A Travellerspoint blog

April 30, 2016 - May 10, 2016

Australia


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

RTW Day 152 4 days at sea heading for Hilo, Hawaii. We have 10 sea days this segment heading for Los Angeles on June15 so I plan to do more shipboard living pics.

We had been in Australia, New Zealand and French Polynesia in 2013 for 2 months. We spent 5 days in Cairns, 5 days in Brisbane and 5 days in Sydney before getting on the ship for 36 days ending in Papeete, Tahiti. We had a lot of time for tours and sightseeing at that time so skipped most of the arranged tours this trip and just did city tours.

April 30, 2016 Darwin, Australia
Roger’s tour of Darwin Military Past was cancelled so he had some R&R time. My tour was for the Highlights of Darwin’s Historic past. The first stop was at the Fannie Bay Gaol (prison) Museum used from 1883-1979. The Infirmary was last used in 1952 to hang 2 young men convicted of killing a taxi driver.
4-30.4 Infirmary and Gallows

4-30.4 Infirmary and Gallows


4-30.13 Fannie Bay Gaol gallows

4-30.13 Fannie Bay Gaol gallows

The next stop was at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. The museum housed a collection of Aboriginal, Southeast Asian and Oceanic art. There was also a comprehensive display of the devastation and re-building of Darwin after Cyclone Tracy hit on Christmas Eve in 1974.
4-30.19 Aboriginal Art

4-30.19 Aboriginal Art

The final stop was at the George Darwin Botanical Garden. It was a pleasant place with of lots of natural native plants. However, the season was going into fall and most plants were done flowering. There was a wedding party starting to arrive at the garden for the ceremony as we were leaving.
4-30.35 Pony Tail Plant

4-30.35 Pony Tail Plant

May 3, 2016 Cairns, Australia (overnight stay)
There were more high seas and storms predicted for Cooktown so the captain decided to pass this port and head for Cairns. We arrived in late afternoon so a lot of us got off the ship to have dinner on land. Roger and I found a nice Thai restaurant then did a walk around town. Not too much night life going on.

May 4 We walked back into town for some shopping. Roger looked for caches and I got 2 pair of shoes and a new piece of art…..
5-7 (2) New Art from Carins

5-7 (2) New Art from Carins


5-4.2 Banyon Tree House

5-4.2 Banyon Tree House


5-4r (11) Flying Foxes (tree bats)

5-4r (11) Flying Foxes (tree bats)

May 5, 2016 Townsville, Australia
Walked into town. There were a lot of small boutique shops. Roger found a cache and we had a Subway lunch.
5-5.5 Singer Sewing Machines Townsville, Australia

5-5.5 Singer Sewing Machines Townsville, Australia


5-5r (1) Wall Art Townsville, Australia

5-5r (1) Wall Art Townsville, Australia

May 7, 2016 Brisbane, Australia
We were scheduled to be in Newcastle on the 8th but the captain was informed that there were to be protests in the harbor blocking our entrance. This had something to do with ECO environment. The bummer was we had a Cheese and Wine tour set up for there. We did the Hop-off-hop-on bus in Brisbane for about 1 ½ hours and made 15 stops. There was a pedestrian shopping district at Queen Street that we did a hop-off. Brisbane is 53 miles from Surfers Paradise where we stayed 3 years ago.
5-7 (8) Regatta Hotel

5-7 (8) Regatta Hotel


5-7 (34) Rental Bikes

5-7 (34) Rental Bikes


5-7 (35) Brisbane building art

5-7 (35) Brisbane building art


5-7r (34) Brisbane skyline

5-7r (34) Brisbane skyline


5-7r (53) Love the Shoes!!

5-7r (53) Love the Shoes!!

May 9, 2016 Sydney, Australia (overnight stay)
The ship is docked in Circular Quay which has great views of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. We walked to the Darling Harbour side for some sightseeing and shopping. Had to make a visit to the Hard Rock for t-shirts and pin. The Jimmy B. Margaretville restaurant is gone. Walked around and observed the changes that have happened in the last 3 years. Took a ferry back to the Quay harbour and enjoyed the ride on the river.
5-9 (3) Darling Harbor, Sydney

5-9 (3) Darling Harbor, Sydney


5-9 (12) Harbour bridge

5-9 (12) Harbour bridge


5-9 (21)Opera House from ferry

5-9 (21)Opera House from ferry


5-9 (31) People walking the bridge

5-9 (31) People walking the bridge


5-9 (35) Roger on Harbour ferry

5-9 (35) Roger on Harbour ferry

May 10, 2016
We took a walk around Circular Quay, out to the Dawes point under the bridge. A very lovely, quiet park. A wedding couple were having their photos taken there. We had to be back on ship by 4pm for another life boat drill.
5-10 (7) Dawes Point

5-10 (7) Dawes Point


5-10 (9) Cache find under the harbour bridge

5-10 (9) Cache find under the harbour bridge


5-10r (1) Opera House

5-10r (1) Opera House

We were scheduled to be in Hobart on May 12 but, again, high seas caused the captain to change our plans. We went straight over to Wellington, NZ with 4 sea days that were very rough but we just went with the bumps and rolls. This was the first time they brought out barf bags.

Sorry we didn't have much to show on this section. Next entry is New Zealand.

Happy Sailing

Posted by pointslj 13:22 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

April 20-28, 2016

Malaysia and Indonesia


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

Today (5-22) is RTW day #140. This is the last day of 3 days at sea in route to Apia, Samoa on 5/23. We will cross the international dateline tomorrow so we will be repeating 5/23 in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

April 20, 2016 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu was almost completely destroyed during WW2 with just the clock tower and the post office spared. We did not have a tour scheduled so took the shuttle into town for a look around. There was a fairly new 6 story shopping mall for retail therapy. We did find a good pair of binoculars there.
4-20 (5) Kota Kinabalu port

4-20 (5) Kota Kinabalu port


4-20 (9) Shopping Mall

4-20 (9) Shopping Mall

April 21, 2016 Muara, Brunei
I did a Brunei Cultural tour and Water Village visit. The tour shows the contrast between the extravagant sultan and the life in a village built on stilts. The first stop was The Royal Regalia Building.
The sultan was crowned in 1968 and is highly respected by the country. He seems to be down to earth and actually works at a real job in government. They have a very large gas and oil production off shore. The sultan has decreed that auto gas will not rise above 53 cents!!! However, the price for cars is very high. The museum includes items used in the lavish coronation in 1968 and other celebrations. The royal chariot and ceremonial swords are still used today for national celebrations, the next being the 50th anniversary of the sultan coronation in 2018. The museum also contains gifts from various foreign dignitaries. We had to be shoeless and no photos allowed inside, sorry.
4-21 (10) Muara, Brunei Royal Regalia Museum

4-21 (10) Muara, Brunei Royal Regalia Museum


Royal Chariot and Coronation Throne

Royal Chariot and Coronation Throne


4-21 (50) Royal Boat

4-21 (50) Royal Boat


Royal Palace of Brunei

Royal Palace of Brunei

We then boarded a small river boat for the journey to the Water Village. The village has been there for 1300 years and has 30,000 folks in residence. The structures on stilts include homes, restaurants, shops, mosques, schools and hospital all connected by wooden boardwalks. Some were in better shape than others. We had to take off shoes to enter the family home for tea and some finger food snacks. The home was quite long and large but there were 5 related families living there with about 30 folks.
4-21 (15) Water Village

4-21 (15) Water Village


4-21 (31) Family house

4-21 (31) Family house

The final stop was the Jame Mosque, the largest in Brunei. The mosque was built to honor the 25 year reign of the sultan. It has 4 minarets and 29 golden domes. We arrived during prayer time and could not go in.
4-21 (57) Jame Mosque

4-21 (57) Jame Mosque

4-21 (61) Government House

4-21 (61) Government House

April 23, 2016 Kuching, Malaysia
I did a tour of the Sarawak Cultural Village. This is a ‘living museum” with about 150 folks dedicated to preserve and showcase the states cultural heritage. There are 7 primary ethnic groups represented in the village through replicas of houses that include Melanau tall house, Malay town house, Chinese farm house and the Bidayuh which was a head hunting tribe. Members of each tribe, dressed in traditional costume, were there to explain their culture and for storytelling. Following the tour of the houses, we enjoyed a folkloric performance. Wearing bright costumes and jewelry, the dancers tell stories through their movements and live music.
4-23 (17) Bidayuh Bamboo Bridge

4-23 (17) Bidayuh Bamboo Bridge


4-23 (22) Bidayuh wood carver

4-23 (22) Bidayuh wood carver


4-23 (24) Bidayuh House

4-23 (24) Bidayuh House


4-23 (29) Iban Longhouse

4-23 (29) Iban Longhouse


4-23 (35) Iban Instruments

4-23 (35) Iban Instruments


4-23 (41) Iban weaving

4-23 (41) Iban weaving


4-23 (49) Orang Ulu  log steps

4-23 (49) Orang Ulu log steps


4-23 (55) Bead weaver

4-23 (55) Bead weaver


4-23 (58) Orang Ulu house

4-23 (58) Orang Ulu house


4-23 (83) Cultural dance

4-23 (83) Cultural dance


4-23 (71) Sago Palm flour

4-23 (71) Sago Palm flour


4-23 (107) Kuching cemetary

4-23 (107) Kuching cemetary


4-23 (113) Kuching Cat Statue

4-23 (113) Kuching Cat Statue

April 26, 2016 Bali, Indonesia
We took a cab to the Hard Rock Café at the beach for some t-shirts and guitar pin. We had a walk along the beach which had MANY vendors. Roger found a “virtual” cache at an old temple.
We declined to attend the Royal Balinese Feast that evening but may have been a mistake. We heard that it was over the top entertainment for the Around the World people .
4-26.3 Bali dancers at port

