transportation

On to Penang

As our journey through Malaysia continues we find ourselves in Penang. Enroute from the Perhentian Islands we stopped for a few days at the Bali Beach Resort just outside of Kuala Besut. Nice place, but it certainly is a lesson in experiencing another culture. It just so happened we arrived there during the first day of Ramadan. As this area of Malaysia is predominately Muslim it made for a quiet stay. Quiet as in the only restaurant in the area open during the day was the one in the resort and they were definitely geared down for the month. Fortunately the pool is great and the rooms had fantastic views so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Lesson learned.

On to Penang.

Firefly Airline

We booked our flight on Malaysia Air but were flown to Penang on their budget airline, Firefly. Great airline, smooth landings and they served peanuts, I like peanuts! Quite enjoyable.

One of our new experiences we had in Penang is Uber. Wow! I understand it can be different in countries around the world, but here, it is awesome. I can see why taxi companies hate them. It would take an order of magnitude for any taxi company I have ever used to bring themselves up to the convenience, timelines, service, and price of what we have experienced with Uber in Penang. Love it.

Sunset from our apartment

The apartment we rented for the first ten days here is in an area that was described as lower middle class. I am not exactly sure what that means here, but I quite liked the area. I had a short conversation with a local in the restaurant, he was curious about where we were staying, as how he put it was “we don’t get many tourists around here”. The apartment was great, photo is of the sunset from our window, and the restaurants in the area were fantastic. And cheap.

It is hot here so casual walks around sightseeing can be a bit draining. We have gotten out to do a few and found the area safe, friendly, and interesting. Of course the most photogenic area we have been to is the UNESCO heritage site of Georgetown in the centre of Penang.

Pinang Fountain

This 4.8 metre high modern sculpture is meant to represent the betel nut, which is where the state derives its’ name from. Historical government building in the background.

Downing St.

The evidence and influence of 170+ years of British rule can be seen everywhere.

Little Children on a Bicycle

Ernest Zacharevic is a young Lithuania-born artist who did a series of murals on the walls in the streets of Penang. “Little Children on a Bicycle” is probably one of the most famous.

Boy on a Bike

A very popular activity for tourists is hunting down the location of all of the pieces of wall art around Georgetown.

Little Boy with Pet Dinosaur

Little Boy with Pet Dinosaur.

The Real Bruce Lee Would Never Do This

Not all the wall art is by Ernest Zacharevic. “The Real Bruce Lee Would Never Do This” mural is a sad example of how the climate is deteriorating the wall art all around Penang.

I look forward to returning several times over the next few weeks to explore more of the unique wall art here.

Poh Hock Seah Twa Peh Kong Temple

You never know what you will find around a corner in Georgetown. It lends itself to slow exploration.

We are super excited to be in Penang and get a feel for the pace of life here. Stay tuned for are further exploration of this great city.

Categories: Malaysia, Photography, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Row 30, Vietjet

All settled in for our flights out of Vietnam to Thailand.

Even though our trip from Nha Trang, Vietnam to Chiang Mai, Thailand went exactly as scheduled, that would not be what it seemed at several points during our journey. We (being Karen) had the trip all set. Taxi to airport, flights to Ho Chi Minh City with connections to Bangkok, Thailand, metro to train station in Bangkok, then an overnight train to Chiang Mai where we were to be picked up by the people we are house sitting for. Sounds simple.

The aggravation started in the Nha Trang airport when the security informed me that I had too many AA batteries and he would be confiscating about 30 of them. (This after I had just received them from my mother in law who had brought them to me from Canada) After a heated exchange and accusations that he was stealing them, I walked away 30 batteries poorer, and a bit angry. My breathing exercises got a solid workout in the departure lounge. However, one just has to let this stuff go….right? Well, let me tell you, after that type of exchange (and perhaps being a little paranoid) when you are at the next airport (Ho Chi Minh City)  waiting in line for immigration and you hear your name being paged over the airport public address system to report to the checked baggage inspection office, your stress level goes up significantly. After watching the lady in front of me have her packages cut open looking for contraband and having the clock ticking closer to our boarding time I was ready for confrontation and possibly missing our connecting flight. As it turned out no aggravation was necessary, the officer simply could not identify my diving light and knife in my luggage and was most polite about the entire exchange. We were able to get to the boarding lounge with 10 minutes to spare. Funny how we work ourselves up and most times it is for no reason. From then on it was flawless, for the most part.

Bangkok subway

As we experienced before, the Bangkok public transportation system was amazing. The subway was spotless and on time.

Metro Station

As well the Metro stations were clean and safe. As soon as we started looking around with that lost appearance an employee would appear to help us with directions.

Bangkok Train Station

It was a bit of a challenge negotiating the construction around the train station in Bangkok, but it was doable. We had purchased our tickets on line through 12go Asia. A fantastic service and very helpful. You simply pick up your tickets across the street from the station when you arrive.

Inside the station

You can board the train up to an hour before departure, however the people watching in the station waiting area is a fantastic way to pass the time.

Car 5 on train #13

We did board the train 45 minutes early because of our luggage. Yes, we are those people with the two large suitcases and the carry on bag each. So to facilitate keeping our stuff close to us we make sure to board early.

Having a drink

As alcohol is not allowed on Thai trains, we enjoyed an orange juice as we waited for departure. We find the second class coaches very nice. You have a table for cards or computers, power plug ins (if you have the right seats). And when you are ready to retire for the night the attendant comes and makes the beds for you.

Restaurant Car

On this trip we had committed to checking out the restaurant car. Very glad we did.

Breakfast time

The restaurant car is a busy place. We enjoyed a complete breakfast and great views.

View Outside

As the 2nd class coach we were in are air conditioned you are unable to open the windows. However the restaurant car has wonderfully large windows that slide right open, allowing for better views and picture taking.

Rainy Morning

Once we finished breakfast the rain started to fall as the train arrived in Chiang Mai. This made for a very cool pleasant arrival in the city.

Chiangmai Train Station

Our final challenge of the journey occurred at the Chiang Mai train station. The problem wasn’t the being assaulted by what seemed like an endless supply of taxi and tuk tuk drivers asking if you wanted a ride. That is fairly standard at any station. It was that our ride wasn’t there to pick us up and we didn’t have a functioning cell phone to call her.

