The Italian News Blog

May 30, 2008 -

John Heald

Did you see the news this morning……………I did…………..and once again the world has gone mad.

Good morning from Naples where the sun is shinning and I have just finished my breakfast of cereal and a cracker with cheese…………..who needs eggs, bacon, sausages and loads of toast oozing with butter when you can have shredded wheat and a slice of Italian cheese on a cracker.

It was while I was munching away on my breakfast and watching SKY news in the hotel room that I came across a story that beggers belief.

As you know there has been a terrible and devastating earthquake in China and continuous aftershocks have made the situation even more problematic for the rebuilding program. One of the biggest concerns are the many dams that may have become unstable and are starting to show cracks could break and flood entire towns and villages………………..60,000 people lost their lives in the earthquake and this is the last thing the provinces of this part of China need.

So, the news report showed plans to create dykes and purposely break sections of the dams channeling the fresh water away from the villages and towns and human life into the sea.

However, this morning that plan is on hold because protesters in China found Li Li, one of only 100 white-finned freshwater dolphins in the world . (What is it about Chinese wildlife? Why can’t it mate properly?) Li Li was shown swimming and mincing around having fun while a few miles away death and destruction lay all around.

In the West this would have had people crying and men with long hair and beards demanding something be done. Marine biologists would have been flown in from California. Work would have been halted and people’s lives would have been put at further risk and Li Li would have been airlifted to safety in a specially converted Richard Branson Virgin plane.

I think they do things rather differently in China and I will not be surprised if Li Li disappears and spends her days in someone’s private exotic pet collection or if the truth be known she will be become Kung Po Dolphin.

I know that sounds cruel and it may be coming across that I hate all animals following this and my Gordon Ramsey rabbit slaughter blog…………but really I don’t…………I love animals……………I want nothing but happiness for them but how can anyone think about not saving hundreds of thousands of lives because of fish…………….mammal…………whatever. ………………rescue it, do whatever but not at the expense of more suffering for the poor people of China.

I am ranting I know………but well, honestly, do you think the pyramids would have been built if anyone had concerned themselves with the welfare of the Egyptian Brown Nosed Fruit Bat.

I remember how people screamed about the Concorde………….it would damage the environment and knock cows over as it flew by…………………but good old Maggie Thatcher said bollocks ……..we are building it………..and she did……….with a little help from the French……………nobody’s perfect.

By the way, Fincantieri builds amazing vessels for us and I am proud to say that no Dolphins were harmed during the construction.

Talking of fish I want to say a big thank you for the many of you who have sent some Swedish fish to Chris Prideaux’s attention to send in turn to Heidi…………….she really is hooked on these things.

I also want to say thank you for all the comments and have just finished replying to all the ones you marked as “Stephanie – please have John reply “……………..once again, if there is anything I can do for you please let me know.

Now, for those of you on the Bloggers Cruise ………..thats 414 so far……………please can you make sure that when you booked you have the Bloggers Cruise fare thingy included in your booking ……….this will make sure you get assigned to the dining room seating with the rest of us…………..that didn’t make sense did it……………..STEPHANIE…………..help me out here……………..what do they have to do??…………….here’s Steph to tell you what I am obviously incapable of doing.

Hi Everyone,
It’s pretty simple really, just tell your Travel Agent, PVP or reservations agent that you are booking the cruise because you want to be part of the John Heald’s Blogger’s Cruise. The code for the cruise is CPBL or PBL. Once you are booked under this code you’re guaranteed invitations and access to all the special blogger’s cruise only events and will also be treated to special giveaways. If you’re already booked you can check out your booking by visiting the My Reservation section of carnival.com. You should be able to check if you’re booked with the code. If you need any help, just email me at socialnetworking@carnival.com.

Thanks and see you in February 09!

I hope to publish two very special interviews today and or tomorrow……………including Celebrity Chef and someone who has featured heavily in Heidi’s dreams Todd English and we go behind the scenes of what it is like to run the hotel department of the one of the world’s most famous vessels.
The hotel we are staying at is beautiful……………oh by the way remember we are leaving here today so please don’t call as we will have buggered off to Capri……………..and on that note a special good morning to Claire (Texas cruiser) who called me last night at 8:00pm……………well………….that’s 8:00pm her time which was 3:00am my time………………..don’t worry Claire………….I know you were distraught when you realised but please don’t worry………..it was wonderful to talk to you and Heidi and I will be thinking of you on Tuesday when you have your surgery………..all will be well I promise.

Anyway, back to the hotel and last night after dinner Heidi and I went to sit on the terrace so I could enjoy a cigar………….well……………..it was there that she discovered some board games were available for guests to use. These included the usual suspects………jigsaws, scrabble and to my horror………..Monopoly.

Like cricket, Monopoly has no end. The rules explain how you can unmortgage a property and when you should build hotels on Bond Street or Madison Avenue but they don’t say, and they should, that the winner is the last player left alive. ……………….I hate Monopoly. Luckily though the game was of course in Italian and even though we didn’t end up playing, the fact that one of the pieces – “the car” was a replica of a Ferrari Enzo really did make me giggle……….only in Italy!

Anyway, while we were enjoying the delights of the evening and not playing Italian “Monopolyo” I noticed that we had been joined on the terrace by someone very famous……………the actor Jason Stratham……………..he was so famous that Heidi had never heard of him………..I listed his movies including my favorite “Transporter” but she still looked blank. We then got into this whole argument about who is a real celebrity and who was the ultimate celebrity in the world…………this was our conclusion.

To find the ultimate celebrity you need to turn left at David Beckham then head straight on past Tom Hanks, Britney Spears, Bill Clinton and through the gates of Neverland into the almost strangely coloured world of Michael Jackson…………………surely the most recognized celebrity in the world.

He had it all……..a carousel and a go-kart track. he could spend a million every time he went shopping and not care because he had a billion in the bank. He had a Limo so long that when the back was in Los Angeles the front was in Vegas and he lived so far removed from even the merest touch of reality that he thought it’s okay to do pretty much what he pleased.

He went on television and with a straight face — well, what’s left of it — and said he has never had plastic surgery. He dangled his own child off a balcony and shared a bedroom with everyone else’s without even the slightest inkling that social services might be slightly concerned.

Yet even with all these problems he still remains the ultimate celebrity superstar…………………..and as Jason Stratham sat unbothered at his table sipping a drink there would be no way Michael Jackson could have done the same……………especially in this heat…………his nose would have melted.

So, let’s try this. Who is the world’s greatest living celebrity……………..I say MJ………………who’s yours?…………………….I look forward to your comments.

More from Italy later tonight via the raspberry
Cheers
John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.