Monday, November 30, 2015

Groggy Morning

It is early, just after 6:00AM ship time (it could be 5:00AM local time by we never seem to be in sync when not in port).  The sun is still below the horizon and the sky is just beginning to show the barest hint of pink.  Venus, Mars and the waning moon are in a long line high across the sky.  I am on Deck 9 watching the window of the dining room for when the coffee appears.   It seems to be a bit late today. 

I had intended to write a blog post last night but once again my cabin was the only quiet place.  Quiet is normally quite nice but as often happens, the soft roll of the ship lulled me to sleep.  I was out by 9:00PM.  I slept for nine hours.  I had a long an involved dream about being married to the this very well off older man who treated me very kindly and who I adored, but later found out was an army general responsible for a horrible genocide half-way around the world. 

I may want to reconsider my habit of falling asleep to the documentaries they stream on the ship's TV.

This morning I don't feel rested.  I feel groggy.  I had hoped to share a post about one of the personal insights that has been brought to light by this journey, but I'm only coming up with the realization that having a cabin without a window seems to have truly messed with my sleep patterns.  Even if I choose to stay in bed, I have generally always awakened with the sun.  Waking to an alarm to find my eyes opening to near total darkness is just not something I've managed to get used to.

These wonderful slowly brightening mornings on deck though?  These I could keep. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I am having an evening of frustration.  Right now I want nothing more than to be sitting on one of the upper decks enjoying the cooler evening air while writing in my journal but...

...the pool has just been repainted and so most of the upper deck is rather fumalicious right now and while it might give me a bit of a buzz, it does not make my lungs happy. 
...Deck 8 had students playing music on their laptops; no quiet there.
...Deck 7 had a talent show rehearsal going on portside and the smokers are out on starboard.

So I'm back in my cabin, in the chilly over AC'd air feeling rather grumpy. 

Earlier in the evening however I did enjoy a rather lovely sunset while eating dinner on Deck 9.  This was a good moment.  The air was warm and humid but not oppressive.  For whatever reason the early dinner crowd was smaller than usual so it was rather peaceful.  I'm trying to re-manifest the sense of calm and peace I felt while watching the sun go down over the sea (something which truly, I don't think I'll ever tire of watching) so I'll at least go to bed feeling a little less annoyed.

Mornings are the only peaceful time aboard ship when we are at sea, so my goal is to rise early and do my writing before breakfast.  Good night!

NOTE:  I think I may have put the incorrect date of our Panama Canal Transit on yesterday's post.  We the canal at about 8AM local time on Thursday, December 3rd. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Stepping Out of My Life

I have not updated my blog as often as I'd hoped I would on this journey.  This is in part due to time constraints.  When in port I am busy experiencing the new country that I am in and when the ship is in transit my time is filled with classes, reading and catching up on homework.  But, and I think that this is more the issue, I am also having a very difficult time trying to distill the sights, sounds, tastes, scents and experiences of these past two and half months into the right words.  I have had an overwhelming amount of new experiences and I've no idea how to share most of them. 

But (and there is always a but) while I am having difficulty trying to share the experiences I've had outside of myself I am beginning to develop an understanding of how these experiences have changed me.  The experience of stepping out of one's well established life for three months is not one many of us are granted.  Before my departure the prospect of doing this did fill me with a certain amount of anxiety but I am beginning to see it for opportunity of experience and perspective that it has provided me.

At home in Portland I am known as many things; Joie from Dark Follies, Joie the dance teacher, Joie the organizer, Joie the musician, Joie the artist, etc.  When I arrived here on this ship I wasn't Joie the anything, I was just...Joie.  At first I admit that I found myself a bit uncomfortable with this.  I felt as though I didn't have a framework within which I could present myself to this new world.  I felt a little adrift.  But after a few weeks passed I began to find  it to be rather liberating.  I could just be me without any expectation of who I was known as in the community because, like everyone else here, I was now a part of a brand new community that was not yet developed.  We were all starting at a new place.

Now, this doesn't mean I suddenly found myself in the position of reinventing myself.  I am still me with all of my personal history and the baggage that brings, but in finding myself in situation where there were no outside labels or expectations, I was able to experience a re-exploration of myself which has led to a rediscovery of who I am and what is important to me. There are parts of me that I have long neglected that have resurfaced and parts of myself that I was holding on to simply because I felt the are part of what I was expected to be.   I have often thought about taking an extended period of solitude to do just this sort of personal inventory, but there is a benefit I think to experiencing this with people around that provides a sort of mirror that I would not have were I to do this sort of thing in isolation. 

