Friday, March 25, 2011

2 weeks in Paradise; how much more can we endure!

It is hard to believe that another 12 hours will mark 2 full weeks that we have been sitting in this anchorage.  At least it is beautiful.  That helps with the boredom.  I have read several books and am currently laboring through the 1100 page "Alaska" by James Michener.  As much as I love to read, even reading is becoming a trifle boring.  Read a few pages; look at the pretty water; read a few pages; watch the hundreds of hydroplanes and resort go-fast ferries zipping back and forth between the resort islands and the airport; read a few pages; watch the turtles and rays; read a few pages; watch the local men do weird things on strange boats; finally it is time to cook dinner and then watch a couple of hours of DVDs; and another day has passed.  

Several times we have taken the ferry over to the main island of Male to enjoy lunch and do a tiny bit of grocery shopping for perishables.  That helps the day pass much more quickly as this usually turns out to be a 4 to 5 hour excursion.  

Arrival of the transport ship is delayed.  We are not upset by this because we sort of expected it  not to arrive on time.  It is a brand new ship that just left the shipyard where it was built near Beijing.  It stops in Korea, Taiwan, Saigon and then picks up the cradles in Singapore; then straight to Male.  As of today the ship is en route from Taiwan to Saigon.  Originally it was supposed to arrive in Male by March 25 (today), but obviously that did not happen; and arrival is delayed by a few weeks.  As long as it arrives here in time to get to Turkey in time for us to sail to meet our grandchildren in Athens in June as planned, we will be happy.   Whether the transport ship arrives in Male the third week of March or the third week of April, it doesn't matter to us.  In fact, later is better as the southwest monsoon strengthens and forces the Somali pirates back to their shores.  That decreases the chances of our transport ship being hijacked, so delay is not a bad thing.   We planned to have the boat hauled immediately in Marmaris for routine bottom paint, service the bow thruster and service the autoprop.  But if the transport ship is delayed too long, then we can simply delay that haul-out until late August or even September.  Some of the other yachts waiting for transport are stressing out over the slight delay; we aren't worried about it.

One day we found Wall Street in Male.  Bill couldn't resist snapping a photo with his phone.

Other photos he could not resist were the motorcycles driving off the ferry.  These motorcycles are loaded onto the ferry before the passengers; then they are last off when reaching the ferry destination.  The drivers hold the cycles upright in the rear of the passenger cabin during the short ferry trip.  Then they drive the cycles down a rickety moveable ramp.  Doesn't this all sound ever so safe?  We watched one man fall while attempting to ride down the ramp.  Fortunately, his leg wasn't broken.

This life jacket sign posted in the front of the passenger cabin in the ferry caught my eye. (As always, click on image for larger view.)   Notice it reads right to left.  That is what caught my attention.  I looked at it as we westerners normally would and wondered why the kid had removed the jacket in the second image.  That is when I realized that this sign reads right to left instead of left to right.  And what the heck is with that crazy part tight around the neck?  Looks like it would choke the wearer when in the water.  

Today we went ashore with folks from a couple of other boats.  It is a Friday -- Holy Day -- and everything supposedly is closed.  But they had scouted out a small restaurant on this airport island that serves customers in the few tourist hotels on Hulhule Island.  This restaurant told them they would be open on Friday, so we went for a nice walk around the island.  Arrived at the restaurant and they were closed.  Figures.  

But there was someone inside and he said they would open at 13:30.  It was only 12:45 but he opened up early just for us.  That was nice and kept us from having to sit out in the heat for 45 minutes waiting for the normal opening time.   Several of us opted for the chicken submarine sandwiches; and they were pretty good.  Randal on M/V DORA MAC ordered a Beef Burger with Cheese.  One normally would expect to be served a regular cheeseburger.  In Muslim countries there is never a hamburger on any menu.  It is always called a beef burger -- musn't even taint the menu with the word "ham" even though there is no pork in what the rest of the world calls a hamburger.  And one doesn't order a cheeseburger because then you might get a hamburger bun filled with plain cheese.  So to get a cheeseburger, you order a beef burger with cheese.  Notice the "beef" in Randal's beef burger today -- a scattering of very thin slices of beef about 1/2-inch by 1-inch in size.

Yesterday we removed the large chart of the Indian Ocean and Red Sea from our saloon table and replaced it with a chart of the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea.  Over the chart we place a sheet of stratoglass that is cut to fit the table.  This holds the chart in place.  (Note:  this works for us because our table has a high-gloss finish; this will not work on most boat tables with the dull finish.)  We might not physically be in the Med yet, but we have mentally moved on. 

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