from the UK...
Hello blog! Long time no see!
Honestly, when you're on a ship with two little girls, in front of a computer is not the place to be! Well.... that's mostly my excuse... the other part is that we've just been having so much fun, getting along really well with everyone and spending almost all our time being all sociable (if you know me, you know that's a major thing for insecure little me!).
My absolute favourite place so far has been Mumbai. Except I insist on calling it Bombay, because around Christmas time I read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and everyone in that story called it Bombay, so something in my crazy head tells me I should too. Anyway, it was everything I expected to be, only so much more fascinating. The people there are so gorgeous, and city full of people somehow manages to be incredibly diverse while also being so alike in a beautiful traditional way. I'm trying hard to not sound like a tourist who only sees a shallow layer of a place... but that's what I am, so that's probably what I sound like. Sorry. I just totally loved the city and would love to go back to India one day to see more of it. (It'll have to be without Noel again though, because he's been to other parts of India before and hated it. Fine with me, I'm an expert solo-with-kids traveller now!)
Hong Kong has been the only place we've been that I've been to before (apart from Australia obviously!), and it was just as busy and full and fascinating-but-comfortable as I remember. And to make another very touristy shallow generalisation; there's something about Asain countries that makes me feel very comfortable and at home. Mainly I think it's the people themselves... can't put my finger on it but it's also the landscapes and the food and the smells... I dunno.
I didn't cope too well with South Africa. I just couldn't get my brain around all the history and contradictions of that nation (which I know other nations have in abundance as well but Africa is recovering so much more slowly and painfully than other places) to really appreciate being there. I actually got quite emotional for the days/nights we were there and had to keep myself a bit of a distance from people to stop myself getting upset about the whole shallow *tourist* thing.
Anyway, all the days we've spent at sea have been lovely. I've been mostly hanging out round the pool during the day (Tali's swimming is getting great!), and in the big suite or the Funnell Bar at night. Like I said, our group of friends have all been getting along really well. There have been more than a few almost-all-night drinking/chatting/game-playing sessions in the main suite. Lots of fun and lots of great memories.
In Southampton David and Susan were fabulous tour guides and we had a pretty relaxing day. We did a few of the touristy things and had a nice long lunch at what Susan assured us was "the most English" restaurant she knew.
Speaking of memories - only a week or so to go! I can't believe it. The girls are really missing Noel though, so they'll be glad to get home and have big daddy cuddles. And now that I know people from the States and from England I have great excuses to make sure I get back to see them again.
Must go, the girls are "starving, mum!" so we'd better head to breakfast.