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March 28, 2007

Tomorrow We Arrive in Hong Kong

Sun sets on the cruise, literally and metaphorically

This morning we sailed through the gap of ocean between the Philippines and Taiwan. The air outside was suddenly humid and dense and thick with the smell of pollution. To step outside now is to feel heavy and exhausted. It is as though Asia is exhaling on us.

We seem to pass one ship every hour or two. There was a big one this morning, another tanker. It inched by in front of us, stolid and humorless. Tomorrow morning we arrive in Hong Kong. The cruise is almost over. I had a burger for lunch today, the last until I get back to America.

There are lots of flying fish now. More today than any other day. But besides them, nothing. I had come to accept the tranquility of the open ocean, that it conceals its abundance, but then yesterday I watched one of those David Attenborough nature documentaries and the subject was--you guessed it--the open ocean. As this documentary portrayed it, the ocean is an unending cacophony of life: birth, death, and slow-motion takedowns of prey. I have a theory: When David Attenborough speaks, nature erupts into sudden and glorious action. Due to the time difference, David Attenborough is sleeping for most of my waking hours, and thus the seas have been silent.

My farewell burger

Yesterday on the bridge, I asked Ivo if he sees much life standing up there all day. "Sure," he said. "Turtles, whales, flying fish." I asked him what the most spectacular marine event he had ever seen was. I was hoping he would say something to the effect of he saw a 100-pound sailfish leap out of the ocean in a perfect half-moon arc, only to be caught mid-air by a prehistorically huge Great White shark. Instead he said "dolphins." "Actually," he went on, "We saw some dolphins this morning."

"When?" I asked, thinking that if I ran to the back of the ship, I still might catch a glimpse.

"Around 9:30."

If I see no dolphins on this trip, I will consider it a failure. Fortunately, I plan on spending at least a few days on the Mediterranean. I imagine they are dolphins in the Mediterranean, and my guess is that they are extremely well dressed.

Posted at N21 54.485   E116 59.826


welcome to the orient, Mark. You'll have to start trading burgers for abilone in Hong Kong. Charmaine

Dear Mark,
You may not be relegated to a burger-less future. One of the best burgers I have ever had was at the Palace Hotel in Milan, Italy. So you may be in luck when you get to Europe!


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