Thai Pay Phone

This was the final challenge. We asked in the train station and the nearby 7-11 store, but no one knew how the pay phones worked or how much they cost. However I am happy to report that the pay phones in Thailand do work and it just takes some patience for them to connect and give you a dial tone. It turns out our ride was delayed at the gas station when the attendant put gasoline in their diesel vehicle. All was resolved though and we were picked up a short time later.

Our good luck with travel continues to stay with us. I truly believe it is more a function of good planning, good attitude and flexibility than just luck. Whatever the reason another leg of our journey is successfully underway. The people we are house sitting for in Chiang Mai are incredibly friendly and helpful and the dogs and cats are too good to be true. It looks like it is going to be a great couple of weeks here.

Categories: Bangkok, Thailand, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vietnam Cost of Living

Sunset over Halong Bay

I have received a few requests for more information on the cost of living here in Vietnam. I am more than happy to share this information, however, I also want to point out this is just our personal experience. It is certainly possible to spend a lot more, or a lot less, depending on what you consider to be important. As we are Canadian, all prices are listed in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated. Sorry if this is awkward but hey, if you travel you need to be good at currency conversion anyway. So without further ado….how much does it cost to live in Vietnam.

We did a two week tour of Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City but the main portion of our time here has been three months in Nha Trang in early 2017. We chose to rent an apartment for the three months on the north end of Nha Trang. It is out of the main tourist hotspot but arguably we have the better beach at this end. Mainly because it is less crowded and commercialized. We paid $500US a month for a 2 bedroom apartment. I know if you go a bit inland (a few city blocks) you can easily bring that down by $150US, we just really happen to like the water. This is a video tour of our apartment.

 

The costs associated with the apartment are (these are monthly costs): electricity – $18, internet/TV – $17, maintenance fee – $18, water bill – $3. As it is not recommended to drink the tap water the 20 litre jugs of drinking water cost $2.40 and are available everywhere.

Public Transit

The bus system is quite good. It costs 7,000dong/ride (.42) no transfers. Just get on the bus and grab a seat and the fare collector will come to collect the fare and give you a ticket. I have found the service excellent. They give change and will tell you where to get off if you ask.

Made to order shoes

Karen saw on the expats Facebook page that you could get handmade flip flops in town. We took a walk over and in 4 days had my own handmade leather flip flops for $18. And they are wonderful.

Food costs are very inexpensive by anyone’s standards. But once again with very little effort one could easily spend less or a lot more. We eat out every night simply because it is that reasonable. An average dinner for two with four beer, a plate of fried rice or noodles, and a plate of meat, whether fresh shrimp, fish, or pork runs us between $11 and 18.

Viet Sub

A fresh made Vietnamese sub are 15000 dong each (less than $1)

Fresh limes

Incredibly juicy limes cost 15000 dong (less than a $1) for all these

Dragon fruit

The dragon fruit with the white inside is usually around $1 each while the ones with the red meat inside are about $1.50 each.

Hydration

Hydration is very important in these hot climates. A case of 24 cans of Saigon beer is 205,000 dong ($12.30). The coke is just over $1 and the rum is $3.50 a bottle. I personally would rate the quality the same as a standard bottle of Bacardi.

Restaurant Beer

The beer in restaurants is usually around $1 each.

Normal daytime alley

By day a normal alley

Back Alley Restaurant

By night it transforms into a restaurant that I believe is the best fish we have had so far in Asia. Yes I know it is a back alley. But incredible fish. Fresh fish with rice paper wraps, greens and beer for 260,000 dong, or about $16. That is for two people.

Adventurous Dining

Most restaurants here have menus in Russian and English. 69,000dong is about $4.10. Feel adventurous?

Hot pot

This Seafood hot pot will run you about $12. More than enough for two people.

Coffee Break

A nice break is enjoying a Vietnamese coffee which come with iced tea. Costs just over $1 per person. Honestly, the best coffee I have ever had.

We took advantage of the New Years special (10% off) and both got gym memberships to Olympic Nha Trang Gym and Fitness for 387,000 dong, or $24. They have two locations, we went to the one at 11 Bắc Sơn.

We have loved our time here in Vietnam and have found it to be a very reasonably priced place to live. If you have any questions about prices feel free to leave a question in the comments section and if I can answer it I will be more than happy to do so.

Categories: Food, transportation, travel, Vietnam | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Transportation Asia

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Enjoying the street level sights of Hanoi without the stress. Cyclo tours are a fantastic way of getting an introduction to the old centre of town.

I am excited to be writing this post. First reason, after several weeks of wandering in the technological hinterland of having a non-functioning laptop, I am back in business. Second, transportation in S.E. Asia has been a consistent high point in every country we have been in thus far. So I am excited to be sharing a bit of information on what we have discovered in our first three months in SE Asia.

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We were floored with the excellent service on Thai Airlines. However, we then found that Vietnam Airlines was just as good, if not even a bit better, in our limited experience. The service and punctuality of the flights was great on both airlines.

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As we approached Hanoi on our first of several flights with Vietnam Airlines we were treated to a lovely sunset. This was the cherry on top of a wonderful introduction to this airline.

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This was the first time we had to wait in a line to check in for a flight. I was glad we already had three flights on this airline so I was comfortable we would get through in time. And we did with time to spare.

We have done six flights since coming to SE Asia and they have all been positive experiences. The only word of warning is pay attention to announcements in the airport and check the departures information frequently because changing boarding gates seems to be a popular activity. However, despite our positive flight experiences, the real fun has been moving about via bus and train.

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Within Cambodia we found the Giant Ibis bus company to be excellent. The buses were clean, well maintained, and offered power points at all the seats for getting your time in on whatever electronic device you like. Just know you need an actual plug, not just a USB connection to take advantage of this great feature.

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No matter what company we travelled with by bus they all stopped every two hours for a toilet and snack break. The stop locations provided everything you need.

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The toilets at these locations were not always something to admire, but we found them to be “reasonably” clean. Just not always the type of facility you might expect. i.e. pouring the water in by hand to flush and squatting. Some of the great experiences of travel.

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This bus in Thailand was a bit more run down than most that we were on and yet it was still very good. The most pleasant surprise was the amount of leg room. My expectation was none, however I found there was enough room that being a contortionist was not necessary.

