Day 120

Had our usual morning routine on a sea day, but at 10am, we skipped Terry’s lecture, which was going to be about Cricket in the Caribbean. We had seen the cricket introduction and simulated playing back somewhere in the Indian Ocean. We used that time to begin organizing our piles of new stuff to bring home. By late in the afternoon, I got two suitcases packed on the serious hope that the consumables we brought would free-up space. This is still to be seen in a couple of weeks. Reception has already passed out questionnaires asking for a tentative count of the luggage from each suite in preparation for staffing the effort when we arrive in LA.

I went off to a ping pong tournament (had an off day) and Pat went to the 11am lecture by Rob Warne on Cuba.

The recent history of Cuba began in 1959, when Fidel Castro and Mexican Che Guevara rallied the masses and caused Batista to flee. Castro declared himself Prime Minister and thus began his 60 year hold on Cuba. He confiscated the wealthy plantations and nationalized businesses. He did, however, provide free health care, education, and nominal pensions to the poor. The middle and upper class citizens fled to the United States by the thousands, as America enacted its trade embargo. The Bay of Pigs defeat followed in 1961, and the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Castro instituted a communist government marked by political repression, religious persecution and a stagnant economy. The fact that many were dissatisfied is demonstrated by the 1980 Mariel boatlift that saw 120,000 Cubans sail to America for asylum. Fidel resigned in 2008, sick with cancer, and passed the reins to his brother, Raul. After attempts in recent years to open Cuba to U.S. tourism, 700,000 visited in 2017, but there has been a big decline in 2018, and a cooling of U.S. relations. Diaz-Real was recently elected and we have yet to see what the future will hold.

I met Pat at the end of the lecture and proceeded to the noontime games, where we played the card game 31 with our group of seven. Pat won some points. The Pool Deck buffet featured many types of chili, but I thought it safe to stay away from too much spicy food and settled for a salad. I had to run off to a photography workshop trying to pick up a few tips. Pat returned to our suite to continue making piles and taking an inventory of the various Regent clothing and things that we got with our points in previous segments. Before the end of this segment, we will need to redeem our points for more merchandise. Hope we have room. I showed up for the 2pm slots tournament and did not win today. On the chance that someone would be at ping pong, I swung by and found that Harris just arrived, so we played about 6 or 7 games. Art was feeling a little stuffy and coughing last night, so we have not seen much of him today. We asked him to lay low and shake this cold. Harris continued after I left to get a shower and cool down. Pat was up at the poolside getting a little sun but returned in time for the 4:15pm Mensa followed by the 4:30pm Trivia. We earned our Mensa points but came in fourth again in Trivia. Back at the suite, I finished packing the souvenirs and Regent stuff and Pat relaxed on the balcony trying to watch for a sunset, but too cloudy.

Dinner tonight was with our friends Trish and Jeff at the specialty restaurant, Prime 7. We had the usual boring filet mignon. All the food was great and the conversation equally so. We made our way to the theater for the second performance of the guitar superstar, Dimitris Dekavallos. He was accompanied by the orchestra tonight, and played some great tunes. He began with the William Tell Overture, went into a Bizet opera, some tango music, and other familiar melodies that I never knew the name of. This was a better show than the last.

Tomorrow we will be in Tobago, a first visit to this island for us.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac