Tag Archives: lunch

April 4 – Lisbon, Portugal

More about last night. I was sitting on deck 5 waiting for the show, I had finished typing and was simply sitting when a woman approached me. She spoke in French and when I told her I did not understand she switched to limited English. She asked me if I was by myself and I said yes and she invited me to join her and her friends. I went with her to her table around the corner, there were two men. On was young, maybe late 20’s and the other was older. The older one I sort of knew. He and his friend and I had been standing in line together and though we did not speak the same language we had fun pantomiming the long wait to each other. Then the shorter man, who had a moustache, reached and yanked a hair out of the taller mans arm and ran a ways off, laughing. Later I saw them playing a ship quiz game and I called out to their little group when I though I knew an answer, I was typing rather than playing. Turns out, the young man is the woman’s daughters boyfriend, and the man with the moustache is her and her husbands best friend and travels with them. The husband and daughter were asleep. Apparently Mr. Moustache had pointed me out to her and said there is the lady with the pretty smile. She told him to come talk to me and when he would not, she came and got me. I was flattered silly. I sat with them for a while and then left to see Keyane sing. Even as I type this, I smile.

As to Keyane, it was very exciting. The show is set up almost exactly like The Voice, the judges even have turning chairs. We had all discussed strategy with Keyane, she wanted to avoid being on a team with the Spanish singer, the Italian singer and the English singer. The others could not really sing very well. When the Italian singer came out, she did a pretty good job, faltering a bit at the beginning. The Spanish singer did My Way (again) and was very good (again). The English singer, Greg, was fine, doing Elton John. When Keyane came out, she was wearing leggings with holes across horizontally, and a white blouse. She sang Rolling in the Deep and she rocked it! Only 2 judges turned, so since she really wanted to avoid the Italian lady she had to go on Greg’s team. The Spanish singer was not a good strategy player and went on the Italian lady’s team, even though all 3 judges turned for him. When all had sung the judges stood with their teams and announced their choice. The Italian lady was picked (the ship is 75% Italian) and the Spanish man was visibly crushed. A man in a ball cap who couldn’t really sing very well was next and then the judge picked Keyane over Greg. We were so excited. Next they showed a brief clip of the 3 top singers and all of us who had picked up a voting device made our selection. There was a long, suspenseful few minutes while the host held the envelope and tortured us. And then it was announced; Keyane Won!!!!!!! We screamed and laughed and she was so delighted. Her trophy actually has some weight to it, it is a hand holding a microphone. WOW! What a night.

 

And now, today in Lisbon. We woke up at 7 and went to breakfast at the International Café. Carolyn had eggs benedict and I had a cheese omelets. It was nice to have real breakfast food for a change and we could order as opposed to getting it ourselves.

At 9am we were given our bus assignment and made our way off the ship. Larry and Linda and Emmett and Andrea were on the bus with us. This tour was in English and Spanish. The tour around Lisbon was really nice. The architecture is lovely and they have many large, imposing statues. Unfortunately it was raining, often very hard, and by the harbor the wind was blowing HARD HARD! The ship had given us all ponchos but they were so light weight, after watching everyone struggle with them, we left ours in our purses. We stopped now and then for pictures and I took a few from the bus window, but the rain made it difficult. We saw the President’s Residence which is pink. We went into a museum that had been the King’s Palace and walked through. The guide talked a lot about each room, and in two languages, so this part of the tour was much too long. Many of us wanted to walk through faster, but the guide was determined to keep us together. At the museum bookstore I got a children’s Portuguese coloring book and a flash drive that looks like books! Our last stop was by a pastry shop. There was a tiny store beside it, here I bought my bookmarks and a small Lisbon book with plenty of pictures. I wanted this because of the rain messing up most of my camera shots. In the pastry shop Carolyn got us each a coffee and a big chocolate chip cookie. So delicious! We then stopped at a pretty nice restroom and went back to the bus. As we walked to the ship from the bus we passed two tiny shops. In the first on I found these funny, round cloth things that are for little breads and a kitchen towel. This shop also had many cork products. I could not resist and bought the cutest purse, made of cork! Carolyn bought some items also.

Back on the ship we dropped off our stuff in the cabin and went up to the 9th level to get something to eat. The hot buffet had a bit of steak, potatoes, salad and spaghetti. Pasta every night at dinner is enough for me! As we looked for a table, Irene and Bobbi called us over and we all enjoyed lunch together. Those two are so funny, friendly to each other and bickering at each other in an odd but almost endearing manner. Carolyn and I each had ice cream bar for dessert and now we sit happy and comfortable in our cabin.

Tomorrow is a sea day, so I may not have much to post.

April 2 –Casablanca, Morocco

Our Casablanca tour was scheduled for 7:45am. We got up at 6:30 and time to get dressed and I made a quick coffee run to the buffet. We remembered our tickets this time and were soon walking down a very steep ramp to the port. A crew member helped Carolyn and I used my cane and went slowly. On our bus we had a young woman from Costa and a guide. Once again the tour was in German and English. The Costa member told me when I asked that the guide was telling all of us the same thing, but it took much longer to say in German.