4-26.3 Bali dancers at port


4-26.24 Bali beach

4-26.24 Bali beach

April 28, 2016 Komodo, Indonesia
The Komodo National Park was established in 1980 in order to protect the Komodo dragon. This endangered species can get up to 11 ft and weigh 300 pounds. The dragons(Monitor Lizards) as ambush hunters and are quite capable of taking down local deer and wild boar. Even if their prey should escape the attack their wounds will not heal and they will eventually die from infection. Then using it's acute sense of smell the lizard will track down it's kill. Roger put his trust into the hands of the park ranger and did a tour of the island. I declined to participate….. He came back with lots of pictures and all limbs attached but did not find a cache there. He also saw a cobra but the snake skittish writer of this blog declined to include photos.
4-28r (12) Komodo Dragons

4-28r (12) Komodo Dragons


4-28r (10) Dragon sniffing for a meal

4-28r (10) Dragon sniffing for a meal


4-28r (17) Dragon close-up

4-28r (17) Dragon close-up

This is some of the marvelous temptation we face every day to avoid gaining weight! And one of my finished pictures from art class.
4-22 (1) Cupcake Tea Time on ship

4-22 (1) Cupcake Tea Time on ship


4-22 (5) At sea art class

4-22 (5) At sea art class

Next entry is for Australia

Happy Sailing!!

Posted by pointslj 17:53 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

April 11 - April 18, 2016

Japan and Philippines


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

RTW day # 130 In route to Wellington, New Zealand. Due to heavy seas around Hobart, Tasmania, the captain changed the route to go from Sydney straight to N.Z. We will be at sea for 4 days for the crossing. We had a large turnover of folks (and crew) in Sydney. The newbies that we have dinner with all want to know about our 4 1/2 month journey. Everything still going great but miss you guys and Skylar.

Now to Japan....

April 11, 2016 Hiroshima, Japan
Roger and I had separate tours. I took a ferry to the Island of Miyajima. This is the location of the Itsukushima Shrine that projects into the Seto Island Sea. The Shrine is protected by the large red Torii Gate rising out of the ocean. The current version of the gate was built in 1875 after the original one was destroyed.
4-11.14 Torii Gate

4-11.14 Torii Gate

I was there at low tide but at high tide the shrine looks like it is floating on water. The shrine was established in 593 and is a UNESCO site. There is a belief that if you have an un-pure spirit, lightning will strike you if you enter the shrine gate. There are sticks with white rags to cleanse your spirit before entering. People also tie wishes to the rails in the shrine.
4-11.15 Itsukushima Shrine

4-11.15 Itsukushima Shrine


4-11.19 Evil protectors

4-11.19 Evil protectors


4-11.27 Bails of rice

4-11.27 Bails of rice

There are 100’s of free roaming deer on the island which are very friendly and hungry. They like to steal paper maps and tickets to eat and any food you might have. There were a lot of small shops and eateries there. The favorite treats were maple leaf shaped sponge cake cookies with a variety of fillings and shops selling BBQ, grilled, or steamed oysters. I had the cookies but not the oysters.
4-11.41 Oyster lunch

4-11.41 Oyster lunch


4-11.42 Deer waiting for lunch

4-11.42 Deer waiting for lunch

Roger’s tour was Highlights of Hiroshima. Hiroshima has declared itself a city of peace dedicated to a nuclear weapons-free world. Following the bomb attack, only a few concrete buildings remained standing. One of these has been named the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Next, a visit to the Atomic Bomb Dome which is located near the epicenter of the blast and declared a UNESCO site in 1996. The mound contains the ashes of tens of thousands of victims burned too badly to be identified.
4-11r (30) Hiroshima Peace Memorial

4-11r (30) Hiroshima Peace Memorial


4-11r (36) Memorial Tower

4-11r (36) Memorial Tower


4-11r (38) Bell of Peace

4-11r (38) Bell of Peace


4-11r (41) Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound

4-11r (41) Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound

The site also has a Children’s Peace Monument. This is dedicated to the thousands of children killed and to Sadako Sasaki who was 2 years old when the blast occurred. 10 years later, she contacted leukemia. During her 8 month hospital stay, she folded paper cranes in hope of a cure. Another monument is the Flame of Peace. This site is visited daily by monks offering prayers and burning incense.
4-11r (42)  Childrens Peace Monument(Paper Cranes)

4-11r (42) Childrens Peace Monument(Paper Cranes)