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The only thing I found a bit disconcerting was the stockpile of fuel in the shed right by where we were loading onto the bus to start our trip in Cambodia. I was fairly confident none of these containers had any type of safety rating.

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One of the ways of passing the time when travelling by bus is keeping an eye out for other users of the roadways. It is phenomenal what and how much can be moved on the smallest of vehicles.

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I have no idea what is in the containers but we loved the collection of chickens on the back.

We have also used smaller buses for a number of our trips. These typically hold between 6 and 14 passengers and are operated by a much wider assortment of businesses. They take care of most trips under a couple of hours and can be quite entertaining.

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I found the fact the operator had taken the time to zip tie the seatbelts so they didn’t get all tangled up quite thoughtful. At least we could find these ones.

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We both were able to watch the collision that broke the left handgrip off this bike because he hit the side of the van right beside Karen. I watched his head bounce off the window and thought how fortunate the operator was one of the few who wore a helmet. After some discussion and a punch to the face, the motorcyclist drove off minus one hand grip and we continued on our trip.

One of the best travel experiences we have had, was the night train from Bangkok to Surat Thani in Thailand. Though the whole process from getting tickets to getting settled on the train was new to us, it went incredibly well. (OK, perhaps we had some severe stress when the taxi driver in Bangkok didn’t know where the train station was and our 90 minute buffer for getting the train ran down to 10 minutes. Got there though. And didn’t hurt the driver)

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The second class cars are dominated by western travellers with a few locals mixed in. The authorities on the train were very good. Interested in us but not over friendly. They did their job and let us be.

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We both had top berths which apparently are a little smaller than the lower ones. I found them fine. The only challenge was the lights are not turned off at night. That light you see in the photo is perfectly positioned to shine over the top of the berths curtain, right in your face. A mask would be a great addition.

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Upon arrival we got to see what our train looked like as it was very dark and we were in a big hurry when we boarded the night before. An awesome experience we look forward to repeating.

Of course travelling between cities and countries is only part of the transportation adventure. Getting around within the cities has been a truly eye-opening opportunity. From the chaos of Phnom Penh to the effectiveness of Hong Kong we have learned that North America is still truly in its infancy of learning to move large numbers of people effectively.

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The incredible number of these machines on several Asian city streets is awe-inspiring. We generally found the operators good at what they did. None of them even flinched when they saw our luggage, unlike many taxi operators we have encountered. These guys just made it work and got you to where you wanted to be.

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I am constantly impressed at how these little 125cc engines haul the loads they do. One of the ways they do it is a home-made water cooling system to augment the normal air cooling these engines use. These jugs of water provide a steady drip of water over the engine to help keep the temperatures down. Brilliant problem solving.

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One of the other components of city transportation here is cooperation. Other than the punch to the face after a collision, I have yet to see any road rage here. People just take the right of way. If someone else takes it from them they wait 2 seconds and carry on. Everything moves and the stress level is way lower than the stupidity one observes on most roadways.

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This is one of my favourite images. The relaxed nature of the family making their way through traffic. Admittedly we have seen the aftermath of more than a few accidents with people injured, probably more severely than necessary due to a lack of protection. However, because of the smaller engines and lower speeds the level of trauma is lower than expected.

The public transit has been awesome in SE Asia. Volume of ridership is obviously a key, but it is amazing!

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The elevated metro in Bangkok was my first exposure to well-educated riders following the rules. everyone stands back of the yellow line (or an attendant blows a whistle at you, trust me I know), and wait to the side for passengers to disembark before boarding.

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Both Bangkok and Hong Kong utilized these doors to some degree. No falling in front of trains from the platform here. And the trains are huge! Did I mention it is awesome?

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The transportation options on Hong Kong island are great. The longest running one is the electric tram. This double-decker tram system has been operating for more than 100 years, ding, ding.

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The tram is known as “ding, ding“. They run frequently, are super cheap, and a great way to see downtown Hong Kong. You hop on at any stop and pay your $2.30HK(.40CDN) when you exit.

Water taxis were another mode of transport we have used. The ones we have used all appeared quite safe and in no immediate threat of sinking, despite some of the horror stories we had read.

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This passenger ferry in Cambodia was good. Other than the operators not looking old enough to be driving a car, the trip was uneventful. On the return trip they took us to a different port, but hey, you have to roll with the unexpected. It was only a short bus ride to where we wanted to go.

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The biggest concern on the ferries was watching all your earthly belongings being slung over the water. Didn’t see any go in, but that really does not lessen the concern.

I will close off with a couple of images from Hong Kong. We took the tram up Victoria Peak which gets you close to the summit. Not only is this a tourist attraction, but some locals use this as part of their commute as well. And the other hugely historical and still highly used mode of transport is the Star Ferries in Victoria Harbour.

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The Peak Tram takes 1.4km to go up 400 metres in elevation. It is a fantastic way to get to the top. I went up by foot and by tram, the tram is much more pleasant.

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The Star Ferries have boats leaving approximately every 10 minutes for the 9 minute commute between Hong Kong and Kowloon. Being able to use a piece of history like this for an everyday event is one of the fascinating things of travel.

Categories: Bangkok, Cambodia, Photography, Thailand, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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It occurred to me that a lot of people would not be familiar with where in the world we are. I honestly would have had trouble 3 months ago finding many of these places on a map. The line indicates where we travelled from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. If you want to take a closer look at the map right down to the route the tuk tuk took through each city just follow this link.

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Our trip in Cambodia has been amazing so far. Phnom Penh is the capital of the country and the home to some of its most powerful museums.

Wow.

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The traffic is spectacular. Wild and flowing during the day.  Just as crazy at night but with fewer big trucks and more bikes going way too fast.

I said that word more times than I can recall during our four days in the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Wow.

The traffic. I know we will see more chaos and congestion in our travels through Asia, but for us, this was our first exposure to a large busy Asian city traffic. Wow. Perhaps due to my background and a general warm feeling toward order and control, this exposure to free form traffic was even more awe inspiring. Whereas the drivers we encountered in Australia are the friendliest and most patient I had ever met in the world, the drivers here are incredible problem solvers. Without the hinderance of licenses, laws or rules of the road to hold them back they just flow like lava into whatever open space is available.

On to the blog, the first part of this blog is a little dark and depressing, however I feel it is absolutely essential to acknowledge the horrors that occurred here in Cambodia in the fairly recent past. For me, it makes the rest of what we saw all the better because of the incredible resilience of the human spirit.