We got off the bus soon after we got on and began to walk through a closed market area. The stench was bad and there were huge (no exaggeration) piles of trash everywhere. Our guide kept apologizing and explained that the people slept late on Saturday and it would get better. We did see people sweeping but it was still not great. This was again a Kasbah, and I think slum might be a better translation. We walked a long way with very little to see. There were some cats wandering around but no where near the amount we saw in Tangier. Also these were thinner looking. I did see some well taken care of dogs, I even saw someone grooming their dog in a park.

We came to a wider, more modern area of shops, but nothing really caught anyone’s eye. Then we went into an olive market. The smell was wonderful and the variety of olives was amazing. There must have 50 barrels divided into several stalls. There was no competition, the owners just sat and smiled as we browsed.

When we left the shop we strolled through stores with “set” prices. I wanted a children’s book for my collection and I really needed sunglasses. I had left mine in the room and it was a pretty sunny day. We continued walking and Carolyn found a terrific, leather bag that she bought and plans to use it with her carry on when we go home. I finally found a bookstore and bought a darling book about farm animals. It is of course in Arabic and opens right to left.

Back on the bus we went to see the Kings palace and an older palace that was now a city building. Again the tile work and lanterns are so amazing. We saw some of the inside and the courtyard before we went on our way.

Around this time the guide took us to a restaurant to use the bathroom. There were two, one was a hole in the ground and the other was a toilet with a broken flusher and no toilet paper. The smell was pretty bad, but one must do what one must do.

We next took the bus to visit the Mosque, it is the largest in the world except for the one in Mecca. It was a beautiful place and covered a large area. The current King’s father had it built to honor Mohammed and to employ the citizens. 26 thousand workers were involved the entire time. Part of it was built over the sea. We strolled around for a while and then went back to the bus. One of our passengers was lost, her husband and the guide and the crewmember all went searching. We lost about 20 minutes before the lost woman realized she was on the wrong bus and came looking for us.

We stopped for a wonderful, beautiful, delicious lunch in a Morroccan Restaurant. We sat at round tables but due to the language barriers we did little beside smile at each other and signal for the passing of food. The first set of dishes, set out for us to share were a variety of salads. There were shredded orange slices with a light flavoring of some sort, beets, cucumber with tomato, mashed olives and a tasty, soft orange colored thing. It was all yummy and we ate it with bread. Next they brought a large dish of cous cous with vegetables and a huge dish with chicken and olives. Everyone helped serve and pass food around. It was so good. I ate strange sauces and loved every bite. When all the food was gone they put a large platter of thinly sliced oranges with cinnamon in the center of the table. They also brought small, tasty almond cookies. There were 8 of us and they brought 8 cookies, but one man, large and pushy and rude took two, so someone did not get a cookie.

When we left the restaurant we drove through the “California” part of Casablanca, where we saw many beautiful homes, we also drove along the shore and saw McDonalds, with a big, outdoor beach seating area.

I asked the guide if we were going to see Rick’s Café from the Casablanca movie and he said yes. We drove by and stopped for outside pictures. Of course the movie was filmed on a studio lot, but it was still fun.

We were supposed to go next to a handicraft area but had run out of time. The bus dropped off two couples who wanted to continue to stroll around and the rest of us went back to the ship.

We had to take the ramp to walk up and a crew member assisted Carolyn, she looked very regal as she walked up on his arm. We went though x-ray, something we do each time we return to the ship.

Carolyn and I went back to our room to relax before dinner and we both napped. I did stroll up to the buffet to see if the ice cream machine was working. After asking daily someone finally told me it was by the “other” pool. I went in search, and found it, it is a vending machine. I got a Magnum bar for Carolyn and a drumstick for me. It was lovely. We also discussed our future tour plans and decided to book the tour of Lisbon for Monday but will do Cadiz on our own tomorrow. I also agreed it was foolish to not do the Rome tour and planned to sign up.

At 5:30 we went to deck 3 to await the 6:00 opening of the tour office. Carolyn walked over to the hospitality desk to get a copy of her bill. We are finding the billing VERY confusing and plan to go over it carefully before we leave the ship. As soon as someone got into the excursion line I got behind them and quickly behind me were another 20 people. A lady cut into the front, but the two people she cut off said nothing. I ordered for the Lisbon tour for each of us and the Rome tour for me.

Once this was all taken care of, we went into dinner. We did not know what the others were doing since we are in port until 10pm but soon Emmett and Andrea appeared and the girls a bit later. Larry and Linda had gone to Marikesch and did not get back. I had the special salted cod, a cheese plate and chocolate icecream. The cod was only so-so, very saucey, so I also got French fries, which I shared with Emmet. As usual, our group was the last to leave the dinning room, we all get along so well. Courtney and Keynae and Carolyn and I are going to taxi to Cadiz together tomorrow, we will meet around a 11 when the ship docks. Tomorrow is also the day Keynae will compete for the “VOICE OF THE SEA” contest and we will all be there cheering her on.

It is now 10pm and we are relaxing in our room. Carolyn is playing a game and I am typing away. I also downloaded my photos to the computer, but will post when I have a decent connection.

In our opinion, Tangier is more sophisticated than Casablanca and we all liked it better, but Barcelona, for Carolyn and I was the place we liked least.

Tomorrow – Cadiz, Spain