4-11r (43) Peace Flame

4-11r (43) Peace Flame

Finally a visit to the beautiful and serene Shukkei-en Gardens. The garden was started in 1620 and the name means “shrink-scenery garden” which expresses the idea of collecting and miniaturizing many scenic views. The garden was destroyed by the bomb blast and re-opened to the public in 1951. This is a favorite location for newlyweds to be photographed.
4-11r Shukkeien Garden (10)

4-11r Shukkeien Garden (10)


4-11r Shukkeien Garden (15)

4-11r Shukkeien Garden (15)

April 12, 2016 Kyoto, Japan (Kobe)
We did a tour of Nara and Osaka. After a 2 hour drive, we reached Nara, the oldest capital of Japan (710-784) and has 8 UNESCO sites. Founded in 752, the Todaiji Temple is known for its 49 foot tall Daibutsu Buddha statue. The 8th century cast bronze statue is housed in an all-wood building.
4-12r (7) Temple gate

4-12r (7) Temple gate


4-12r (15) Todaiji Temple

4-12r (15) Todaiji Temple


4-12r (16) Temple during a celebration

4-12r (16) Temple during a celebration


4-12r (17) Daibutsu Buddha

4-12r (17) Daibutsu Buddha


4-12r (22) Carved wood warrior

4-12r (22) Carved wood warrior

The temple is surrounded by 1300 acres of woodlands and is home to 1000’s of free roaming deer. The deer are considered messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion. We then had a Bento Box and beer lunch at a local restaurant. Yummy!!
4-12 (18) Bento Box lunch

4-12 (18) Bento Box lunch


4-12 (19) Bento Box lunch

4-12 (19) Bento Box lunch

Following lunch we drove back to the Osaka Castle. Built on a plot of land 1 mile square, the compound contains 13 structures. The central castle building is 5 stories on the outside and 8 stories on the inside. The massive stone foundation, wing-tip roofs with gilded decorations and museum are the main points of interest. The museum is on the 3rd & 4th floors and the top observation floor has a panorama view of the compound.
4-12 (28) Osaka Castle

4-12 (28) Osaka Castle


4-12 (29)  Osaka Castle moat

4-12 (29) Osaka Castle moat



After arriving back at the ship just in time for sailing, some passengers were talking about the great Kobe beef meals they had onshore. DARN!!! We forgot about the Kobe beef.

April 14, 2016 Naha (Okinawa), Japan
I did a tour to the Traditional Arts and Crafts Center to participate in a class to learn the art of Ryukyu Bingata. This is a multicolored dyeing process used for silks and fibers. Since the 15th century, Bingata-dyed fabrics have been produced in the Ryukyu Islands for formal wear by women of the Royal House or select religious leaders. My project is a small tote bag with a hibiscus. The bag has a protective layer of rice paste to keep the dye from going outside the lines. When I get home, this needs to be washed off to complete the project.
4-14 (9) Bingata Project

4-14 (9) Bingata Project


4-14 (17) Painting done

4-14 (17) Painting done

Outside the Craft center, there was a giant Tug-of-War Rope displayed. The teacher said it was actually used but the sign was in Japanese to describe the process.
4-14 (19) Giant Tug-of-War Rope

4-14 (19) Giant Tug-of-War Rope

After some free time for retail therapy, we continued to the Shurijo Castle. This complex of buildings served as the administrative center and residence of the Ryukyu kings for several centuries until Okinawa became a Japan state. Wars and fires destroyed the castle many times over the centuries, the last one being the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. The current buildings were reconstructed in 1992. In July 2000, President Clinton attended a G8 summit at this location.
4-14 (25) Snake in a jar wine

4-14 (25) Snake in a jar wine


4-14 (28) Shurijyo Castle

4-14 (28) Shurijyo Castle


4-14 (37) Throne room

4-14 (37) Throne room

Roger’s tour was the Battle of Okinawa. The first stop was the Former Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters tunnel complex. This is located where Rear Admiral Ota and his men desperately fought to the end on June 13, 1945. The tunnels, which were constructed using hoes and picks, still exist in their original condition. There is a walk down 101 steps to the tunnels
4-14r (4) Underground Navy Headquarters

4-14r (4) Underground Navy Headquarters


4-14r (10) Comanding Officer's Room

4-14r (10) Comanding Officer's Room

Next is the Himeyuri Monument dedicated to more than 200 female students and their teachers who died as volunteer nurses in the battle.
4-14r (36)  Memorial for High School Kids that Died working in Surgical Hospital Cave.

4-14r (36) Memorial for High School Kids that Died working in Surgical Hospital Cave.

Finally, a drive thru the hills of Mabuni to reach the Okinawa Peace Memorial. The names of nearly 200,000 lives-lost are inscribed on stone plaques.
4-14r (22) Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

4-14r (22) Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum


4-14r (29)  Area where the US dead named.

4-14r (29) Area where the US dead named.

April 17, 2016 Manila, Philippines
Roger did a tour of the island of Corregidor. The island is strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay. Corregidor eventually fell to the Japanese after General MacArthur left to command troops in Australia. True to his promise, “I shall return”, he recaptured the island in March 1945. The island is covered with gun batteries and battle scarred buildings. After lunch was a visit to the Malinta Tunnel. The tunnel provided a bomb proof shelter for munitions, supplies and a 1000 bed hospital.
4-17 (7) Port of Manila

4-17 (7) Port of Manila


4-17r (7) Site of MacAuthur's Departure.

4-17r (7) Site of MacAuthur's Departure.


4-17r (14) Middleside Barracks after Attack on Dec 29, 1941

4-17r (14) Middleside Barracks after Attack on Dec 29, 1941


4-17r (35) Magazines

4-17r (35) Magazines


4-17r (41) Another of the many artillery emplacements on the Rock.

4-17r (41) Another of the many artillery emplacements on the Rock.


4-17r (95) Malinta Tunnel

4-17r (95) Malinta Tunnel


4-17r (92) Malinta Tunnel hospital

4-17r (92) Malinta Tunnel hospital


4-17r (96) Site of Wainwright's Surrender

4-17r (96) Site of Wainwright's Surrender

I took the shuttle bus to a very nice Mall for shopping. They had some strange vendors at the food court.
4-17 (18) Mall Food court

4-17 (18) Mall Food court


4-17 (19) Mall food court

4-17 (19) Mall food court

April 18, 2016 Boracay Island, Philippines
We both took a tour to the local beach. One of the nicest ones I have seen. We had a secure section of the beach with lovely white sand and soft waves for 4 hours. Lunch was included but not drinks. The drive to the beach was in a 6 person open van but the other crazy drivers were hanging off motor bike taxis.
4-18 (9) Island shops

4-18 (9) Island shops


4-18 (15) Island time

4-18 (15) Island time


4-18 (16) Boracay Island beach

4-18 (16) Boracay Island beach


4-18r (7) Motorbike Sidecart Taxis

4-18r (7) Motorbike Sidecart Taxis


4-18 (18) Entertainment at pier

4-18 (18) Entertainment at pier

The next entry will be for Malaysia and Indonesia

Happy Sailing!!!

Posted by pointslj 20:43 Archived in Japan Comments (1)

March 31 - April 9, 2016

Terra-cotta Warriors, Shanghai, South Korea


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

RTW day 123 - West Australia

March 31 – April 2, 2016 Xian, China Terra-cotta Warriors
3/31 Arrived at the port in Xiamen, China, transferred to the airport and arrived in Xian, China. Had a very nice 1-hour ride to the Old City Wall. The spring flowers and cherry trees were blooming. During the drive along the coast, we passed many statues of runners beside the road.
3-31. 14 Statues of runners

3-31. 14 Statues of runners

The Xian City wall was started by the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty created by enlarging an existing one from the Tang Dynasty. We checked into the Xian Hilton then did a walk around the local area.
3-31. 29 Xian city wall

3-31. 29 Xian city wall


3-31. 24 Xian city wall

3-31. 24 Xian city wall


3-31. 38 Hotel fire mask

3-31. 38 Hotel fire mask

4/1 The Terracotta Warriors, considered to be one of the greatest archaeological treasures, were accidently discovered in 1974 by a farmer digging a well. The thousands of clay soldiers were buried with China’s first emperor to accompany him in his after-life. There are 3 pits that are currently being excavated. Pit 1 is the largest with an estimated 6000 life size soldiers and horses and is the most active for restoration. Pit 2 has an estimated 2000 and Pit 3 has 65. The warriors are grouped by battle order, rank by rank, some mounted on horse drawn chariots and others in infantry groups armed with spears, swords and crossbows. Each figure has unique facial expression and hair styles. Pit 2 has a lot of the roof covering the soldiers. The roof was made up of logs and woven mats. During one of the dynasty wars, the soldiers were vandalized by burning them and knocking off the heads. This was a very fascinating place to see.
4-1. 23 Terracotta Warriors

4-1. 23 Terracotta Warriors


4-1. 28 Terra-cotta Warriors

4-1. 28 Terra-cotta Warriors


4-1. 30 Warriors & Horses

4-1. 30 Warriors & Horses


4-1. 31 Charriot

4-1. 31 Charriot


4-1. 32 Pit 2

4-1. 32 Pit 2


4-1. 53 Restoration work

4-1. 53 Restoration work


4-1. 52 Restoration work

4-1. 52 Restoration work

Following lunch, we did a tour of the Shaanxi Historical Museum. The museum exhibited historical relics of past dynasties of ceramic, bronze articles and stone carvings. After a return to the Hotel for a rest, we ventured out to the De Fa Chang Dumpling Restaurant for a Dumpling Banquet. We were served 19 different steam pots of dumplings on a Lazy Susan on the table. Our table of 10 had a great time picking out our dumpling dinner. Today started a 3-day national holiday. I forgot the name but the folks were to go to their family graves to clean them and get rid of bad spirits. Most folks take a 3-day holiday which adds to the tourist traffic.
4-1r (10) Springtime

4-1r (10) Springtime


4-1r (11) Dumpling dinner

4-1r (11) Dumpling dinner

4/2 Wild Goose Pagoda Originally built in 652ad at a height of 10 stories, to house the figurines of Buddha that a Chinese monk brought to Xian. After being damaged in various wars, only 7 stories remain.
4-2.1 Wild Goose Pagoda

4-2.1 Wild Goose Pagoda


4-2.7 Buddha & monks chanting

4-2.7 Buddha & monks chanting


4-2.14 Buddha

4-2.14 Buddha


4-2.15 Buddha

4-2.15 Buddha


4-2.27 Roger at Pagoda

4-2.27 Roger at Pagoda

We did a transfer to the airport, had lunch (More dumplings) then the flight back to Shanghai. There was heavy rain when we arrived.
4/3 The rain continued so we did not do the Hop-0n-Off bus tour.

4/4 The tour we had scheduled was cancelled due to the heavy holiday traffic and the ship was leaving early afternoon. We took the shuttle into town and did a walk along the river along with hundreds of holiday folks. Shanghai is known for its architecture. There are a few old buildings but the attention is on the newer construction and design.
4-2.41 Shanghai wires

4-2.41 Shanghai wires


4-4. 8 Shanghai pretty flowers

4-4. 8 Shanghai pretty flowers


4-4. 12 Rog finding cache in Shanghai

4-4. 12 Rog finding cache in Shanghai


4-4r (11) Shanghai port

4-4r (11) Shanghai port


4-4. 14 Old buildings

4-4. 14 Old buildings


4-4.15 New Buildings

4-4.15 New Buildings

4/5 Chejo, S. Korea Roger did a tour of the Lave Tubes and Crater.
4-5r (9) Lava Tube

4-5r (9) Lava Tube


4-5r (10) Chejo Korea Lava Raft

4-5r (10) Chejo Korea Lava Raft


4-5r (16) Lava Flow lines

4-5r (16) Lava Flow lines

4/7 Beijing and the Great Wall of China
Originally, we were to have an overnight in Beijing to see the Wall and the other sights of the city but the Chinese changed the rules for ships that they could not do 2 different ports without having a night at another country. So that prompted the stop in Chejo and the loss of the night in Beijing. We got up early and did a 3 hour bus ride to Badaling to view the wall and have lunch at an unrestored portion of the wall. The buffet lunch was very good and they also had Great Wall wine that was not so good. The beer was OK. The wall is 2,000 years old and 5,500 miles long beginning at the Yellow Sea and ending at the Gobi desert. In Badaling, the first section of the wall opened to tourists in 1957 after being restored. We had a short time to explore a small section of the wall before the 3 hour drive back to the ship.
4-7.31 Great Wall of China

4-7.31 Great Wall of China


4-7r (31) Great Wall

4-7r (31) Great Wall


4-7.32 Roger climbing the G.W.

4-7.32 Roger climbing the G.W.


4-7r (10) Lunch at Great Wall Remant

4-7r (10) Lunch at Great Wall Remant


4-7.23 Great Wall wine

4-7.23 Great Wall wine

4/9 Seoul, S. Korea
We did a tour of Seoul Highlights with Lunch. It was a 70 minute bus ride into Seoul from the port.
Gyeongbok Palace,
4-9.45 Palace of Shining Happiness

4-9.45 Palace of Shining Happiness

At the National Folk Museum, The Dol Hareubang statues, called Stone Grandfather, are made of volcanic basalt stone. Not a lot of information is known as to when they were created or why they are unique to Korea. It is believed that they provide protection to people and their places, guarding them from demons. Some believe that if an expecting girl wishes to have boy, she would rub the nose and for a girl, rub the ears. After the museum tour, we had a local lunch with a wide variety of small plates. Most were very good, and more local beer.
4-9.53  Korean Lunch

4-9.53 Korean Lunch


4-5r (19) Dol hareubang statue

4-5r (19) Dol hareubang statue


4-9.19 Dol Hareubang statues

4-9.19 Dol Hareubang statues

On the weekends the young girls and boys like to dress up and visit the tourist spots. They were very keen to have their photo taken.
4-9.26 Seoul Pagoda

4-9.26 Seoul Pagoda


4-9.52 Girls dress up, Seoul

4-9.52 Girls dress up, Seoul

Insadong (Mary’s Alley) was a pedistrian street of galleries, shops and crafts,
4-9r (29) Mary's Alley

4-9r (29) Mary's Alley

Next stop was the Cheongyecheon Stream, called the new symbol of Seoul. Between 1958-1976 shanties covered the area so they were removed and the area covered with concrete to improve the ascetics of the area. From 2003-2005 it was re-designed to be an Eco-friendly urban area for shops are business.
4-9.8 Cheongyecheon Stream

4-9.8 Cheongyecheon Stream

Next entry is for Japan and Philippines

Happy Sailing!!

