March 21, 2002

    Several people asked if Shig was any better now. OK, of course.

    The ship docked at Phuket Deepsea Port at 8am, located 5 miles south of the center of the city. We set out soon for a sightseeing bus tour. We changed to jeeps to climb up to a mountain, where an elephant farm was located in the vast rubber tree forest. After some introduction, we rode on an elephant back for a walk for half an hour. For the first time in these weeks we breathed the air in the forest and remembered our weekend houses in the country. Most Americans were excited in their first experience. It was for the third time for us to ride on an elephant back, first in Bangkok Rose Garden for only 50m, then in India to climb up to a palace, and this time which was the longest. Sitting on the back, rolling and pitching, is very uneasy and tiring. Shig wanted to find out why such rolling and pitching could occur, only in vain. We were then taken to the young elephant training cottage to watch their performances.

    We saw rubber rasin collection demonstration. The rasin oozes out from below up to the new cut of the bark. The white rasin is rolled flat and dried to make raw rubber. We hear that natural rubber is not competitive any nmore with synthesized rubber. We saw active rubber tree forests in Vietnam, but here in Thailand, rubber forests were already abandoned and used only for sightseeing.

    Then we were taken to a cashew nuts factory. In front of the factory there were several cashew trees, and we saw for the first time cashew nuts on the trees. Under a green, yellow or red cone-shaped fruit, a cashew nut in the shell attaches. The shells were manually opened by tools one after another and nuts were taken out by a needle. Factory consisted of only 7-8 women and shell cutting tools.

    We were then taken to a souvenir shop. Sue found a silver pearl necklace inexpensive and bought one. We didn't know at that time that what we bought were just pearls in a tentative string and that each pearl must be tied firmly by a stronger string to make a necklace. Therefore it took a long time and we missed the bus leaving time. But the shop took us to the ship by a van.

    After taking lunch on board, we set out again by a shuttle bus to the center of Phuket Town. There were two department stores there, and Sue bought a Thai suit only for $24 and a unique small handbag made of stingray leather.

    We returned to the ship once but went out again to take the other shuttle bus to the most popular beach of Phuket, Patong Beach. When we arrived there near Holiday Inn at the southern end of the beach, it was already in dusk but Shig's digital camera successfully took pictures of the beach. We walked through the bustling shopping street to the north along the beach to visit a Japanese restaurant in a hotel named Patong Resort. Japanese food was by no means a mandatory necessity, but we were just interested to see what a Japanese restaurant in Phuket was like. Shig took gohan, misoshiru, and ika teriyaki. Sue took just tanuki udon. We found the taste really good and Japanese, but Thai waitress girls in kimono were not quite Japanese in behavior. To our surprise, a heavy shower came while we were eating. We ordered a taxi at the hotel but taxis were all gone out. But a hotel employee kindly took us to the meeting point for the shuttle bus, of course for some money. It was a busy but enjoyable day.


 船はPhuketの町の中心から5kmも南にあるPhuket Deepsea Portに8amに接岸し、間もなく我々は観光バスツアに出た。ジープに乗り換えて山に登り、広大なゴムの木の森にある象園に行った。導入説明の後いよいよ象に乗って半時間の散歩に出た。久しぶりで森の空気を吸い、八ヶ岳と伊豆の週末の家を懐かしく思った。米人の多くは象に乗るのは初めての経験で興奮していた。我々は象に乗るのは3度目だ。最初はBangkok郊外のRose Gardenで50mほどを一周した。次にインドで宮殿に上る道で乗った。そして今回だが今回が一番長かった。前後左右に揺れる象の背に乗るのは落ち着かなく疲れる。重悳はなぜこのような前後左右の揺れが起こり得るのか解明しようとしたが分からなかった。それから子象訓練場に行き子象の芸を見た。





 一度船に戻ったが、飽きもせず今度はもう一つのシャトルバスでPhuketで最も人気があるPatong Beachに行った。我々が海岸南端のHoliday Innに近い所に到着した頃にはもう薄暗かったが、重悳のデジカメは優秀で海岸の写真を撮ることができた。海岸沿いの賑わっているショッピング街を北に歩いて、Patong Resortというホテルにある日本料理店に行った。特に日本料理が絶対食べたかった訳ではないが、Phuketの日本料理店がどんなところかは興味があった。重悳はご飯と味噌汁とイカの照り焼き、スミヱはタヌキウドンを取った。味は本当に日本並でよかったが、着物を着たタイ人のウエイトレスの振る舞いは日本的とは言えなかった。驚いたことに食事中に豪雨になっていた。ホテルでタクシーを頼んだが、タクシーは全て出払っていた。しかしホテルの従業員が親切にシャトルバスの集合場所まで送ってくれた。勿論謝礼を期待してのことだ。スミヱが居なかったら多分この従業員は送ってくれなかったろうし、重悳が居なかったら行き先の道案内は出来なかったら、両者の協力で無事に帰れたことになる。多忙だったが面白い一日だった。

March 22, 2002

    A quiet day has passed while the ship sailed from Phuket towards the southern tip of India. This was the first of three cruise-only days en ruite to India. The ship cruised among the 360 degree horizon, on which other ships could be seen afar only from time to time. The cruise had completed its Asia series by March 21, and the ship is heading for the South Africa series scheduled from April 3 with only 2 stops in between, at the southern tip of India and at Seychelles. To our regret, our stop at Madagascar was cancelled because of the political turmoil there. We'll have many cuise-only days in between and we must find how to spend time most meaningfully.

