Published: November 27th 2012November 25th 2012
Turkey and trimmings
The Last Days
On Wednesday we arrived at Hobart, Tasmania to temperatures of 50 degrees at 3:00 p.m. Our plan was to go to an animal reserve and feed the animals and see the nocturnal animals active. The temperature was expected to go down to 40 and neither of us had heavy sweaters or jackets. We decided to skip the tour and spend our last three days on board. These were lazy days as not much was going on but boy did we enjoy it.
Thursday was our last formal night and Thanksgiving. Up until then I have never celebrated the holiday with anyone but Joe’s family since we met in 1956. I would never have missed this one except for the wonderful itinerary. The menu included turkey and pumpkin pie and it was very good. Had to order mashed potatoes and gravy on the side but Brussels sprouts were on the plate. Still, it was fine. Our Aussie tablemates were interested in the tradition and now understand what it commemorates. They kind of thought it was all about the start of the Christmas shopping season. If I couldn’t be home, I could not have spent the evening with
Last meal on board
a greater group of people. There will be more about that later.
Friday we packed, said our farewells to the wonderful staff that took care of us so well and had a tearful goodbye with our tablemates. It was very emotional as we enjoyed each other so much.
Saturday we checked into our hotel and headed to the Toronga Zoo. It was a beautiful day and we meandered around for hours, visiting the birds and kangaroos and wallabies and koalas and platypuses. I have to admit that after visiting Cleland Animal Reserve, the whole zoo thing was a bit sad. After watching mobs of roos enjoying acres of land to graze, to find them in small enclosures was painful. Actually the view of the city and the harbor were the best things along with the cable car rides and the ferry. Once back at the Quay we stopped for a drink and snack along the water and people watched. It was all there. Women and men in formal wear heading for a reception, families from around the world, fashionable young women in their minis and boots and the birds trying to sneak a snack.
We headed back
Lunch at the zoo.
to our hotel, rested for a while then walked around till we found a recommended Spanish Restaurant were we ordered Sangria and two tapas. We left half of each. We were so done with food. Headed back to the hotel for a good nights rest, knowing what lay in store for us on the trip home.
There was good news in boarding the plane first because of my knee to bad news in having to deal with a snotty flight attendant and a rock and rolling flight and a nightmare in Los Angeles but we are now home safe and sound.
Here are some observations about the trip. I mentioned our dinner table before. It was a table for ten and only one couple changed during the trip. Ross and Pam left us in Perth, their hometown. They we delightful and we were worried that their replacements would not fit in. No worries! John and Debbie from Brisbane were great tablemates. Sally and Bob were on the previous transpacific leg and had to train a whole new table. They are from the Seattle area and crazy, funny people. Bob is a retired tax judge and he and Sally
At the Zoo
entertain at home. They struck up an immediate friendship with John and Debbie and I’m sure they will keep in touch.
Jan and Beverly live in the Sydney suburbs though it seems that they are seldom home. They are great friends for many years and have always traveled extensively. To look at them you would expect them to behave with formality and reticence. No way! Jan appointed herself table deputy. Any absences had to be cleared by her. Sally and Bob even sent a note to the table explaining why they weren’t there. At one point Jan called someone a dickhead and I nearly fell off my chair. Seems it is common parlance in Aussie land. Jan is suffering from macular degeneration and knows that at some point she will be blind but lives life to the fullest each and every day and has a wicked sense of humor. Audrey and Ron also live in the Sydney suburbs, not very far from Bev and Jan actually. They are retired and very active in their local Bowls (kind of lawn bowling) club. Bev also bowls but not at the same club. She enjoys golf and almost any competition. Back to Audrey and Ron. They are a wonderful loving couple. Ron loves electronics and enjoys hands on projects, much like my Joe. He’s usually on call from some neighbor or other for help and he is generous with his time and talent.
So there we are, the magnificent ten! But I haven’t mentioned the most important person for me at the table and that is MaryLou. Forty-two days in close proximity is a challenge but she is a delight to travel with. Not once did we have a misunderstanding. Each morning was full of laughs and we spent our days as we wished, together or separately, depending what we wanted to do. ML played Bingo and won a game. I played poker until the table dried up at Perth. We tried our hand at the jigsaw table. ML played the slot tournament. I went to coral reef lectures. We read, I swam and ML attended the wellness programs. It was wonderful to show ML Australia through my eyes. I know she enjoyed herself. Me too.