Posted by pointslj 19:15 Archived in China Comments (0)

March 20-29, 2016

Vietnam and Hong Kong


View Around the World 2016 on pointslj's travel map.

RTW day 112 In route to Bali All is still well. We left Miami in Jan with 244 Around the World folks, then in Singapore on March 14, 104 of them left. In 2015 the original cruise was delayed leaving due to a ship engine file. They started in Singapore the middle of March 2015 and continued to Miami in July 2015. These folks did the missing part from Miami to Singapore in 2016. We lost a lot of friends in Singapore.

March 20, - Sihanookville, Cambodia
No tour scheduled here. Took shuttle bus into town. Nothing special. However on the way into port, we passed this island that I claim as my own.
3-20r.1 My island

3-20r.1 My island

March 22-23 - Saigon, Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City)
Mekong River Cruise tour on day 1. Drove to My Tho for a visit to the 150 year old Vinh Trang Pagoda. The location had many beautiful gardens, ponds, and a very large Happy Buddha. We then boarded a river boat for the cruise on the Mekong. We cruised on several branches of the river and saw fish and shrimp hatcheries.
3-22r.1 Vinh Trang Pagoda

3-22r.1 Vinh Trang Pagoda


3-22.32 Happy Buddha

3-22.32 Happy Buddha

A lot of the river boats have eyes painted on the front. Years ago, there were many alligators in the river and this painting was to scare them away from the boat. Now the alligators are all gone so I guess it worked.
3-22.15 Mekong river boat

3-22.15 Mekong river boat

Stopped for lunch at an open pavilion beside the river. The lunch was a variety of Vietnam foods, most of them pretty good. There was fish, soup, rice & vegetables.
3-22.38 Lunch

3-22.38 Lunch

Following lunch, we took a short walk thru a small plantation to the location of the sampan boats for a ride on a small canal. The boat/canoe was very narrow and only seated 4 folks. We rode with Woodie and Cheryl. It was pushed along the canal by 2 elderly ladies, one if front and one in back. We dare not stand up or move around too much to tip the boat. After the sampan ride, we stopped at a handicraft stall and watched a process to make coconut candy (It wasn’t very good), and a pavilion for some entertainment by local musicians and singers. There was also small round boats for 1 person to travel on the canal.
3-22.41 Canal boat

3-22.41 Canal boat


3-22.43 sampan on canal

3-22.43 sampan on canal


3-22r.2 Sanpan ride

3-22r.2 Sanpan ride

Back on the bus for the drive to the ship, we passed some “Hammock Café’s”. These are to give the motor bikers who ride long distances a chance to stop and rest their butts.
3-22.50 Hammock Cafe

3-22.50 Hammock Cafe

Day 2 Roger and I did different tours. There were 7 of us that did a Pedi Cab ride for 2 hours. I felt sorry for my “driver” as I MAY have put on a few extra pounds during this cruise. We meandered thru small side streets to get the feel of the real Saigon. I saw many kinds of street vendors and markets and even a wedding couple taking photos outside a cathedral. The scary part was there were hundreds of motor bikes and cars & trucks trying to go on the same street we were. Trying to get into traffic ……I shut my eyes and the driver started peddling. But we all made it back without an accident.
3-23.1 Pedicab ride

3-23.1 Pedicab ride


3-23.14 Vegetable market

3-23.14 Vegetable market


3-23.17 Fish market

3-23.17 Fish market


3-23.19 Flower market

3-23.19 Flower market


3-23.20 Meat market

3-23.20 Meat market


3-23.68 Pedi cab traffic

3-23.68 Pedi cab traffic

Roger went on the “Good Morning Vietnam” tour. There was a stop at the “American” War Museum to see planes, tanks and bombs and countless artifacts and photographs. After lunch was a drive past General Westmoreland residence on the way to the Cu Chi Tunnels. There was also a demonstration of rice paper making.
3-23r.3 Good Morning Vietnam!

3-23r.3 Good Morning Vietnam!


