Atlantis Alumni

Friday, December 20, 2013

Another Busy Day At Sea Aboard The Queen Mary 2

Photo: Jazz and Dixieland in the QM2 Royal Court Theater

High gale force winds, rough seas and closed outside decks prevailed on Thursday aboard the QM2. All the pools and hot tubs are drained and covered including even the indoor pool in the fancy on board spa, which is an extra charge of $40 per day to use. Nevertheless, there are lots of things to do to pass away the hours. I attended three different lectures. The first was given by a U.S. astronaut who was a member of the team that repaired the Hubble space telescope in orbit. He explained the problems with the telescope, which was out of focus when they tried using it once in orbit. A team of four astronauts successfully installed replacement components which enabled the telescope to provide the fantastic images that we have seen over the years. The second lecture that both Dan and I enjoyed was given by the author of a biography of Dame Julie Andrews. He had lots of interesting things to say about her long career. One of the most interesting film clips that he showed was from a TV special that Andrews did with Carol Burnett in the early 1960s, This clip showed a comic skit that was a spoof of the musical The Sound of Music. This was before Andrews reluctantly agreed to take the starring role in the film. Composer Richard Rogers was not amused by the skit and he did not want Andrews for the role as a result. The director Robert Wise prevailed upon Andrews to take the role, and the rest is history, of course. It was one of her great career triumphs. The final lecture that we attended focused on sea turtles, which are endangered due to various environmental and other causes. In between lectured Dan did some reading and I put some time in on the treadmill at the gym. We met with our Pied Piper travel mates for lunch at a special venue, the Todd English restaurant. Todd English is a renowned chef and the restaurant features dishes that are not available elsewhere on the ship. For dinner we went with our group to yet another specialty restaurant, Lotus, for Asian fusion food. Unfortunately for me, the emphasis at Lotus was on beef and chicken, so I had only light fare and left early so that I could enjoy the after dinner show in the Royal Court Theater, the large showplace on board. The show featured a clarinetist accompanied by a jazz and Dixieland ensemble. They were really very good and I enjoyed the show very much. After this rather full day of activities, it was off to bed and I was able to get a pretty solid few hours of sleep in spite of the extreme motion of the ship, which continues into today, Friday. One wonders how in the world people in small ships crossed this wild ocean centuries ago? - Jim

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