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Random Notes, Mariner, 3/28-4/15/19, Shanghai-Tokyo--LIVE!*


Mr Rumor
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Good Morning from LAX. I’m in the Oneworld Lounge getting ready to board AA flight 181 to Beijing. My name is Steve, and my wife’s name is Deborah. This will be our 7th Regent cruise, but the first time i’ve Ever blogged. A special thanks to Rich for starting this thread. I don’t think I can match his eloquence or clarity of thought, but my “neurotic skepticism” may add a different perspective.

 

Like  many of you, we planned this trip two years ago, when the spring 2019 sailings were first announced. As Rich previously mentioned, the itinerary has changed (not always to our liking), but I learned a long time ago to be comfortable with “Plan B”

 

Because of work schedules, Deborah and I are often two ships passing in the night. Being on Regent in the past has always been therapeutic for us. We get to “sit on our hands”, meet some great people, see some bucket list places and eat fabulous food. Plus... we get reacquainted with each other!!. What more could one ask for?

 

We live in LA (Sherman Oaks), so getting to LAX on a Sunday morning was easy. Took 20 minutes. After going through a fast security check we find ourselves in the Oneworld Lounge. From here, Deborah and I partake of our favorite pastimes. She... walking the terminal, and I...eating a lot of lousy food (cold eggs and rubbery pancakes). Why.... because it’s there!!

 

That’s enough for now... as mentioned earlier... thank you for indulging me, and I hope to ride along periodically on Rich’s coattails... Best Wishes to you all.. Steve

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We used to live in the LA area, now Palm Springs.  We usually stay over night at LAX before we take off for a trip or cruise. Once they build that stadium no one will be getting a hotel room when a game is being played and the Super Bowl --don't even think about a flight into LAX.

But you have a great cruise and Happy Birthday to both of you........

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Steve/smg4412, great to see you chiming in, too!  I think we have a joint blog! 

 

We’ll be boarding our Beijing flight any minute now after enjoying a very pleasant three-hour-or-so respite in the AA’s upgraded Flagship Lounge from our window seats. We saw our Tennessee friends Susan and Mark (Destin Lover), who we met on the Explorer in 2016, and I got to have a fun chat with new friends Sharon and Steve (Eagleslover, sms101).

 

I was curious as to what constitutes an AA lounge “upgrade” (beside the new name).  The answer:  more square feet, a quiet room and a more spacious dining area with a bigger selection of offerings.  The LAX Flagship Lounge, which debuted in November, 2017, is AA’s second, after JFK.  Below is a snap of the serving area.

 

Gotta run—we just got our boarding announcement!

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Happy Birthday!🎉🎊🎂

So excited for you to take us along on your journey. You are such a delight to follow! We board the Mariner on 4/27 in Tokyo to Vancouver. We have the 3 day pre cruise offered in Tokyo.  I believe we will be at the Tokyo Hilton. Thank goodness we have business class non stop DFW to Tokyo on JAL.  

Hanging on every word! Safe travels to you both! 

Karen 

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Hooray hooray hooray, another live report from Mr. Rumor!  We will be following every day during our cocktail hour.🥂

Looking forward to your wonderful commentary and photos!

Wishing you both a great birthday and and a fabulous cruise.

Bob and Jeannie

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Joint blogging with Rich is a true joy!   Have fun on this journey!   Going to Xi’an whetted my appetite for China.  I had a really negative impression after running the visa gauntlet and then getting through our twilight zone transit in Beijing.  But  after being in Xi’an and experiencing the rich history, beautiful artifacts, wonderful food and mesmerizing city lights, I can’t wait to go back.  And, we now have 10 year visas so we HAVE to go back! 

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Hi from 36000 feet!  We just passed over Nome as I type this.  We’ve done 3032 miles with 3295 to go. 

 

I’m loving all of your good-trip and birthday wishes—thanks, friends, and wonderful to have each and every one of you along.  (Boy, there are a lot of you on the 4/27 Tokyo-Vancouver cruise—a fantastic itinerary that we also entertained.  Hope you’ll joint-blog up a storm!)

 

John and Linda/ Delmarvacruisers, safe travels and we look forward to meeting you and having you join our blogging fun.

 

A surprise “Mr. Rumor” sign, the work of our friend Susan, greeted us when we took our seats on our 787 Dreamliner.  I just had to get into the spirit:

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A Business Class first for us ensued: a spontaneous Mariner meet and mingle in the aisles and between rows. Gosh, we Regent folks are a friendly bunch!

 

Lunch—or was it dinner?—was fine (Shrimp-Stuffed Eggplant, ice cream sundae).  Then it was on to the afternoon’s entertainment, for me a boffo “Green Book”-“Bohemian Rhapsody” double bill.  I like on the Dreamliner being able to look to my right and see Ginny in her seat, which is angled toward mine.  She is currently enjoying “The Favourite,” after loving “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

 

I’ve conferred with a stewardess, Chris, and pals Mark and Susan about whether or not to grab some winks now, with 6.5 hours still to go until touchdown at 3:32 p.m. Beijing time, or stay awake and then crash early at the hotel.  The consensus:  stay awake.   Part of my plan in doing that was to just now plunk $12 down on this Travel Pass, allowing two hours of internet.  We’ll see if the droopy eyelids start after my time runs out!

