Friday, March 31, 2006

This place is falling to pieces

It is really hard to keep track of days on board. It's feels impossible to believe that this is our 11th day on board. Without some of the usual cues of daily routines of work and home, the time seems to blend together into one long stream of now. Pretty cool.

Anyway, day before yesterday we had the show and tell in the San Carlo theater. Beforehand, I went up and gave my one good image and a some video to Alan Dyer. He was set up on Deck 6 with his Mac laptop and people lined up to give him a memory card or transfer some video over a Firewire cable I joined the queue. It took just a couple of minutes to grab the images.

The show and tell was great. Some fantastic imagery and vids, projected on the big screen there. Aside from the idiots who tried to take flash pictures of the presentation (they would get nothing but a blank screen), it was well run. My image of the third contact diamond ring was shown, and my video segment of the last 45 seconds of totality was also displayed to a smattering of applause (he said modestly).

One image was of a vastly overexposed close-up of totality, and it had been processed to show the faint features of the newest moon you can imagine, illuminated solely by the reflected light of the earth. I have never before seen an image like that -- absolutely incredible.

Yesterday we put into the port of Tripoli, and we joined another convoy of buses to see the Roman ruins of Leptis Magna. This was a port settlement originally founded by the Phoenecians back in the 6th century BC, then settled by the Romans. Hadrian was there in the first century AD, and he had more buildings and works added there.

The ruins were fantastic. Arches, markets, forums, old Roman baths were all around. The restored theater was beautiful, a big semi-circle of seats and steps with a stage. The weather was getting warmer, but then a sea breeze would blow over the cold marble, cooling us off nicely. Clear blue sky, and the sea was the gorgeous deep blue I've never seen before.

We had a lunch at a restaurant by the sea (our lunches were boxed beforehand at the ship). Interestingly enough, non-alcoholic beer was available if you wanted it. I stuck with bottled water. On the ride back, we saw herds of Libyan goats and sheep, one or two camels (not as prevalent as in Egypt). The countryside reminded me of the Texas hill country - there was even some cactus around.

March is a good time to be here. I can't imagine what it would be like in July. Libya holds the world's record for high temperatures with 136.

Back to the ship, tired, but another nice supper. Today we are in Malta and we go ashore for another excursion. I'll report on that tomorrow.


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