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Thursday, November 30, 2023

Showtime Aloha Oe with Polynesian Ambassadors

Aloha Everyone,

Here are some photographs that I took at our Showtime Aloha Oe (goodbye) with our Polynesian Ambassadors.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Tribute to Charlie Munger (January 1, 2024 - November 28, 2023)

Aloha Everyone,

Charlie Munger maybe known as the man who created and ran Berkshire Hathaway with Warren Buffet. He was a real estate lawyer with an extraordinary mind, a philanthropist, a humanitarian who was able to make a difference in people’s lives.

Charlie Munger was born in Omaha, Nebraska and maintained his “simple folks” persona which was his authentic self.

Here are but a few words of wisdom from Charlie Munger.

The Importance of learning

“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time—none, zero. You’d be amazed how much Warren reads—and how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”

“There is no better teacher than history in determining the future... There are answers worth billions of dollars in a $30 history book.”

“It’s kind of fun to sit there and outthink people who are way smarter than you are because you’ve trained yourself to be more objective and more multidisciplinary. Furthermore, there is a lots of money in it, as I can testify from my own personal experience.”

“The idea of caring that someone is making money faster (than you are) is one of the deadly sins. Envy is a really stupid sin because it’s the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There’s a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on that trolley?”

“We both insist on lots of time being available almost every day just to sit and think. That is very uncommon in
American business. We read and think. So Warren and I do more reading and thinking and less doing than most people in business..”

“The best armor of old age is a well spent life preceding it.”

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Remembering First Lady Rosaline Carter, (August 17, 1926 - November 19, 2023)

Aloha Everyone,

Most of us remember Rosaline Carter as the former fist lady of the United States. She held her office in the West Wing of the White House and I recall President Jimmy Carter, in more than one occasion, called her Co-President.

After leaving the White House, she co-founded The Carter Center where she was effective as an advocate for mental health. She has also been a champion for the Equal Rights Amendment, caregivers, early childhood immunizations, and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

Alongside with President Jimmy Carter, Rosaline Carter also devoted her time as a volunteer at Habitat for Humanity.  In her youth, she enjoyed outdoors activities including rock climbing. Her concern for diminishing Monarch butterfly populations and, to help promote public awareness, she established Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Trail. The aim is to promote butterfly and habitat conservation with the Georgia Department of Education.

Compared to some other First Ladies, Rosalyn Carter did not seek for publicity or limelight for herself. She involved in causes which she believed.  Rosalyn Carter, a compassionate woman, a humanitarian was always willing to help.

I am adding biographies of Rosalyn Carter to my reading list.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Antarctic Cruise Experience

Aloha Everyone,

Capt. Todd McBain is an excellent speaker. He is well read and of course well traveled and knows of a wide variety of subject matters at a very personal levels.

His presentation on “The Antarctic Cruise Experience” was one of the topics many of us are interested in. Capt. McBain has navigated through one of the most treacherous waters crossing from Buenos Aires to Antarctic. The Princess Theater was packed and when Captain mentioned that his next Antarctic Cruise will be scheduled for January 2025, some were eager to sign up without knowing the details.

J.J. and I are very interested in going to Antarctic. We are always cognizant with current worldwide events that could impact dates of departure and return, duration of cruising as well as costs associated with air travel for the return trip. 

Antarctic is one of our bucket lists and we would like to see if all details will fall into place.

I must add that we learned that red colored ice is actually defecation from penguins. Penguins eat whatever that are available including fish, krill, squid and crustaceans. Fishermen can tell that there’s a large group of crustaceans when they see red colored ice on glaciers.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Meal Selections for the Final Week

Aloha Everyone,

The two of us have our daily breakfast on the 14th floor Horizon Court. Lunch at International Dining Room and for dinner we go to Savoy, Pacific Moon or Vivaldi. My special meal selections preorder has to be given to a restaurant manager 24 hours prior so that information could be included online, then it could be accessed by any of the restaurant.

