Monday, February 11, 2013

Shawna's Shipboard Birthday Bonanza

B-day decorations on our cabin door.
This morning we started our malaria pills for Vietnam, which is a great way to start any birthday. Matt surprised me by buying me two new books for my Kindle, which was the perfect gift since I have just about finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy. He also surprised me by pulling out a birthday card with my dad's handwriting on it. I was confused for a moment on how it got mailed, but then realized it was a secret plan concocted sometime before Jan. 4 when we packed up our 320 pounds of luggage and got dropped off at DIA to catch our flight to San Diego. Nice work, guys. I loved the surprise!

I've had an influx of happy birthday wishes which was so wonderful to receive. My sincerest thanks to all of my friends and family. It's comforting to still have a piece of home out in the middle of the South China Sea.

Part of our crew got to interview the Archbishop Desmond Tutu this morning, which is an honor I hope I'll get at some point before he gets off the ship in South Africa. He's is the most wonderful and cutest man. He has a hilarious sense of humor that you're not expecting at first, and the fact that it catches you off guard makes it even funnier.

When Matt went in to light the interview, they sat him down in his room on the ship and set up the lights around him. He pleasantly chatted to them, then once Matt started turning on the bright lights, he flinched a little and said through his squints, "Oh. I was just beginning to like you." And then let out his boisterous cackle of which he's become famous for on the ship.

Happy Matt and Shawna in the Tipsy Toucan
We did pre-port interviews with the entrepreneurial teams that we'll be following in Vietnam. It was good to get to know them a little better on camera. We're trying something new with the way that we split up our film crews, and now Matt, Jessie and I will focus on Aquaphytex, Prakti Design and Deaftronics for the rest of the voyage.

After interviews, we had a birthday burger bash up on the aft 7 deck where there is a grill and snack bar. You can buy French fries and burgers and hotdogs and soda, so I invited everyone to come up and enjoy some good old fashioned junk food for my birthday. We had a nice turnout and it was fun to eat something other than the usual ship meals of potatoes, pasta, steamed veggies with a side of meat.

The sticky note piñata!
Right before dinner, I was presented with a birthday gift from the team: grape fettuccine gummies from Tokyo. Oishi!!!! ("Delicious" in Japanese). Then, Oli pulled out a wonderful creation that took her days to create: a piñata!

She had found a ballon on the ship, went to the kitchen and got some flour and went to town making a legit piñata. She even decorated it colorfully using sticky notes. Very resourceful.

We had to shoot a fireside chat with one of the Unreasonable mentors on the ship which took us up to 10:30pm when we wanted to do my birthday dance party. Everyone was so exhausted, and we've got an early morning tomorrow to shoot the ship going down the delta to get to Ho Chi Minh City. I've heard it's quite the site to be so close to land on both sides. Everyone says its a beautiful experience that you can't miss, so we all decided to call it quits and head for bed. It was decided that we'll extend the celebrations to another night when people are more fresh and ready to crack into a piñata.

A lovely sunset for my birthday.
As I headed up to the Tipsy Toucan to call off the party, I found a whole crew of people heading there that I had to disappoint, including members of our admin. team, Tom Chi and his wife, Lucille, who had a delicious present in tow. Chocolate covered açai berries. So thoughtful! Everyone is just so wonderful on this ship!!

We'll, it's off to bed so I can greet Vietnam with bright eyes and a bushy tail. All of you in America technically have about 15 more hours of my birthday to enjoy, so make the most of it for me, will you?