Another set of firsts,, the Three Musketeers (as Cruise Director Fernando calls us) entered the Tazman Sea, then the Indian Ocean, followed by the Java Sea. So far, as we have meandered first west and then North up the coast of Australia to Malaysia. The Ocean water started cold for swimming, hovering around 70 degrees F, finally settling in the perfect eighties. The land at first gradually getting browner in Western Australia despite an unusual amount of rain for the, to an explosion of green in tropical Bali.
Two segments ago of the cruise, around Sydney, the ship had a photo contest. First prize was dinner in the intimate upscale Le Champagne restaurant. Dinner is free on board, but to eat in this restaurant is a $50 per person up charge. Somewhere in the South Pacific while under way, the seas went flat and the incredible blue of the sky reflected off the water. White high cirrus clouds on the horizon created a beautiful scene. Framed by the doorway of our room's balcony, this scene became a perfect picture. I snapped over a dozen with the cell and submitted the best under the Blue category. Paul scoffed, he didn't think I had a prayer against the fancy equipment and photo hobbyists on board. I took first place. Which just goes to show you, it's about the shot not the camera. Already have my submissions for the next segment!
Sydney was beautiful, but hard to navigate. Tried to sho the Sunday open air stalls, but the boys had no patience for it. Had a long discussion about jewelry with a fellow passenger waiting for the shuttle to the boat. She seemed aloof on board, but I complimented her dancing on board and her earrings, which resulted in a promise to send me an email detailing brands. to my surprise I received a three page email with full descriptions the next morning. this reinforced my new resolution to be less judgmental and more outgoing.
The next morning was Super Bowl! Off to the casino for a big party complete with cheerleaders and big screens. did I mention the crowds of NFL fans in Sydney? We plopped our buts in what looked like the sport book section with a huge TV. After awhile, I started paying the video game in front of me. And playing, and playing, and playing! by the end of the game, I had accrued almost $600 OZ money. Several days later I spun that money into a Birthday present for Paul. It felt good splurging on him with my own funds. A drop in the bucket, but my own funds I won.
Further North, we got off the boat in Adelaide, and flew to Perth to avoid three days at sea. Adelaide was nice, young and vibrant. A healthy population living and playing in the city, with everything easy to walk to. but Perth! A lovely more mature city, with fabulous infrastructure, perched on a wide river offering nice waterside dining and park options. did I mention shopping? I found a lovely department store downtown that was a cross between Nordstrom and Neumann Marcus. Time to update my wardrobe! I broke away from the boys and resolved to find a key few pieces from the last season's sale rack that were timeless and classic. I found a perfect section next to Versace. It was a brand I was not familiar with, Basler, that had a dedicated salesperson who was not busy and was extremely helpful. I found three beautiful tops that promised to improve my wardrobe. Also bought some lovely Brazilian sandals made with butery soft leather. (Because of the timing of our departure right after a trip to Florida, my favorite shoe store Shippy Shoes had not received the next season's stock yet). The blisters from my new sandals are another story altogether, sign.... This inpired another shopping adventure in Fremantle to a Shippy shoe like store complete with an exceptional salesman who was a huge Green Bay Packer fan. Not sure what Jim and Becky would make of his long flowing beard, but he was an enthusiastic and knowledgeable salesman who knew hot to listen, a rare combination.