One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things - Henry Miller

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Turkish Delights

28/06/2010 9:22 PM

We’re just back into the cabin after tonight’s show Comedy Showtime with American entertainer Dan Riley. First show we’ve been to for about a week...this flu has been so today I haven’t stopped coughing – most embarrassing in public places.

We have had a quiet day today resting after a strenuous 8hour tour of Istanbul yesterday. However we did venture out a couple of times as it was our day at ANZAC Cove. We came into the cove in time for a dawn service and floated around the area until the main memorial service at 11:00am...a very emotive experience I must say, gazing out on the actual site...why this landing site was chosen I cannot understand. Our boys never stood a chance.
After the dawn service we drifted along the coast and a Turkish expert, Gulgun, and Peter, our onboard cruise historian, gave a full commentary of the campaign from the bridge... yet again very interesting to get the two perspectives n the same incidents... We had our breakfast (including ANZAC biscuits) and then spread ourselves out on deck chairs in the early morning sun on the top deck and followed the commentary through until the sun drove us inside about 9:30. I returned to bed until the service at 11:00 where the ships choir (made up of cruise passengers)sang and a huge wreathe was dropped into the sea by the ship’s officers who had been on parade for the occasion. That was the extent of my day outside... after that it was back to bed and cough, cough, cough until I took my next Panadol to get me through dinner.
Istanbul was delightful – an impressive, well maintained city with luxurious houses along the Bosporus- the strait which separates the continents of Asia and Europe and makes Istanbul the only city in the world to spans two continents. We toured St Sophia’s church now a museum, the Blue Mosque and Topaki Palace, the home of the Sultan. Here I drooled over the third largest diamond in the world, the Spoon Diamond, a mere 86 carats (although I decided my neck wouldn’t be able to hold the weight) and two candle sticks of pure gold each weighing a tiny 48kg. We enjoyed lunch on the Bosporus during a 70 minute cruise north towards the Black Sea. The waterfront housing was amazing – homes worth between 1million and 100 million dollars built into the hills that fall down into the sea on both sides. It was Sunday and everyone was out picnicking and relaxing with the family. It was a tiring day with lots of walking through these huge buildings in the old part of the city but yet again a most enjoyable day.

Early start tomorrow (7:15am)at Santorini. There are only three ways into the town –donkey, stairs or cable car. I don’t think Hobo 1 will take either of the first two! So I should have enjoyed my first cable car trip of the tour by the time you read this.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Athens and Kusadasi

26/06/2010 8:37 PM
Great news about our eldest grandson. Hope all who are on holidays are able to enjoy them.
I’ve crumbled with the flu but have still been able to enjoy tours with the help of Panadol, cough lollies, hot tea and lemon and bed rest between outings.
Can you believe it? Yesterday we saw were St Paul addressed the Athenians and today we sat where he addressed the Ephesians and railed against their Roman Goddess of Fertility, Artemis. For his troubles he was imprisoned because he was going to destroy the trade of the tinsmiths and goldsmiths of the day who did a roaring trade in statues of Artemis. Thinking on the present political situation in Australian, some things never change!
Yesterday we had a great 4 hour tour of Grecian ruins walking up 80 odd steps to the Acropolis and Parthenon and looking down on the rock where St Paul stood and addressed the Athenians. Today we were in Ephesus, the second most important archaeological centre for Roman ruins. The city was built so long ago that the seafront it once bordered is now 8 km away because of the siltation, climate change and earthquakes that have taken place over the years. We walked down its marble-paved street to the reconstructed remains of the third biggest library of the ancient world. Our beautiful tour guide in her lovely aqua hat had her university graduation ceremony in front of the library (pictured).
These first two countries of the Mediterranean that we have visited so far, Greece and Turkey, have been amazing – clean, inviting and so interesting. Having just dipped a toe into each but both are already calling us to come back!
Tomorrow it is Istanbul and a tour of, among other things, a museum that began life as a Christian church, St Sophia’s, and was already over a thousand years old when Columbus discovered America. The time frames are just mind boggling and you really begin to understand the true meaning of “awe” when you stand in front of these architectural masterpieces of art and craftsmanship.
We actually did some shopping today...we bought 3 peaches and three figs. They tasted as good as they look. Look at the size of them against Kiwi!
Bed calls...AND Hobo 1 is flicking TV channels and it’s impossible to keep track of what’s happening behind me. I’ll have to go and take control of that remote before I go insane.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Suez Canal