In the coming days of our crossing of the Caribbean and the Panama Canal I hope to find the time to share some of the personal discoveries I have made.  I have a bit of a fear that this could come off as self-indulgent, new-agey, naval gazing but it's my blog and I'll blog what I want to...right?

Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Panama Canal

I was just informed that you can watch the World Odyssey go through the Panama Canal on December 2nd. 

The Panama Canal has live webcams at several locations. You can visit:

The World Odyssey will enter from the Atlantic side (Gatun locks) in the morning around 8:00am and leave the Canal late in the afternoon (Miraflores Locks) on December 2.

You can bet that I'll be on deck as much as possible that day as this is one of those once in a lifetime sort of events.  I've no idea where the cameras are but you may catch a glimpse of me if you are watching!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Being far away...

There have been stories on the ship of students receiving notice that family pets have died.  Some have found out relatives are ill or that a friend has suffered a tragedy.  Some received the news late because family and friends forgot that they did not have access to Facebook or that their phones don't work out here.  So they get an email, two, three days, a week too late.

The hardest part, aside from the communication issues, is how helpless you feel   2,000, 5,000, 12,000 miles from family or friends and five days from land and regular communication.  You can do nothing but worry, hope and pray. 

Tonight I'm staring up at a fattening moon and I am worried for a friend who has suffered yet another setback in his healing. 

"Hey, Mr. or Ms. Moon? Since you are going to see my friend long before I will, can you let him know I'm thinking of him?  Will you shine on him and pass along the message that out here in the vastness of the ocean there are people on this ship that he doesn't even know wishing him well?"

Thank you Moon.  Thank you so very, very much. 

Some good news?

I have six more days before I am on land and have access to a wider range of news sites.  Right now what little I am able to see from the United States is full of hate directed at Muslims, governors (including the one in my home state apparently) seeking to ban refugees and citizens calling for ethnic/religious identity cards.  I have seen stories of threats to mosques.  A fiend on the ship has shared that his neighbor's father was beaten because "looks like an Arab."  I fear for friends of mine who are of the Muslim faith or who are from the Middle East. 

One thing I have learned on this journey is how, despite the rhetoric our politicians and government spews forth, most of the world is willing to give Americans a chance on an individual basis.  They know from personal experience that what a government says it not always the same as what its people believe. I fear though, that with the racist and bigoted rhetoric that is pouring forth from out country, with no counter voice seeming to be raised against it, that this will change. 

Please, someone tell me that at least on the local level, that there are people speaking out against these proposed actions. I hope that those who disagree with this are speaking out and that they are doing so beyond the boundaries of social media.  We need a public face of tolerance and not one of hatred. 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tycho Brahe

There was a man who went to the king and said he wanted to find the meaning of the universe.  He asked the king to provide him with an observatory in which he might watch the sky and seek the meaning of the universe.  The king, who also wanted to know such things, granted his request.

Twenty five years passed and the king, having had no word from the man, sent a delegation to inquire if he had yet found the meaning of the universe.

When the delegation arrived they found the man gazing at the sky.  The asked him what he was doing.

He replied that he was measuring the distance between the stars.

The delegation asked him why he was measuring them.

He replied that he had spent the past twenty five years measuring the distance between the stars and writing them all down.  In fact over these twenty five years he'd accumulated 99 books full of these measurements.

The delegation asked him what he was going to do with all of these measurements.

He replied that he was working on volume 100. 

The delegation asked him why he was doing this.

He replied that he was seeking the meaning of the universe.

The delegation asked him if he'd found it.

He replied, "No, I haven't and I don't expect that I will, but one day some one else will seek the meaning of the universe and I will have saved them 25 years of work."


The story is a folktale of a sort about a man named Tycho Brahe.  While much of the story may be a fabrication, Tycho Brahe did indeed spend years measuring the movement of celestial bodies and the tables of Tycho's measurements are real.  The measurements he took and the precision with which he made them set a new standard for scientific accuracy.  His observations are considered to have played a key role in the scientific revolution to come. 

Tonight I am working on a paper on water resources around the world.  I am reading a lot about water pollution, lack of access to clean drinking water, water shortages, droughts and privatization of water resources. 