 

Rich

Edited by Mr Rumor
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Hi Rich. I am so looking forward to your blog. We will also be boarding next month for the Tokyo-Vancouver leg.  Hard to believe we booked 2 years ago and it’s finally approaching.  Have a wonderful cruise. I’m hanging onto your every word!

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Love the picture of you and the new standard for meet and mingles!   On our flight last month I watched a combo of your and Ginny’s movie choices and added “Colette” to the mix.  Good choice to power through and not sleep.  Despite my flying anxiety, I always sleep and jet lag kicks my butt!  We are now 6 nights home and I STILL can’t manage my typical 8 hours.   I’m ranging between 3 and 6 hours a night and walking around like a zombie during the day!   

 

Post frequently, please!

J

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Before turning in (body-time-wise, I realize we’ve just pulled an all-nighter):  

 

The gentleman you see on the right in the Regent-sign photo above is Jason, who, it turns out, will be our “Shanghai and the Great Wall” guide.  We’re happy about being assigned to him—we had a one in six chance, giving you an idea of how many passengers chose this pre-tour—after getting a taste of his refreshing, non-party-line commentary on the mostly one-hour bumper-to-bumper drive from the airport to the China World.

 

A sampling:

 

Don’t use big bills when buying souvenirs, as your change could be fake yuans.  At the front desk I exchanged many of my 100-yuan bills for 10s and 20s.

 

Don’t drink the tap water—“it’s undrinkable.”

 

Brace yourself for “a million people around wherever you go.”

 

Be prepared for other aspects of “culture shock,” i.e., “a lot of spitting on the ground,” “cutting in line.”  He added, “You may risk your life crossing a busy road.”

 

Watch out for pickpockets!

 

G’night!

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Morning of the first day... So, as Rich so eloquently described...AA Flight 181 started off with a “bang”. There was an unscheduled “Meet and Mingle”, before the “Meet and Mingle”. As we all were boarding and filling up the Business Class, one person said “Regent?”. That was followed by approx 10 other people saying “Yes, Regent”. Before we knew it, there were at least 14 people chatting as if we were old friends. It really was quite remarkable. The attendants actually thought we all knew each other. Great way to start the trip!!

 

As for our first night... There’s a saying that goes... “We make plans and God laughs”. My plan was to go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner once we arrived. I should have known better. After a 13 hour flight and going through Chinese customs, I should have realized I may be a bit tired, not to mention restless and irritable. My wife, Deborah (who is a lot wiser than I), actually suggested that to me before leaving. But I, in my usual impulsive way, told her.. “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine”!!. Well..as usual, she was right.  Fortunately, we had upgraded to a room in the Horizon Club, which meant we had a place to go right away and eat plenty of dim sum. They even had hamburgers sliders there (go figure). 

 

It’s 6:00AM on Tuesday, here in Beijing. Some initial impressions on awakening and looking out our window from the 15th floor. One, a lot of skyscrapers!! Everything seems new and very modern. I would have liked to have seen this city the way Nixon did in 1972. Must have been quite different. I’m sure, to anyone who had been there then, it must be unrecognizable today. I’m told (and I may be wrong), that the Chinese don’t have the same reverence for their old buildings, that one finds in Europe. Either way, what they have accomplished here in the past 45 years is quite remarkable!! Secondly... a lot of smog. But, that may be a conversation for another time..

 

 

 

Today... The Forbidden City,  Tienneman Square and the Great Wall. A huge day for our “Bucket List”. We will be on a different bus (#5)  than “MrRumor”, but will be together in spirit. To anyone considering a Regent Cruise...IMO, the greatest attraction is the people you will meet as your fellow passengers!! Later... Steve

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The first thing I do is look at the time....7:22 pm EST means 7:22,am  in the Far East (well at least in Hong Kong!)...so my heart skips a beat and I look for Mr Rumer et al’s blog. Thank you!!!!!!  Keep it coming one and all!

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Aw, thanks, Jennifer, we will!  And, by the way, I didn’t eat all those breakfast pastries (just most of them!).

 

The buses are starting to line up for our big tour day—gotta run!

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Wonderful reporting and pictures by all!  Thanks so much sharing your trip with us.

 

We have fond memories of the Mariner...  we sailed on this beautiful ship on our first Regent cruise a little over a year ago.  

 

Enjoy!  and keep the great commentary and pictures coming.  

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happy Birthday to us, Rich, Ginny, and me!

 

steve, you and your wife sound like George and me.  We barely see each other, sometimes for days at home as we are both working at very different careers.  He is currently in Moline Illinois, I have no idea why.  But our cruises are our reconnect times.  And if we are in an airport with a long layover, you can bet I will be out walking.  Have a great trip.

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6 hours ago, smg4412 said:

Today... The Forbidden City,  Tienneman Square and the Great Wall. A huge day for our “Bucket List”. 

 

All in one day!!

Have you joined a Japanese tour group? 😉 

 

(apologies to Japanese readers for this totally unwarranted stereotyping)

 

The Forbidden City is truly amazing. Last time we were there we had to visit early, as later in the morning FLOTUS (Michelle Obama, now FFLOTUS) was visiting together with her mother (MILOTUS?).

The place was heaving with US Secret Service (very obvious, not that secret!)

 

Edited by flossie009
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