So we got on our way, sailing out through Shanghai’s harbour with inland lights blurred through the fog. The Captain of the Ship gave us periodic up-dates of our progress through the PA system. I doubt that he showed up at anyone’s dinner table that night, however, because the news was not good. We would be pulling alongside Okinawa the next day to ‘fulfill immigration formalities’, but not getting off.
Our table mates at dinner, like us, had signed on to this cruise largely because of the glorious itinerary. Unlike us, the two husbands had a history with Okinawa, and were eager to return and see it again without the stress of military service during the Korean War. With our schedule drastically cut short by the foggy lull, our stops would all be effected.
But the brou-ha-ha in Okinawa became nearly a tease. We sailed into the harbour in the late afternoon. The onshore teams fastened the ropes, and there we stayed on-board, watching the lights emerge into nighttime, a literal footstep away. My disappointment was minimal. I roamed the ship, seeing the area from every perspective, watching the harbour traffic and the business day wrap up and the traffic flow home. I rather enjoyed my quiet observer’s viewpoint from far away. But for my table mates, the disappointment must have cut deep. For me, it was just one more city in the world to almost-visit. For them, it was a lost chance to replace memories with a renewed feet-on-the-ground experience.
On we sailed, with a shortened day in Keelung, Taiwan next.