Friday, June 19, 2009

Cruise Pics 2

Before we went touring, I caught Suzanne and Bill for breakfast

And then we headed toward the Peace Park.

The monument to Peace

and the marker of the hypocenter of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki August 9, 1945, along with a memorial to the 145,984 men, women and children who died.

The Peace Park is a beautiful and serene place

With sculptures given by many countries and groups

After the Peace Park, we headed up the hill to Glover House

Which Puccini used as inspiration for his great opera "Madama Butterfly".

Looking out from the porch, listening to the beautiful music of Cio-Cio-San's aria "Un Bel Di", seeing the view as she would have, whilst waiting for the ship bringing Lt. Pinkerton back to her, had tears streaming down my face in no time at all.*

We were given an fabulous send off by a local marching band

As we sailed into Osaka, we passed under the longest suspension bridge in the world

and passed close by Asuka II, formerly Crystal Harmony, Serenity's sister ship.

We traveled to Kyoto, visiting the Golden Pavilion

and fabulous gardens.

I had the chance to turn some prayer wheels in the Buddhist temple gardens

have a tea ceremony

and visit a Buddhist cemetery.

Nothing can prepare one for the first sight of Mt. Fuji

or an equally entertaining welcome by some local schoolchildren.

It was hard to leave Serenity behind, but I was anxious to get home to my family after over three weeks away.

* One of the most beautiful arias ever composed- the lyrics of which are.....
"One beautiful day, we will see
Arising a strand of smoke
Over the far horizon on the sea
And then the ship appears
And then the ship is white
It enters into the port....

A man, a little speck
Climbing the hill.
Who is it?
And as he arrives
What will he say?

He will call,
"Little one, dear wife
Blossom of orange"
The names he called me at his last coming.
All this will happen,
I promise you this
Hold back your fears -
I with secure faith wait for him."

If you want a listen, here it is on youtube

Cruise Pics

Well, finally, I'm getting around to sharing the actual cruise from back in April 2009. Compressed though it may be, it will give you some idea of the wonderful things I saw once I was aboard MV Crystal Serenity....

CruiseGran and I ready to go in Hong Kong

Cousin Bill and Cousin Suzanne joined us for a wonderful lunch at the Peninsula Hotel (of James Bond's "Man with the Golden Gun")

Suzanne and I convinced CruiseGran we needed to get ANOTHER foot massage...

Before we enjoyed the night lights of Hong Kong Harbor as we sailed away.

Of course, on a cruise one must have a LifeBoat Muster drill...

Don't I look stunning in orange???

In Xiamen, we traveled by ferry to Gulangyu Island

and saw an amazing puppet show--

In Shanghai, we went up the TV tower

for an incredible view of the city

We had the chance to ride the world's first commercial magnetic levitation, or MagLev train

where I photographed us at top speed

Yes, that's 259 miles per hour!!!!!!!!!!

We went into old town

Visiting some beautiful and peaceful gardens

We visited the Buddhist Temple with its famous white jade Buddhas

which was a wonderful, if short, time for reflection and prayer.

Then, it was back to the ship and some fun with friends, Diane and Graham from the overland trip

(Diane and I were, of course, thrilled at the "singing rooms" all over Serenity.....)

and we trotted off afterwards for a yummy yummy dinner at Prego..

And, before we knew it, we were heading toward Nagasaki!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You Might Be An Episcopalian If....

For sometime I've had a variant of this on my desk, waiting to find the time to type it all in. Today, Darrell, aka "Daddy D", drew my attention to it on Facebook, so here it is.

I call myself a Christian Buddhist now, but I am still a member of the Episcopal Church and have been all my life. "Catholic Lite"--all of the pomp and circumstance, with none of the mortal sins. Now that I think about it, "Christian Buddhist" and "Episcopalian" are pretty much synonymous....

So for all you "Whiskeypalians" ---have a laugh at yourselves...............


. . . when you watch Star Wars and they say "May the force be with you," you automatically reply, "And also with you."

. . . if someone says, "Let us pray" and you automatically hit your knees.

. . . if you recognize your neighbor, or rector, in the local liquor store and go over to greet him/her.

. . . if you have totally memorized Rite I, Rite II, and the first three episodes of The Vicar of Dibley.

. . . if words like: "vouchsafe", "oblation", "supplications", "succor" and "bewail" are familiar to you even if you don't have a clue that they mean.

. . .if your groomsmen at your wedding whisper "with God's help" to you during your vows after you say "I will".

. . . if the sight of a woman in a clerical collar doesn't make you cringe.

. . . if you can rattle off such tongue twisters like: ". . . who made there by his one oblation of himself once offered a full and perfect sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the world" and "Wherefore, O, Lord and Heavenly Father, we thy people, do celebrate and make here, with these gifts which we offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make . . ." and "we most heartily thank thee for that thou does feed us, in these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ" without missing a beat.

. . . if while looking for a can opener in the church kitchen, all you can find are four corkscrews.

. . . if your choir director suggests discussing something over a beer after choir rehearsal.

. . . if you catch yourself genuflecting or bowing as you enter a row of seats in a theater.

. . . if you visit any Protestant church, and when you get seated you say, "Where are the kneelers?"

. . . or, "Where is the altar?!"

. . . if you can pronounce "innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same."

. . . if you know the best way to quiet a room full of them: "The Lord be with you!"

. . . if you ever find yourself saying, "Oh, but we've never done it that way before."

. . . if your covered dish for the potluck dinner is escargot in puff shells.

. . .if you know that a primate isn't just a monkey.

. . . if you know that a sursum corda is not a surgical procedure.

. . . if you don't think Agnus Dei is a woman.

. . . if your picnic basket has sterling knives and forks (entree, fish, salad and cake).

. . . if you know that the nave is not a playing card.

. . . if your friend said "I'm truly sorry." and you replied, "and you humbly repent?"

. . .if you consider a sticker on your car to be an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.

. . .if you know that "humble access" has nothing to do with a security clearance.

. . . if, while watching the movie "The Madness of King George" you were able to recite the Collect for Purity with the King when he undergoes surgery.

. . . if you know that the Senior Warden and the Junior Warden are not positions in the local prison.

. . . if you think the most serious breach of propriety one can commit is failure to chill the salad plates.

. . . if you not only talk about God, but God is placed in the palm of your hand.

And finally,

. . . if you reach a point when you're not sure about anything theologically but you still feel completely at home at the altar rail and somehow know you're meeting God there, even though you can't begin to understand how.