When I think of sustainability and the huge task ahead of us in creating a sustainable world I often encounter feelings of hopelessness and the research I am doing is not alleviating this feeling.  Then I came across this little tale and I thought to myself about how even the small steps we each take today can help to bring things a bit closer to being possible for the next generation; doing the work we are still laying the foundation upon with a sustainable world may be built.  We may not ever see the final result of our work, but without someone beginning, the final outcome can never possibly be achieved. 

In this way the story rings very true. 


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Semester at Sea Update - Brazil

Hello everyone,

My apologies for not sending an update sooner. Internet access has not been as good as I had hoped.  However I am alive and well having just arrived in Salvador, Brazil on Wednesday.  I have crossed the Atlantic and the equator!!  My seven days at sea were peaceful ones filled with classes and homework...and dance.  I have started teaching belly dance on the ship and I am truly enjoying it.

Since my last message we have visited Croatia, Greece, Spain, Senegal and Brazil (where I will be until Monday evening).

Brazil so far seems quite amazing.  It is full of music and song.  As a percussionist I am experiencing a bit of heaven; there is rhythm everywhere!!  Yesterday I spent the afternoon in a percussion workshop with Giba Conceicao.  It was two of the most amazing hours of my life.  Tonight I´ll be attending either an Afro-Brazillian dance class or a samba show. I am not yet sure which!!  There really is so much to see and do here. 

I might be falling in love with Brazil...or Salvador at least.

After Salvador we have a nine day sea journey to Trinidad and Tobago.  We are there for only a short time, two days, before we head for the Panama Canal and Costa Rica.

This journey is two thirds over. 

I hope to update again in Trinidad.  Thank you again for making this journey possible.

Oh!  I hope my post cards have been arriving safely.  If you did not send me your address please do so and I´ll send one a long. 

In gratitude...


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Atlantic Crossing - Day 7

The photo of the totally creepy painting which hangs in the entrance to the Kino Cinema on the ship, has nothing at all to do with this blog post.  Actually I suppose in a way it does because tonight I find myself once again annoyed and angry at being told, "If you are female XYZ place is not safe for you.  Don't go anywhere unaccompanied."  Which is pretty much what we've been told in nearly every port. 

Yep.  Every port is filled with people who want to rob you, kidnap you or steal your ATM card, oh and if you are female they want to drug your drink and rape you too. 

Part of the purpose of this journey is to see the world and understand different cultures, which is probably difficult to do if you are told over and over again that you should view every other human with suspicion. 

In any case, this is not actually what I want to write about.  What I wanted to write about is how grateful I am that I decided to teach belly dance on this ship. 

When I was first asked to teach I resisted.  I really wanted to step outside of my usual self while on this journey.  I didn't want to be doing the same things I did back home. I wanted a chance to be just Joie, not Joie who runs Dark Follies, not Joie the belly dancer, not Joie the teacher, not Joie the organizer...I just kind of wanted to be nobody for a while.   But they kept asking and I finally gave in.

There have been days aboard this ship that have been a struggle for me.  I feel very out of place here, I have few peers in my age group, and none of them are students and most disappear into the Fritz Bar on Deck 8 aft at the end of the day; a place students...even 43 year old non-traditional ones are not allowed.  While I have made some friends among the students I still spend much of my time alone.  I've had some days that I am really truly homesick, though that has been lessened during the crossing. I feel very comfortable on the sea and I spend much of my free time on Deck 9 just watching the water roll on by...

There is another time I feel okay, and that is when I am teaching belly dance.  There is a wonderful group of women who take my class.  We've had 8 classes thus far.  There are about ten regulars (8 students, 2 faculty) and most attend not only my class but the daily rehearsals we have for the upcoming ship talent show.   They are quite dedicated to learning this dance. 

Teaching has been my lifesaver, my soul's survival tool while here on this ship.  I look forward to every B day at 5:15PM and that hour of dance.When I am in the Kino, where this horrid picture hangs, every care, worry, sadness, or feeling of  longing just falls away the moment the class begins.  For that one hour I am completely content.   At the end of this trip I will be sad to see the class end, and it will be hard to say goodbye to the students who are learning the dance.  I hope to do something special for them before we go.  I am so grateful to them for being a part of this and I have never been more grateful for this dance. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Atlantic Crossing - Day 6

Tonight they dimmed the lights on Deck 9 and many of us gathered towards the bow to look up into the sky.  Some students who have lived primarily in cities their whole lives had never seen the stars like this at all. There were ooh, aahs and even some giggles of delight. The milky way was visible and Cassiopeia could be seen just above the north west horizon.  I plan to head to bed early so that I may get up before sunrise to see the southern cross.  A constellation I will see for the first time.

