April 17, 2002

    In the midnight, we were awoken by repeated very short sharp loud beeps. Shig woke up and tried to locate what it was. Sue pointed out that it was the fire alarm on the ceiling. Shig looked around but didn't see any smoke. Shig concluded, therefore, that these short beeps warn only low battery, and took out the battery and slept again. In the morning, Shig measured the voltage to find the battery quite new with 9.2 volts. How come ? Probably loose contacts ? But we had the battery replaced just in case.

    Shig took gorgeous sunrise pictures this morning. The sun rose from the wake of our ship. The title may be "The sunrise on the wake on the Atlantic". During the day, the sea had the swell but its surface became as smooth as oil surface, and the clouds were beautifully reflected. The 5 km deep sea looked deep azure. The waves created by the bow of the ship became whitecaps on the sea surface, but the wave fronts in the water looked brighter blue in the sunshine through the water, probably because the wave fronts got different refraction indices or tiny bubbles. Blue wave fronts propagated in the azure water like auroras. Such sea was found very beautiful.

    We read an email from Mr. Takeo Funatsu with much surprise and pleasure. He looked at our travel log in our home page and found our picture of the living fossil plant "Welwitschia mirabilis" in our April 11 travel log. Surprisingly, he knew this plant from his boyhood on books and owned books describing much detail of the plant. He quoted a part of our travel log and a picture, and quoted the description in one of the books, as an enriching email essay to his friends including ourselves. We had been told that this plant was a very rare one, but we didn't fully understand the value of the plant until we learnt a lot from his email essay.

    During the lonely breakfast, Shig talked with a man sitting next. He turned out to be a salesman of a jeweler "Ben Brothers" in Rio de Janeiro. And Shig learned interesting things from him. First of all, American and other people, especially the cruise people, often come to Rio just for purchase of jewelries, because they are relatively inexpensive there. Many stones yield in Brazil and working cost is still lower there. "Ben Brothers" and "H. Stern" are two major jewelers in Rio interested in sales of jewelries to cruise passengers. These two companies have an agreement, uncertain whether in contract or in custom, and either one of them have a contract with a specific ship. Our ship happens to be a sales territory of H. Stern, and its representative made a jewerly lecture, had his room number known to passengers and offered consultation of sightseeing in Rio including offer of a free guide and a car, without obligation to buy anything.

    Ben Brothers can not do those things in our ship, but had someone on board from Cape Town as regular passengers, who might make friends with other passengers. Actually there was a third somewhat smaller company "Amsterdam Sauer" doing the same. Shig didn't understand the financial mechanism of their offering free guides and cars, but learnt that offering a guide and a car for a day cost only US$ 40 in Brazil, a fraction of jewelry sales if a certain percentage of the guests would buy ones. Ben Brothers offered us a free guide and a car, without obligation of jewelry purchase, from the morning to midnight, because we wanted to see a samba show in the late evening. We accepted it and cancelled a bus tour prepared by the ship, saying "We are now captives of a jeweler". Because we had already made an appointment with H. Stern on the second day in Rio, we will get free sightseeing from both jewelers. Although we have no obligation to buy anything, Sue is already smiling expecting something.

    It was a "Casual" evening. We dined with Dr. Bob & Claire Nixon from Cape Town, and staffs Rachel and Jeff. Sue ate chicken and Shig ate beaf.



 船津剛男氏からのemailを見て驚き喜んだ。氏は我々のHome Pageの旅行記を参照され、4月11日の旅行記に添付した生きた化石の植物"Welwitschia mirabilis"の写真を見られた。驚いたことに氏はこの植物を少年の頃から本で知っておられ、この植物を詳述した本を持って居られたそうだ。さすがは博学な勉強家の船津氏だ。氏は我々の旅行記の一部と写真を引用され、また本を引用されて、我々を含む友人に大変勉強になるemailの随筆を送られた。大変珍しい植物とは言われたが、氏のemail随筆から多くを学ぶまではこの植物の値打ちを充分理解できていなかった。我々は滅多に見られないものを見て貴重な写真を撮影したことになる。

 スミヱをまだ部屋に置いて重悳が独り淋しく朝食をとっていた時に、隣の色の浅黒い男性と挨拶を交わした。彼はRio de Janeiroに住むBrazil人と自己紹介し、Rioでの我々の予定を聞き出した。彼はRioの宝石商Ben Brothersの営業であることが分かった。Walvis Bayで観光から戻って乗船する時に船の入口で同社がパンフと帽子を配ったのを思い出した。その彼から色々面白いことを聞いた。そもそも米人や他の国の人々、特にクルーズ客は、しばしば宝石購入のためだけにRioに来るらしい。相対的に安いからだ。多くの宝石がBrazilで産するし、加工賃もまだ安い。Ben BrothersとH. Sternはクルーズ客に宝石を売る意図を持ったRioの2つの主要宝石商だ。この2社の間には、契約か慣習か知らないが或る合意があって、特定の客船ごとに2社のどちらかが契約している。我々の船は偶々H. Sternの販売テリトリで、同社の代表が船で宝石の関係の講義をし、乗客に彼の部屋番号を教え、宝石購入の義務なしに無料のガイドと車を付けるRio観光のコンサルを提供した。

