Day 69

Our second of three sea days still has us about half-way to Sri Lanka or 590 nautical miles to go, with arrival scheduled for 8 am Tuesday. Sundays at breakfast, there is champagne and caviar provided. Pat added orange juice to her champagne to make a mimosa, but neither of us have a desire for caviar.

This morning’s Terry lecture was on “Myanmar-The Road to Mandalay-The British in Burma and Beyond.” In summary, Burma got self-government on January 4, 1948, after WW2 and Britain got tired of putting down peoples’ uprisings against all outsiders. Myanmar (Burma) refused to join the Commonwealth, so they were really on their own. Isolated and in complete poverty, the weak government could do nothing to improve conditions. A series of military coups in 1962 and 1988 kept the military in power. During these times, tens of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators died in violent protests and thousands more fled the country, if they could. There was a free election in 1990, for the first time in 30 years, where 80% voted for change. The junta disagreed with the vote and stayed in power. The country’s name changed, which was followed by more violent protests. The 2008 Cyclone Nargis killed 200,000 people and left a million homeless. The military could not respond to the disaster. Time for a country name change again and some elections, finally in 2015, they voted in a woman PM and a non-military President. But human rights remain a major concern. As of yesterday’s news, the ethnic minority of Rohingya Muslims are being forced out, 700,000 at last count. The military is the 12th largest in the world, to control the population, and corruption is 171st out of 175 worst countries. Terry spoke a great deal on British involvement in the colonial times, annexation as a colony and WW2. Thought I would spare you too much history.

The second speaker, Michael Scott, spoke on “Wildlife to Watch For.” He is a birding enthusiast, so he showed many photos of the birds we might see when we approach land; frigate birds, gannets, brown and red boobies, and red and yellow billed tropical birds. Marine life will be limited because tropical waters do not support plankton, which is the basic building block for marine life.

We were eliminated early from the noontime card games and came back to our suite for some internet time. Meals today had an Indian flavor, curry everywhere, in most of the dishes. We’ll try to navigate through the menus for familiar food. We had a brief card playing time of Skipbo with Lisa and Morry. Trivia was crowded with a full ship. Our team placed out of the scoring.

This afternoon we attended a Future Cruise Presentation given by cruise consultant Gudrun Werner. We learned about some very fascinating itineraries Regent has planned in 2019 and early 2020. The newest ship, the Regent Splendor, will have its debut sometime next year. It is under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard and will hold 750 passengers. I will see Gudrun sometime soon to ask about a few cruises that intrigued me.

“Five O’Clock Somewhere,” with Adam and Tabitha, put on a pre-dinner show at 5:30 with their guitar and keytar (a keyboard-type instrument worn with a strap around the neck). They played and sang some Beatles songs, 60’s music, and a medley of movie themes. They are very versatile in their programs, since the one today was nothing like the wild Irish show last night.

Tonight’s headliner was “The Show of a Laughtime-Part 2” starring comedian Scott Williams. He showed amusing videos, told stories about how he got into trouble as a youth, involved the audience to some extent, and was just very funny! Scott truly believes that laughter is the best medicine.

If I finish this soon enough, we can conclude watching our cabin movie, The Darkest Hour, about Churchill in England at the start of WW2. Tomorrow is our third sea day and quite special. We will be instructed how to prepare for and respond when the Pirate Alarm is sounded.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac

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