We visited two locations. S-21 and “The Killing Fields”. Though very disturbing I felt it essential to pay my respects to the dead. In just under 4 years the Kymer Rouge under Pol Pot were responsible for the deaths of nearly 3 million in a country with a population of just 8 million people. Stop and think about that for a moment. The most disturbing part of it from my perspective is the entire world stood by and did nothing.

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These 14 graves are the first thing you encounter when you visit S-21 (Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum). Though this former school’s primary job was torture, as the Vietnamese closed in on the Kymer Rouge in 1979 these 14 graves represent the last prisoners to be held here. They were executed as the Vietnamese entered the City.

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The self guided audio tour that comes with your $6US admission to the museum is one of the best, most informative audio guides I have ever heard. From the torture of Cambodians to the unfortunate Westerners that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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When you see the cells where the prisoners were held in between their 3 torture sessions a day it makes you sick. The human misery oozes out of this place.

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This memorial which was built in 2015 and paid for by the German government lists the names of the over 12,000 victims who were tortured in this one facility before being executed elsewhere.

The next day we travelled by tuk tuk to just outside the city to what has become known as the “Killing Fields”.

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Each of these hollows in the ground represents a mass grave of murdered Cambodians. They are mixed with the graves of the Chinese, whose cemetery this was before the Kymer Rouge took over.

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These are more recently excavated mass graves. There has been a significant effort to honour the dead by at least finding out how many, their sex, and the way they died.

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Some will say this is too much, I don’t want to see this. But this is what can and does happen when megalomaniacs and extremists take or are given control of a country. I will get off my soap box now.

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Inside the Memorial Stupa at Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) are the skulls of more than 5,000 victims that have been exhumed from mass graves at the site. This is only a percentage of the people killed here. These skulls have all been studied by forensic personnel to understand as much as possible about the people who died here and how they died. Very powerful.

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A very powerful and moving place to visit. The audio tour helps to provide a degree of understanding of what went on here. But walking around and seeing the remnants cannot help but leave an impression on you.

The “Killing Fields” are a big reason why many people come to Phnom Penh. However there is way more to this amazing city than the tragedy that this beautiful country has suffered through.

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A fisherman and his family set off across the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers.

At the joining of the Mekong, Basaac, and Tonle Sap rivers, the city sprawls out in what appears to be chaotic growth.

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The view from the river provided an excellent perspective of the width of the building blocks in the city.

We did a sunset cruise on the Mekong river. The weather obscured any sunset, but it still provided a fantastic vantage point to observe part of the city.

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This was the vessel we enjoyed our river cruise on. There were two other customers on the boat

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As we watched the city skyline and the weather display these gentleman provided wonderful traditional music in the background.

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Locals casting their fishing nets from the banks of the Tonle Sap River in the heart of Phnom Penh.

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As we set off for our sunset river cruise on the Mekong River mother nature had some other plans. No sunset, but an impressive display of storm clouds and rain.

We took the time one evening to go to the Foreign Corespondents Club on the riverfront. The FCC holds an interesting place in the cities current history. It is said that nearly all the news reports from before, during, and after the internal conflict Cambodia suffered were filed from this building. The photos on the walls certainly show it was at the centre of the action.

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The dining room is excellent, but the best part of the FCC was the rooftop bar. We sat and enjoyed the night skyline (which admittedly is not that spectacular, but still nice) and listened to live music. The night we were there a gentleman on a sax was doing a fantastic job. It is a must do experience.

We had a chance to observe some amusing modern human behaviour while on the rooftop.

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Everyone who was sitting on the front edge overlooking the road and river were engrossed in their electronics.

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While right in front of them was a lovely view. I did not do it justice, but you get the idea. Kind of sad really.

We also took in the popular Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. These areas are very busy with tourists and hawkers but still worth the trip. We were fortunate to have the weather clear a bit for us.

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Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Silver Pagoda. The floor is covered with 5329 silver tiles (nearly all covered by carpets to protect them) Each tile weighs 1.125kg.

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The Bronze Palace where they store Royal regalia. The Pavilion in the background is for receptions.

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Constructed entirely of iron (on the left), this was the first permanent structure at the site of the Royal Palace. It was built for the wife of Napoleon III. The Throne Hall is in the background.

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We also checked out the National Museum. Unfortunately by this point we were starting to get a bit punch drunk on museums and ancient history.

Phnom Penh is a busy, dirty, fascinating city well worth the time to visit. If for no other reason than to experience the traffic. The history is epic as well.

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The Independence Monument was built in 1958 to celebrate Cambodia’s independence from France in 1953.

I will wrap up this rather long blog with a couple of night time street shots. The vibe of the city changes at night and it probably deserves a visit just focusing on after dark.

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You can get all kinds of food to go.

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Or sit down and relax after a hard day of working.

 

Categories: Cambodia, Photography, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Great Ocean Road

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The official starting point of the Great Ocean Road.

During our brief nine days off between house sits in Albury we embarked on a 2200km road trip. The main goal was to experience the Great Ocean Road. Along the way we got a glimpse of Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as meeting a bunch of super friendly Aussies,  we managed some diving as well.

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Our journey began on what locals claim is the longest covered train platform in the southern hemisphere.

Day 1

Our train trip from Albury to Melbourne. Uneventful, other than a bit late. The carriages on this section of the V-Line service certainly are not the pride of the fleet I am sure.

After a 4 hour train trip to Melbourne we encountered our only hiccup of our trip. We arrived just late enough to have the car rental office close before we could pick up our vehicle so we ended up spending an unplanned evening in Melbourne. Other than the expense and stress of trying to find a hotel room at 6pm on a Friday when the city is hosting a Formula 1 race that weekend, it turned out just fine.

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The 50 metre high Coop’s Shot Tower has been turned into a museum inside Melbourne’s Central shopping mall. http://www.melbournecentral.com.au/our-heritage

Day 3

Our first real day of driving after doing a dive in Geelong, just outside of Melbourne. Also our first glimpse of the Southern or Indian Ocean.

Stay tuned for another blog on our diving in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Day 3 saw us get our first glimpse of the Ocean proper and also the official beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Absolutely awe-inspiring for a number of reasons.

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The interpretive stop at the Memorial Arch on the Great Ocean Road is a must do. The majority of the work on the road was done by 3000 Australian soldiers who had just returned from the First World War.

