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Friday, 18 January 2013

Wednesday 16th January – all at sea

Leaving Mindelo

Leaving Mindelo
According to the daily blurb, the Marco Polo is on Day 15 of its 42 day cruise. I’ve been on board 6 days, and today is the 3rd day since we left Mindelo. Tomorrow is the Equator crossing ceremony as we approach the Amazon Delta , and on Saturday we visit the first river port, Santarem. The ship has been travelling through what is known as the “dead zone”, where there is no telephone signals, no internet, and I assume only navigational and essential information transmitted from the satellites over our heads.

As we’ve seen in the last two years, the flying fish appeared once we left Mindelo. As they realise there is a massive predator coming at them, (the ship), they leap out of the water, flying away gracefully for ages across the surface, before losing all their street cred as they unceremoniously flop back into the water. It’s interesting to watch them flick their tails on the water surface to push themselves another 10 or 15 feet. We could stand and watch for them for hours. Peter tried to get photographs, but they appear out of the water anywhere and everywhere and move so fast. However, perseverance paid off and he managed to get this picture.

So what’s been happening? Well not a lot to be honest. Peter has been suffering with a lost voice, but he also picked up a cold. It’s quite a nasty one actually, quite a temperature, loss of appetite, and real misery for two days. I caught it too, and hid in the cabin feeling really sorry for meself. But today I feel better, apart from the dry, sore top lip. Peter is still coughing, but hopefully that will improve over the next couple of days – just in time for Brazil.

I’ve had me hair cut. Anyone who knows me knows that is a newsworthy item! To be honest, I missed an appointment just before I left England, because I wasn’t well, so I decided to risk it and let the ships hairdresser have a go. Her name is Sofia, she is Serbian and has been cutting hair on the ships for the last 7 years. She made me smile, as she pointed out that she had started working on the cruise ships to get away from the Serbs, and the Marco Polo is full of Serbians. (Aside - If I remember rightly, it was the Serbians that came out of their last war looking like the bad guys. For today’s Serbs, it must be like having Hitler as your last leader. I didn’t ask, but I wonder how the normal run of the mill person like Sofia felt about that? Ashamed? Defensive? Angry? )

Sofia also told me that she lived in a London YMCA for a month. She commented that British men were mice before they had a drink, and lions afterwards, full of bravado and in your face. She’s right of course. And she’s also right when she said she preferred a guy to have the courage to ask her out before they’d had a gut full of alcohol. Anyway. After all that, Sofia buried me under a cloud of hairspray – (which I hate), charged me less than I would have been at home (Peter get’s discounts on some things), and left me with one of the best haircuts I’ve ever had. I am very impressed.

And that’s it for the last three days to be honest. I think I’ve spent most of it feeling miserable in the cabin. I’m sure I’ll feel a lot better tomorrow though.

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