Archive for November, 2005

November 24, 2005

November 19th, 2005

Last night was the SOS Charity auction- it was way too long but fun. We had salsa at 7pm down on Deck 2 because they were setting up the Union for the auction. We were rolling around like CRAZY trying to dance while the ship was rocking- it was hilarious! Yeah so the theme of the auction was Black and White with a Flair. I was going to dress up but salsa ended right at 8:30 when the auction started so I didn’t get a chance to change. Oh well it wasn’t that big a deal because we were just sitting the whole time. Here are some of the funnier things that were auctioned off: lesson in how to solve a rubics cube, breakfast in bed by Dean John, the Bering Sea’s polar bear head and paws ( I bid on this but then I realized that I wouldn’t be able to carry it home), high tea with Dean Bev, kick boxing lesson with David from Glomads, 4 laker’s tickets, raise the ship’s flag, sound the horn, get out of line free in Japan and Hawaii, second person off the ship, make-up for the ambassador’s ball, signed copies of Archbishop Tutu’s book, bath in Dean John’s office, a batch of brownies every month for a year, Skippy peanut butter, Easy Cheese, dinner at Dean John’s house in Pitt, lots of knitted things from Gladys, read the bridge report, Disneyland like a Native, crew overalls, ice cream party for 8 people, steering the ship, and LOTS of home stays. I bid on a bunch of things just to get people to go higher and I won a box of Ferro Rocher chocolates for $60. It was money well spent. If you think about it you give money to charity anyways and in this case you’re just getting something in return. We voted on the top charities and I think the money is going to Africa Jam, Habitat for Humanity, Missionaries of Charity, and Ons Plek Project. All of these were projects we participated in on this voyage. Guess how much money we raised? Over $25,000!!! It will be more after the Ambassador Ball sales are over. Isn’t that amazing? Our Students of Service Exec board is wonderful. After the auction ended I was going to go to sleep but ended up sitting in the piano bar until almost 4am! First I was just talking to Brandon, Eric, and Alejandro and then Brandon tried to teach me some cords on the piano and it took me so long to get them down. I think I forgot them already. It was a lot of fun though. I woke up today when the voice came on with the noon report (promptly at 12:30pm haha)! I had plans to wake up early but yeah…and I think we shorted out some circuit because our room was FREEZING cold last night. I could barely bring myself out of bed this morning…my shower was cold too. After lunch we went up to the Union to watch this documentary they were showing about the Iraqi war. There was a discussion following it but I couldn’t sit in the Union any longer so I left to go write my paper. I didn’t get much done but oh well. Oh yeah today we had our Bering Sea picture…I think we should have an on line Bering Sea newsletter after the voyage is over. or a mailing list? yahoo groups? something I don’t know. We also had an Ambassador’s meeting today so we could finally get a chance to talk to Mariko and Akina. Besides me, Chad, and AJ nobody had met them yet. Somehow one thing led to another and it was dinner time. I don’t know where the day went!

Right now I’m siting in our last pre-port. I can’t believe it. Our last pre-port. It’s the beginning of lasts- last preport, last laundry day, last taco day, aaah!

November 21st, 2005

Today was our second day in Japan and each day seems to go faster than the one before it. Yesterday we had such a hospitable welcome to Japan. There was a band playing when we pulled into port ( I missed it because I was in the shower) and after the welcome reception there was a taiko drumming performance which was amazing. Oh yeah, Aparna and I woke up at 6:30am to see the sunrise over our last port. I don’t really count Hawaii and San Diego but I’ll still wake up for sunrise in those ports lol. Anyways, it was FREEZING cold outside and incredibly windy so we were trying to shield ourselves by standing in the doorway and only jumping out to take pictures. I was surprised that there weren’t more people this time (definitely not like Hong Kong and Cape Town) but I guess it was kind of nice to have a quite sunrise with Aparna. It was gorgeous. Right before we were supposed to clear Dean Tymitz asked for any ambassadors to come up to Purser’s because there were guests that needed showing around. There was a fairly large group of them and luckily a good amount of ambassadors showed up too. We started on 7 and made our way down to the clinic on 2. I saw parts of the clinic that I had never seen before like the ward, operating room, and morgue. We also showed them Chad and AJ’s cabin which isn’t really representative of normal cabins but oh well, it was clean! Apparently, the ship cleared while we were giving them the tour and we hadn’t heard the announcement. All of a sudden we saw people coming down to 2 with backpacks and all ready to leave.

Mariko and Akina( interport students) found me and we agreed to meet up by the computer lab. Jarret and I got ready really quick and we were on our way. Plan for the day: Kyoto. It was me, Jarret. Mariko, Akina, Lisa, Leslie, and Sarah. The last 3 girls I kind of know but hadn’t really had long conversations with them. Sometimes its kind of better that way? We had a lot to talk about! Jarret I know, but there’s always more to find out. Ok so we got off the ship and got in line to exchange money. I can’t even explain how happy I am to be back in Japan. It’s just something about this country that strikes the right cord with me (except maybe the cost of living). I really want to do JET or something and teach English here. I saw Dave in the morning ( he studied in Japan for a year) and we both just had the biggest smiles on our faces. It’s kind of another comfort zone for me, not as much as India but in a strange way it’s nice to be able to read some signs and stuff. Ok so after we exchanged money we took the portliner to Sanomiya station in downtown Kobe. It was kind of walking distance but we just wanted to get to Kyoto ASAP. We got off the subway and walked into this HUGE mall to get some lunch. We went to a small noodle place and I had just plain udon noodles with tofu that was really good. Before we left we went to the bathroom in the department store and saw one of those crazy toilets that you’ve heard they have in Japan. It had this panel of buttons on the side: seat warmer, deodorizer, bidet, spray, flushing sound, etc. The one I was most fascinated by was the flushing sound. Apparently Japanese people are shy about other people listening to them do their business so they want this “flushing sound” to cover it up! Stage fright maybe? Ingenious. Haha, so after that adventure we went to the train station and got tickets to Kyoto. It took a little over one hour to get there. We got there kind of late but it didn’t even matter because walking around Kyoto was such a great experience. It was honestly like being in a time warp. I felt like I was in a completely different Japan. We even saw apprentice geisha near Gion ( Meera- I thought of you!). There were no tall high rise buildings and everything was just so quaint. We walked to the Y.. Shinto shrine and hung around there for some time. Jarret gave me a simplified version of Shintosim while we were there so that was good. We also decided to have our fortunes read. We shook up these containers with fortune sticks inside of them ( you could pick life or love) and we made a wish while we were doing it. There was a small hole in the bottom of the container and whichever number stick fell out you took that to the lady and she gave you a fortune. My number was 6 and my fortune said something about it taking a long time for me to find love. It also said that I should take more pictures for good luck! Like I don’t take enough pictures already? If you get a bad fortune you’re supposed to tie it to this post inside the temple grounds and the spirits will carry it away. Quote of the Day: “Is Buddha a Kami?”- Jarret.