One of the truly impressive things I have noticed in travelling around Australia is the effort that has gone into recognizing and acknowledging the contributions of their veterans. The reason for building the Great Ocean Road was to be able to employ and help as many returning soldiers from the First World War as possible. (This was also the reason for building the Story Bridge in Brisbane)

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One of hundreds of memorials you see as you travel around Australia. This one was just outside of Torquay, Victoria.

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When we got to Torquay we took a walk down by the water and got our first glimpse of the Southern Ocean (or the Indian Ocean, depending on what you read).

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Ended our day in Lorne with a short walk into Erskine Falls. Unfortunately due to a very dry summer here all the waterfalls we stopped to see were significantly less than impressive. Still, beautiful areas though.

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Enjoyed a pleasent walk along the shore in Lorne at sunset.

The towns along the coast vary from tiny hamlets to full tourist magnets so you get to pick whatever suits you. The road itself is great. It would be even greater had we been doing this trip on a motorcycle.

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A fair representation of what we had to look at the entire time we were on the Great Ocean Road. This was early in the morning just as we were heading out of Lorne.

Day 4

Day 4 was all Great Ocean Road. Dozens of stops. Truly tested Karen’s patience when it came to hauling out the camera.

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While sitting on the beach having lunch in Anglesea two rescue helicopters came by and practiced retrieving people from the water with long lines. Great entertainment.

Other than the first and last nights of our trip we did not prebook any accommodation along the route. This left us open to spend as much time as we wished at places we came across. The greatest serendipity of this was the people we met at the motor inns and motels we found on the way. Not once did we have a problem finding accommodation, (Thanks again Bryce for the sim card). We learned, despite its convenience, the evils of Expedia when it comes to small businesses. And most of all how universally helpful and friendly the locals could be to a couple of tourists.

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Karen managed to spot this little fellow in a tree when we were near the Cape Otway lighthouse. The best part was having an Aussie from Perth stop to see what we were looking at and seeing his delight in seeing his first ever koala in the wild.

The main purpose of this trip was to see the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles along with the other unique coastal features in that area. We were not disappointed. The roads, stopping areas, and weather all combined to make it a spectacular sightseeing trip.

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I drove out to the Apostles an hour before sunrise to try to capture some of the beauty of the area.

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It was neat being out there with only about a dozen other people. It is not so much that the Apostles themselves are so amazing. It is the whole combination of colour, form, and light that make it so wonderful.

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The light was wonderful and with the power of the ocean it was a very serene scene I found.

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This was a classic example of how the world changes. People who visited here two years ago were able to walk over what was called London Bridge to the rock at the right of the photo. Then one day the land bridge collapsed. No one was hurt, but a couple had to be airlifted off the new island.

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The Grotto is one of the many cool formations along the coast.

Day 5

Having spent the first half of this day checking out the 12 Apostles and associated sites it was a long day making the trip to Portland.

Having completed the Great Ocean Road our next destination was Adelaide. Luckily we stopped in Portland where we met one of the most interesting inn owners (Mariner Inn) and an incredibly helpful fellow at the tourist information office. The tourist info gentleman pointed out how we could make very efficient time and still be able to do some wine tastings near Penola on our trip to Adelaide. Love multitasking.

Day 6

The push for Adelaide. Long day with some drab weather, however the day is never a total loss when you get a chance to check out some wineries.

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The drive to Adelaide saw the dreariest weather of the trip which made for a bit of a depressing shoreline drive.

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At the suggestion of tourist info we ended up getting to take this free ferry across the Murray River. Super friendly operator and just kind of cool.

We loved Adelaide and would love to go back for an extended stay. For this trip we did some diving (awesome) and checked out the old town on foot.

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The State Library was amazing. The enthusiasm of the volunteer at the front door made it difficult to get out of the building.

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You have to love a place that has one of the largest wine cellars in their section of the world in their botanical gardens. Love it!

Day 7

Long day of driving as the morning was spent diving. By the time we had arrived in Kaniva the inn owners had gone to bed and just left the keys to our room in the door.

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Due to the Easter weekend our Easter dinner was fish and chips at a gas station diner in Bordertown. The only business open in the entire town.

Day 8

Another long day of driving with a lunch stop in Hall’s Gap. Reminded us a lot of Banff in the summer. Busy Easter weekend.

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Just past Nhill we stumbled across a small lake called, appropriately, Pink Lake. The shore line looked like it was snow-covered but it was just dried salt. Rather surreal place.

Our last stop on this trip was in the city of Ballarat. As we drove into this city I was overwhelmed by the power of their Avenue of Honour. It took me awhile to realize there was a pattern to the trees along the road as we drove into the City.

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Just over 22km long with over 3900 trees, each with a name plate for a local citizen who served in the First World War. It was chilling when you realized the sheer size of it and the people it impacted. http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/lae/attractions/arch-of-victory-avenue-of-honour.aspx

Day 9

And home we go. A short drive into Melbourne and a train trip back to Albury.

Our Great Ocean Road road trip was an outstanding success. I highly recommend it to anyone who is going to be in the Melbourne area.

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Looking back down the highway at the end of our trip. An amazingly beautiful place to visit or call home.

 

Categories: Australia, Photography, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Enjoying Brisbane

Having finished our first month in Australia I thought it was time for a little update. We have been able to explore a bit of the Brisbane CBD and some outlying areas.

One of only three bridges in the world that allow you to climb to the top. Very cool.

One of only three bridges in the world that allow you to climb to the top. Very cool.

In addition to Auckland and Sydney, Brisbane has one of the three bridges in the world which you can climb to the top of. We were fortunate enough to have a very small group for our tour. Karen, myself and our awesome guide Paris.

A photo of the group in front of us at the halfway point on the bridge.

A photo of the group in front of us at the halfway point on the bridge.

If you are ever in Brisbane and thinking of this tour make sure you go to the website of the company as major savings can be scored there. As well, they now give you a free copy of all the photos taken on the tour. A pretty good deal, as no one is allowed to take cameras, or anything else up on the bridge. In fact, if you are doing an afternoon tour make sure you skip the beer with lunch as you have to blow into a breathalyser before the tour. The operators give an outstanding tour with tons of information, but they take their access to the bridge very seriously.

We were so fortunate to be the only two on our climb of the Story Bridge. The views were amazing.

We were so fortunate to be the only two on our climb of the Story Bridge. The views were amazing.

In addition to the amazing views I had the questionable distinction of being the first customer to actually be hit by the resident crow that has a nest on the bridge. We were warned before we headed up of the crow and that it would do some flybys and squawk at us. However it must have been our small group because it chose me to actually push with it’s feet and hit in the head with it’s wings. It made for a very memorable trip. I highly recommend it.

Our train arriving at the station to take us into the CBD of Brisbane.

Our train arriving at the station to take us into the CBD of Brisbane.

One of the things that makes exploring Brisbane and area so easy is the public transit system. We have had an opportunity to use the buses, trains, and boats with absolutely no problems. I would suggest getting a GO Card at any station which allows you to simply swipe on and swipe off any part of the system and your balance is constantly updated and relayed to you. The $10AUS for the card is even refundable when you are done with it and want to get any balance left on the card paid back to you. Love it.

Looking south, down the east coast of Straddie. Bit of a grey day, but great for walking.

Looking south, down the east coast of Straddie. Bit of a grey day, but great for walking.

Karen and I utilized the transit system to head to North Stradbroke Island, “Straddie” to the locals. Though the day was a bit dreary looking it ended up being perfect for walking around the island. The ferry out to the island and the bus on the island are not part of the Brisbane transit system, but they are worth the money they cost. The passenger ferry is fast and the bus on the island is a carnival ride all it’s own. The drivers were very skilled and I’m pretty sure they would do very well playing “Forza” on Xbox, the way they handled the curves on the island roads. To be fair, I never felt scared, just entertained.

A view of the popular Cylinder Beach on the north end of North Stradbroke Island.

A view of the popular Cylinder Beach on the north end of North Stradbroke Island.

We were able to see some whales in the distance from the island and some dolphins swimming closer to shore. As well the time spent on Cylinder Beach was enough to help me understand why this is such a popular destination for locals.

So lucky to be able to run a race with my good friend Bryce while in the Manly, Queensland area.

So lucky to be able to run a race with my good friend Bryce while in the Manly, Queensland area.

Another activity I managed to take in was a 10km road race being hosted in the town where we were house sitting in Manly. A fellow expat and good friend, Bryce, joined me for a fun race up the shoreline with beautiful views the entire way. It is a wonderful way to integrate with locals with similar interests.

The crowds starting to appear for the Halloween street party hosted by the Town of Manly. Brilliant idea.

The crowds starting to appear for the Halloween street party hosted by the Town of Manly. Brilliant idea.

Another great event we were able to take part in was the Manly Town Halloween party. It is advertised as the biggest halloween party in Australia and from what we saw it certainly was well attended. The streets started filling at noon and were pretty well packed until 9:00 when the fireworks over the harbour signalled the end of the festivities.

All sorts of local clubs were in evidence sharing their love of a variety of activities.

All sorts of local clubs were in evidence sharing their love of a variety of activities.

In addition to the fencing club there were remote controlled sailboats, standup paddleboard and Dragon boat demos to entertain. As well as rides and enough carnival food to satisfy anyone. It was wonderful to see a community based event so well attended with so many families and costumes.

The locals gathering for the fireworks display near the end of the evening on Halloween night.

The locals gathering for the fireworks display near the end of the evening on Halloween night.

We certainly enjoyed our time house sitting in Wynnum/Manly and are looking forward to our next gig in Griffin. We will miss Bentley and his wonderful personality.

Trying to do some reading but someone wants to play.

Trying to do some reading but someone wants to play.

And I would be lying if I said I was not going to miss this view every morning as I got out of bed.

We will miss this gorgeous view every morning from our bedroom in Wynnum.

We will miss this gorgeous view every morning from our bedroom in Wynnum.

Categories: Australia, House Sitting, Photography, Queensland, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

G’Day Australia!

Waiting to board our delayed Jetstar flight for Brisbane, Australia.
Waiting to board our delayed Jetstar flight for Brisbane, Australia.

First things first…What a wonderful country Australia is! Despite the 18 page visa application and required x-rays and fees, once you do what they ask it is an incredible easy country to enter.

Even though on the eve of setting off for Australia things looked a little bleak, i.e. we were informed by our budget airline, Jetstar, that our flight out of Honolulu was going to be at least five hours late. That was the last negative whisper we heard on our trip to down under. The five hour delay allowed us to be able to get up at a reasonable hour. Though I was admittedly nervous about our upcoming nine and a half hour flight on a “budget” airline, our travel luck continued to hold. We ended up boarding a beautiful Dreamliner aircraft where I was able to enjoy four full length feature movies in a surprisingly comfortable seat. The flight attendants could have used an injection of personality and happiness; I am sure they had their reasons to be so mute. Perhaps it was the bleak quality of the food they were serving us that we had pre ordered for the flight. But really, in the overall scope of things we had paid $750US ($950CDN) with no grief whatsoever for luggage weights as opposed to paying $1600US for a seat on other airlines. As an added bonus, for whatever reason the pilots laid on the gas and managed to cut an entire hour off of our travel time to Brisbane. I have no complaints with our flight with Jetstar.

Certainly see why the license plates advertise "The Sunshine State". Non-stop sunshine so far.

Certainly see why the license plates advertise “The Sunshine State”. Non-stop sunshine so far.

Admittedly arriving in a new country can be a little stressful, not for us. We were incredibly fortunate to have an excellent Canadian friend who now lives in Aus pick us up at the airport and deliver us to our other long time friends who now live in the same area. Small world.

I would like to reiterate again, I love this country!

In our first few days here we have had the honour of being toured around some of the local sights on the outskirts of Brisbane by our friends.

The entrance to a short lane dedicated to some of the most famous residents of Redcliffe, Queensland.

The entrance to a short lane dedicated to some of the most famous residents of Redcliffe, Queensland.

Not being a big music fan I had no idea that the community of Redcliffe has the coolest lane just off the waterfront where you can learn as much as you would like about the Bee Gees. Apparently their family moved to Redcliffe when they were very young and they spent their formative years there.

Hanging out with some of the locals from Redcliffe, Queensland.

Hanging out with some of the locals from Redcliffe, Queensland.

Learning this bit of modern history and basking in the incredibly wonderful hot Australian sun was the perfect way to overcome whatever small amount of jet lag we may have been suffering.

