In the Red Sea

March 23. Thursday, 6:00. Wow! Several people answered yesterday’s question by email. Lot of smart students out there. Some of you, I’m afraid, will have to attend Summer School. One student even answered the question in native languages. Way to go, Andy! Most answered with the English version. “Smoke that thunders”. What a coincidence!! “Smoke that thunders” occurs every day in our tiny bathroom. Ellen now calls me “Coach that smokes like thunder!!!!!
We are now about half way down the coast of Oman. “Oh man, I hope we don’t see any pirates!” We’ll be off the coast of Yemen next. That’s where the guided missile destroyer, “USS Cole”, was attacked a few years ago by a suicide boat.
Another beautiful day today. Sunny, calm, 83 degrees with a cool breeze. 75% humidity. I think I spelled the strait wrong yesterday. It should be Bab-Al-Mandab. My principal at Belmont HS would be very irritated with me if I wrote the wrong spelling on the board. My bad! Here’s a new question. What city was known as the “Paris of America”? Learned this during our talk about Stanley, yesterday.
These are the people that work the dining room every night. 1 Maitre d’; 3 Head Waiters; 3 buffet Supervisors; 25 Waiters; 11 Asst. Waiters; 19 Buffet Stewards; 8 Asst Buffet stewards. And they are terrific!! The Maitre D’ and Head waiters come to each table each night to talk and ask how we’re doing. A very family atmosphere. Really nice touch! In addition to these people, another 79 are working the kitchens. What an operation.
4:45pm. Here’s a good one. El says to me, “John, tomorrow I am going to start dieting so I can get down to the weight when I left to go on the trip. I have a month to do it”. I say, “ El, how much do you have to lose?” She says, “one pound”. Can you imagine!!! She’s unbelievable!!
March 24. Friday, 7:00am. Another beauty of a day!! Sunny, 80 degrees, low humidity, and calm seas. I saw a warship escorting a tanker about an hour ago going in the opposite direction from us. We are now in the Gulf of Aden right between Somalia and Yemen.
6:00pm. We have seen several more warships throughout the day and a British helicopter (gunship) circled us very low this afternoon. I guess we’re in good hands. We all feel pretty safe!!This morning we had a talk describing the speaker’s safari through Africa from Capetown to Mombassa. What an interesting trip. Found out what animal and what snake kill the most people in Africa. Any guesses?
March 25. Saturday, 12:50pm. We went through Bad-Al-Mandeb about 11:00 this morning. Now travelling in the Red Sea. Lots of tankers. There are basically four types of tankers. 1. Container ships. (Huge) I counted one the other day and came up with over three thousand containers. 2. Gas and oil tankers. 3. Grain carriers. 4. Car carriers. Our next stop will be the port of Aqaba where we will see the world famous ruins of the ancient city of Petra. Petra in Greek means “rock”. Apparently, the Greeks named this place. Speculation? Aqaba is in Jordon. The Dinar is their currency. We have to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts to visit Petra. Gonna sweat a lot!! Out for now. Signed, Captain Drake

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