Ok so we left the temple around dusk and just walked up and down random side streets and made our way to Kyoumizu (clean water) temple. Apparently the time we went was a very auspicious time. The crowd was intense. I tried to take pictures/video but it won’t do it justice. We were on this one street that went uphill and was lined with all kinds of shops and the line went the whole length of the street and I don’t even know how far back. We finally got to the front and it felt like we were cattle being herded along but it was all done very efficiently. The temple was absolutely breathtaking- the way they lighted everything up, especially the fall foliage. It was one of those places where the best memory of it remains in your head and can’t be expressed in a picture. After we left this temple we walked back towards the train station and Jarret, Mariko, and I headed back to Kobe. Let me tell you what I ate today- glutinous roasted rice balls with sweet/sour sauce, tofu donuts, and green tea ice cream balls. All were delicious.

We got back to the ship to put our stuff away and get ready to go out for dinner. When I got back to my room I was pleasantly surprised to see 2 letters on my bed- one from mom and one from Rita Auntie. Thanks SO much!!! We walked for awhile downtown looking for a place to eat and finally ended up at an izakaya- Japanese bar/grill type of place. I had avocado and tomato pizza and some tofu thing. Both were pretty good but not worth the price. Food in Japan is ridiculously expensive. Ugh oh well. After dinner we went to that stupid ” Second Chance” place where they were throwing that SAS party. It turned out to be a really small, crowded, smoky bar with no dancing room and the only Japanese people were the DJ and bartenders. We hung out there for about 15 minutes and then bounced. We headed over to this karaoke place that Mariko knew about and found Fern there so the four of us got a room for ourselves. It was SO MUCH FUN! We sang Ace of Base, Maroon 5, Mariah Carey, 80’s songs, Jpop, and just really random stuff. We were there for a good 2 and a half hours- it was much more fun than I thought it would be though. It’s so funny- people are surprised that I can have sober fun. Glenn told me the other day that he was surprised I wasn’t a big drinker because I seemed like the type of girl who “goes out and has a good time.”

Ok anyways- we walked back to the ship ( don’t worry it’s SAFE) and got back around 4am. I slept for an hour and woke up at 5am for my Hiroshima trip. I didn’t mind too much because I slept most of the 5 hour bus ride from Kobe to Hiroshima. It certainly made it go by much faster! We left at 6am and reached around 11:30. First we saw the A Dome, the only remaining structure from the atomic bomb blasts. It used to be the Hiroshima prefecture community center kind of and how all that’s left of it is the metal frame. We saw the Aioi Bridge that was the target of the bomb and we also saw Ground Zero where the bomb actually hit. We walked around Peace Memorial Park for some time and then headed over to the Children’s Memorial statue. Our guide told us the story of Sadako- a young girl who was exposed to radiation from the bomb when she was 2 years old but it did not manifest into leukemia until she was about 11. While she was in the hospital she folded 1000 paper cranes and wished for the well being of the other A-bomb patients. Sadly, she died soon afterwards and her classmates raised money for this memorial in her memory. So now, people from all over the world send paper cranes to commemorate this girl and all that she symbolizes. It’s a sombering but hopeful story.

We ate a quick boxed lunch ( mayonnaise instead of ketchup this time!) and then headed to the museum. Thank goodness they gave us 2.5 hours here- ample time. We also got audio guides to use at the different stations. The museum was very well-done, in my opinion, and also very hard-hitting. As you’re looking at the pictures of Hiroshima right after the bombing you can look out the window and see how the city has been rebuilt and is now flourishing. It’s a strange sight. The city is gorgeous now- lush and well-planned. I guess maybe they wanted to show resilience by not just abandoning the city and writing it off as a lost cause. Brian and I walked around for a little bit before we had to leave and we were both so surprised at how quiet it was. It didn’t have the hustle and bustle of Kobe at all. I realized that as I was walking through the museum I felt a little bit of what I felt at the War Remnants Museum in Saigon: guilt. Although this museum was more unbiased, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it was Americans who detonated the bomb over what was obviously a thriving city full of innocent civilians. One of the reasons they chose Hiroshima was because they thought there were no American POW’s there. Turns out they were wrong, but what kind of criteria is that? I guess you could argue that if the US hadn’t shown their nuclear capabilities, somebody else would have. But what if nobody did? Over 200,000 people have died as a result of the A’bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. More than 6000 children died in Hiroshima that day. I wish I knew what was going through the heads of the people who made these decisions. How can you make the conscious decision to do something that will inevitably KILL innocent people and have the GALL to hide under the guise of scientific observation. There were 3 planes flying over Hiroshima that day- Enola Gay which held the bomb and two others to conduct scientific experiments. Not only did we kill innocent people but we hurt the unborn as well. Babies who were subject to radiation while in their mother’s womb were born with a multitude of birth defects. Oh man, I could go on and on abut the things I saw in the museum but I’ll spare you my ranting.

We left the museum and went to Shukkein Garden which was peaceful and immaculate as most Japanese gardens tend to be. We were all so excited to see the leaves changing color because we kind of missed autumn completely at home. This is the first country that has been COLD. South Africa was colder than the others but definitely not this cold. Here the temperature is in the mid to upper 50’s during the day. When the sun is out it is actually quite pleasant. I love just being in my hoodie all day. Also, it smells like snow. I know it doesn’t snow in this region of Japan but a girl can wish can’t she? I love snow. The only bad thing is that it gets dark so early here- around 5pm every day. I’m on the bus right now on our way back to Kobe and it’s going to get dark pretty soon. I think I’m going to stay in tonight- type up my journal, clean my room perhaps? Haha that’s a lie. I’m wondering how these 7 days at sea are going to be. There is SO much to do and so little time. Most importantly, SALSA and the Ambassadors ball. I want to take a nap right now but I also want to keep writing while I’m on a roll. Oh yeah, Fern and I made up a dance to this song that some of our friends made up. It’s about what we saw in Burma- set to the tune of the Animaniac’s country song. I’ll have to show you the dance when I get back but here are the words:

” Oh…pagoda, museum, library. Temple, Happy Land, monastery. Oh…pagoda, pagoda, pagoda. pagoda, pagoda, pagoda.”

I think after this trip we are all kind of temple and pagoda’d out! You know what I was thinking about the other day? Where do I want to be in 10 years? What do i want to accomplish? I’ll graduate in 2007, do Peace Corps for 2 years or maybe JET, get my master’s in international studies at NYU or go to law school in Cali, take and hopefully pass the foreign service exam, be a diplomat, maybe be appointed ambassador one day! And my ultimate goal? To be one of the embassy officials on a future SAS voyage! haha I was telling Jarret this yesterday and I know it sounds crazy and illogical but whatver. I want my kids to go to school abroad- e.g. American school i Japan, Egypt, etc. I want them to be part of the expatriate community, go to an American school in another country, grow up bilingual, and then go to college wherever they choose. I just think it adds such a different dimension to your life and gives you a new perspective. Now all I have to do is find a guy who is as crazy as me!

November 22nd, 2005


I am so exhausted right now but I know if I don’t journal tonight all I would write tomorrow would be a chronicle of events. Ok so last night after I stopped writing we stopped at a rest area for dinner and Fern and I got a bunch of random stuff. She lived in Japan when she was younger so we both had cravings that hadn’t been satiated in years. We got onigiri (rice wrapped in seaweed- mine had umeboshi in the middle which is a pickled sour plum), melon bread, a roll stuffed with sweet bean paste. chocolate cookies, and I got a Calpis drink which is like a flavored milky water type drink. I can’t explain it but it had sentimental value to me because I distinctly remember thinking people were saying “cow piss”. The onigiri, besides being my FAVORITE Japanese food, also carried sentimental value because my host mother taught me how to make it an always put some in my bento box. We bought some more onigiri on our way out. 🙂

We got back to the ship around 9pm and a lot of people were going to go out but I was exhausted and I had the room all to myself because Jess was away so I decide to take the night to myself. I watched “how to lose a guy in 10 days” while I cleaned my room and organized my pictures. I fell asleep around 12 pm and woke up at 10:15am thanks to Pete’s phone call! I got ready super quick and ran outside to exchange some money because I only had about 1000 yen left. When I was coming back inside I saw Stef, Mischa, and Adam standing there greeting all the host families who were coming in so I decided to greet with them. It was funny because most of the people coming in were women, I guess because the men were at work! They all had small children who were SO adorable- Mischa and I were talking about stealing one. I wonder what an Indian-Japanese baby would look like? hmm… I really do like Japanese guys though. There’s something about their facial features that makes them attractive. ok anyways, let me tell you bout the Hippo Family Club, the organization that arranged our home stays. ” Just as a baby begins to understant and speak its mother tongue before ever seeing a textbook or vocabulary list, members of the Hippo Family Club enjoy learning languages naturally through immersion. No special skills are required to speak many languages: only a good environment where the sound of languages can be absorbed naturally. The Hippo Fmily Club creates such an environment. For 25 years Hippo Family Club members have enjoyed sharing languages from all around the world including English, Spanish, Korean, Japanese, German, Chinese, French, Russian, Italian, Thai, Malaysian, Portuguese, Indonesian, Cantonese, Arabic, Hindi, Taiwanese, Turkish, and Swedish.” Isn’t that a great idea? I always thought it was amazing how kids pick up languages just by hearing it as they grow up. Granted my Gujerati is terrible because I never speak it at home but I can still understand a good amount (with the exception of garba songs and Patel Gujerati haha)! That kind of goes along with my expat idea.

Anyways, I went upstairs and met my host mother and her adorable son- Ryochan. I can’t remember his real name but when you add “chan” to anything it’s a term of endearment for a young child so that’s what they called him. He is 6 years old and a bundle of pure energy and fun. My host mother is also super nice. She barely knows any English and my Japanese is far from functional. It’s funny how language barriers can be both debilitating and facilitating. You create an instant bond of not being able to communicate and you have to rely on gestures, expressions, pictures, and their Japanese English phrasebook that isn’t very helpful but fun to look at! So after I met them, 2 women gave us a quick introduction to the Hippo Club and then we played some games. The first was rock, paper, scissors (Jan Ken Po) to the tune of Farmer in the Dell and somehow you make a snake of people. You go around rock, paper, scissoring people and if you lose you join the end of their snake but if you win you keep going around playing people until everyone is behind you. The second game was one where you stand in a big circle and when the music stops someone yells out a number in ANY of the 17 some languages they are learning and then you have to form a group with that number of people and sit down. Whoever can’t find a group loses and they have to say the next number. The last game we played was to a Korean song and we spelled out LOVE with our hands with increasing speed. The games were actually a lot of fun- but you know me, a true child at heart!

After the games I gave them a quick tour of the ship. It’s always good to see other people admiring the ship because it reminds us how lucky and privileged we are because by now we are definitely taking it for granted. Oh, so I was SO tempted to eat lunch on the ship today because the vegetarian entree was PIZZA and it actually looked decent. haha oh well! We left the ship and got on the Portliner. My host mother wouldn’t let me pay for ANYTHING all day! And we took a lot of trains. So at first we were going to Kyoto and I didn’t want to seem rude so I nicely mentioned that I had been to Kyoto the day before yesterday. She understood and said that of course we would go somewhere else so we went to Osaka. She took me to Osaka Jou (castle) which was gorgeous and housed a museum about Hideyoshi Toyotomi. The museum was actually pretty interesting and it was so cool how they had screens for each description with multimedia descriptions of th event. I saw some SAS’ers there who were on the Osaka Univ. trip and I’ll admit that I was a bit jealous of them because the got to hang out with younger people and that jealously kind of stuck with me throughout the day. That is definitely one of my worst vices (I’ll have to tell Jarret)- jealously. I get jealous so easily and sometimes it inhibits me from appreciating what I have. Yeah so after the castle we walked around outside and ate some matsugi? no i can’t remember what it was called but it was the same sticky rice balls I had in Kyoto the first day. We walked to the Osaka Historical Museum after that but it was closed so my host mother said we would just go home.

One of the most interesting things about Japanese people and culture is the apologetic undertones that are prevalent in everything from conversation to mannerisms. You always say “sumimasen” before asking anyone anything. My host mother apologized for not speaking English, the museum being closed, and her small house. The house was definitely not small by my standards. It was actually an apartment with 2 bedrooms, a toilet, room with shower and bathtub, guest room, kitchen, living room, and some extra space here and there. It feels bigger than the Okita’s house even though theirs was 2 floors. I’ve been feeling such weird deja vu ever since I met my host family. I keep getting flashbacks of 4 years ago. Also I’m surprised at how much Japanese I remember. I can understand more than I can speak and my reading speed is slowly picking up. Oh yeah, we went to the supermarket before we got home and I loved it more than any other country because I distinctly remember eating some of the stuff. I really want to stock up on onigiri before I get back on the ship. Onigiri, Calpis, Pocari Sweat, Koala, Pocky, ume boshi, and those tetra pack of nuts. Maybe some noodle bowls that I can cook with boiling water? Hmm…haha ok so Ryochan and I sat around while my host mother was making dinner. Let me tell you what was for dinner:of rice with red beans which she said was for “celebration”, lotus root and sweet potato tempura served with a thick soy sauce, sautéed tofu and scallions, boiled bean sprouts and scallions served with a sour lemon soy sauce, and an egg soufflé type thing. To drink we had barely water which I really missed- we need to start drinking it again at home! I also ate probably the sweetest tangerines I’ve ever tasted. Oh yeah so during dinner we were trying to talk about my family and what we eat at home. I said sometimes my dad cooks and you should have seen the look on my host mother’s face! She asked if he was a chef by profession. Hahah I don’t remember what else we talked about but during dinner Ryochan kept getting up to find more things to give me! Not food, I mean omiyage (souvenirs). He filled an Anpanman bag with random coins, note paper, and the orange door hook that came with the yogurt drink that he served me in a wine glass. I felt so bad- my host mother popped open a beer to serve me but I had to decline. I guess I should have written that on my information sheet. Anyways, oh yeah I forgot to mention the amazing toilet. It’s like the one I wrote about before but the seat is always warm and there’s a butt dryer button!