An open air museum of the Bee Gees.

An open air museum of the Bee Gees.

We also have already had a chance to see some of the interesting wildlife we had heard so much about. The White Ibis below did not seem to be bothered in the least to be surrounded by hundreds of Flying Fox bats in a nearby public park.

It did not take long to see some of the more interesting wildlife in this neck of the woods.

It did not take long to see some of the more interesting wildlife in this neck of the woods.

Within days of our arrival Karen and I started our first house sitting job in Australia. We are comfortably set up with our charge, Bentley, enjoying the idyllic life of leisure along the coast of Brisbane.

Fantastic to see the abundance of public facilities available all along the shoreline. Clean electric grills waiting for a quick fry up.

Fantastic to see the abundance of public facilities available all along the shoreline. Clean electric grills waiting for a quick fry up.

Between the first class pathways, incredible free shore front facilities and fantastic transit system we are having to shake our heads that things can actually be this good somewhere.

Enjoying a fantastic weekend market down by the harbour in Manly, Queensland.

Enjoying a fantastic weekend market down by the harbour in Manly, Queensland.

I look forward in the coming posts to sharing some of our experiences of starting to fit in and settle into life in this amazing country. The locals in the markets and businesses have been nothing but wonderfully helpful and welcoming of us and we look forward to continue meeting more interesting people here.

It is easy to get used to this view everyday whether one is getting out for a run or a walk.

It is easy to get used to this view everyday whether one is getting out for a run or a walk.

G’Day Australia, and thank you for having us.

Enjoying the panoramic vista from the top of Mt. Coot-Tha west of Brisbane.

Enjoying the panoramic vista from the top of Mt. Coot-Tha, west of Brisbane.

Categories: Australia, House Sitting, Photography, Queensland, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hawaii

First off, I have to say that I am not sure that a cruise ship is the best way to see the Hawaiian islands. Not to say I did not enjoy it, but it is a bit limiting and quite frankly a bit expensive to experience the islands from a cruise ship. We stopped at Hilo, Kona, Lahaina, and finally Honolulu with the cruise ship before renting a car and spending the last three days on the north shore of Oahu at a place called Turtle Bay. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Hilo, on the island of Hawaii was my most anticipated stop. As my mother and myself were booked in for a hike around and through a volcanic crater. Our guide, Leo, was excellent and provided a non-stop flow of information. The day was perfect for a hike and we had a lovely time.

My mother and I at the halfway point of our hike around and through the Kilauea volcano crater.

My mother and I at the halfway point of our hike around and through the Kilauea volcano crater.

At the end of the hike we had a chance to explore a lava tube which was cool and provided me with the perfect excuse to haul out my tripod that I had been carrying all around the volcano. On the return to the ship we also did the obligatory side trip to the macadamia nut plant and gift shop. There is one place I wish I had shares in. I’m fairly sure everyone on every tour is delivered to this destination. They are delicious nuts though.

We got a chance to explore the Thurston lava tubes. Very impressive.

We got a chance to explore the Thurston lava tubes. Very impressive.

A couple of the more exciting points during our stops are where we had to take tenders from the ship to shore. Boarding these tenders in the harbour is a piece of cake, however, embarking and disembarking from the ship to the tender was a whole different story. If you happen to be changing vessels at the right time you would wonder what all the excitement was about. But if you were in transit as even light swells were going through it was like a ride at the Stampede (Calgary Stampede reference for you non Calgarians). The height difference between the two decks would go from zero to a metre (3 feet) with very little warning. The crew members were fantastic in working to keep passengers safe, however the Darwinian urges of some of the passengers helped me understand how people could get hurt during these operations.

Due to the depth of the harbours at Kona and Lahaina we had to take tenders to and from shore.

Due to the depth of the harbours at Kona and Lahaina we had to take tenders to and from shore.

Crew members standing by to assist passengers with disembarking from the tender at the side of the ship.

Crew members standing by to assist passengers with disembarking from the tender at the side of the ship.

In Kona, Karen and I took the opportunity to head out with a small group to do some scuba diving at a couple of sites just off shore. Big Island Water Sports are a small outfit who provide great service. We were fortunate that the group of six were all competent divers and needed a minimum of guidance, which makes for a more relaxed outing and plenty of time to explore.

Lots of Yellow tangs darting around the volcanic reefs.

Lots of yellow tangs darting around the volcanic reefs.

Moorish idol fish drifting around in groups of three or four.

Moorish idol fish drifting around in groups of three or four.

This white mouthed more eel cam out to say hello as I was going by.

This white mouthed Moray eel came out to say hello as I was going by.

The small reef fish were plentiful and beautifully coloured. The coral growing over the volcanic rock made for a stunning backdrop for the fish. It was the first chance I had to use my new underwater light so the colours were even brighter than I expected. At the second dive sight we were treated to an absolute mobbing of dolphins as we approached the site but unfortunately they all went elsewhere by the time we got in the water. Great day of diving though.

Heading to our second dive site. With our ship in the background. Great staff on the boat.

Heading to our second dive site. With our ship in the background. Great staff on the boat.

As we returned to the ship after diving I was able to get a reverse shoot of our cabin from water level. Circling this ship in a little tender certainly brings home the size of these vessels.

Our room was on the second row of balconies from the bottom on the left. Great location.

Our room was on the second row of balconies from the bottom on the left. Great location.

Our stop in Lahaina marked a milestone. It was my sister’s first Lu’au and first proper Hawaiian Lei. Everyone had a great time at the Old Lahaina Lu’au. The food was excellent and the entertainment non stop.

A much anticipated event of our time in Hawaii was my sister attending her first luʻau and getting a proper lei.

A much anticipated event in Hawaii was my sister attending her first luʻau and getting a proper Hawaiian lei.

I have to put one last plug in for the entertainment onboard the ship. The productions were first class and the performer were excellent.

I have to put one last plug in for the entertainment onboard the ship. The productions were first class and the performers were excellent. This was the last show during our time on the ship.

Our last port of call with the ship was Honolulu. This worked exceptionally well as we were on the ship for two nights here, giving us a whole day to explore Honolulu before departing northbound. We did a bunch of walking before getting tickets for the Waikiki Trolley Tour. It is a hop on hop off kind of set up, but quite frankly I was fine with just hopping on and enjoying views and commentary.