The horizon to the west glowed faintly with the lights of cities we could not see.  We are only close enough to witness the side effects of their existence.   It is a reminder that the day after tomorrow I will be stepping off this ship and onto the soil of South America. 

I was told that tomorrow night we will likely see bright flares from oil rigs burning off excess natural gas.   It was described as visually beautiful but depressing for the soul.  I'm not sure I want to witness it.

One more day of ocean travel ahead.   


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Atlantic Crossing - Day 5

I had plans for an informative blog post about the birds I saw today, how well my belly dance class went and how later in the evening I stumbled across the students practicing the Arabic walk on Deck 4 (which totally made me grin), and a bit about a new piece of writing I am working on.  


I spent my evening working on a presentation on bi-musicality that I will be sharing in my global music class tomorrow.  I am a bundle of nerves over it and because I really, really, really want to do a good job I will be putting myself to bed early this evening. 

So I'll leave you with this photo of the today's sunrise over the Atlantic.  Good night!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Atlantic Crossing - Day 4

Tonight we had an all ship meeting about student behavior. It was one of those situations where they spoke to everyone with the intent of sending a message to a few.  What I am picturing is happening now is that some students, who are not at fault, are questioning and over analyzing their behavior because they are worried they might have screwed up while those who are at fault are finding ways to justify their own behavior.

If they even bothered to be there.  I'm not sure they actually check to see who attends these sorts of things. 

We were back at classes today.  Everyone is cramming for midterms.  I thankfully only have one and it's in my Natural Resource Conservation class, which thus far has been review for me.  Tomorrow though we have a guest speaker.  Captain Rick from the "Deadliest Catch," a show I've never actually seen, will be speaking to our class about fishery conservation.  I have been told from other classes he has spoken in that he is an engaging and interesting speaker.  I don't recall if he is the significant other of a professor or is one of the life long learners but he is here for the entire voyage. 

I attended a samba class today taught by our interport lecturer and will be participating in the Brazil cultural pre-port as a dancer.  There are about 30 of us I think who will be doing this.  I'm sure photos will end up on FaceBook.  I also started working with my belly dance students on their choreography for the end of the voyage talent show. 

Today's wildlife sightings included brown boobies, hooded boobies, a frigate and lots of flying fish.  No sea mammals yet. 

On a more personal note, I'm struggling with a bit of loneliness this evening.  It is something that has come and gone for most of this voyage.  My solution is to keep busy but tonight I seem to be caught up on just about everything.  It does seem to be more difficult in the evenings.  During the day I find that sitting on the deck and just watching the sea will ease just about any feeling, but at night,'s dark.  Which makes ocean gazing rather difficult to do!!

In any case, we set our clocks back again tonight.  I believe we also have a star gazing activity at 5:30 AM where they will dim the lights of the ship so we can see the southern cross and other constellations.  I don't have a camera that will take photos of stars but I will be sure to let you know what I see!


Friday, November 6, 2015

Atlantic Crossing - Day 3 (the equator)

Day three of our Atlantic crossing is over.  It after midnight and I am up watching the CruiseShow channel on the TV in my cabin.  This is the channel that shows our ship's current location along with weather, sunrise and sunset times, and our longitude and latitude.  For the past few hours, while I have sat here working on homework the latitude has slowly been counting down.  Sometime around 1:00AM (in whatever timezone we are actually in) we will cross the equator.   I will send this post shortly after we do.    

The CruiseShow is not a silent one.  It also broadcasts music which pulls from nearly every genre of the past four decades.  The past three songs have been Stairway to Heaven, Red, Red Wine and Personal Jesus. I am very curious what will be playing when we cross the equator.

While we had not yet crossed The Line, today was Neptune Day on the ship.  I was awoken at 7:30 AM by drums, yelling and banging on doors.   Being on deck three we were the lucky ones to be given the wakeup call first; upper decks received an extra 15 minutes or so of sleep.  I was not in the least bit happy about this and was rather grumpy through breakfast.

However, eventually caffeine took effect and, while I genuinely dislike appearing publicly in a bathing suit, I donned mine and made my way to deck nine where King Neptune, who bore a remarkable resemblance to our ship's captain, was holding court.  Those of us who had not crossed the equator before, students, faculty, staff and lifelong learners, swore our allegiance to all things sea dwelling and one by one had some sort of green goo poured over our heads, swam the saltwater pool, kissed a fish (some kissed two) and the rings of King and Queen Neptune and were then dubbed "shellbacks."  Several folks also had their heads shaved…I did not feel the need.

(I showered and disinfected my lips immediately after)

I admit that initially I gave very serious consideration to hiding in my cabin and sleeping but in the end I'm glad I joined in the fun.  It also turned out today was Taco Day.  I'm not sure if these two momentous occasions usually occur on the same day but if not, it was a nice bonus.

Aaaaaaand we've officially crossed the equator!  The song that was playing was some autotuned thing I didn't recognize followed by The Eagles, Desperado, which I'm going to pretend I didn't hear.  

Good night everyone.  I'll post again later today (or tomorrow depending upon you time zone!)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Atlantic Crossing - Day 2

06 degrees 16.74 minutes north
023 degrees 33.91 minutes W

I am posting a bit early today as there are festivities this evening.  A belated Halloween costume dance,  I'm going as a haunted mime or a ghostly carny...or something like that. 

I am enjoying crossing the Atlantic thus far.  It reminds me a bit of being in the desert, where you can see for miles and miles.  This morning I watched the sunrise turn distant storm clouds pink.  I stood on deck nine forward just watching the swells and enjoying the movement of the ship. I'm pretty sure it actually made the coffee taste better.

Shortly after my drum practice this afternoon I saw flying fish.  They have to be one of the strangest creatures I've ever seen.  These are larger than the ones we saw off the coast of Africa and they 'fly' much further distances out of the water.  We often see dolphins when they are near but I saw none today.  I've yet to see a whale but I've been told that that may be more likely as we near the coast of South America.

I am attempting to attach a photo to this post.  I believe I made it small enough to send.  This is the spot on deck seven where I go to practice, to read or to just get away form the other 649 people on this ship.  Out side of the crew, no one comes here other than me or at least I've never seen anyone other than crew here.  You can't lay in the sun and there are no chairs or tables.  It is one of the few peaceful locations on board. I may be jinxing myself but I really hope it stays that way.

Thus far the majority of my favorite moments has been while we are at sea.  I love being on the ocean.  I sleep better when we are not in port.  Even when the weather is rough, which thankfully has not been much beyond the first few days when we were in the midst of a storm, I'd often rather be here than on land.  I understand the appeal of living on board a boat...learning to sail will be even higher on my list now. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Atlantic Crossing - Day 1

09 degrees 19.46 minutes N
021 degrees 19.02 minutes W

It is 28 degree Celsius with 84% humidity and our air conditioning is undergoing maintenance. The air in my cabin is sticky and uncomfortable. Sleeping is proving difficult and so I am awake at midnight, writing a blog post. 

Our first day of our crossing was fairly uneventful.  We had wind of about 9kts and seas with 2 foot swells.  Which is still enough to add some sway to the deck but most of us have our sea legs and other than the occasional mild stumble, we do just fine.   Due to the heat and humidity, which was even higher most of the day, I stayed inside where it was (with the exception of my cabin) much cooler.

This evening was the first Semester at Sea coffee house held in the Lily Marlene lounge.  Students packed the house to the point where those of us performing had to step over bodies to make our way to the stage.  I presented two spoken word pieces, Don't Take it Personally and Roses, neither of which I'd shared publicly before and both of which were very well received.  Students presented songs, poems, comedy improve and visual art work.  There is some pretty amazing talent on the ship.  I am looking forward to the next one.

Tomorrow I will rise early to watch the sunrise. I try to do this whenever we are at sea.  This morning it was obscured by clouds, but I had some writing to do for a class so I was not too let down.

Our crossing of the equator is in two days. We have the day off from classes and there are celebrations of some kind, though it has not been made overly clear just what those celebrations entail - though I know some folks will be shaving their head.  They call it Neptune day...

I'll be heading to bed now with hopes that the air conditioning will be fixed sometime tomorrow.

