Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 34 Port Said

Note beautiful day!
This is the one we went inside :)
Building burnt during "facebook" revolution in Jan
Gosh, up at 5.15am today and it is now 10.55pm, so yes I am rather tired
with another early day tomorrow though think we'll make it 6am start
this time.
What can you say about Cairo and the Pyramids, if you've seen them
you'll know how amazing they are and if you haven' it! We
were on a Princess tour that included Pyramids, lunch and Museum and a 3
hour drive there and a tad longer back. As our tour guide said a couple
of times, " you are only getting a sip of Egypt". She was correct, but
that is all I expect to get from each port of call.
The day started early and after a bit of waiting around we were all
placed on our bus, in an armed convoy of about 25 buses, each bus had a
guard and other soldiers followed in their cars. This is normal protocol
and has been in place for a number of years. Cairo reminded me a lot of
Mumbai, interesting traffic conditions and lots of unfinished buildings
and a place well worth a return visit.
Once at the Pyramids you are again faced with lots of hawkers trying to
sell you things for "one dollar", postcards, trinkets, pyramids and the
like. We just say a polite no thank as most passengers do.......we have
got used to the in your face selling from the previous ports, but it can
be draining.
On the way there our guide asked who wanted to go inside a pyramid and
14 of us put our hands and money up ($6) to do it. You needed to be able
to crouch down low and not be claustrophobic or have heart conditions
etc. So after a stop for a photo shoot we headed down into the smallest
of the 3....There was a ramp on the way down and you had to duck your
head for maybe a few minutes walk, then you could straighten up in a
small chamber, have a look around it and 2 other chambers and then
return to the surface. Luckily we were one of the first lot in as we
didn't have to contend with folks coming up when we went down, but by
the time we went up groups were coming down and it was quite warm and
stuffy. Thankfully it wasn't a hot day at all, in fact another amazing
day weather wise on the trip!
A few more photos and then off to the Sphinx, which was also amazing.
Everyone has seen photos of pyramids and sphinx, so I will only post a
couple, plus I'm stuffed and we weren't allowed to take our cameras into
the Museum.
We were on a very tight schedule all day and felt rushed at times, but
fitting in all we did was a very good job. We obviously concentrated on
Tutankhamen's treasures in the Museum and they were mind blowing. All
that gold! There were photos in the place of the few things that are on
tour in Australia and Great Britain, and we wish we had days longer to
explore the place. You had to pay extra to see the mummy exhibition,
which we did at the end of the tour, it was well worth it.
The day also included buffet lunch at The Marriott and a stop at a
souvenir shop in town. Here you could browse at your leisure and Katie
and I even had a gentleman follow us and carried the couple of little
trinkets we bought, a big change from the hawkers.
All in all, the sights even though you have seen pictures and movies are
something you just have to experience. And now some sleep before Masada
and The Dead Sea tomorrow, I can't wait to float.
Did I mention that those cold and flu tablets are amazing things, though
I ran out with about 3 hours left to travel home (so have packed extra
for tomorrow).

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 32 sea and Day 33 Suez Canal

Included our balcony rail to show how close we were

Can sort of see 2 ships following us

About half way
Suez Bridge,half of!
The sea day after Petra was nice and peaceful, washed our sneakers of
all the sand in anticipation of adding lots more at the Pyramids
tomorrow! I can't really remember what we did, maybe I wrote the blog on
Petra ? (gosh Alzheimers at sea).......
I did actually have a bit of a stuffed up nose, which considering it is
the first hint of a cold in 15 years, I can't complain. But to try and
stave it off so I wouldn't miss the pyramids I thought I take 2 night
time codral cold and flu tablets, that way I would also get a lovely
zonked out sleep. Yep I was wrong......after about an hours sleep, I
woke up around 12.30am. Thought, "that's ok, I'll just lie here and
drift back to sleep", Katie was out with her friends.....but no I was
wide awake!! So after reading the kindle and using it to browse the web
for a bit I gave up the idea of bed and got out onto the balcony about
1.30am. It was so peaceful, there were stars in the sky and all I could
think was , "here I am looking up at the stars over Egypt", but even
more amazing was when the moon came up and it was a tiny red sliver,
like a fingernail. As it got higher it lost the redness, still beautiful
and I'm glad I got to see it. At this stage we were about to drop the
anchor and park for a few hours before starting our passage through the
Suez, so I thought it time to try and get some sleep and funnily enough
so did Katie cause she came back just as I was about to turn off the
light :)
Today we went through the Suez in a convoy, we were leading and I could
see 3 huge tankers behind us but there may have been more. Katie and I
spent most of the day on our balcony just watching the bank drift by.
Some times there was only sand to look at but at other times there were
towns and bridges and monuments. I did think maybe we should be on deck
to see what was on the the other bank but then decided that I can't
worry about trying to see everything on this trip, I am perfectly happy
enjoying whatever I do see....
We docked in Port Said about 4pm and Katie and a few others have gone
ashore. I did think about going with them but decided that with my cold
lurking I didn't want to give it a chance to take hold and make me sick
tomorrow for the Pyramids! So I'll have a nice relaxing time on board,

though cleaning our room before this wasn't too relaxing.......And the
purser just announced that some local traders will be setting up stalls
on Deck 5 shortly, so if I go have a look at them that will be over 200
stairs of exercise!

