We boarded the plane at 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday. We disembarked the plane 8:30 a.m. Thursday, but in real time only fifteen hours had passed. Yes, we traveled past the International Date Line. We were now in Sydney, Australia waiting to be transported to our cruise ship which was to be our home for the next thirty days.
Our transportation delivered us to the cruise terminal, but it was too early to begin the boarding process. We were too exhausted to wander the quay so we found a bit of shade and waited as our tired eyes took in the sights of Sydney’s Harbor Bridge. Eventually we were permitted to enter the terminal to wait for our group number to be called.
Hundreds of people sat waiting. We found a couple of empty chairs. Gazing over the crowd, I wondered who would we meet and what was their story? We met some incredible people and the stories of their lives are amazing.
Dave and Roxie: They are from Wisconsin, not far from where my parents grew up. We met them as we waited in the terminal before boarding. They had been in Sydney a few days before the cruise, so they were not as brain dead as we were on that first day. We met up again with them several days into the trip and formed a friendship. We were both going to be on the ship for thirty days.
John and Daphne: This couple lives in Brisbane. When they were younger, John had worked for the government in various international cities. He had quite the tale to tell of being kidnapped in Brazil and left alongside the road stark naked when the kidnappers realized he didn’t have any money. Fortunately, the kidnappers left his car with him, but tossed the keys away so they could escape. John was able to find the keys and get back to the apartment parking garage so he could call Daphne to bring him some clothes. They were only on the ship for fifteen days.
Helen and Steve: They are from Liverpool, England. Music trivia was their forte. Every evening, they amazed us with their knowledge of musical groups. They would only be on the ship for the first fifteen days, then they were heading to New Zealand to visit her sister and tour the islands. They were not returning home until the spring.
After fifteen days, we sadly said good-bye to Daphne, John, Helen, and Steve. Music trivia was no longer fun without our new friends, plus our knowledge of song titles/groups was weak. Roxie, Dave, my husband, and I moved over to afternoon general trivia on the second half of our trip. That was a smart move.
Mo and Celia: This couple is from Perth, Australia. They were looking to join a trivia team and we welcomed them to our team. Two couples from the US needed an Australian couple for questions related to Australia. What a lucky day that was!
Mo was born in Yemen and moved to England when he was around ten when war broke out in Yemen. Celia lived in London. Mo was a teacher, Celia a nurse. They were tired of the dismal weather of England so they moved to Australia because Celia’s sister lived there. Mo was a storyteller. Everyday, after trivia we were entertained by his stories/jokes.
Fran and Steve: This couple lives in Maryland, but lived most of their married life on Long Island, New York. They are trivia aficionados! Occasionally, I was able to contribute an answer or two. Their knowledge enabled us to win several times. How did we get so lucky to connect to such smart people? (Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of them.)
These people became our circle of friends on a ship of 1900 passengers. It’s amazing how stories of lives lived in different parts of the world connect. What a trip!