Day 134

Time is running out and we still are only thinking about packing. Most people we talk with have started packing a few suitcases. Maybe tomorrow is the day.

After breakfast we attended Terry’s, talk on “The Last Emperor of Mexico.” He started with a recap of the Spanish in the New World up through Napoleon in Europe, and his appointment of his brother Joseph as king of Spain. This was the spark that began the independence movements in the Spanish colonies. They didn’t want to be ruled by a Frenchman. In Mexico, an eleven-year civil war broke out taking over 600,000 lives before ending in 1821 with the formation of a Republic; but by 1863, Napoleon III was intent of replacing the republic with an emperor, finally choosing Prince Ferdinand Maximillian. The Republican government refused to repay their debts to Spain, Great Britain, and France. They sent war ships to force payment, but only France remained after the other two withdrew. There were two years of fighting with France losing until they finally occupied Mexico City, allowing Maximillian to arrive in 1864. As a result of Republican victories in 1865, Maximillian issued the “Black Decree,” which called for execution of all Republicans and protesters. Later in 1865, as a response to this, America finally became involved sending General Grant and 50,000 troops to the Texas border. France decided to leave but Maximillian stayed and in 1867, he was finally captured and sentenced to death on June 19, 1867. His body was returned to the Imperial Crypt in Austria. Terry finished up with a short history of the end of the Austrian royalty line of succession with the exile of Napoleon III to England in 1870, the death of his son Louis in South Africa serving in the British army in 1879, and the assassination of Franz Joseph in 1914 starting WWI.

We hung around for Rob Warne’s discussion on China. He compared China and U.S. noting several Chinese vulnerabilities. The new China began in 1978 with their opening their markets to the outside world. He cited several ambitious goals set by Xi and explained techniques Xi used to consolidate his power and the new idea called “social credit system.” Hundreds of millions of cameras are being set up everywhere and will use facial recognition to identify what people are doing. He discussed the Chinese and the trade deficit and its possible outcomes. As we have seen in many ports on our travels, China is investing greatly in infrastructure and port developments among Asian, Indian and African countries. China is trying to reduce coal use, which produces 70% of their total energy, over the next five years. He mentioned the confrontation of China’s expansion into the South China Sea and its developing military strength. Expect the future of this rising power to be in conflict with existing world powers.

The noontime game was the 31 card game. We realized that this would be our next to last noontime game. We won a few more points. After lunch, I dashed to Slots in time to lose again today, leaving there immediately for 20 minutes of ping pong with Harris because I had a hair cut appointment at the spa. I met Pat later and we browsed the Boutique Shops for some gifts, so we could use the final balance in our shipboard credit.

Yesterday, I learned that my brother, Harry, and his wife, Diane, would be in San Diego for a few days and Thursday our ship has its final port-of-call there. Exchange of emails was going too slow, so I called him today and agreed on a meeting place and time. We should have several hours together before our ship leaves for Los Angeles at 11:00pm.

Mensa and Trivia were both great today. For the first time on this cruise, our trivia team came in first. Pat actually stood up and cheered; the thrill was too much to restrain.

We had dinner tonight with Dan and Sheila, a lovely couple on this segment. Sheila has been playing slots with Mac, and Dan has been playing deck games with me and about 20 others. They invited us to join them for dinner a few days ago. They have been on several Regent cruises, but nothing longer than 2 weeks. They think this 25 day cruise is really long, but they are enjoying it immensely and would now consider longer voyages.

Tonight’s headliner was comedienne Cory Kahaney in her second show. She was even funnier than a few nights ago.

We will be in Cabo tomorrow.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac