Las Palmas, Gran Canaria

This morning saw the Queen Elizabeth dock in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.  The last time we had been here was in 2004, on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary 2, when the red carpet was out for us and we were treated like movie stars!  No such welcome for us this time though.

We spent the morning walking along the harbour front and looking at the other ships and boats that were docked there.  We were also able to take some great photos of the QE docked there.  There was an interesting catamaran in port; it was entirely solar powered and was attracting a great deal of interest.

I always love the unmistakeable smells you always get by the sea; that salty, ozone, fishy smell which also has a slight tinge of ship diesel in the background.  I could smell that lovely bracing sea smell of freshly caught fish, and sure enough we went into this massive fish market.  Rows and rows of stalls selling seafood, every kind of seafood you could imagine.  As well as gleaming fresh fish there were octopus and squid, lobsters and langoustines, clams, mussels, oysters, crabs – everything you could think of.  The smell was heavenly and my mouth watered; oh for a lovely big platter of fruits de mer or paella done only the way the Spanish can.  Britain just doesn’t seem to have the same taste for fish as the rest of Europe, and it’s so healthy as well.

We bought some more postcards then went for the inevitable cold beer, before making our way back to the QE and pottering around on board.  In fact it is just so pleasant just to sit out on our balcony, and I had brought a really good book, a detective thriller called Looking Good Dead by Peter James.  I read a few chapters while enjoying a cold glass of some of the vino we had bought in Vigo.  🙂

The entertainment in the Royal Court Theatre that night was Penny Mathisen, an opera singer.  She has played Christine in the Phantom of the Opera as well as other leading parts in the West End.  I thought she was excellent and I really enjoyed her show, although I know opera singing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

But talking of singing, tonight in the Golden Lion it was karaoke time, so it was my chance to get up and do my stuff. 🙂

After playing the trivia quiz, which our team actually won for a change (!) they got ready for the karaoke.  Thomas came and joined us; then we saw another familiar blast from the past, Rex from Las Vegas!  He was another guy we’d met on both the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2, and what’s more, he remembered me too!  🙂  Rex is a really good karaoke singer.  It was starting to be a bit like “Friends Reunited” or something!  Shortly afterwards Bob and Val joined us again (Bob had already said that he enjoyed the odd karaoke stint from time to time) so the stage was set.

Mind you, I have to say that the selection of songs is absolutely the worst I have ever some across!  There are about eight or nine songs I can do reasonably well (at least so I am told) but only ONE of them appeared in this list.  Incredibly, there was no Abba or Beatles or Dean Martin, all the old karaoke favourites.  Everyone else was complaining about the poor selection of songs too.

In the end, I picked Dido’s White Flag, which caused a bit of a ruckus because one of the lines in the song is “I will go down with this ship“…  not exactly the line to be singing in the middle of the Atlantic ocean on a 92,000 cruise ship, is it? 🙂

Rex got up several times and brought the house down; so did Bob.  It was a proper party atmosphere, the wine and beer flowed and we felt among friends old and new.  Different nationalities didn’t matter, borders were non-existent.  It was great!  If only everyone in the world could get along like this…

For us, the most surreal part of the evening was when the Cruise Director, Alistair Greener, got up to do a rendition of the Monkees’ Daydream Believer.  This was a song adopted by Sunderland supporters (with different words) when Peter Reid was in charge between 1995 and 2002.  When Alistair got to the chorus “… cheer up sleepy Jean, oh what can it mean, to a daydream believer and a home-coming queen…”  Trevor and I and Bob and Val (who are also Sunderland supporters) all started bellowing out the alternative words…

Cheer up, Peter Reid
Oh, what can it mean
To a Sunderland supporter
To be top of the league

Sunderland Supporters

In the end, Alistair’s curiosity got the better of him and he came over and shoved the microphone in our faces so we could sing ‘our’ words and put Sunderland on the map!  Whey-hey!  It was just so unreal to be singing it thousands of miles from home, on a ship, with people we’d never met before this cruise.  Come on you Reds!

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