Day 47

I kept the curtains closed so daylight would not wake us up too early on a sea day. It worked. The phone rang about 9:30 and reception was answering a passport question from yesterday. I got out first to get to the 10:00 enrichment lecture by Terry Bishop on “Australia and New Zealand Go to War, The ANZACS at Gallipoli 1915; To Helles and Beyond.” I brought my coffee and muffin breakfast with me and Pat brought her own when she joined me in the theater. We were introduced to this phase of WWI by another lecturer earlier in the cruise as we approached New Zealand. This lecturer has a smooth enjoyable delivery style despite this being a hellish subject. He quickly reviewed the inter-related military alliances of the European countries at the time of the Grand Duke’s assassination, which led to the rapid expansion of hostilities. In two weeks, war broke out. Then there was Churchill’s plan to open an eastern front in Turkey to force the Germans to dilute their strength in the western front. Great Britain’s military and strategic planning was a disaster. He cited many examples, sometimes in a humorous way, if that was possible. Australia and New Zealand rallied to the cause for mother GB. Boys came off the farms by the thousands, such that, on November 7, 1914, 37 transports left Albany (a port that we just sailed by today) bound for basic training in Egypt. The same results of the April and May bloody beach landings were mentioned. All attempts to make headway or circumvent the entrenched Turkish army failed or were incompletely designed. Their only success was an effective withdrawal in December and January 1916, without the Turks being aware, because of constant diversionary tactics. The withdrawal tally was 134,700 men, 14,587 animals and 393 guns. That short skirmish cost 150,000 lives and 260,000 more were wounded. Australia and New Zealand’s combined volunteer force of 503,000 suffered a casualty rate of 58%, either dead or wounded. He finished with brief highlights of the next seven years in that region with Britain, the oil fields, Turkey and Lawrence of Arabia.

George Losey’s lecture dealt with “Perception – Stories about Our Surroundings.” He cited many research studies, many that were both weird and  interesting. In summary, the brain is shaped by evolution to use information from the environment to functionally regulate behavior. He showed why a brain might find a certain image more pleasing than another. The brain also prefers symmetry in all forms, preferring bi-lateral symmetry, as in a facial expression. He showed and examined many faces to support this position. Instinctive human facial expression and consonant sounds are more pleasing to a child than dissonance. Sensory exploitation is used throughout the animal world when the male of the species, who is usually more adorned than the female, will strut his stuff to attract a female and the female is pre-disposed to be attracted to the attractiveness and equipment of the male. Enough said on that matter.

Today is the last day of this segment. We will be losing about 200 passengers and only gaining 100 on this leg to Singapore. There were no noontime games; only a 2:30 Target Croquet and Pat and I came in second for Regent points. I cashed in about 60 points yesterday for Regent stuff, such as, golf balls, cap, sweatshirt and coffee tumbler. We returned to our suite to get caught up on our email backlog and work on a Mensa Quiz that Pat got herself hooked on recently. Trivia time was just a “Thanks for playing,” but we got the mensa quiz correct and salvaged some points for that.

The singers and dancers performed “World Beat” at 5:30 tonight, because many folks would be packing after dinner. We saw this show a few weeks ago, but it is one of their best. They began by doing some Spanish numbers and flamenco dancing. This was followed by Chinese, Greek, African, and Russian numbers and culminating in a wonderful Irish dance routine. I think they must have changed costumes about 8 times in this program, all in a minute or two between numbers.

We had dinner tonight in the specialty restaurant, Prime 7, with friends Trish and Jeff. Since we weren’t in a hurry to get to any show, we took our time and just enjoyed talking after we finished our delicious filet mignon dinner.

Tomorrow we are on an excursion in Perth, Western Australia for 6 hours and hope to have time to explore the city afterward. We will have more new neighbors to meet and greet when we return to the ship.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac