First Painting Class and Jumping Hoops

Today, we have been at sea, which means I gave my first painting class this afternoon; ‘The Stilt Fishermen of Koggala’.

There’s always a bit of a worry as to how many people are going to turn up for the classes. The last time we were on the Voyager, I had 60 passengers turn up, which was far too many for comfort. If it was to happen again, we’d already decided that I would have to go to a second class. Today, however, I’m pleased to say, we were able to keep it down to about 30 (which is exactly how many printed notes I’ve brought with me), making it a relaxed and enjoyable session – everyone seemed to enjoy it anyway, and the results were very good.

I was originally booked to do the next cruise after this, which would have made it a four-week trip. The next cruise, which was to have been to Indonesia, had to be cancelled, however, due to the Voyager having to go into dry-dock to have some critical work done. The knock-on effect of this is that the ship is only running at just over half-capacity (290 passengers instead of the maximum 550), presumably because of the late change to the programme (there would have been many passengers who had booked to do the two trips back-to-back). I have to say that this has made the ship feel much quieter than what we are used to… it’s really rather nice!

We’ve been given a stack of forms to fill in for Indian Immigration. To be fair; most of the forms have already been filled out for us and just need signing, but it does all seem like a bit of a palava (especially after all the form-filling that needed to be completed to get an Indian Tourist Visa before coming away). The one that really surprised me was a form where we have to declare all electronic devices that we’ll be taking ashore with us; cameras, video cameras and mobile phones included. The form asks for the make and model of each item and its dollar-value. From the chuntering overheard from one of the passengers who has been to India before, who didn’t have to do it previously, it would seem like a new thing… the Indians do seem to like generating paperwork!

Tomorrow, we are due to arrive in Chennai, in India. Tracey and I have been assigned tour escort duties and everybody has been given instructions on what’s going to happen with Indian Immigration, who insist on coming aboard and having a face-to-face interview with everybody on board ship (passengers and crew included)… more paperwork… can’t wait…