Suez Monument

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 31 Aqaba, Jordan (Petra)

Don't steal any rocks or sand!

On the way there, what a view.

Me holding up the walls of the Siq

First glimpse of Treasury

Treasury, wow!

Katie and Dan climbing rocks and caves
Ah Petra, it is all you imagine and a whole lot more, I cannot do
justice to it with my ramblings as I'm sure I won't be able to do with
the rest of the ports either, so shall post a few pics and describe what
we did.
As mentioned earlier we were on a 'special' bus, in the letter we got
about it, it stated we could take friends or family on the same bus if
we wanted, so we asked Dan (a friend of Katie's) and the married couple
he is travelling with, Dale and Margaret to join us, the more the
merrier. When we went to get the other 3 their stickers the same as
ours, an older lady got quite loud and angry because she thought we were
pushing in and something else, but the tour lady assisting us was really
good and explained to her what was happening but she didn't care to
listen, so apart from that early weirdness the rest of the day was very
pleasant (each bus group is given a sticker to wear so your guide can
easily keep everyone accounted for). Some-times I think the older folks
on this ship need to realise everyone including the younger folks all
paid for their tickets, there are no free trips given out. (but if there
are I would like one next time!)
The trip to Petra was a 2 hour bus ride but between the guide keeping us
informed and the amazing barren landscape the time went quickly enough.
Due to the ship now arriving 2 hours later than first planned we stopped
at a beautiful hotel in Petra for lunch before venturing into the lost
city. And yes lunch was very yummy as usual :)
It was only a 5 minute walk down (please note all the way into Petra is all the way back is up hill) to the entrance gate. The day
was sunny, no clouds, not too humid and the odd breeze, but the sun
could get quite hot, so shady bits were much appreciated. Once at the
entrance gate there are choices of horses, donkeys and carriages for 2
that take you to the Siq, which is the narrow winding canyon into Petra
itself. And when I write Petra I do mean the ruins not Petra itself. The
walk down has one side for people walking and a separate bit for the
horses and such. The walk down took about 30 mins with a stop or two at
different points of interest. We then entered the Siq which can be quite
narrow at times and only the carriages are allowed in there, which made
it quite squeezy sometimes! The walk through the Siq was another 30 or
so mins, again with stops. The end of the Siq is quite narrow and your
first view of the Treasury is just a small magical glimpse. Once inside
the ruins it is quite gob smacking. The whole area is huge and we only
managed to see a small amount, a full day or two is needed to fully
appreciate it. Throughout the city are locals with stands that sell
water and trinkets and food, with the water a much needed commodity!
There are also camels to take you about, but we just used our legs. If
you have a bucket list put Petra and Jordan on it as the people are
friendly and the sites are amazing.
After wandering about for a few hours we had to return to the bus and
now you realise how nice and easy it is to walk in downhill! We had a
rest in the shade at The Treasury and a big drink of water before
leaving and venturing back into the Siq, through there I just kept
thinking that it can't be that bad cause there are people with walking
sticks doing it, so "buck up princess" and get moving. We managed to get
through the Siq without a stop but I do know many folks stopped every
100 metres or so and had a rest. Trouble was I was with younger friends
and didn't want to be the weakest link......Once out of the Siq we again
found some shade and had a rest leaning on some rocks near where a lot
of horses were along with the men asking , "do you need a horse?". Now
if I liked horses more I may have been tempted. But we were on the home
straight and after another 20 mins we could see the entrance gate, so
another well earned sit, a drink of water and off we trudged to the bus.
Katie and Dan may have been able to do it without the stops but
Margaret, Dale and I were happy to rest, then again Katie and Dan sat
and drank each time too!
The 2 hour trip back was lovely as we got to see the sights on the other
side of the road, really breathtaking, quite alien at times. When we got
back to the ship, Katie went for a spa, I grabbed a bread roll from the
HC, came back and had a shower and then sat on the balcony for a while
before we both had an early night.
I was expecting sore muscles today, but all that stair walking in the
last month must have done some good. I must be getting fitter, from
doing no excercise to some excercise...... But all the yummy food
counteracts any chance of weight loss :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 29 and 30 Sea