Good night. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


"Our tour guide told us that tourism here was huge until ebola and then the whole industry just collapsed.  Hotels closed, cruise ships stopped coming…it just died." - SAS student

Ebola.  During the entire ebola crisis Senegal had one case.  It was an airline passenger who had contracted the disease while visiting another country.  Senegal has not had a single case of ebola that originated within its borders and yet, thanks to the sensationalism of the international news media and a general worldwide ignorance of geography, its once growing tourism industry slowed to almost nothing.   

Dakar is full of empty hotels, abandoned information booths and postcards stands stocked with yellowing pictures of brightly dressed women and peaceful beaches.   It is not, however, quiet.  Dakar does not stop.  The streets are rivers of taxis and people; the sidewalks are more often than not used as parking spaces.  Even at night, when the streets are dark, quite literally as it seems at least half of the street lights do not work, people are moving about, everyone has some place to go or to be.

On our first ventures into the city we were met with aggressive "tour guides" and taxi drivers.  When we made our way into the city we were followed by people asking for money, or pushing sunglasses, CDs, candy, anything we might possibly buy in front of us.   It was overwhelming to many, and to some frightening.  The first evening in port is usually rather quiet as people head off on overnight trips or out for a dinner off ship, but that night the dining room was more full than I'd yet seen while we were in port.

I had experienced the pushiness of vendors in the markets of Casablanca and Marrakech, but there I was one tourist among thousands of others.  If I said no or walked past a vendor's stall they quickly turned their attention to the next person.  Here though tourists are few and sellers seem loath to let you walk away. 

Had my visit been restricted only to Dakar I'd have left Senegal with a sad and poor impression of the country.  Outside of the city though, things are quieter, slower.  Village markets are full of food stands rather than items meant to appeal to tourists, though in the places where visitors are likely to spend time, you will find vendors with baskets of bracelets, dresses and sand paintings seem to materialize out of the heavy, humid air. 

My journey outside of the city was to visit a Benedictine monastery in Keur Moussa.  Here 30 monks from Senegal, Guinea, Mali and France live, tend a large and prosperous orchard and engage in religious contemplation and meditation.  It is a peaceful place, even the heat and humidity seemed to be calmer here .  There were no honking horns or yelling.  Instead the air was filled with non-stop bird song; cooing, chirping, tweeting and whistling from every tree and bush. 

Brother John Paul guided us through the orchards filled with grapefruit, lime, lemon and mandarin trees as well as cashews and tamarind.  The monks make wine and an array of preserves that are sold in their small store.  Alas due to ship restrictions I was not able to purchase any of these to bring home with me; grapefruit marmalade is a wonderful thing and should anyone find a source at home I'd be very grateful.

While the orchards were lovely what I had come for was attend Sunday mass, or rather the music of Sunday mass.  Instead of an organ or piano the monks play the kora, tam-tam (djembe) and other drums for the accompaniment.  The experience of the mass, with the monks singing, the delicate notes of the kora and the steady beat of the drums is something I am not sure I can adequately describe.  It was music made of light, if light had a sound.  It was transportive, as I suppose spiritual music is meant to be; I felt lifted into the moment.  All else, the heat, my worries about this journey, were set aside and there was just this chapel and the music.  I left feeling very grateful that I'd chosen to come here, not just due to the music, but also to see a different face of this country.

Senegal was the first port that was a challenge for me.  All of the other places we have stopped seemed focused on making tourists as comfortable as possible, catering to the needs and whims of their visitors.  Senegal, with all of its contradictions and contrasts, was different.  It was not comfortable or easy; there was no cozy cruise terminal with wifi and coffee, few street signs and little guidance in English.  Air conditioning was nearly unheard of.  I have yet to figure out where the post office actually is let alone how to mail a post card.  I admit that after our first day here I thought I'd never want to come back.  Now, on the last day as I write this, I find that my curiosity is raised and I am adding Senegal to the list of places I'd like to explore more.

Tonight we leave for Brazil.  We will be at sea for seven days.   When my feet again touch land l will have crossed the equator for the first time.  I will be looking up to gaze upon a sky filled with different stars.  I will also have passed the midpoint of this journey.

I was not able to find reliable Wi-Fi in this port.  This should be a bit easier in Brazil.  I will share photos, update Twitter and FaceBook and catch up on email.  Thank you for reading.