John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 31 January 2016

[Saturday 30 January 2016]

Thomson Dream Cuban Revolution[i]
At sea
[i] Between our booking this cruise and actually going on it, the name changed from “Cuban Revolution” to “Cuban Fusion”.

Cruise News, Sunday 31st January 2016

Excursions available in Montego Bay on Tuesday 2 February

Janet had decided to make today her “pig out” day, so she got out of bed at 6.45am, and went out for breakfast at 7.10am.… When, ca.7.30am, I was showering, the soap dispenser fell off the wall and broke apart in the bathtub. Joined Janet for some breakfast in the 11th-deck Sirens Restaurant. The “white” with glasses came by again, poking items about with his ungloved hands. At one point he used the wall-mounted telephone, a source of contamination if ever there was one, and without cleansing his hands resumed his poking activities. We had two or three turns around the promenade deck, before returning to the cabin. We saw Tatiana just before we entered, and told her about the soap dispenser; also, that the church in Havana WAS Russian Orthodox. I drew my impression of the crosses and showed her (standard Russian Orthodox cross, left; my impression of the crosses seen yesterday, right):

I wrote my description in yesterday’s diary entry of the crosses as having “trefoil-loop ornamentation” after I’d edited and studied the photos. The impression that I had at the time is indicated in the above sketch.

After a time in the cabin we went to the Coffee Port. I had a “free” Americano because my “loyalty” card, stamped each time I bought a hot drink, was full (10:41:22); Janet had a hot chocolate (10:45:49). Later, I had an Espresso (11:15:13). “It had been fairly empty when we arrived,” Janet commented, “but it was heaving when we left.” That was just before 11.30am, when we left to assemble with twenty or so others in the Broadway Show Lounge. Janet didn’t think she’d be much interested, but she went for my sake because I didn’t want to go on my own.

11.30am Backstage Tour: Have a look around with Seb & Helena Broadway, deck 8

The party was divided into two: Seb took one initially, the one we were in, and Helena took the other: then they swapped. So with Seb we saw the cramped men’s dressing room first. He expressed the desire for a standing ovation after the show. Then we went with Helena into the similar women’s dressing room. The cancan dresses, which would be worn this evening, were remarkably heavy.… We visited the control room upstairs also. There was some smart-arse in the party who pontificated on how it could be done better. Ca.12.30pm Janet and I went to the Sirens Restaurant for lunch. I had a pint of Strongbow cider and Janet a Sprite lemon-lime soda pop with an added splash of lime cordial (12:44:03). The “white” was up to his usual tricks, bossing people around and poking food items while not wearing gloves. A couple at the adjacent table heard us, and observed him doing what we’d remarked upon; and on their way out, the woman took him to task sternly. She was Scottish, of serious mien and no-nonsense attitude, and wagged her finger at him in time to her enumeration of points of complaint. (When we saw her again some time afterwards, we said to her, “Well done!”) Janet wrote: “He looked suitably ashamed and embarrassed and donned some gloves. I went, finally, out on deck for ice cream — and he served me!” We had a couple of turns around the promenade deck before going to the Coffee Port. I had two or three[ii] Americano coffees and Janet a Shirley Temple “mocktail” and later a hot chocolate (13:53:59, 14:16:19).

[ii] There is a third entry on the Guest Bill for the Coffee Port, 15:04:01, £0.00. So that may represent a “free” coffee from the loyalty card, processed through the till after I left.

We returned to the cabin and at 3pm I went down to the Medusa Lounge for the third and final lecture on piracy.

Piracy in Modern Times
3pm Medusa Lounge, deck 8
Piracy virtually disappeared for about 200
years at the end of the eighteenth century but
has started up again in a few places in recent
times. This lecture will look at the reason for
this in the three main hotspots i.e. Somalia
where there is no effective government, in the
Niger Delta where on-going oil spills have
destroyed the fishing industry, and in the
Malacca Straits.

“Definitely not my cup of tea!” Janet commented. She added: “We have a towel snail on our window sill now.” When I returned to the cabin, ca.4pm, we both went up to Sirens.

3.30pm–5pm Afternoon TeaSirens Restaurant, deck 11

I had no interest in the afternoon tea food-items, but Janet “had two dainty ‘butties’, a mini roll filled with dressed crab, and a pork and apple sauce sandwich.” We had a couple of turns around the promenade deck, then stopped in the Lido Pool Bar. On one table I saw a bottle of Old Speckled Hen ale, so I had a couple, while Janet had a Virgin Emotion “mocktail” (16:33:05, 16:53:59). Then we had more turns around the deck, and returned to the cabin—

Sunday 31 January 2016 17:43:56
View through the cabin window

—before setting out again to the Lido Restaurant for dinner. “I saw Richard,”[iii] Janet wrote, “and explained my ‘eating régime’, as he’d offered to grill me some fish. I also thanked him profusely for looking after me.” I had another Old Speckled Hen there (18:08:16). We had one turn around the promenade deck, and returned to the cabin.

[iii] See also 21 Jan. 2016, 28 Jan. 2016 and 1 Feb. 2016.

At ca.8pm we went down to the Broadway Show Lounge and occupied our now-usual front-row seats. I had two Campari and soda and Janet had another Virgin Emotion “mocktail” (19:59:00, 20:27:10).

8.30pm & 10.30pm
Moulin Rouge
Broadway, deck 8 & 9
A trip to Gay Paree with the
Thomson Dream show team.
Expect drama, Oooh La La! and
of course, Le Can Can…

I went through the gamut of emotions. Early on, there was a dance routine, which quite upset me, in which two men kept slapping and punching a woman and throwing her to the ground.[iv] I’d seen such things on TV from an early age — especially in the days when variety shows were regularly broadcast — but I was unprepared for seeing it close up. Some of the comedy routines had me laughing out loud. And the cancan at the end was just amazing: so skilfully — and athletically — performed. Whether I’d have got to my feet without Sebastian’s earlier encouragement, or not, I don’t know, but get to our feet we did: a totally deserved standing ovation. Afterwards, the team remained on stage for people to take photos of them.

[iv] Slapping and punching… and throwing… to the ground — feigned, of course! This highly dramatic dance style, associated in popular culture with Parisian street culture at the beginning of the 20th century, is called La Danse Apache /aˈpaʃ/, according to Wikipedia, which goes on to explain:
In Fin de siècle Paris young members of street gangs were labelled Apaches by the press because of the ferocity of their savagery towards one another, a name taken from the native North American indigenous people, the Apache. In 1908, dancers Maurice Mouvet and Max Dearly began to visit the low bars frequented by Apaches in a search for inspiration for new dances. They formulated the new dance from moves seen there and gave to it the name Apache. Max Dearly first performed it in 1908 in Paris at the Ambassadeurs and Maurice in Ostend at the Kursaal. A short while later, in the summer of 1908, Maurice and his partner Leona performed the dance at Maxim’s and Max Dearly made an even bigger impact with it, partnered with Mistinguett, in the Moulin Rouge show, La Revue du Moulin.

Sunday 31 January 2016 21:22:58
The Thomson Dream show team

Sunday 31 January 2016 21:23:06
The Thomson Dream show team

Sunday 31 January 2016 21:23:12
The Thomson Dream show team

Sunday 31 January 2016 21:23:20
The Thomson Dream show team

Sunday 31 January 2016 21:24:40
The Thomson Dream show team

Sunday 31 January 2016 21:24:50
The Thomson Dream show team

Sunday 31 January 2016 21:24:58
The Thomson Dream show team

We were back in the cabin by 9.30pm and went to bed ca.10.10pm.

[Monday 1 February 2016]

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