went really well and all night people were coming up to me and telling me how they were so surprised I could dance like that. “Where did that come from?” kind of reaction. I think it’s funny because I’m not really a good dancer but it’s all relative. For some people on the ship this is the first type of Indian dancing that they’ve seen so it’s all new to them. Yeah, so that went over realy well. We had an awesome dance group- I’m so glad that everyone is so sporting. Let me try and remember the other acts (with their respective colors):

Arabian Sea– Tal’s dance and Adam’s song
Red Sea– Mark’s “SAS’d” skit, Facebook
Caribbean Sea– Get Low and SNL skit
Baltic Sea– “blue ballers” and they did kind of a whole group dance thing to a mix of songs. it was really really good and they got a lot of their sea involved
Aegean Sea- jazzercise and opera
Vitamin Sea– video and kids skit
Bering Sea– dance and skit
Mediterranean Sea– SNL skit and comedian
Yellow Sea– Brian’s song and and girl with guitar

They were all fabulous. Tal and some girls choreographed a dance to a song from Moulin Rouge complete with chairs and sultry lighting. The Red Seas acts were amazing, they did a parody song about Facebook which was hilarious. I should ask them to post the lyrics. The Caribbean Sea ( Pirates) did the “Get Low” song that Natalie and I wrote on Neptune Day:

To the tune of “Get Low” – start with ” 3..6..9″

88th time
each country in line
cruising round the world
in a ship so fine

walk slow
walk slow
walk slow
walk slow

from the union to the halls
we slam into the walls
I wish I could crawl
Less sleep sleep every crossing
More sleep sleep in class
Less sleep sleep every port
More sleep sleep in class

Should be drunk
4 tickets
For me
Any more and Dan’ll be after me

In the line
Did u sanitize?
Ready for potatoes and salad this time?
Can K Murph say things just one time?

Ok so let me explain a little bit. 88th time means that this is our 88th voyage, the Union is like the student union, we slam into the walls because the ship is rocking, we get less sleep every crossing because we have to advance our clocks all the time, the limit for pub night tickets is 4 and Dan is the “Corrections Officer” on the ship who is always looking out for people who try and buy tickets off of other people, outside the dining halls there are hand sanitizing stations because cleanliness is so important on the ship, every meal there is potatoes and salad, and finally K Murphy is our Global Studies professor who has a very interesting lecture style that can easily be mocked.

The Caribbean Sea’s other skit was a spoof of that SNL skit with the guy and girl cheerleader(spirit check, etc.). The Baltic Sea ballers did kind of a whole group dance thing to a mix of songs. it was really really good and they got a lot of their sea involved. The Aegean Sea ( their color was white so their cheer was off the rap song ” white tee”) had a girl sing opera and their second talent was a jazzercise routine to that song ” Call on Me”. It was great. The Vitamin Sea which is made up of staff, faculty, kids, and adult passengers made an amazing video about semester at sea and pretended that the whole thing was a farce. they said all of them were actors and they had to audition for their positions. their second act was a skit by the kids which was great too. They yellow sea had two singing acts, one of them included an interpretive dance by Emmanuel and the Animaniac’s country song by Brian. The Med Sea did another SNL spirit skit which was equally as funny and they also had a stand-up comedian who was hilarious. The theme of tonight could been Prof. Murphy because at least 3 of the seas incorporated him into their skits. He was a good sport though.

In conclusion, the talent show was absolutely amazing. There are so many talented people on this ship and I think everyone was truly surprised at how the show turned out because we only had 2 days to prepare for it. The rest of the night was fun, I tried to do some journaling but just ended up hanging out and then eventually going to sleep kind of early. I had to be up the next morning bright and early. So I woke up yesterday, looked out my window and thought that they were washing it (and by they I don’t mean people-I mean the automatic window washing spray thing…people don’t really climb out onto the side of the ship in the middle of the ocean to wash our windows ) but it was actually just RAIN. This is maybe the second day it’s rained while we’re at sea and it just has to be on the day of the Olympics. Hmph. I made a sign that said ” Don’t be sad because outside it’s gray…the polar bears kinda like it that way.” For the Bering Sea our mascot is the polar bear and our color was gray so we just played off of that. Yeah so I got a quick breakfast and then went to Michael’s (our AWESOME RD- resident director) room to get “pawed.”