24/06/2010 4:00 PM
I’ve just spent half an hour on the balcony enjoying the most beautiful day on the Mediterranean. The sea is a gentle ripple with every wave twinkling in the midday sun. I am astounded at how big this planet is. That tiny patch of blue on the world map that represents the Mediterranean Sea is so large, we have been travelling since 8:30pm last night and have yet to see anything but water as we head towards Crete and that little section of the map, the Arabian Peninsula, took us from 20:15pm on the 14th June until 20:15pm on the 21st to round (and until 3:30pm the next day to tie up in Port Said on the edge of the Mediterranean). ...Every day brings something new to ponder.
After all this time “at sea” we anchored off Suez at the top of the Gulf of Suez and waited till 5:30 the next morning to lead the north bound convoy of ships into the canal. Every day there are two south bound conveys and one north bound convey that pass through the canal. The canal is too small for ships to pass so the first southbound group anchor up in the Bitter Lakes while the north bound group (28 of us) passes through. Then later on there is a bypass and the second convoy (a smaller group) pulls over into this lane while the north bound one passes. It takes about five hours for the whole convey to pass each group as the ships are spaced a mile and a half apart.
The day was as good as our day in Glacier Bay – a very pleasant way to see the country side. No wonder the tours across Europe by water are so popular! I developed a sore wrist from taking photographs! We had been led to believe it would be a dull, boring experience with desert on either side. Instead it was the most interesting, spectacular day that gave us a 10 hour introduction to Egypt and the Egyptians were most excited to see this huge cruise ship passing by their “doors”. They waved and whistled from their homes, army lookout tours, fishing boats, barges, fields, railway lines...while herding cattle, swimming, waiting for buses, walking the roads, riding their donkeys...the only ones not to wave were the soldiers marching in columns along the roads... even a little red excavator waved away joyously as we passed .
All along the canal we saw these very interesting cone shaped structures and wondered what they were. Hobo 1 worked out they were smoke houses and explained his theory quite eloquently at dinner that night. Yesterday we were told they were pigeon houses. The Egyptians love squab and everyone has a pigeon house! I think the hobo’s credibility as an expert on things rural has been shot to pieces!
Hobo 1 was most impressed with the fertility of the Nile delta, flood irrigated with from the Nile in broad canals up to 170 miles long. With this water the western side of the canal grows the healthiest crops of alfalfa, corn, rice, mangos, dates, melons etc while the eastern side has nothing but sand until water is pumped under the canal and then the same richness rises from the desert sands. A huge six mile long bridge crosses the canal to try to attract more people to move across to the Sinai and a rail bridge on a pivot is being built to links the two sections of Egypt. There are also barges crossing regularly while emergency pontoon bridges are prepared ready for launching at several points along the canal.
We fell into bed that night simply exhausted by the excitement of the day.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