When a restaurant waiter was having trouble looking for my preordered food in the Savoy Dining Room, Miguel magically showed up.

Miguel is one of the Restaurant Managers in charge of International. Experienced, knowledgeable and efficient, his helps clients, who like me, also have special dietary requirements. We have truly been fortunate to have been under his watch.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Interesting Facts About the Equator

Aloha Everyone,

Capt. Todd McBain’s evening talk was on quick facts about the Equator.

The name Equator traces its root to Medieval Latin word aequator in the phrase círculos aequator diei et noctis, meaning ‘circle equalizing day and night.’

An equator is an imaginary line around the middle of a planet or other celestial body. An equator is half way between the North Pole and the South Pole, at 0 degrees latitude.  

Earth is widest at its Equator.

The equator is just under 25,000 kilometers long.

The equator passes through 11 countries and crosses the territories of two island nations.

Indonesia is a country spread across both land and sea and has the greatest length on the equatorial line. 

Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, São Tomé & Principe, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Maldives, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, and Kiribati are also on the equator.

For the USA, the State of Hawaii is closest to the equator.

Everyday we are getting smarter :-)

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, November 24, 2023

Preparing for Our 5 Consecutive Sea Days

Aloha Everyone,

Received our passports back. Disappointed that after holding our documents for nearly 2 weeks, there’s no entry stamps from the Tahitian government to indicate that we’ve ever been there. I guess our overpriced t-shirts and numerous photos would have to do.

Sent our last two bags of complimentary laundry on board the Sapphire Princess.

Among the things we will miss about our life on the Sapphire Princess are free laundry (for Elite members), makeup room and cleaning twice a day with fresh towels. One also has dining choices in several restaurants, with table sharing or private sitting, numerous activities to join and see evening entertainments. We will also miss our daily walking sessions on carpeted corridors regularly reaching our targets of 3-5 miles for J.J. and 5-7 plus miles for me.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thanksgiving on Sapphire Princess

Aloha Everyone,

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Our dinner table mates at Vivaldi Dining Room were a couple from Canada and their close friend and neighbor with whom we’d shared a table previously. Enjoyable conversation, we covered a very wide range of topics.

We feasted on a real traditional Thanksgiving dinner with choices of roasted turkey, ham, roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn bread and pumpkin or apple pie.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Moorea, Tahiti

Aloha Everyone,

Picture perfect French Polynesian Island with soaring jagged mountain peaks sandwiched between blue sky and turquoise colored sea is Moorea. Simply put, our main and final destination was exactly what the cruise line promised. 

Our tender took less than 20 minutes to cross to Moorea. Actually the island was visible from the Sapphire Princess. 

Public market with their souvenirs including black pearl merchandise were on display as passengers exited the ship’s makeshift gangway. 

There were only a few vendors selling souvenir T-shirts. We approached all of them to checkout designs and prices.  One thing that stood out were prices of everything were at least 20 - 30% higher than what we found in Papeete.  Limited supplies in terms of choice of color, size and design. We felt an urgency to decide before someone else grabbed the item and paid for it. It was not a shopping frenzy but I definitely felt the time pressure.

We signed up for a tour. Our bus, a quick two hours island trip with several major tourist stops was US $40 per person. We didn’t leave until the vehicle was filled with 15 passengers and that took another hour.

Our driver was experienced and was familiar with the island. He helped out our guide who has started working this morning.  With no training and only a high school education, he fumbled throughout our two hours drive repeating, “I’m sorry. I don’t know the answer.” His father is an American, mother is a Tahitian and he grew up speaking English, Tahitian and French. 

In 1984, Tahiti became autonomous. Then France modified the French Polynesian to overseas territory. Since 2004, French Polynesia is self-governed while maintaining strong affiliation to France.

Most of the street signs are in French but Tahitian is widely used as the spoken language. English is taught in school as a language of commerce. With approximately 90,000 inhabitants on Moorea, this small and remote island was a great choice for our final ports of call.

Aloha -- Cathi