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Whitney and I all Bering Sea’d out.

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Our mashed potato sculpture.

He had gray face paint so we were painting paws on all the Bering Sea people who walked by. I did that and then went up to the Academic Bee. Our team was me, Glenn, Ben , and another guy. Guess what? WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was a geography, trivia, and spelling bee. The rules of the game kind of evolved as the game went on so it was a little frustrating but whatever. I could really only contribute to the spelling part of the game…my trivia skills are non-existent. It was A LOT of fun though. We had a really good team because we each had our own strengths. What’s even better is that the Academic Bee was worth double points. It was the first win of the day so we were all so PUMPED. Aaron ( one of our sea reps) came in at the end and told us he got first place in Monopoly too. Let’s see how many of the other events I can remember. We got second in lemonade pong (thanks to Pete, Grover, and Brandon), first in Pictionary, second in limbo, second in mashed potato sculpture, second in Legends of the Hidden Temple, third in scavenger hunt, third in Texas Hold’ Em, second in Twister, second in Musical Chairs, fourth in relay race. I don’t think we placed well in Checkers, Scrabble, Push Ups/Pull Ups, Synchronized Swimming, or Tug of War. Our strength was a bit more on the intelligent side rather than brute strength. haha jk. Oh, so Synchronized Swimming wasn’t really synchronized swimming because it was raining so they couldn’t fill the pool. They did it in the Union instead and the teams had to do dry runs of their routine. Most teams just changed them to make them as entertaining as possible and believe me they were VERY entertaining. Guys in bikinis and even one-piece suits…oh man, it was just so funny. The mashed potato sculpture contest was great too. Each team had to make a replica of the ship with mashed potatoes and any other decorating supplies that they could gather in 15 minutes. We got 2nd place! They put so much detail into their ship- complete with showers by the pool. Whitney and I were running back and forth between mashed potato and Legends of the Hidden Temple. It was similar to an old show on Nickelodeon I think. Our team was AWESOME- Glenn, Tyler, Jess, Jackie, and another girl. They won the first round and then lost in the finals because of some stupid puzzle. Grr. I went to watch Lemonade Pong and Limbo for awhile which was great too. Whit and I ran around “pawing” people and touching up their paint before the closing ceremonies. We watched synchronized swimming, Pete and Melissa’s hip hop dance, and then…they announced the winners. It was between us and Aegean Sea and neither of us could gauge who won because all the events were weighted differently. WE GOT SECOND!!!!!!!!!!! Out of 9! I was happy but I thought we deserved first…haha but then again so does every other sea. Too bad we don’t get anything for being second…first place prize is getting off the ship FIRST in San Diego. Aah! That would be awesome but it’s ok. Haha it felt like Raas Chaos all over again….we were all so nervous when they were announcing the winner. Dissapointment again but whatever. Seriously the best two days of my life. I was honestly in my element these past two days. Just something about the whole thing…cheering for our sea, getting people excited about events, helping out , running around EVERYWHERE, just being involved in everything and being so spirited all day. I loved every minute of it.

Oh yeah, our cheers:
the first part was a cadence that Aaron made up but I don’t remember the words. We retired that cheer because nobody could remember it.
Awoo. The Bering Sea. That is my heart’s desire.
Awoo. The Polar Bears. I love em’! I love em’! I love em’! I love em’!
And you repeat that 3 times

Another one:
I said BRR! it’s cold in here.
There must be some polar bears in the atmosphere.
I said BRR! it’s cold in here.
There must be some polar bears in the atmosphere.

And our favorite (if not morbid) one:
We eat baby seals.
Yeah we eat baby seals.
We club em, we beat em, and then we eat em.
We eat baby seals.
Yeah we eat baby seals.
(Put your hands up and shrug your shoulders questioningly and say this matter of factly)
We’re polar bears.

Yeah so our cheers were awesome. Michael even dressed up as a polar bear of sorts. He made a head out of cardboard boxes and painted his whole UPPER body. We serisouly have the best RD, he was a camp counselor for little kids so he’s full of energy and is not afraid to do anything. Yeah so after the Closing Ceremonies there was a Dessert Bar up on Deck 7 which was amazing. The line was so long and I was too hyper to wait in line so I just went around and talked to people. I don’t even know what time we went to sleep.

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Gray and denim- our Bering Sea colors. To the left of me is Michael our RD.

