Still Cruising Towards Taiwan

Feb. 23, Thursday. 3:50pm. We are in Guam. You would never know this is a Pacific island thousands of miles from home. It’s just like being in the USA. Applebees; KFC; Mickey D etc. They even drive on the right side. Almost every other island was on the other side. Today, we went on a very important excursion. Two bus rides, that took about 45 minutes, to visit the world’s largest ……………KMart. We were in heaven. We bought soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, condoms (of course not), Nyquil, two Hawaiian shirts, a Skip Bo game, toothbrush, razors, notebook, pj bottoms, Croakie and two bottles of wine. One hundred bucks worth of supplies!! Much more expensive here. The security here is very tight. We were escorted in, this morning, by a gunboat. We had to go through a full customs check (all passengers AND every crew member whether they were going ashore or not) before we could leave the ship. Coming back from shopping, we had to go through several checkpoints where they checked the bus throughout (AK 47s and dogs in full view). Before we could get on the ship, our backpacks were thouroghly searched by Guam security guards. We were also “wanded”. This all happened BEFORE boarding where they scanned our ID cards, xrayed our packs and my brace, and made us walk through the metal detector. No terrorists on this boat, for sure!!!! This ship is the safest place on earth!! This island is home to a very large US Naval Base so, I guess, security has to be tight. See you later.
Feb 24, Friday, 1:50pm. On our way to Kaohsiung (pronounced Gow-chung’), Taiwan. We are
presently crossing the Philippine Sea. Kaohsiung is the second biggest city in Taiwan (used to be called Formosa). This seaport is the third largest in China. Big city. 2.5 million people. We get there in two more days.
By the way, the“ Blue Ghost” is the nickname for the aircraft carrier “Lexington”. The second one. The first one was sunk in the Battle of the Coral Sea. The “Ghost” is now docked in Corpus Christi, Tx. and used as a museum and open to the public. The hotels and tall buildings in Kaohsiung have no fourth floors in their elevators. (like the 13th floor in our country). The Mandarin word for “fourth” sounds very much like their word for “death”. Superstitious!!! Therefore no fourth floors!!!
Feb. 25, Saturday, 6:50pm Yesterday, Phil Keith, our WW2 storyteller, deviated from the Battle of Midway and told stories about the Vietnam War. He flew jets from aircraft carriers during this time. Most passengers are from the Vietnam era, although, we have three veterans from WW2 on board. All in their nineties. These stories about Vietnam were so powerful that most of the audience was crying including me. I even had a very difficult time relating this to El when I got back to our room. (She doesn’t go to these lectures). Adios for now. Time for breakfast and pickle ball.
11:15am. Had a demonstration of ice carving yesterday. I’ll include some photos. El attended, with me, the presentation about WW2 today. She really enjoyed it. This cruise is, as you know, an around the world trip but it is broken up into six segments. At each segment, some passengers leave the ship and new ones get on so we have a turnover of people. The first segment was to LA. The second one was to Sydney. The third one will finish in HongKong. About 150, of over six hundred passengers, are going all around. All the others are segment people. Some do only one segment and others do two or three or more. This ship will eventually get back to LA and be dry docked to be updated and refurbished. So some around the worlders started in Florida and some others started in LA. At our dinner table,(every night) three couples (including us) started in Lauderdale and the other couple boarded in LA. Well, I think I’ll send this off. Signed, Captain PhillipsIMG_0590.JPGIMG_0592.JPG