 Ben Brothersは我々の船ではそれらのことが出来ないが、何人かを乗客としてCape Townから乗せて、他の乗客と友達になり「客が自発的に観光案内を要求し店に来る」ことを狙っている。実は少し小規模な第三の会社"Amsterdam Sauer"も同じことをしていて、こちらは日本語のガイドを付けますと言った。無料でガイドと車を提供する経済的仕組みが分からなかったが、Brazilではその原価は一日わずか$40なので客の或る割合が宝石を買ってくれればその売り上げのごく一部でしかないということを知った。Ben Brothersは購入義務なしに無料のガイドと車を朝から、Sambaを夜見たいと言ったら真夜中まで、提供するという。真夜中に劇場の前でタクシーを捕まえる困難と危険を負担に思っていたので、有難くお受けすることとし、「宝石商の人質になっちゃった」と言って船で用意して貰ったバスツアをキャンセルした。既にH. SternとRio停泊2日目の予定を約束をしていたので、両方の宝石商からただの観光案内をしてもらうことになった。何も買う義務はないのだが、スミヱは何かを期待して既に微笑んでいる。

 Casualの夕べで、我々はDr. Bob & Claire NixonおよびスタフのRachelとJeffと一緒になった。スミヱは鶏肉を、重悳は牛肉を食べた。

April 18, 2002

    There are four consecutive cruise-only days between St. Helena and Rio de Janeiro, and the cruise staff of the ship was eager not to make passengers bored by offering various programs. One such attempt was "Mystery on stage" played for four days in a series. Passengers talked about and tried to guess for prizes which character on stage was the criminal. A good program, but not for us, because subtle English expressions would become the clues. Another attempt was celebrity lectures. Today we had a presentation by Mr. Gene Randall about his experience as a news caster on NBS and CNN. He must be a real celebrity because the theater was filled with many passengers. Again a good idea, but not for us, because we don't know him and because all such TV people would talk fast with subtle wording and jokes, difficult for non-English-speakers. This was the time when we regretted our English was not any better. So reading books happened to be the major activity for us today.  St. HelenaとRio de Janeiroの間の大西洋はさすがに遠くて、4日間の航海だけの日がある。船のクルーズ企画者は乗客を飽きさせないように熱心に知恵を絞って様々な企画を提供している。その一つの試みが4日間に渡ってシリーズで上演された「ミステリー劇」だ。乗客は毎日の劇の展開をみて配役の誰が犯人だろうとこのところ話題にし、賞品目当てに推察しようとしている。面白い企画だ。だが我々向きじゃない。微妙な英語の表現が真相解明のカギになるから、我々にはちと難しい。もう一つの試みが「有名講師による講演」で、今日はGen Randall氏がNBCおよびCNNのニュースキャスタとしての氏の経験と裏話の発表があった。本当に有名人らしくて、船内の劇場は多数の乗客で埋まった。これも良い企画だ。ただこれも我々向きじゃない。彼を知らないし、大体テレビに出る人は微妙な言葉遣いと冗談を早口でしゃべるし、テレビにはあるビデオ映像が講演には無いから、英語人口以外には難しい。我々ももっと英語がうまかったらなあと反省する時だった。結果的に読書が今日の我々の主な活動となった。
   Other things which cruise staff did were appreciated by us. The captain took the course slightly northward so that passengers could see two volcanic uninhabited islands of Brazil. Ilha (Island) Martin Vaz was a small lava island with eroded rock cliff as high as 50m or so. 45 minutes later the ship passed by also volcanic Ilha da Trindade (Trinidad), which was much bigger with the height of 157m and with several high rock pillars, apparently remnant of lava in the crators. It was a spectacular view. The other thing we appreciated was lunch today. The main restaurant served buffet of food of various countries like Mongolia, Japan, Italy etc. It was fun and Shig took too much food.

    The ship left Cape Town on April 9 and will arrive at Rio de Janeiro on April 20. This is one of the five segments of the world cruise, sold separately as well as as a part of the world cruise. Of these 12 days, 6 days are cruise-only, and 2 days are for embarking and disembarking. We have three ports of calls in between, two Namibia ports and St. Helena. All trans-Atrantic cruise must be like this, because the Atlantic has no island except St. Helena. As a result, this is the least popular segment of all. No wonder that the ship has only 162 passengers now. The other day, we saw a couple who took only this segment, and we asked why, and learnt an interesting fact. The cruise company, Radisson, organized a package of tour including this segment of cruise and also several day land tours at both ends of the segment, to offer for a discounted fare. We were impressed by this good business idea of the cruise company.

    In this "Informal" evening, we skipped the dinner and ate instant noodle in the room. Less exercise and much food in lunch failed to make us hungry. When Shig requested hot water at the bar, the bar attendant asked back "Full ?" Apparently he didn't know instant noodle.

