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Southeast Asia Ballroom Dance Cruise: A non-visit to Okinawa, Japan

Wednesday, November 11 Okinawa, Japan.  Scheduled arrival 7 am and departure 2 pm

The picture is from formal night. it has no connection to Okinawa but it's a nice picture and I have no pictures from Okinawa. Here's why...

Five days into the cruise and I find myself less than enthusiastic at the thought of getting into yet another shuttle bus or excursion van with a crowd of people. Realistically, at home I normally have a lot of quiet time to chill out by myself, andnon-stop "togetherness" is something I am no longer used to. In fact I must confess that I have come to value times ofsolitude in my apartment - me, myself and I looking out over the waters of False Creek, reading, writing or just thinking about life.

That's a long winded way of getting to the fact that I really had no interest or energy in going ashore in Okinawa and in fact made a positive decision to stay on board, have a dance lesson with Brian, get a massage in the Spa and just relax. I know that Okinawa was of historical importance during the war and have  avgue idea that there was a major battle there between the Japanese and the Americans but it had not much relevance to me.

I had my usual breakfast, fresh fruit with low-fat yoghurt, coffee with a little cream, and then went out onto the balcony of the cabin and worked for a bit.

I had a lesson with Brian scheduled for around 11 am. Greg had found a small carpeted bar area down the stairs at the back of Club Fusion that no-one seemed to use and it was ok though not great  for lessons so we went down there. We worked first on West Coast Swing swing, then briefly on the hustle and then Bolero.

With WCS the things I was really trying to get right were the right arm hold,so that the tension/connection feels right; and not letting my other arm droop or flail. I guess that's what you call styling - I don't get it!. We also worked on a couple of new steps. He showed me one which if I have it right is step, step, point right leg, step back, step, step, triple step, which I kind of liked, and then a few more patterns.  Hopefully if I get a chance to dance a WCS - it is pretty random with such a variety of dances - I will be able to follow a lead through these steps. The problem of course is that if you dont get a chance to repeat these things they dont stick and each time it is like starting again.

Then we worked on ways of fixing my hop in the hustle. It seems I need to think "slide the feet and much softer knees" as well as count to myself "don't hop, 2,3". Ok I admit no instructor has told me the "don't hop" bit. I made that up for myself but it helps me to focus.It's also a little hard to slide with high heels. I guess that's why they wear those lower heeled shoes.

Then we worked more on Bolero. Brian generally helped improved my footwork the last time I had a lesson with him - I think on the Labour Weekend cruise - and from my lesson with Stephen last month in California I think I have further improved with the rise and fall, and the tighter footwork. Now I have a feel for the dance - I just need the practice. But again Brian was trying to get me to use my arms more freely.

He pointed out that the Bolero, like the rhumba, is a romantic dance and then said jokingly that I really have to let loose a bit more in those dances and be more "flirty." I told him that I fell in love with my husband when I was 15 and I never learned "flirty'. We were madly in love and were married for 33 years - so flirty with other men was not in my repertoire. But then I had to confess that on the South Pacific Cruise, Jorge kept telling me the same thing - "you got to get the sexy arm movements going, girl." Hmmm...

Well there are some things at which I am definitely a slow learner. Flirty is one of them and sexy arm styling is another. Too bad for me.

At 2 o'clock I went up to the Lotus Spa. I had booked my one indulgence of the trip - if one does not consider the entire thing an indulgence. A body scrub (I think it was something like lemon and ginger) followed by a deep tissue massage. The rub is quite a good experience. By the time you get in the shower and wash the stuff off, your exfoliated skin feels smooth assilk. Actually I guess it is not the exfoliated skin that feels smooth- I mean that's gone - down the drain, right? It is theskin that is left behind that is silky smooth.

Well I felt great all the way up to my cabin where I sat down to do some writing but soon dozed off. When I woke up it wastime to get ready for dinner, and while I was in the shower I felt that I had a pulled muscle in my upper thigh. The ship was rolling a lot; to the extent that the show for the night had actually been cancelled so the dancers would not risk injury.

There was a general air of tiredness among the group at supper, and I decided that I did not want to risk making my ache worse. I did not knowif it was just from the massage or was an actual injury.  So instead of heading off to dance I decided to    curl up in bed with my E-Book reader and finish the novel I was reading.