Eclipse Protection


This is so wrong.  On our beds last night were our souvenir raincoats.  Other eclipse voyages give you souvenir sun visors and the like.  Ours gives souvenir raincoats.
There has been one sunny day since we arrived in Beijing.  That was Tuesday, the day after the violent thunderstorms washed out the atmosphere and diverted our plane to Hohhot.  Since then, the air has grown smoggy, and then overcast, and by Friday raining, and since then an unbroken gloom.
We couldn’t see the top of Kagoshima’s signature volcano.
Monday morning we stopped in Kagoshima after crossing the Korea Straits during the night.  Once again, the cruise people were not interested in telling us where we were.  They had $100 buses they wanted to load you onto.  But, there is a tourist place at the dock, and although it took standing in a lot of really long lines to get off the boat, the guy there said it was a half hour to walk to the tram station, where a day ticket to public transit in Kagoshima costs 600 yen.
The long lines include taking your temperature.  A lot of the delays we are experiencing seem to be the result of attempting to monitor the progress of the H1N1 virus.  It’s hard to object to the goal, but it’s not clear that the virus is being impeded by all this.  The big trick that viruses learn is to have a dormant phase with no symptoms.  Maybe they need to take a page from the AIDS circumcisers in Africa, and cut off everybody’s hands.
I read in the shipboard paper that parishioners are being encouraged to hug each other rather than shake hands in English churches, to stop the spread of H1N1.  It’s completely impossible to make satire on human customs.  You have about a 4 minute window before the next ridiculous thing happens …. ALTHOUGH … I have to say, that I have thought of this, and it hasn’t happened yet, that “I’m On A Boat” is the next “YMCA” to jump the irony shark and become a cruise ship dance floor it.  So laugh while you still can.
It is the case that epidemics spread by hands.  Most of the sicknesses you get in your life come from touching doorknobs and picking your nose.  To avoid this would lead to eternal life.
Kagoshima is great.  We went to the post office and two wonderfully helpful clerks got us sorted with our post card stash and some stamps to write future post cards; and then we had time to go to one perfect restaurant, which perfect strangers guided us to when they saw us looking puzzled.  It’s called Kumasotei and it lies in a big mall at 31.59195 N 130.55345 E.  the mall is also interesting because it has Hubble images as tiles decorating the walking street.  Kagoshima is a big space center for Japan.
I have no idea what any of the things were that we had.  It was traditional Satsuma cuisine, served to our private room in traditional kaiseki style.  Certainly the most dramatic item was a little chromium fish, served as sashimi.  It shimmered like mercury.  umm……
And so, back to the boat.  We took the tram back to the Wakido stop, walked the half hour to the port.  Noted that the loudspeakers in the non-touristed part of the port were playing an all-accordion version of “Humoreske”.
This is how I know that the world is not a simulation, which certain un-grown-up philosophers pretend to reporters weaned on “The Matrix” is a serious statistical possibility.  You know what the world would be like if it were a project designed by alien Second life addicts.  Everybody would look super buff and there would be asteroids falling out of the sky every day.  No loudspeaker would ever play an all-accordion version of “Humoreske”, in Japan or anywhere else.