 クルーズ企画者の工夫で我々も評価できるものがあった。船長は航路をわずかに北にとり、数千mの海底から突然のように水面に顔を出しているBrazilの2つの火山性無人島を見られるようにした。Ilha (Island) Martin Vazは小さな溶岩の島で、浸蝕された50mもありそうな岩壁で囲まれていた。45分後に船はこれも火山性のIlha da Trindade (Trinidad)の側を通過した。これはずっと大きくて、標高157mもあり、数個の岩の巨大な円柱が立っている。明らかに噴火口の中に残った溶岩が露出したものだ。なにしろ壮大な眺めであった。もう一つ我々が評価したのは今日の昼食だった。主レストランがバイキングになって、モンゴル、日本、イタリアなど各国の食物が並んだ。面白くて重悳は取りすぎてしまった。

 船はCape Townを4月9日に出航し、Rio de Janeiroに4月20日に到着する。これが世界一周の5つのSegmentのうちの1つになっており、世界一周の一部としても売り出したが単独でも販売した。この12日のうち6日は航海だけの日で、2日は乗船下船の日だ。その間寄港は、Namibiaで2港とSt. Helenaの3港だ。大西洋にはSt. Helena以外には島が無いので、大西洋横断のクルーズはみなこうなる。結果としてここが全体の中で一番人気の無いSegmentとなる。今船には乗客名簿を数えると162名しか乗客が居ないが無理も無い。先日このSegmentだけに乗るというご夫婦に会ったので、なぜこのSegmentを選んだのか不思議に思って伺ったら、面白いことが分かった。クルーズ会社RadissonはこのSegmentのクルーズを含め、しかしSegment両端で数日ずつを過ごすツアを組んで値引き価格で以前Radissonに乗った記録のある人にDMで提供したそうだ。両端のCape TownとRioで数日ずつ過ごせれば確かに面白かろう。クルーズ会社のこの卓越したビジネスアイディアには感心した。

 Informalの日だったが、我々は夕食をスキップして日本から持ち込んだインスタント麺を部屋で食べた。運動不足に昼食の食べすぎで腹が減らなかったから。重悳がインスタント麺の器を持ってバーにお湯を要求したとき、バーの係が「Full ?」と聞き返した。明らかにインスタント麺を知らない。

April 19, 2002

    The ship is cruising west and we are already in west latitudes, or in times zones lag from Greenwich. The ship has its own time depending on how far the ship has moved. The ship instructs the guest to adjust time before going to bed, usually one hour set back in our west-going ship. Soon after our embarkation, someone told us that the timer of the VCR in the room was adjusted automatically to time changes. As an engineer, Shig was marvelled at the enabling technology which this ship was equiped. Some days have passed before Shig learnt the truth. It was indeed automatic, but the room maid was adjusting the timer by the remote when she did the room while the guests were out of the room for dinner. Shig found it when the timer was set back by mistake by exactly 50 minutes when 60 minutes set back was instructed. The ship travels about 870km a day, roughly one hour's distance a jet will travel. It is 7.8 degrees on the globe. If the ship travels on the equator precisely to the west or to the east, 7.8 degrees correspond to half an hour of time difference. At the latitude 30 degrees, the ship can travel 35 minutes of time difference a day. Therefore, when the ship is cruising almost to the west as it is these days, the ship instructs us to set back the watch by one hour once in a day or two.

    When the watch is set back by one hour before going to bed, Shig naturally gets up one hour earlier next morning. Strange is Sue. Sue gets up at the same hour whether time may or may not be delayed in the previous evening. Sue is a rare person who doesn't have any jet lag, and this useful talent was inherited to our sons. But she was found immune not only to jet lag, but also to "ship lag".

    Today Shig worked hard to create a single folder in a PC to include all pictures for printing for the album. Shig has taken 1,500 pictures so far, and Sue about 1,000. An album can not include so many pictures, and therefore, we selected only the best pictures. Shig was glad he did it now rather than in mid-May when we would be back home because he found he was forgetting some scenes in earlier days of the trip. But merging pictures from two cameras into one folder in the order of time was not easy.

    It was a "formal" evening. Sue wore a purple kimono. We dined with Herb & Leah again, anew with Bill & Myrna Butler from Massachusetts, and a CNN caster Gene Randall. Both Shig and Sue ate sea food, sculops surrounded b shrimps.


 寝る前に時計を1時間遅らせると、重悳は当然翌朝1時間早く目覚める。不思議なのはスミヱだ。前の晩1時間遅らせる時間調整があろうと無かろうと、朝は同じ時刻に起床する。スミヱは飛行機での時差ボケJet Lagがない珍しい人で、この国際化時代に有用なその才能は息子たちに遺伝した。しかしスミヱは数時間単位のJet Lagに罹らないだけでなく、1時間単位の"Ship Lag"にも無縁であることが分かった。


 今日はFormalの日でスミヱは紫の着物に白い帯をしめた。夕食で一緒になったのはHerb & Leahと、新たにBill & Myrna Butler、それにCNNのキャスタで講演で乗船しているGene R$andallだった。重悳もスミヱも、貝柱を中心に海老を周囲に巻いたものを食べた。

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