|I didn't change my map location, because the maps don't recognize places at sea. We are moving towards Salalah, Oman.
Our core group of 24 has been together for 100 days. We have fluctuated in our numbers with some people that started with us leaving at some point, then we picked up more along the way, but will be leaving before Cairo, and a few of the core group will be taking an extension beyond Cairo. I’d like to tell you something about my travel mates.
Valerie is our group leader. She keeps us all together, sends and posts schedules for the following day’s activities, gets us together for our excursions, and keeps tabs on us before, during and after. That is a major task. We make it difficult for her because with all the photo ops in front of us, we tend to lag behind and have to rush to keep up with the group; I am one of the biggest offenders. Sometimes we are in crowded areas making it difficult to keep the group together. Some people have dietary restrictions which she alerts restaurants to beforehand. We have been to numerous restaurants and every time the people that needed special foods always had the proper meals ready for them, because Valerie made those arrangements. So, she is a real top-notch leader.
Carol A. was my cabin mate until she became ill and had to leave. I’m still counting her as part of our core group. Everyone remarked at her ready smile, even when she wasn’t feeling well.
Mike and Pat F. are a great fun-loving couple. Pat photographs everything, even more so than I do. Mike is one of the most helpful people; giving assistance to those who need a helping hand. He’s the one that makes sure I know where the group is and that I’m on the right bus. Both Mike and Pat make everyone feel very welcome whether a newcomer or part of the core group.
Donita P. has mascots - stuffed animals. Tigger was her first animal and would lead the Yoga group in the morning on Deck 6, which is known as Tigger Yoga. Donita left Tigger as an offering at a Hindu temple, so Piglet replaced him.
Marjorie P. isn’t bashful about asking questions and making comments, usually very funny. She is very engaging with guides and gets to know them personally. When she fell and really banged her head, I couldn’t believe how she recovered almost immediately and continued on.
Nancy S. and Carolyn R were reunited on this trip after being friends a number of years ago. They are usually together, but are very welcoming to include anyone to join them Nancy has a good handle on what the schedule is and where we should be at any time. You’ll always find her on time and in place whatever the occasion.
Carolyn R. is very soft-spoken, but is very concerned about everyone. She never hesitates to call me to join her at the table or sit with me or anyone on the bus that needs company.
Mary C. took many challenging trips including trekking some difficult terrains. She can recall places, people and pertinent facts about many locations. During lectures she is able to contribute meaningful information for our better understanding of a particular area. You can always find her working Sodoku.
Bill and Roberta S. were missionaries in Africa for a number of years. They have some interesting facts to contribute about their experiences. They live and see the country in a camper, so the cabin on the ship is roomy for them. During the summer they park their cabin on their 80 acres in Ashland, WI. Both are avid birders, so this trip gave them a great opportunity to see some unusual birds.
Terry and Barbara R. are from Hawaii and have done much traveling. We both brought our Skip-Bo games along with intentions of playing. Nancy said she plays also. In all this time Barbara and I played twice, another time Nancy joined us, then just a couple of days ago we made a foursome with Terry, Barbara, Nancy and me. Terry and Barbara celebrated 41 years of marriage on April 5, repeating their vows before an Anglican priest. Many of our group witnessed the ceremony.
George and Clare G. are an interesting couple. I would love to read Clare’s notes of this trip; she fills pages. George says he’ll copyright them. There aren’t many subjects George isn’t able to contribute to with meaningful comments. He is extremely well-read and this trip put the frosting on the cake for all of his knowledge.
Sarah J. has much concern for others, especially my cabin mate Carol when she was ill. It was Sarah who urged Carol to seek medical treatment and get released from the trip. Sarah inspires me to climbs the 5 flight of stairs to the Lido dining room, because even though Sarah uses a walking stick, you’ll never see her on the elevator.
Drew and Mary Ann F. are a loving couple. Mary Ann tells us of many wonderful things Drew has done for her through the years, proving his love. Mary Ann’s face has laugh creases from the ready laugh and smile that is part of her countenance. They traveled the entire country, giving their 8 children cherished memories.
Winnie T. engages everyone she meets, whether in a market, on the street, or wherever. She collects musical instruments, so she added to her “orchestra” on this trip. If musicians are playing, Winnie will usually join in, especially on the drum or tom-tom.
Mavis J. is a Master Gardener as I am, and has a large property in Washington with many fruit trees. She is a conscientious walker every day.
Charlotte C. is great to be with, especially in gardens; having lived in Hawaii, she is familiar with many tropical plants. When we went shopping and she said, “Marcia, that’s perfect for you”, I got more complements on my caftan than on anything else I wore.
Pat D. is a devout Catholic and her cabin mate is a non-believer. Pat took a lot of light-hearted ribbing, especially during Lent when she gave up desserts.
Carol R. taught handcrafts to adults and participates in all the art classes aboard ship, excelling in beadwork. She worked on her masters degree at UW-Madison and loved the city. She never hesitates to help anyone in need.
Dorothy G. has been on Discovery for 22 segments and over 50 Exploritas trips. She is treated like the Queen Mother on board. The waiters and stewards all love her and call her by her first name. She is something to be reckoned with at Trivia Quizzes. She won so many pens that she offered them as raffle prizes.
It’s been a great adventure for all of us and interesting how we began as a reserved group towards each other that developed into a wonderful fellowship.