23 June 2010
Well...we have done it...we have seen the relics from Tutankhamen’s tomb, a bust of Queen Nefertiti AND visited the pyramids... just amazing and awe inspiring...pulls you up short and makes you reflect on our place in the world and in the development of mankind. Did you know the folding bed in Tut’s tomb had the same simple hinges we use today or that boomerangs and nulla nulla (tools given to him to hunt in the next life) were in there as well?
We toured the Egyptian Museum of Antiquity, with about 2000 other people I might add, where everything from Tutankhamen’s tomb (except his body) is displayed over the second floor of the museum. In spite of limited time and the crowds, we were still able get a broad overview of what was left to accompany him to the next world as well as mourn his passing, from the flowers placed by his wife and family, to the blood stained gloves of the embalmers. The jewellery buried with him was exquisite and the familiar golden face mask and chairs were as beautiful as you would expect. And I was able to breathe on the carved head of Queen Nefertiti ... a stunningly beautiful woman. The museum even has the original decorated floor from a room in her home...a wonderful surprise!
Left Dawn Princess at 7:30am in a convoy of buses (with a police escort) to travel back down along the Suez Canal and across the Nile delta to Cairo, Giza and the pyramids. Once again we drew the short straw and had an excellent tour guide – a very clever young man who is studying to become an Egyptologist and has already completed studies of ancient Egyptian history as well as Middle Eastern religions. He was so pleasant, unpretentious, informative, well read on world issues and outspoken on Egyptian issues, he added to the success of the tour. It was thanks to him that our tour of the museum was so enlightening.
We caught our first glimpse of the pyramid on our way to lunch in yet another opulent hotel... among other dainties, I had two of the most delectable little sweet ball for dessert... tasted like almond, crunched like a wafer and just melted in your mouth while the beautiful flavour lingered on. I didn’t know what they were so only brought two back from the buffet. One for me and one for Hobo 1 but he hesitated too long making up his mind if he wanted sweets and both had vanished before he decided!!!
The pyramids were as I expected but I did not expect to see them rising up out of Cairo which, with its 16 million people of a night time and 18 million in the day, has enveloped Giza! We ended the day with a photo stop at the sphinx. By this time the flu was descending quickly upon me. I don’t know if it was this, the crowd, the big day or the 42degree heat at four o’clock in the afternoon but I was very disappointed with this stop. It is down in a hollow at the bottom of the hill on which the pyramids stand.
As you can see, finding a sight to pose for a photo was like trying to find a nesting sight in a seabird roockery!
From here it was a three and a half hour drive back to the ship and the news that there will be a general strike in Athens on the day we were scheduled to visit. So today we are on our way across the Mediterranean to Athens tomorrow and back to Kusadasi on Saturday. Having missed The Valley of the Kings, Princess appears to have moved heaven and earth to ensure we do not miss another port!
We’ve just heard the news flash of our new Prime Minister. You realize how insignificant Australia’s role in the world is when you’re on this side of it. For the first hour the news only rated a mention on Sky News and even when BBC World News did catch up, it focused on the fact the Julia was born in Wales - “A Welshman has been chosen to lead New South Wales!!!”
The belated crossing of the Suez will follow in another blog.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Somewhere in the Red Sea

Sunday, 20 June 2010
Sunday...and we are still 20hrs south of Safaga where we should have been disembarking this morning.
Yesterday was a lovely quiet day at sea. How do you spend such a day? Peacefully.
After beginning the day with a kilometre walk followed by stretch class at 7:30 its breakfast - orange juice, pawpaw, yogurt and a poached egg. Check the emails and blogs before trivia – a shocking score...our lowest yet... over for coffee on deck 5 where we watched dolphins swimming out through the portholes and lingered with friends in conversation until about 1:30pm... eat again but just a light fruit lunch from the Horizon Court. It takes great will power to walk into this area and just come out with a couple of kiwi fruit and bananas!!!! Then its Movie time as we relax back in the cabin until we had to prepare for yet another meal...dinner. A great celebration night as our Sydney friends had an anniversary...plenty of wine and laughter...we were the last table to leave the dining room...then up on the open deck to relax on the deck chairs and take in a pop corn is provided and whaty better setting could you get...pool to your left...ocean to your right... half moon above and a gentle breeze wafting around you... a stroll around the deck to end the night.
What better way could you choose to begin retirement?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gulf O Aden

18/06/2010 11:28am
Today finds us cruising the Gulf of Aden...reminds us of sailing to Heron Island. The trip down the Arabian Peninsula has been quite a challenge- rough weather, pirate drills and ship break down.
We have lost 6 hours because of a technical fault in the starboard propulsion system that has caused our stop off at Safaga (and consequently our trip to the Valley of the Kings) to be cancelled. We are cruising straight on to the Suez Canal ...apparently our passage through the canal has to be booked ahead of time and we have to be there to be able to get through at that designated time and maintain our schedule in the Mediterranean.
Dubia was our last port of call. We didn’t choose to tour the city with its opulent new buildings designed to attract tourists and business to the city...rather we drove out an hour into the desert on a 4WD safari... dune busting, camel riding, sand boarding and belly dancing in 50 degree heat! Others suffered but it was no worse than a hot, dry, November/ December day. Like everything in Dubai, the day was very ”authentic”...even down to the belly dancer ...Our Arabian Princess was a Ukrainian. Our BBQ lunch would have done any Aussie barbie proud...lettuce, tomato, coleslaw, tomato with steak, lamb chops and chicken wings...all that was missing was the beetroot and prawns!!! Now we are supplying a great deal of amusement to friends as we feature quite prominently in the DVD of the tour...We even rolled around the bed in laughter when we saw ourselves joining the belly dance...hilarious!!!
Yesterday afternoon I took in the Dawn Princess Dancers matinee - Fiesta Latina...It was absolutely fabulous...the colour of the costumes( what there was of them), the energy of the dancers and the songs they presented ...just felt as if you were at a Latin American Mardi Gras. And one of the leading vocalists sang “Don’t cry for me Argentina” ...absolutely spine tingling. The dancers are amazing - given that the afternoon before the performance was cancelled because of the rough weather and yesterday was little better. We were flat out walking in a straight line and here they are twisting and twirling and doing lifts to perfection without even a stumble. Have a look at the waves in the pool that has been closed for the past three days.
In spite of our disappoint at missing the Valley of the King we are enjoying a beautiful day today gently cruising along 65 miles off the Yemen coast in picture post card conditions.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


15/06/2010 7:58 am

Yesterday found us in Dubai doing a Leyland brothers rally through the sand dunes to a Bedouin settlement where we rode camels, watch ethnic dancing etc...
Oman was a surprise...not at all what we expected...a clean, bustling, well designed city emerging from a series of rocky, sandstone mountains. Don’t knock Mr Rudd’s mining tax. Here in Oman the citizens do not pay tax, have free education right through university and if Omani Universities cannot supply the course you choose to do they pay for your education in the country that can provide your course. Likewise with health...all treatment free and you’re flown to hospitals elsewhere if their hospitals can’t treat your condition.
No problem with choosing the colour of your house- all houses are white! Muscat is on the Tropic of Cancer and was expected to be very hot ...It was. But no worse than a hot, dry November day at home. When we returned to the ship at lunch time it was 42 degrees.
We toured two private museums and a souk (shopping market). I chose this trip because of the dates and coffee morning tea and was not disappointed. The dates were the best I’ve ever tasted. The coffee is served in a tiny cup and is quite strong and unsweetened but you sip it with the dates which provide the sweetness.
Mrs Mc would love the embroidery. The hat alone that the men wear takes their mother/wife 3 months to embroider. The markets have whole shops just filled with sequined edgings.
This was written while we waited to be cleared for disembarking. But we were unable to get on the internet to publish it.

As our cruise announcement says, “Whatever you are doing today we hope you have an excellent day and enjoy what the day provides.”

Sunday, June 13, 2010

India 2

13 June 2010 5:46am
India continued...
We are presently cruising into Muscat in Oman...cannot see a thing through the haze.
But before we get to Oman ...How did India finish? Can’t tell you just now ...Oman has just emerged out of the mist and you can almost touch the rugged hills...I’ll have to go and watch the sail in...
Back again...safely tied up in Mina Qaboos and it is HOT! Do you know you can go to Princess Cruises and the web cam on the bridge of Dawn Princess shows you the “View from the Bridge”. And if you were to look today you would be able to see almost all of Muscat in the Gulf of Oman- the city is just crammed in to the tiny valley between huge black treeless hills...again a brilliant contrast...every building is white and all the earth is amazing sight.
So back to India...We spent Thursday travelling from Agra to Mumbai and trying to make phone contact with home to no avail. Had to wait till 1:00pm when we got back on board and could use the ship’s phone. After a 5:30am start, it was obviously a very long day for us as well.
During the five hour bus trip from Agra to Delhi we got a good taste of Indian traffic (which really puts your nerves to the test) and a good overview of rural life in northern India...we saw camel caravans and goat herds travelling in from the north west, men on elephants, endless acres of farms banked up like paddy fields but all ploughed and ready for the rain – if it comes. It is a bit scarry thinking back on our weather pattern in 2009 as we were in Delhi for their coldest June day in over 40 years...not good when they are all sweating on the arrival of the wet season...I suppose that was the one disappointment at the Taj Mahal...the water feature which is so familiar was almost empty and the water was dirty and obviously in need of a good wash out.
In Delhi we took an exhilarating rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi. The experience heightened by having our rickshaw stopped and the driver beaten by a cane and told to go back!!! Given that we were the second of over fifty rickshaws travelling in convoy there was little hope of this happening and we cause a traffic jamb should have heard the noise!!!
A two hour flight had us into Mumbai by 9:30pm then we had a very interesting view of nightlife in India on our hour’s drive from the airport to the ship. The street dwellers just sweep a space clean spread out a mat, if they have one, and simply sleep where ever they can...on the bonnet of their car, the seat of their rickshaw, footpath, doorway, bench...where ever. As we drove through only the old people were asleep but men, women and children were all sitting around chatting in groups and preparing for the night.
The worst part of the whole journey was the last hour standing in line being checked back on board the ship. Ours was the last bus and we were the last five of the 132 passengers who took the trip to get on board. You know what a night owl I am and how I would be functioning at 11:00pm at night standing in a cue!!!
Muscat calls...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

India Part 1

India...What a country! Nothing surprised me but to see it in the flesh was amazing...I’m still excited by the three days...We had an hour bus drive from the ship to Cochin airport and quickly saw what 1.1billion people in a country means. It is not the distance to the airport that took the time but the sheer numbers of people and the traffic involved in having these people start their day. We shared the road with cars, brightly decorated trucks, bicycles, buses and commuters...In some countries you drive on the left of the road, in others on the right but in India you drive anywhere. The only road rule to follow seems to be the MIBTY rule (mine is bigger than yours) and you depend on good brakes, a good horn and good luck!!!
We left Cochin 2.5 hours late because Mumbia airport was too busy for our 10:30am flight to land. Given the number of people that live there Mumbai from the air is relatively small but as we taxied out to the run way - a 20 minute journey- we got our first real look at slum housing before rising up over the city and away to Delhi.
Although we didn’t arrive in Delhi until 17:40, we still undertook our New Delhi bus tour... saw a huge Mosque with the Indians coming for evening prayer at sunset...Passed the amazing monuments the British built for themselves during their 150 years in India...pondered over the preparations for the Commonwealth Games in October...can they possibly be ready in time??? drove past the India Gate in New Delhi to see the crowds of people who come out to picnic and/or bed down for the night on the grassed area that surrounds it before finally passing the security check into The Taj Hotel at 8:00pm...What a surprise!!! The luxury was unbelievable. Dinner was ready down there!!! When we looked at the two storey, broad, sweeping ,marble staircase that took us to the dining room, we felt so inappropriately dressed in our travel clothes that had been on our backs for the past 14 hours, we dashed up to our seventh story room to change only to be taken aback further by the pillow menu, bedside slippers, bathrobes, orchid and dream wish on our pillow...It was then we realized how tough this shore excursion was really going to be ...but wait. There is more!!! After dinner we climbed into bed and you have never slept on such a heavenly bed...Our only regret was that by now it was 10:00pm and we were getting a 4:20am wakeup call in the morning!
That’s when my camera battery ran out and all spare batteries, gels, knives, cell phones etc were safely locked away in our luggage and on their way ahead of us by bus to Agra. photos of the amazing scenes at the Delhi railway station nor of the c=scenes from our railway carriage window. To Hobo 1’s disappointment we never got to ride first class, in the air conditioned “comfort” of the roof top. We were in very civilised surroundings being served tea as we travelled the 2.5 hrs to Agra.
Breakfast was at the JayPee Hotel...another equally amazing hotel..before our tour of the Agra Fort...built originally in red sandstone as an octagonal fort and prayer centre overlooking the sacred Yamuna River by Akbar... Shahjahan had it “converted” to a summer palace built of white marble, inlaid with precious stones and coloured glass to have it shine and produce more light...from here we caught our first glimpse of the Taj Mahal...both structures are truely amazing and extremely beautiful.
We returned to the Jaypee to shower, change, lunch and rest before moving on to the Taj Mahal. We were able to roam freely throughout the site from 3:00pm till sunset at 5:30 pm. It is school holiday time and tourists from southern India were out in force touring as well. What a riot of colour and dress we enjoyed as we toured. We were photographing the Indians and they were photographing us! It was such a fun afternoon...The Raj, his wife and his daughter lie buried inside this magnificent tomb on its huge marble platform.