I met my host father when he came home from work and he seems nice but doesn’t speak any English. While he ate, Ryochan and I played with his Dominoes and building blocks. My host mother made some really good sweet milky tea and after I drank that I felt even more sleepy! I was about to say good night when she told me that my bath was ready! She had filled the tub with some hot water scented with oils and lit a candle too! Oh man it was so incredibly relaxing- something I definitely needed. I could feel my body thanking me! lol I came out of the shower refreshed and in a much better mod than before. My host mother had cut up some persimmons which were delicious and she gave me a huge glass of iced barely tea. We ended up sitting at the table for a long time just “talking” and she pulled out some pictures for me to look at. She also showed me her wedding album which was great because I’d never seen how a traditional Japanese wedding was carried out. I showed her that birthday album that mom sent me because it was the only tangible thing I had with pictures. She was so excited to see it and she said it made her feel like crying! (taisetsumono?). She said I was very loved. I guess that’s something else we take for granted, isn’t it? We finally decided it was time to sleep, s here I am now. I am so upset with myself for being jealous and ungrateful earlier. I always occupy my mind with the thought that other people are having a better time than me but that’s exactly what prevents me from enjoying myself. It’s pathetic. I remember getting angry when people get competitive with what they did it port and how it’s so much more amazing than whatever you did. But amn’t ( oh yeah- it’s a real word- contraction of “am I not”, right Kavit and Jilz?) I doing the same thing in my head? I really have to make a conscious effort to stop this and just enjoy everything as it is. There are so many other thoughts I had today- it’s funny how contemplative and reflective you can be when you’re not talking. You actually learn a lot about yourself. What happened to me being tired? In conclusion, I really want to come back to Japan for school, work, teaching English, ANYTHING. This country is so beautiful an I’ve really fallen in love with it over the years. The people, food, simplicity, scenery, history, language, customs, and just its odd quirks are fascinating to me. Not to mention the guys. haha just kidding, but not really. By the way, this is probably the most comfortable sleeping arrangement I’ve ever had. I’m sleeping on this fleece covered thin mattress in a tatami covered room with 3 blankets on me, one of them being a down comforter. The walls of this room are exquisite- sage green with painted white and beige flowers and random gold sparkles all around. I wish a picture could capture it. Ok it’s bedtime.

November 23rd, 2005

Great day today. Woke up around 9 am and had a huge breakfast of coffee, green tea, orange juice, hard boiled eggs, lettuce, sliced cheese, fermented soybeans (nattou), black soybeans, toast, butter, jam, walnuts, tangerines, bananas, and onigiri. Onigiri is basically a mound of sticky white rice rolled in a piece of nori (seaweed). It can be filled with salmon, tuna, konbu (sea kelp), and pickled vegetables among many other things. My personal favorite is umeboshi a pickled sour plum. I had pointed this out in the phrasebook yesterday and indicated that it was my favorite food simply as a means of conversation. My host mother, however, took it to heart and specially made some for breakfast for me. Besides being my favorite Japanese food, onigiri carries a great deal of sentimental value for me because when I was in Japan four years ago my host mother in Miyazaki Prefecture on Kyushu taught me how to make it and always put some in my obento box for school. I attended school for two weeks of my six week stay and the one constant in my obento was two pieces of onigiri.During my home stay this time my host mother also packed us obento boxes for our trip to Nara. There were two onigiri for each person, a boiled egg, sweet egg omelet (tamagoyaki), pickled cucumbers, sweet beans, persimmons, and iced green tea. (sorry that was copy and pasted form an essay i did for my anthro of food class…that’s why it sounds kind of strange and a bit repititive).

OH guess what my host mother made me drink in the morning? NONI JUICE. EWWWW It was the most foul thing I’ve ever tasted. ugggh she said it was very healthy. It tasted so bad so it must have been healthy. haha After breakfast I gave them my gifts which they liked but I think they loved my card the most because I wrote it all in (bad) Japanese. “Osewa ni narimasu. Tanoshikatta. Domo arigatou gozaimasue.- Thank you for taking care of me. It was fun. Thank you very much.” There was more but I don’t remember.

We left for Nara after that and let me tell you that their car is amazing. It’s a Honda I think but it has this crazy GPS that talks to you and broadcasts pictures of where you are going and it also has a TV! There was crazy traffic today because it was a national holiday but just sitting in the car was fun because the drive was nice. We got to the Todaiji temple to see the daibatsu- a huge seated Buddha statute. Nara is also famous for its Deer Park which we walked through. The deer were just standing around waiting to be fed these senbetsu crackers- it was kind of sad actually because all of their antlers had been cut off. After feeding the deer we walked around the temple and as we were about to leave my host mother donated money to the temple and we got to paint a commemorative tile in return that would be put on the roof. I wrote my name and that my wish was to come back to Japan. My host mother wrote that she wished I return to the US safely and that I come back to Japan later (as they were leaving the Port Terminal she said next time I come back I should have a husband and child in tow!). As we were making our way out of the temple we lost Ryochan somehow! He wandered off and was nowhere to be found. We serisouly couldn’t find him for more than an hour and finally they called the police and they found him somewhere. My goodness it was scary. While we were waiting I ran into Aparna and they bought these antlers that were so cute! My host mother bought me some on the way out as a gift and said that one pair was “for my boyfriend” so I gave them to Jess when I saw her. haha Anyways, the drive back to Kobe was beautiful because 1) I saw a rainbow which basically made my day and 2) the sunset was phenomenal. We got a little lost on the way back but whatever. At the last minute my host mother ran into Lawson’s (a convenience store) and grabbed all these random snacks and thrust them in my hand as I was getting on the ship! We got back to the terminal and said our goodbyes. I went and put my stuff in my room and then came back out to the terminal to use up my change and they were still there! Ryochan bought me a fox key chain that looked like a cat because he knew I didn’t like cats. lol it was so cute. They hung around for awhile and after they left I bought some RANDOM drinks and got back on the ship. I was in another “we’re leaving a country and I’m so tired that I’m delirious and hyper” kind of moods. Seriously. I was out of control. Happy, sad, quirky, you name it. Jess, Aparna, and I were down here having girl talk for a looong time until the ship was abut to leave. Aparna and I went upstairs as the ship pulled out. I felt like crying but no tears came out. We just left our last port. I really don’t know what to do with myself. I’m so glad Aparna and I were out there because we had the best heart to heart and I think it was good for both of us. We talked about everything from going home to our families to our plans for the future. I love that girl so much and I think we really complement each other’s personalities. She gave me a really good analogy for this trip: it’s like a concert. Everyone is seeing the same thing but it has different high and low points for each person. Everyone is seeing the same concert but from different seats and through different eyes. And after you applaud and walk out you smile at the person behind you because even though you don’t know them you know you both saw the same concert. You all go your separate ways and this concert is the one thing you have in common with these people but it’s such a strong bond. Profound, isn’t it?

November 24th, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving! Today has been a good day so far. Travel Lit has turned out to be quite an entertaining class- good for an 8am because it wakes me up. Global studies was kind of boring but I think I just have a short attention span. I actually got a LOT of work done in between global studies and film. And by a lot of work I mean I wrote one paper…haha. We watched Ju Dou today, it was pretty good but we all wanted to get out of there and get some Thanksgiving Dinner! Hmmm what did I have? Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. I ate dinner with Lyn and Kyle as usual, we didn’t want to break our post-film class tradition. Shane and Daniel ate with us today too so that was nice. It was a lot of fun actually. I’m really going to miss all these people. Ooh, I got some gobble grams this morning (kind of like candy grams in high school?) from Aparna, Jess, Pete, and Melissa. I didn’t send any 😦 Oops.

You want to hear the poem I wrote today for Alex’s address book?

Now that we are homeward bound,
I thank the Lord we did not drown.
After traveling the whole world round,
I am so glad a friend in you I found.

🙂 It’s better than my other poem lol.

November 24, 2005

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November 24, 2005

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November 18, 2005

November 12th, 2005

Today was a pretty awesome day. Glenn, Tyler, and I woke up at 6am to watch the sunrise as we pulled into Hong Kong. The sunrise wasn’t too exciting but whatever…we were almost in Hong Kong! Pulling into the city was breathtaking. There were massive buildings on either side of us and random residential complexes all over the place. It’s hard to explain but it was amazing. We went and grabbed a quick breakfast and then headed back up to the 7th deck to watch us actually pull into the port. After that I took a looong shower and then just bummed around until my City Orientation. The good thing about the City Orientation was that we got to get off the ship first and got priority to get our passports and all that. I was really skeptical about this trip because I’d heard such bad things about City Orientations. It actually turned out to be a pretty good trip. We got on the bus and met our tour guide Andy. First we drove up to Victoria Peak, walked around a bit and ate our boxed lunches (cheese sandwich with ketchup anyone? ew well at least vegetarians get an extra packet of Oreos and an extra granny smith apple!). The view from the peak was gorgeous and we lucked out because it was a really clear day (minus the smog). We took the Peak Tram down which was SO much fun and much steeper than I thought it would be. It seriously felt like we were going down at a 45 degree angle and super fast at that! We walked through Hong Kong Park ( I think) after that and then went on to see the HSBC building. Andy told us that the building was constructed such that you could physically take it apart and move it elsewhere. I don’t know if this is true but why would he lie? He also explained about the building next to it being hated by most people in Hong Kong because it messes up the Feng Shui of the city! It’s actually a really cool building because it looks different from each angle. Ok so next we went to St.John’s cathedral which was pretty much smack dab in the middle of the city. Unfortunately we couldn’t go inside because there was a wedding going on but we did get a picture of the bride and groom about to walk down the aisle! haha We saw a LOT of wedding parties that day…I guess it was a good day for weddings. Next we went to the Man Mo Daoist temple and Cat Street market. After that we went to the Aberdeen area and took a sampan ride past the “Jumbo” floating restaurant and HUGE government high rise residence buildings. While we were driving back to the ship we passed this crazy looking cemetery that was crowded with tombstones crammed in every imaginable space. Andy told us that after 7 years the body is removed and then cremated because they rotate the spaces in the cemetery. How crazy is that!

Ok so we got back to the ship and then me, Carri, Natalie, Lindsay, Drea, Kevin, and Al decided to go up to the peak again to see the view at night. We took the ferry over to Hong Kong Island, the Peak Tram over to the lower tram station and then waited in line FOREVER to take the tram up. It was a lot of fun though. We walked around for some time and then found a place to eat dinner. I had some excellent vegetable curry and rice (just like the kind I’d been craving since Japan so I was excited) and then we headed back down. Ok so after I got back from dinner I was planning on going to bed but that didn’t happen. I saw Glenn and Mischa and they were trying to convince me to come out with them but I passed. I saw Angelo and we decided to walk around for a bit. Yeah a bit turned into about 3 hours…it was soo much fun though. This city is beautiful at night…everything is lighted up and there are people everywhere. I felt really safe walking around everywhere (well that might have had something to do with the fact I was with a guy). First we walked to the waterfront and sat there for awhile and then we just ended up wandering around aimlessly. We went to a random arcade and played a racing game and Street Fighter and then we spent about 30 minutes at 7-11 just walking around and marveling at all the amazing things they had. I bought cheese fondue flavored chips which were relalllly good and actually tasted like good cheese fondue. Oh Dad guess what? They had those digestive biscuits!! I was so excited. They even had chocolate flavored ones! I didn’t buy them because I can get them at home but I was trying to tell Angelo how good they were and all he could do was laugh.(Thank goodness on the last day Aparna validated my digestive biscuit craving because her and Mara were equally as excited to see them at Marks and Spencer) Oh we were trying to find the Teddy Bear Kingdom but to no avail. We walked into the Intercontinental hotel and tried to find a rear exit but they led us out the same way we came. haha it was funny “i say what i say and i mean what i mean” and ” you know how elevators go up and down…”. fun night but i am so exhausted. goood night

November 13th, 2005

Today was a pretty chill day. I slept in until 10:00am and then walked around for a few hours by myself which was nice. I did a little bit of shopping and then came back to the ship for lunch to save some money because Hong Kong is a fairly expensive city. Actually, it’s just expensive compared to the places we’ve been, it’s pretty comparable to prices in the US which seem exorbitant to us now. I saw a movie today called All About Love, a Chinese movie that luckily had both Cantonese and English subtitles. I missed the beginning because my watch stopped and I didn’t realize it so I was a little confused about the story…From what I could tell it was about two couples and one of the wives died and donated her heart to the other one. It was well-done though. After movie I met up with Glenn, David, Ian, Haley, and Kelly. So I just met Ian, Haley, and Kelly tonight for the first time on this voyage.haha it’s so funny that we’re still meeting new people and the trip is almost over. It makes me so sad though because there’s some people who I wish I had met earlier because they are such great people. Take Ian for example, he lives down the hall from me and I guess we just never crossed paths or friend circles. It’s unfortunate. Arite anyways, we took the ferry over to Hong Kong island and then walked over to the Mid Levels escalators which is basically a series of flat escalators ( like they have in airports) that goes up the city. We ate dinner at Pizza Express which is a UK chain that has franchises worldwide but not in the US. It was pretty good. After dinner we walked to Lan Kwai Fong which is the club/bar district of the city. We went to a hookah bar that I initially didn’t want to go to because all I could think of was Prince Cafe and how smoky it was inside. This place, however, wasn’t enclosed so all the smoke went right outside. It was actually a pretty nice place and we had a fun time.