3-23r.4 Cu Chi Tunnel entrance

3-23r.4 Cu Chi Tunnel entrance


3-23r.5 Making Rice paper

3-23r.5 Making Rice paper

March 25 - Ha Long Bay, Vietnam (Overnight on a Junk)
Ship docked several hours late. We arrived at the junk just before sunset. We headed to a cove to visit the Sung Sot (Surprise Cave). This is a giant cave 120 steps above the lagoon. Roger was brave enough to make the climb.
3-25r.3 Suprise Cave

3-25r.3 Suprise Cave

After the groups return to the junk, we did a small tour of the hundreds of limestone islets before it got too dark. Anchored for the night with a few other junks and had a good dinner. The junk was old but in good condition. The interior was all wood and beautiful. The bedroom was small but had a queen bed and the bathroom was very modern. The dinner was a large variety of foods but not too spicy.
3-25.1 Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

3-25.1 Ha Long Bay, Vietnam


3-25r.1 Junk boat overnight tour

3-25r.1 Junk boat overnight tour


3-25.5 Junk dining room

3-25.5 Junk dining room


3-25.7 Junk bed room

3-25.7 Junk bed room


3-25r.4 Junk boat hall

3-25r.4 Junk boat hall


3-25.13 Deck of Junk on Ha Long Bay

3-25.13 Deck of Junk on Ha Long Bay


3-25r.2 Ha Long Bay

3-25r.2 Ha Long Bay


3-25.31 Dinner on Junk

3-25.31 Dinner on Junk


3-25.33 Dinner on Junk

3-25.33 Dinner on Junk


3-25r.5 Junks overnight

3-25r.5 Junks overnight

March 26 - Hanoi, Vietnam
We had a good breakfast and left the ship at 6:30am for the 3 hour bus ride to Hanoi. We made a stop at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum but it was way too busy to be able to tour.
3-26.3 Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, Hanoi

3-26.3 Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, Hanoi

Went past a marker on the Lake where John McCain was shot down and a visit to the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) where he was a prisoner. We had a nice lunch at a local hotel then did a walking tour of 36th Street District in the ancient quarter. The streets are named after the tradesmen that worked in them i.e. Tin St, Paper St, Silk St.
3-26r.1 John McCain plaque

3-26r.1 John McCain plaque


3-26r.2 Hanoi Hilton

3-26r.2 Hanoi Hilton


3-26.36 Hot sauces, anyone

3-26.36 Hot sauces, anyone


3-26.38 Weasel digested coffee beans

3-26.38 Weasel digested coffee beans

The last stop was a visit to Tran Quoc Pagoda that is one of the oldest in Vietnam. At the pagoda, there was a large group of school children that wanted to stop and talk to us to improve their English. Some of the offerings to the gods in the afterlife were a little strange. We then did the 3 hour drive back to the ship.
3-26.19 School kids at temple

3-26.19 School kids at temple


3-26.22 Offerings

3-26.22 Offerings


3-26.25 Offerings for spirits

3-26.25 Offerings for spirits

March 28-29 - Hong Kong
We did a nighttime tour of Kowloon. The neon lights on the hotels, restaurants, pubs and shops were very bright from the top of a double-decker bus. Them we did a stop at the Temple Street Night Market. Amazing how many folks were out shopping that late. For my Mah Jongg friends, here is a photo of a M.J. Club that heavy betting goes on inside (So I’m told!), & you must be a member to go in.
3-28r.1 Temple St. night market

3-28r.1 Temple St. night market


3-28r.2 Mah Jongg Club

3-28r.2 Mah Jongg Club

3-29 - We did a daytime Hop-on-hop-off bus tour. There was a lot of new construction going on and every 20 years the law requires the buildings be inspected. Amazingly, they use bamboo poles for scaffolding. There is another law that every 10th floor needs to be vacant to be a fire break. Good idea!!
3-29.14 bamboo scaffolding

3-29.14 bamboo scaffolding


3-29r.2 Scaffolding connection

3-29r.2 Scaffolding connection

We hopped off at a Hard Rock Café for lunch and t-shirts. We also got off at a place called the Ladies Market but we were not very impressed. We have been looking for a pair of good binoculars since India but have not had any luck. Did not find them here either. There is a Walt Disney Park here that we had intended to go but after reading the brochure, did not think it worth the trouble. It was very small and not many rides. They did have an Ocean Park Amusement place that was very large but we did not have the time to visit. Every evening the H.K. skyscrapers have a great light show.
3-29.10 Hong Kong

3-29.10 Hong Kong

3-29r.1 H.K. Cemetary

3-29r.1 H.K. Cemetary

3-29r.3 Downtown H.K.

3-29r.3 Downtown H.K.

3-29r.4 H.K. light show

3-29r.4 H.K. light show

Item for my lady friends, for the last several months when on tour and making a rest room stop, the first ones in report how many Western toilets are there. Usually there are only one or two available. We always take our t.p. or kleenex with us. We don’t squat very well any more.
3-29.31 Ladies toilet

3-29.31 Ladies toilet

Next stop is the Terracotta Warriors in China

Happy Sailing

Posted by pointslj 21:21 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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