On the return journey home I resisted the temptation to buy the most glorious silk persian rug valued at only $10 000 shown to us at an artisans' display was just the most beautiful rug but Hobo 1 couldn't see it fitting into our home. I suggested we should buy a home to fit the rug...but he wouldn't even agree to that!
Back at the JayPee we were entertained by a very sensuous dance performance before dinner and bed.

To be calls and the Arabian Sea while calm has a gentle swell that does not lend itself to staying too long transfixed to computer! The captain has just described it as a "honeymoon" day and it certainly is.

P.S. The little squirrels run all over the place. They have four dark stripes down their backs where one of the gods stroked their ancestors.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


8/06/2010 6:08 AM
Well here we are cruising off Cochin waiting for a pilot to take us in. I’ve had my first glimpse of India...A row of lights in the soft light of dawn and the inevitable array of vessels from the tiny fishing boats I photographed earlier to the big bulk carriers... We’ll be off the blog for the next three days ...tonight we are in Delhi . We went through the immigration inspection yesterday and have our ports packed so we can be the first group off the ship around 7:45am...this is the start of our long, busy days on the sub continent. We take a five hour flight to Delhi this morning and tour the city this afternoon. Then after a 4:30am start tomorrow we travel by train to Agra and our visit to the Taj Mahal at sunset. Next morning its back to Delhi by coach and among other things a rickshaw ride through Delhi streets..before catching an airline flight back to Mumbai to board the ship just before sailing around 10:30 pm...The mobile phone should be back in action once we are ashore...Till Thursday...This is the fishing fleet... 60 odd of these little boats are currently heading out past us for the days fishing...quite spectacular!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bay of Bengal 2

6 June 2010

Still proceding west across the bay towards the tip of Sri at 5.51 N and 84.45 E. Seas still moderate to rough. Have our final details for India...seems it could be quite an adventure...last years train trip was delayed for 4 hours when the train hit a sacred cow..."Be prepared to be surprised" is the advice...with very limited sleep time on the trip we are continuing to take the day very quietly...bought ourselves chocolates and gave ourselves a latte and chocolate fix for lunch while listening to this string quartette. Weather and emotions more settled today.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bay of Bengal

5 June 2010
What does one write when one’s heart is so heavy and you’re 5000 miles away from you all with a rough mounting sea, rain and 4.5m waves?
Our position is 6.10degrees north and 91.29 degrees east headed straight for the tip of Sri Lanka with ships to the left and right of us. We woke from a sleepless night to find 12 ships in view and the constant stream hasn’t stopped all day although now we are only seeing the odd one that emerges close enough to be seen through the misty rain.
And what does one do on a cloudy, showery day in the Bay of Bengal...mad things like take photos to share some of shipboard life with of the tasty treat we have to bypass daily, the ice carving that accompanied the executive chef Manlio’s Thai lunch buffet...the fruit carvings created to decorate the Horizon Food Court... the twelve bays of photos already on display enticing us to spend our hard earned dollars...the beautiful crystal gifts from Swarovski on the bargain tables today - 20% off...those birds are tempting but at $1 200? We resist the temptation...while Hobo 1 finished “The Persimmon Tree” I took in a couple of movies from the comfort of my bed ...then Ann’s email arrived...and I don’t need to say any more...we needed to and strength to you all.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Heading for India

Friday, 4 June 2010
Here we are tonight on our way to India having left Langkawi at 6:00pm. Our current position is 6.15 degrees N, 99.18 degrees E and we are travelling at 19.4 knots. Our colds are improving but we have come back to the cabin early again tonight rather than share our germs with others.
Beaver Bill will show the exhilarating day he had joining us on our tour of the tidal mangrove waterways of Langkawi as we explored a bat cave; visited a fish farm; watched the Brahminy Kites (eagles)diving to be fed, photographed wild monkeys in the trees around us and travelled out into the open sea to see Southern Thailand across the channel. He joined us for lunch at The Bayview Hotel shopped with us at The Zon, a duty free shopping centre which was the highlight of the day for Hobo 1!!! We lashed out and bought ourselves toothpaste, cough drops and a small $9 clutch purse for me as I left mine at home.
Does random _rulze have a birthday coming up soon? How would you boys like to be earning a living as fishermen out in these little squid fishing boats we passed last thing tonight? See the lights hung out on the side of them. These light up the skyline like a city once night falls as the fishermen scatter across the ocean.
Strong winds are forecast as we cut across the southern extent of the Bay of Bengal so this may sort us out a little. We’ve had nothing but mill pond conditions since we left Sydney. It should be good to feel a bit of weather under us so we know we are on a ship and not in a block of high rise flats.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Malaysia 1

3 June 2010
Spent the day in Malaysia... surprised at the extent of palm oil industry which is a palm tree imported originally from South Africa and the export of charcoal made from mangroves is a major industry as well... had the best cup of tea since we left Ubobo at a Malay home stay house we visited this morning...the family has turned the whole of their tiny yard into an orchid garden ...amazing ! Saw the largest Mosque in SE Asia- holds 16 000 at prayer...saw the Sultan/King’s palace ...and visited Little India a preliminary bout before the main event in four days time!
After dinner enjoyed another wonderful sail away up on deck 14 headed for Northern Malaysia – Langkawi where we will cruise through the islands and feed sea eagles.
The local currency is called a ringgit and is worth 35c Australian and Hobo 1 thinks he’ll get three stubbies for the price of one. The malaca strait is the busiest shipping lane in the world with 140 000 vessels per year into singapore alone. So Hobo 1 is having a ball!!!!
For those concerned for his welfare...Hobo 1 has his say every night as we write this together...he's not suffering too much.

Over and out from the Malaca Straits at 3.16degreesN and 101.8 degrees east.

Port Kelang

We are now at anchor in Port kelang 2.57 degrees N and 101.18 degrees E. I'm trying again to post photos from last night before we head ashore. Boy is it hot and steamy here today! AND the sun is just rising...something to look forward to for the day.
Sorry can't get Battle Box photo to work so am including one of the Generals at work.


2 June 2010
Another great tour choice was made today...The Battlefields of Singapore...had a very informative tour of Changi Chapel outside the old Changi prison, the Battle Box where the British Army Generals made the decision to surrender to the Japanese in Feb 1942 and the War Memorial and Cemetery at Kranji...We won the jackpot as far as tour guides go – a British historian who has lived in Singapore for the past 30 years. He made history come alive. Have a look at the wax model of General Percival agreeing with his fellow generals to surrender . It was rather eerie.. with bombing noises surrounding us and these life size figures beside us ... quite surreal.
We left Singapore at sunset ...have never seen so much shipping ... The ships photographed may have been oil drilling rigs??? Anyway they made great photo shots.
Rhys was interested in our position...This map is what we can see at any time of day or night to tell us exactly where we are. I’ll keep the position details up for you Rhys... as I sat down to write we were entering the Strait of Malaca, west of Kukup at 1015N and 103o23E.
Sorry for the lack of a posting yesterday. I was too busy!!!!
Hobo 1 confined himself to the cabin for the day to kill his wog, while I undertook the mundane tasks of washing and ironing. Between loads I took in the crossing of the equator and the associated ceremony by King Neptune who treated all polliwogs to an initiation ceremony. As shellbacks (old timers at crossing the equator) we received another certificate to celebrate the event. Then in the afternoon, as a Platinum member of the Princess Cruisers club , I attended a pre-dinner cocktail party with Captain Mc Bain. After dinner, i went to the Vista Lounge to enjoy Grant Galea a vocalist who impersonates singer like Elvis and Dean Martin. He was excellent! I then retired to the Atrium Lounge for half an hour to enjoy singers Alan and Alana who play dance music, encourage sing-a-longs and present a trivia quiz every second night. My return to the cabin found the patient much improved and ready for his tour of Singapore.
Tomorrow is Kuala Lumpur- the first of our two Malaysian tours. Try to get another posting away tomorrow night.
Hobo 1 says he’s feeling much better today but is in trouble because he has eaten all the cough lollies in the cabin and is now suffering mental anguish because he has been accused of lacking discipline, being selfish and self -scented which of course is not true.