November 14th, 2005

Early morning today. I went on Prof. Michalak’s Religions of Hong Kong FDP. First we went to the 10,000 Buddhas Temple which was built in 1957. We climbed 250 steps to get to the temple at the top of the mountain and all along the way there were these really interesting statues of Buddha’s followers. Some of them were kind of humorous actually. The location was actually really interesting because at the top it was so quiet and peaceful and then as soon as we got to the foot of the mountain we were back in the city! Oh yeah, we also tried to follow a trail but ended up at this little house at the top. I guess it didn’t help that the signs were Chinese characters! The next place we went was St.John’s Cathedral- the same one I went to on the City Orientation. This time, however, we could go inside and Father Matthew (the pastor) talked to us and answered our questions for about an hour so that was great. The cathedral was built in 1847 and is the 2nd oldest building in Hong Kong. It started as a church for the British community but it expanded and has quite a large parish today. They appointed their first Chinese Dean in May. After the cathedral we drove to the Islamic Center and Mosque on Nathan Road. The imam spoke to us about the Muslim community in Hong Kong and how they cater to all different types of people. They gave us dates and cashews on our way out as a kind of prasad I guess? You know what, I think this is the first mosque I’ve been to? Maybe not…but I can’t remember any others. Anyways, we got back earlier than planned so that was good.

I really wanted to take a nap but me, Kristin, Fred, Sufen, and Jeff went to California Pizza Kitchen instead. That’s right- the same one as in the US. I had a Wild Mushroom pizza that was delicious. haha I didn’t even feel bad about going to a US franchise in another country….oh well! We got back to the ship and hung out for a little while before heading out again to Temple St. I took the MTR (subway) for the first time and I was amazed at how easy it was to use, not to mention efficient! We only had to go one stop and I guess we could have walked it but I’m glad we took the MTR. We went to Temple St. and walked around the night market for awhile. We all really wanted bubble tea so we went in search for that and ended up at the Chung Kee Dessert place. We weren’t even hungry but all the desserts looked sooo good! We got 4 things and shared. Let’s see if I can remember what they were: (I’m looking at my pics) rambutan covered pineapple in sweet milk, fruits and jelly with takmaria (what is that in English? all i could think of was frog’s eggs), more fruits with sweetened silky tofu, and these hot glutinous rice balls filled with black sesame, red bean paste, and something yellow in a sweet hot ginger soup. Oh my goodness it was sooo good. We walked around for a while after that just wandering and talking. I had just met Sufen and Jeff at dinner earlier so we had a lot of “getting to know you” to get out of the way. Fred I had met through ambassador stuff but we had never really hung out so that was fun. We walked back to the ship because it wasn’t far at all.We came back to the ship after that and I found Brandon and Fred so we went down to use the Internet. We were sitting down there for about an hour until the security guard came and told us that they were closing. I thought I wasn’t tired so we started watching the Last Samurai in my room because neither of the boys had seen it and it’s probably one of my favorite movies. I fell asleep within an hour but they stayed up and watched it…it didn’t end until 5am! I didn’t even hear them leave my room. haha

November 15th, 2005

Another early day today. I had my Lantau Island trip today. I actually knew a lot of people on this trip but Fernanda and I hung out all day which was SO much fun. She said something on the bus that stuck in my mind- ” Nothing ever worked out as planned but everything worked out.” After she said that we both just looked at each other and realized that it was basically SAS summed up in a sentence. No matter what expectations you started out with you were always surprised, horrified, dissapointed, etc. at what you experienced. No matter how much you planned for something it always ended up as something different. Ok anyways, the first thing we saw was a huge suspension bridge. It was raining and early in the morning so I wasn’t paying too much attention to the guide- sorry! Next we went to the Upper Cheung Sha Beach and stuck our feet in the South China Sea! The beach was gorgeous because of the mountainous backdrop and actually the rain and mist made everything look kind of ethereal. Next we went to the Tai O fishing village on Lantau Island which was interesting to see because all the houses were built on stilts and their whole style of living was so different. After that we went to see the largest sitting Buddha statue in the world. It was massive and location was perfect. Again, the fog and mist made everything look more heavenly and sobering. We walked around for a bit and then headed down the steps to the Po Lin Monastery for lunch. A purely vegetarian lunch I might add! Lunch was fun because we played this game of morality kind of. Brandon told this long story about a set of characters and then at the end we had to rank them in terms of righteousness. It made for good conversation and discussion. After lunch we just walked around for a little bit. We were standing in front of the temple and Chris the photographer asked us to light some incense because he needed a picture. In the process of doing so I burned my finger a little bit…haha oh well! I wanted a picture of me, Tal, and Brandon so I asked someone to take it. We were standing there and all of a sudden one of the adult passengers says ” wow this looks like a Benneton ad!” (Tal is Israeli and shaved her head on Neptune Day, Brandon is black and I’m brown lol) She said all we needed was a blond, white girl and it would be perfect. haha We headed back to the ship after that and we were SO exhausted but Fern and I stayed awake the whole bus ride back and just talked and talked about the trip and what it would be like to go home. I don’t even want to think about it right now!

As soon as I got back I found Aparna and we decided to do make a quick shopping trip to Temple St. It was actually a very successful trip. We had dinner on the ship and then me, Glenn, Jess, Sarah, Mariko, and Akina (the two Japanese interport students) headed up to the peak to see the city at night. We wandered around there for a little bit and then for some strange reason we got ice cream. It was FREEZING cold outside and yet I still felt like eating green tea ice cream. We took the tram down and walked to Lan Kwai Fong. I floated between The Cavern where there was an AWESOME Filipino group doing covers of popular songs and the C club where they were playing salsa. It was fun but I wasn’t in a dancing mood so I just socialized and people-watched. We headed back around 3am and hung out at the 7-11 near the ship for about half an hour. I finally made it back to the ship around 4am and went to sleep. Excellent last night in Hong Kong. I kind of don’t want people to come back so soon. Glenn and I were talking about how much we enjoy the ship being quiet. For the past 4 days there have only been about 80 kids on the ship. Everyone else went to Beijing or mainland China.

November 16th, 2005

Happy Birthday Sanket!!! SOOOO sorry i didn’t have a card for you. 😦 I don’t know why. sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry! hope you had an awesome birthday! did you get all my IM’s?