Packed in the Waikiki Trolley Tour around Honolulu. The full tourist experience.

Packed in the Waikiki Trolley Tour around Honolulu. The full tourist experience.

King Kamehameha at the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Centre in Honolulu on the island of Oahu.

King Kamehameha at the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Centre in Honolulu on the island of Oahu.

The trolley did a trip out to Diamond Head which afforded beautiful views of the shore and the surrounding hills and volcanoes.

A view down the south shore of Oahu. One of the stops on our Waikiki Trolley tour.

A view down the south shore of Oahu. One of the stops on our Waikiki Trolley tour.

The last sunset from the balcony of our stateroom on the ship looking west across the harbour entrance in Honolulu.

The last sunset from the balcony of our stateroom on the ship looking west across the harbour entrance in Honolulu.

From Honolulu we rented a Jeep to drive north to Turtle Bay along the north shore. Unfortunately the weather was a bit overcast and rainy, but still a wonderful area with great beaches and facilities along the roads.

The north shore of Oahu in Turtle Bay.

The north shore of Oahu in Turtle Bay.

Hawaii is a wonderful holiday destination and a great place to enjoy sun and sand. However, I must be truthful and admit it was tainted a bit by the sad farewells and ‘see you laters’ with my Mom and sister. As well as the mystery and draw of what awaited us in the southern hemisphere. Life is not always filled with easy choices.

Enjoying the view on the north shore of Oahu. Looking forward to our next adventure.

Enjoying the view on the north shore of Oahu. Looking forward to our next adventure.

Categories: Hawaii, Photography, scuba, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Travelling by Ship

Cruising. It is many different things to many different people. When I was younger I never really understood the attraction. However now that I have done a few (very few, 3) I certainly know what things I really enjoy and what things irritate me.

One of the best things is perspective. Whether it is views of cities or coastlines that you normally don’t get an opportunity to see, or the vast expanse of water in every direction that truly makes it clear what a tiny speck each of us occupies in this amazing world.

The first view we saw as we entered our stateroom on the Celebrity Solstice.

The first view we saw as we entered our stateroom on the Celebrity Solstice.

This is our second cruise on a Celebrity cruise ship. Our last cruise was a trans-Atlantic cruise on the sister ship to this one. Having a room with a balcony is something that is very important to us, especially on longer cruises. The views from your balcony every day are truly breath taking.

A fantastic view of Vancouver from the ship as we pass through the harbour

A fantastic view of Vancouver from the ship as we pass through the harbour

After an effortless boarding process in Vancouver, Karen and I settled into our stateroom at the back of the ship, with my mother and sister moving into the room beside us. We all enjoyed a beautiful exit from the Vancouver harbour with the oceanside view unfolding in front of us. In the past I must admit I have been shortchanging Vancouver on the beautiful views it can provide. It was awesome.

Our last view of Canada as we head to open seas. It was nice to see the flag flying.

Our last view of Canada as we head to open seas. It was nice to see the flag flying.

As we passed under the bridge exiting the Vancouver harbour it was a bit of an emotional moment seeing the Canadian flag slowly disappear from view as we made our way out to sea. Every new adventure seems to bring a wave of feelings, both sad and uplifting.

All dressed up and ready for our first formal night dinner.

All dressed up and ready for our first formal night dinner.

One of the other wonderful things about cruise is the food. Though the buffet area is most things I dislike about cruise ships, i.e. the crowds, gluttons, and frenzy. I have to admit the quality of the food was very good to excellent whenever we had breakfast or lunch there. For us the amazing food was in the dining room. We never bothered with the specialty restaurants as, quite frankly, the food and service were excellent in the dining room and I never considered it necessary to fork out a premium of $50US a head to go to a specialty restaurant for dinner.

A lesson on preparing the perfect steak by the Executive Chef Sauer.

A lesson on preparing the perfect steak by the Executive Chef Sauer.

After taking in a couple of talks on preparing perfect steaks (never use barbecue sauce) and fish. As well as having a tour of one of the kitchens and seeing the detail and thought that goes into preparing the meals. It was easy to understand why the food tasted so incredible in the dining room.

Took a tour of one of the ship's kitchens. An amazing set up.

Took a tour of one of the ship’s kitchens. An amazing set up.

Working hard preparing desserts for the day.

Working hard preparing desserts for the day.

Our cruise entailed five sea days once we departed Vancouver. For me, this is the best part of the cruise. I enjoy being able to relax and enjoy whatever activity I choose, without having to worry about a schedule. The first two days were a bit dreary and rainy but that cleared up by day three and it was beautiful seas and skies for the remaining days at sea.

After a couple of cloudy days this was the standard view each morning from our stateroom.

After a couple of cloudy days this was the standard view each morning from our stateroom.

Time was spent reading, playing cards, or bocce ball with family. As well as the previously mentioned talks on food there were also daily demonstrations on glass blowing which were very entertaining and educational.

Enjoying some bocce ball on the grass on deck 14. Incredible really.

Enjoying some bocce ball on the grass on deck 14. Incredible really.

A view of the Central Foyer from deck 7.

A view of the Central Foyer. A wonderful place to relax and listen to some live music.

The glass blowing demo was put on by a trio of talented artists who delivered and great show. The passion and care they put into their creations is wonderful to observe. As well, it is truly brought to light when things do not go according to plan as in the day we watched.

A great presentation on glass blowing. Very entertaining.

A great presentation on glass blowing. Very entertaining.

Very neat watching this lady manipulating 15lbs of molten glass on the end of the stick.

Very neat watching this lady manipulating 15lbs of molten glass on the end of the stick.

The work in progress coming out of the furnace.

The work in progress coming out of the furnace.

Sometimes things don't turn out the way you plan them. This was the moment when the bottom of the vase broke just as they were finishing.

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you plan them. This was the moment when the bottom of the vase broke just as they were finishing.

In the end, the most enjoyable part of the cruise was interacting with people on the cruise. Whether the staff or other cruisers from countries around the world.

A high point of every dinner was interacting with our waiter Rodulfo. A quality individual with a great sense of humour.

A high point of every dinner was interacting with our waiter Rodulfo. A quality individual with a great sense of humour.

More on the Hawaiian portion of the cruise to follow.

 

Categories: Canada, Food, Hawaii, Photography, transportation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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