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Polar bear mascot!

October 18th, 2005

It was Tejal’s birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEJ!!! I LOVE YOU SOOOO MUCH. SORRY I COULDN’T CALL BUT I WILL WHEN I GET TO INDIA. HOPE YOU HAD A FABULOUS BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!

So yesterday was A Day- my worst day. My 8 am was fun though because we were talking about V.S. Naipaul and Theraux so I found it interesting. I got my Mauritius practicum back and Prof. O’Brien wrote on the last page ” Very good work. Your dancing was also very impressive.” Haha it was hilarious. I tried to do work after Global Studies but got stuck online trying to get things organized. We have free internet until tomorrow so EVERYONE is online. It is terribly terribly slow…eh oh well. I got on AIM and were talking to a few people but it was almost 3am and midterm week so I guess most people were studying. I talked to more people when I got online at 2:00am because it was a more reasonable time back home. Yeah so I just wasted time until Film class. Today we watched Salaam Bombay!– Mira Nair film. I’d seen it before but I really like it. I didn’t know that the little boy was not an actor but just some boy they pulled from one of the reformatories (Chiller Rooms as they are referred to in the movie). When he went home afterwards he told his family about the movie and they didn’t believe him so they beat him. After class I grabbed a quick dinner with Lyn and Kyle (which has kind of become tradition now…after film class we just go to Deck 6 Dining Hall and reflect. haha) and then ran to my Intercultural Ambassador’s Meeting. We were having a dialogue with the 2 interport students from India. It’s 2 girls this time and they are really sweet. Mansi and Sindhiya are both from Chennai and we hung out a couple days ago. Global Nomads has started taping me, Brian, Eric, and Lily so they came to the Ambassador’s meeting. I’m not used to a camera all up in my face but I think it’s something I have to get used to. After the meeting we booked it to cultural pre-port and Global Nomads had reserved seats for us in the front because they wanted to tape again. Cultural pre-port was good this time- panel discussion, Alicia’s slide presentation, and fashion show by Feminists@Sea on “What Not to Wear” The fashion show was hilarious- Jed was one of the hosts. I was supposed to be a “model” but I had class till 7pm so I didn’t have time to really practice. I just told them to find someone else. After pre-port I was going to go do work but I forgot it was A day so there was salsa! Now it’s getting more serous and they are putting together a team to perform at the SOS Auction. I think I’m going to do it. It was so much fun yesterday. We learned a choreographed dance that they had been working on that evening. We did this for about 2 hours while pub night was going on. Tonight’s theme was “Freaks and Geeks” or “CEO’s and Secretaries”. It’s actually supposed to be “CEO’s and ” haha A good amount of people dressed up so that was good. I went up to pub night after salsa all sweaty…too bad they were done playing music. Oh well, I talked to Kyle and Daniel for awhile and then went inside to watch Princess Bride! I love that movie so much. I caught the last half of that and watched it while reading for Food. Around midnight our room was the party room again and people were just coming in and out (most were slightly intoxicated). It was entertaining I guess. At 2am or so we all went upstairs to use the Internet. The computer lab was PACKED (as was every other place on the ship where you got good connection) but it was fun because people were playing music and all that. Once again, the browsers were slow but AIM was working. I text messaged mom to get online and she did so that made my night! I definitely went to sleep around 4:30am…I got back to my room and couldn’t sleep so I started watching Born into Brothels which was coming on TV. I want to watch the whole thing eventually. Whew. And now I’m in Global Studies (well, in a satellite room actually because I woke up 10 minutes late so I just brushed my teeth, threw on a hoodie, and ran down here). I’m DONE after Anthropology of Food but I have SO MUCH to do today it’s not even funny. I am SO excited about India. It’s so bad to say but I think I just want to relax a little in India and not be stressed out to see everything possible. I’d be content just sitting in a coffee shop (drinking tea) all day just reading and journaling and having some alone time. Maybe that’s what I’ll do on my birthday. haha we’ll see. Don’t be mad if I don’t have crazy experiences in India like I did in some of the other countries to write about. 🙂 I’m excited to see Aashna and all!!!
Ok that’s it for now- Global Nomads meeting in a little bit. Sorry ther are no pictures but the Internet is way too slow. I’ll try and post some from India!

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Our UMD picture.

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