So I’m sitting at the Pacific Coffee Company with my Rocky Road Chillino waiting for Jarrett to finish using the internet so we can walk back to the ship (because this is his only day in HK so he definitely won’t be able to find his way back by himself!) I was going to try to tap into the free wireless hotspot downstairs but I’m too lazy to walk all the way back there and then back here again. haha anyways, even though I’ve slept on the ship every night I still didn’t find time to journal! I’m bad. Guess I’ll just have to backtrack again. Bad habit I’ve picked up, isn’t it? I’ll start with today. I woke up at 8:00am, grabbed a quick breakfast and met Andrew, Kristin, and Angelo in Purser’s. We walked over the the Space Museum only to find that it didn’t open until 1pm (oh yeah, museums are free on Wednesdays that’s why we went today)! The art museum opened at 10am so we hung around there until then. The art museum was actually really nice but you know how I feel about art. I can appreciate it but I can’t analyze it and I won’t lie…I have no appreciation for abstract art. (Interjection- we are docked right in a HUGE shopping mall, the biggest one i’ve ever seen in my life, and overnight it transformed into Winter Wonderland so now all I hear is Christmas music and it’s driving me crazy! happy crazy though because I LOVE Christmastime) Ok so we spent about an hour and a half in the art museum and then headed back towards the ship to meet Glenn. We used the internet for a while (Chamz thanks sooo much for calling my mom even though it was 11:30 at night…) and then went to see the Kilimanjaro Omnimax show at the Space Museum. It wasn’t at all what i expected but it was really interesting. It was more like a planetarium type theater instead of the big IMAX screen and it was about an expedition up to the summit of Mt.Kilimanjaro. Did you know it only takes a week to do it? I REALLY want to do it now. You know what I was thinking. How awesome would that be for a honeymoon. Take your wedding party and go on a trek up to the top of Mt.Kilimanjaro! Ok so we walked around the museum for awhile after that but we weren’t in “museum mode” anymore so Glenn and I went back to the ship to drop our stuff off. I gave Glenn my laptop to use and then I went off wandering. I walked around, bought some more gifts and then headed back. It’s so funny how many Indian people there are here. On EVERY street corner there are at least 1 or 2 sketchy Indian guys who give you their business cards and advertise either tailors, fake purses, or fake watches. It’s inevitable and irritating. They stare at me like I’m some spectacle and make lewd comments. Ugh. I got sick of walking down Nathan Road because that’s where a lot of them are so I walked along some more peaceful side streets.I met Glenn at Starbucks and we got fries from McDonald’s and then headed back to the ship again. We dropped our stuff and then went to the grocery store. Did I mention that I love grocery stores? I bough curry chips, seaweed crackers, some other kind of chips, sugar cane juice, crysantheum tea, jasmine tea, peach green tea, lychee juice boxes, but I did give in and buy white cheddar Cheez-it’s. Oh well! I ate almost half a box yesterday…aah! (the word corpulent comes to mind- it’s a word I haven’t used in AGES). Yeah so Glenn and I walked back to the ship only to find that the first of the Beijing trips had come back so we had to wait in line with everyone and their multiple bags. After getting on the ship I talked to Jarrett for some time and then we decided to venture out again to use the Internet. I came back to the ship around 7:30 to charge my video camera for the light show at 8pm. I went downstairs to Chad and AJ’s room to visit them because they had dock time- their room is GINORMOUS! (gigantic +enormous). They each have their own sepearte room with two twin beds and a closet in each. It’s crazy. Yeah so we went up on the 7th deck because it was the best vantage point for the light show. Every night at 8pm there is a 15 minute display from the buildings on the skyline. It’s pretty cool. There weren’t as many people up on deck as I thought there would be but that’s because ALL flights from Beijing were delayed a couple hours so all the trips were late getting back. We watched the show and the I went back inside and was just talking to random people as they were getting back. I ended up hanging out with Alberto which was cool because we had always done the “hi-bye” thing but never actually talked. We hung out in his room for awhile and laughed at people who were standing in the loooong line to get back on the ship. All of the Beijing trips came back on the SAME flight so the line was ridiculously long. For some reason my fatigue transformed into extreme hyperness and I was bouncing allll over the place. I meant to use my energy to clean up our room but that didn’t really work out too well. ehh yeah so I finally went to sleep around 1am.

November 17th, 2005

So I forgot to mention that last night the Voice came on and said that we were heading into some bad weather and she advised us to secure all of our stuff and even rope the TV off in case it fell down. Luckily, our room is in the center of the ship and doesn’t rock as much as everyone elses. I didn’t believe her when she said we were heading into bad weather but when I was woken up in the middle of the night by the intense rocking of the ship I wish I had taken her words to heart. This is the first rocky day we’ve had in awhile so my body is definitely not used to it and I woke up this morning feeling absolutely horrendous. I had an 8am today and I couldn’t concentrate at ALL. I don’t know how I got through it. We watched a clip from Michael Pallin’s journey around the Pacific Rim (Dad- remember the Around the World in 80 days series on PBS? same guy!! i completely forgot about him but I think maybe that’s what sparked my interest in traveling sooo long ago) and it was really hard to watch the screen while the ship was rocking but somehow I got through it. Now Global Studies on the other hand…I sat in the Union for about 30 seconds before I had to run out. The Union is the worst possible place to sit because it’s at the front of the ship and rocks the most. I tried to sit at the piano bar with Jarrett but that didn’t last long either. Finally they made the announcement that since the waves were so bad they were going to broadcast Global Studies on TV so people could sit in their rooms and watch. I went down after awhile and tried to watch but I just ended up falling asleep. Oops. I slept till about 12 and then Jess and I went up to lunch. Of course it was Taco Day. I hope my food doesn’t come up later! I went back down to my room and tried to do work but I just felt too nauseous to concentrate. Ugh. I slept for awhile longer and finally decided that if I stayed in my room I wouldn’t get ANYTHING done so I brought my laptop up to the piano bar and now I am trying to finish my journal before film class. I don’t know how I am going to get through today. I do know, however, that I am NOT going to eat dinner. I’m just going to drink a lot of water and hot tea and hope that settles my stomach. I think I’m going to buy some ginger ale in Japan. So today I have class till 7pm, then Emanuel’s community college “what is your purpose in life”, Bering Sea social, salsa, and then SO MANY PAPERS TO WRITE. AAAH!