    Shig was busy with handling pictures and travel logs with PC. Meanwhile we walked around the deck for half an hour for exercise and we did laundry using a coin-laundry-like machine, but for free.

    Sue was more accustomed to the cruise and she felt more at ease to hear the sound of waves from outside. When the ship progresses, waves are created in both sides of the ship, and tips of the waves crumble to the outside to create wave sound. Some people intentionally keep the window slightly open at night so that the wave sound can be heard more clearly for sounder sleep. Indeed it is a relaxing sound.

    It was an "Informal" day, and we dined with Lory & Roanne again and Bill & Margaret Gunther again. After the dinner we listened to Robyn-san's piano for half an hour. We really wanted to hear her relaxing music and did so until the performance ended. But, in general, one difficulty for us is that it is not easy to leave the musician before the performance ends even if we want so, especially when the audience is small. The other day, we saw an interesting scene. When music was being played, an American couple stood up and began to dance comically, proceeding step by step towards the exit and waved their hands to leave. How clever ! But we can not dance that well.

 静かな一日だった。船はPhuketからインド南端目指して航海している。インドに向かう3日間の航海だけの日々の第1日だ。船は360度の水平線の中を行く。遥か遠くの水平線上に時々船影が見えるだけだ。見方を整理すれば、クルーズは昨3月21日まででアジアシリーズを終え、4月3日から始まる南アフリカシリーズに向けて船を進めている、ということができる。但し商業的理由から、それぞれのシリーズのど真ん中のHong KongとCape TownでクルーズのSegmentは分かれている。その間インド南端とSeychelles諸島に立ち寄る。Madagascar寄航は残念ながら政治混乱のためキャンセルとなった。従って航海だけの日が多く続く。時間を有意義に使うことが必要になった。



 Informalの日だった。夕食で一緒になったのは、再びLory & Roanneと再びBill & Margaretだった。夕食後Robynさんのピアノを半時間ほど聞いた。今回は本当に彼女の安らぐ音楽を聞きたかったし演奏時間が終わるまで聞いた。しかし一般論では演奏終了前に席を立ちたくても立ち難く辛い時もある。特に聴衆が少ない時にはなお更だ。実は先日面白い光景を見た。まだ音楽が演奏中に少ない聴衆の中の一組の米人夫妻が立ち上がり、二人で音楽に合わせてコミカルに踊りながら一歩一歩出口に近づき、向こうむきのまま手を振って出て行った。これなら文句のつけようもない。だが我々にはあんな風には踊れないしなあ。

March 23, 2002

    By today, the ship cruised two full days on the ocean surrounded by the 360 degree horizon. The sea depth was announced around 350m or 430m. Then we suddenly felt that this vast area of sea multiplied by the depth would mean a huge amount of water. We know that the earth is called the planet of water. But when the heavy rain continued for days, we were wondering where the unbelievable amount of rain water came from. But now we can feel very well where such water can come from.

    It was a formal day and Sue wore a whitish kimono with patterns of bamboo and greenish belt. And we were invited by a Radisson staff, Ms. Rose Clarke, in charge of cruise consulting, to her table in the main dining room. We anticipated, therefore, some encouragement for booking in the future cruises. Actually it was not sales promotion but an invitation to entertain the cruise guests. We learnt why we had failed to find anybody on board for whom this was the first cruise. She said that usually the first cruise for Americans would be in Caribean, then a couple of segments. It was said rare, but not none, to begin with a long cruise as we took.

    Invited to her table were Ms. Nedra Gann, and Dr. Alfred & Phyllis Dodson, seemingly from the real upper-class of U.S.A.

    After the dinner, we went to Robyn-san's piano corner to listen to her and to get her autograph on a CD jacket. The show tonight was a female African American singer Gail Nelson from New York. She was a real entertainer and everyone enjoyed her wide repertoire.


 今日はFormalの日で、スミヱは竹の模様が手書きされた白っぽい夏の着物に緑がかった帯で夕食に出た。これがまたかなりの注目を集めた。自分で帯を二重太鼓に結べる日本人は今や少ないんだとスミヱはいうのだが、米人に浴衣との区別が分かるかなあと混ぜ返す重悳。今日はRadissonスタフのCruise ConsultantであるMs. Rose Clarkeから彼女のテーブルに招待されていた。だから将来のCruise予約への勧誘があるのかと予想して行ったが、実際には販促ではなく単純にお客さんをもてなすご接待だった。と言っても金銭的にはどうせタダのDinnerではあるが。この船でCruiseは初めてという人に出会わない理由が分かった。彼女の話では、米人が最初にCruiseに出る場合は近場のカリブ海が多く、次に1-2 SegmentのCruiseをするのであって、最初から我々のような長いCruiseをすることは、無くは無いものの珍しいという。いきなり大学に入学したようなものか。

 一緒に彼女のテーブルに招かれたのは、米国の本当の上流階級然としたMs. Nedra Gannおよび Dr. Alfred & Phyllis Dodsonだった。

 夕食後、Robynさんのピアノのコーナで演奏を半時間ほど聴き、彼女のCDジャケットにサインを貰った。今夜のショーはNew Yorkのショービジネスから来たと紹介された女性のアフリカ系米人歌手Gail Nelsonだった。Entertainmentに長けたアーティストで、広いレパートリを皆楽しんだが、重悳にとっては音楽性が少し物足りなかった。

'02/ 3/23 微笑の国    タイは日本と共通点が多い。我々が安らぐのも道理だ。

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