Wow. I think today has been the worst in terms of rocking. I have been feeling absolutely disgusting all day and I’ve done everything except take medicine which I refuse to do. I have my wristbands on and I finally put the transdermal patch on behind my ear. The patch actually does help A LOT but it gives you cotton mouth. I guess it’s good because it makes me drink more water. So film class was reallly hard to sit through. We watched The Story of the Weeping Camel which was actually pretty good but I was so out of it so I fell asleep for a little while and the rest of the time I couldn’t concentrate. It is also really rocky in that room because it’s near the front of the ship so my stomach was going crazy. We had dinner afterwards and all I could stomach were a few rolls, a plum, and some hot tea. I seriously feel like I’m pregnant because even looking at or smelling food makes me sick to my stomach. Thank goodness the rolls today were nice and soft because they constituted the bulk of my dinner. After dinner I went down to my room to lie down and Ammo came by to visit. We watched Aft Bullets (Miami Vice does SAS…directed by students) on TV which was entertaining I guess. I took a quick shower, got dressed for the social and went to community college. It was actually really interesting to listen to what the panel was saying but the rocking was terrible and Glenn kept laughing at me because my eyes were going in and out of focus and I think I looked drunk. I left a little bit early because I honestly thought I was going to throw up. It’s worse to feel nauseous and then not even throw up. What’s the point of nausea then? ugh. I haven’t thrown up once on this voyage (knock on wood) but I’ve felt nauseous so many times- it’s kind of frustrating. Ok so anyways, I came back to my room to lie down and the spray from the waves was hitting our window (4th floor mind you) full force. I don’t know what made me even get up and go to the social because I was feeling so disgusting but I’m glad I did. Our sea social was up in the Staffulty lounge and it was actually a lot of fun. The staffulty lounge is probably the rockiest place on the ship because it’s right at the front and all the way on top. Dancing tonight was ridiculous. Ben and I started it off ( I was feeling better by then because the patch started kicking in) the dancing and somehow got everyone to join in. Ben, Moriah, and I danced the WHOLE time and kept the party going…lol. We did the electric slide to Ice Ice Baby ( really- you can do the electric slide to any song) and all sorts of crazy things. Moriah and I did our Shine and then part of our talent show dance. Oh yeah there was one HUGE wave that made the whole ship shake and made this huge booming sound. Guess what happened to me? I fell flat on my rear end. It was kind of a graceful fall…but humorous I guess. There were only like 5 people on the dance floor and everyone else was sitting around WATCHING so I made a fool out of myself ( wait- isn’t that what I was doing all night?). Oh well! The last song of the night was Allan’s song…it almost made me cry. Our Sea Social ended at 11pm and Moriah and I went downstairs to make some paper cranes. We were siting there for awhile just talking and then we had the bright idea to go out on the 5th floor deck to see the waves. It was intense. Don’t worry it wasn’t dangerous because we weren’t out there for long and the waves weren’t that crazy at the time. Yeah so now I am more than exhausted, nauseous, and this ship is rocking like whoa. Good times on the high seas.

November 18th, 2005

I thought I could sleep in today and watch Global Studies from my room but at 9:15 the Voice came on and said that the captain was steering us around the worst waves so they wouldn’t be broadcasting it into the cabins. Ugh. So I rushed to get ready and ran upstairs to a satellite room. My stomach still feels uneasy but definitely better than yesterday. It was so hard sleeping last night…the waves were SO loud and sometimes I felt like I was about to fall out of my bed. Definitely don’t have my sea legs back yet. I think it’s because we haven’t been at sea for too many days lately because all of our ports have been so close together we’re doing one or two days at sea and then there’s another port. Thank Goodness tomorrow is a NO CLASS day. I kind of wish the first day after port was a no class day because we really need that day to recuperate.

November 15, 2005

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up on Victoria Peak attemping to get a picture with the awesome Hong Kong skyline…needless to say it didn’t work
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me and Glenn last night going up to the peak
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Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island- our United Color of Benneton advertisement
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me and Fernanda at the Buddha statue on Lantau
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Po Lin
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Tom and I on the beach on Lantau

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Sufen, me, Fred, and Jeff eating some AMAZING desserts
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10,000 Buddha Monastery
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November 11, 2005

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The Mariamman Hindu temple in Saigon- it had a very interesting neon color scheme.

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A sign I put up in my window because we were facing the port so people could read it while they waited in line!

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Me at the Water Puppet performance.

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Vietnamese Water Puppetry

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At the Cu Chi Tunnels- it’s good you can’t tell how sweaty and dirty I was.

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I love funny signs.

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Cao Dai temple

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Al and I at the Internet Cafe on his bday!

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Me pretending to steer the boat on the Mekong Delta

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on the Mekong Delta

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What am I eating? Rambutan I think… reppin CP of course of course 🙂

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Amy and I drinking our cumquat, honey, jasmine tea!

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Mekong Delta

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more Mekong Delta

November 8, 2005

Don’t worry- I will post my Vietnam journal before we reach Hong Kong (that only gives me 2 days but if I don’t do it then I’ll never do it). I am having such an amazing time! haha sorry to put you out there Vish but this conversation that I’m having with you right now made me laugh so I thought I would share:

lilVish87: hey!!!!!!!!!!!!!
lilVish87: how are you?
lilVish87: where are you?
xoAKxo: vietnam
xoAKxo: where are u
xoAKxo: hows American
lilVish87: American is awesome….america- not so much
lilVish87: but you know
lilVish87:  haha
xoAKxo: hahah
lilVish87: yeah….so hows Vietnam? awesome i bet
xoAKxo: amazzing
xoAKxo: we’re leavng tomorrow though
lilVish87: did u see any ‘Nam battle sites?  like from the war?
xoAKxo: just today
lilVish87: was it sad?
xoAKxo: incredibly
xoAKxo: did u know that here they call it the American War
lilVish87: remember how Iraq is the new ‘Nam b/c we’ve already killed over 2000 men
lilVish87: really? thats interesting/they should
lilVish87: they should call it the neverending american war that ruined their lives and didn’t accomplish anything

Ok, sorry. Anyways, we have a pretty crazy schedule from here on out. We leave tomorrow night and then in 2 days we are in Hong Kong. After 5 days in Hong Kong we are at sea for 3 days and then we’re in Japan for 4 days. Aaah! And I have SO much schoolwork to cram in those few days, not to mention a salsa performance, SOS auction, etc. etc. I LOVE IT! 🙂 We decided to have “cry time” every day where we all get together and get all our tears out (and eat chocolate). I can’t imagine leaving this ship, these people, and this experience. It’s too much for me to handle right now. Aah I’m getting teary-eyed just thinking about it. Enough sadness for tonight- it’s our last night in Vietnam!

Oh yeah, did anyone catch this article on CNN?

It’s about a cruise ship that was attacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. They were on their way to Kenya. I applaud SAS and iJET for making the conscious decision to reroute us to Mauritius instead of Kenya. That DEFINITELY could have been us. We are still on pirate watch though I believe.

Ok hope all is well at home!
Happy belated Diwali and Salmubarak!!!

Love to all!

November 2, 2005

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Bling Bling with all the money. 🙂

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Good Aparna and Bad Aparna with Gandhi on Halloween.

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The Aparnas with Lee and Brian- you can’t see it but they were Siamese twins.

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Good Aparna and Bad Aparna. Our Halloween costumeS! Yes, her name is really Aparna. the only other Indian girl on the ship!

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Doing Aarti outside on Deck 5 on Diwali. The only place they would let us light a candle was out on the smoking deck.

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Aparna, Dean Bev, me, and Amo at our Diwali Community College.

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Aparna, Rachel, Jess (my roommate), Aparna

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Natalie- the girl from the ipod commercial

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Water in a bag at the Myanmar vs. Bangladesh soccer game!

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sunset from the ship in Myanmar

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Group picture at the dinner and culture show.