Yet again I have failed to blog every day, sorry about that but after a
month on the ship a routine has set in on the sea days and it isn't
anywhere near as exciting as a port day. At least with port days I can
have a photo or two to add of Katie and I at some famous landmark. For
instance that will be Petra tomorrow followed in a few days by Pyramids
and then us floating in the Dead Sea. So there will be some exciting
things kiddies for you all in the next week to look forward to!!
This afternoon the Captain made his usual announcements and in this one
he mentioned that there will be 1400 passengers going to
Petra......that will be a lot of buses. Luckily for us because Katie is
vegetarian we had a letter delivered today with our bus number already
designated and our stickers supplied. We are on bus number 8, much
better than bus number 50........hopefully it happens again at The
Pyramids :) This is the first time it has, any other excursions where
we have been fed, there have just been vego options available.
So far all trip I have only eaten fish a couple of times ( and a prawn
or two) and meat once but no chicken, pork, lamb etc. The Horizon Court
Buffet and the MDR are both very good with vegetarian options, it will
be interesting to see what I have to eat tomorrow, as I didn't specify
me as a vego. I had been vego for about 18 months prior to the trip, it
was just easier with Katie and my sister both being vegos. But a month
or two before the trip I decided to eat meat as I thought it might
restrict me while travelling (I hadn't be at it as long as Katie and Di
so wasn't so ethically bound mentally). Believe me I or Katie haven't
been restricted at all in the food we have eaten so far on the trip, all
delicious and a lot!
I will photograph a couple of the MDR menus so you can all drool at what
we get to eat each night. The menus are posted outside both dining rooms
the night before and also outside the Horizon Court so you can see where
you'd like to eat. Of course there is also the Pizzeria or room service
(choices we have utilised). Lunch also has the option of the Riviera
Grill overlooking the pool where pies, hotdogs, burgers, kebabs and
chips are served. We are known to get the odd kebab without the
meat.............yep basically a salad wrap!
Gee nearly a whole entry on food, it must be close to dinner
But back to eating, 99% of the mornings we go up to the HC (Horizon
Court, I'm sick of typing it) and while you can have a huge choice of
hot and cold food, think eggs, bacon, mushrooms, toast of all sorts,
muffins, pasta, cold meat, cereals, fruit porridge and lots more, Katie
and I have got into a routine of the same thing every day with maybe a
change for one day a week. Katie has a bagel with cream cheese and the
guy who looks after the toast machine now knows to put in a bagel to
toast when she walks up. I usually have a bowl of their bircher type
muesli, very yummy with a large spoonful of granola on top and a banana
chopped onto it as well. (yes this is riveting stuff I know). They also
have a smoothie of the morning, with mango or raspberry being the best.
On our "change it up days" we might have eggs, and I just realised I
lied cause they have really good really crispy bacon (so I have eaten
pork). But I do ration myself to 2 small rashers and the rashers are
small.....mmmm might have that on Sunday :)
Writing all that did make me hungry so I just ate one of the yummy
chocolate covered dates stuffed with an almond. In fact so hungry that
we went to dinner and its now bed time. The pictures posted above are 3
of the desserts that were on offer tonight.


Di and Linda :- they don't let us play with matches on here, but mmmm I still remember the taste, better than chocolate. I'll see if I can get some home for you Di, choc not matches :)

Gail :- We don't go to Venice this trip as all Italian ports are on the West Coast I think but we are on the starboard side so should get a great view anyway as we sail past the bottom of Italy from Athens (I hope so)

Anonymous (well Scott actually) :- no, no other tatts!

And everyone else, thanks for comments and feedback (being recently raison, Ros, Bonniesmum, Tracey, Joan and anons and older commenters , if that is even a word.!) Hope I didn't miss anyone, but I try to get on and off the net quickly....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 27 and 28 Sea

Our position at approx 7pm tonight
Ok, I'm sure I have this under control tonight.....I will type up
something witty and interesting and it will save (unlike last night!).
My iPhone is the most annoying thing, it will often say no service,
while Katie's happily says MCP Maritime com (is Optus when in Oz).
Turning it on and off and from airplane mode to not, doesn't help, so
today went up to top deck to see if it would finally
work..............nothing. But after about 30 mins it decides to connect
and sends me a text from 6 hours ago, which I couldn't answer because it
was  9.30 at night in Australia as opposed to 3.30 in the afternoon
where I was (I will answer tomorrow Joan).
So at the moment everything is working........The seas are really calm
now as we head for the Red Sea, was like a millpond earlier much to
Katie's relief. We are also out of pirate waters, pretty sure I talked
about that on the "lost blog" from last night, in fact it was about the
best so far, sorry I lost it folks..........yes that is a lie :)
We had another cruise critic lunch today, which is always fun and as
usual trivia, swim, read, trivia, eat, eat, sit on balcony and watch the
sea. That is something I will miss a lot, just sitting on the balcony
and looking out at the ocean, we even got to see some more dolphins
today. We saw a helicopter yesterday which was just doing a sweep of the
area for pirates, not as exciting as the jets the other week but
anything is exciting.
Every day we get our room cleaned and our beds made and every night we
get the beds turned down and a chocolate left on the bed. Katie will
occasionally eat hers but because I don't like chocolate and I don't eat
mine, we have got a collection going.......(photo above)
I actually don't mind the odd bit of white chocolate, which my sister
Diane says isn't real chocolate anyway, and am very happy to eat the
dates we bought which have an almond stuffed in them and are covered in
chocolate... mmmmmmmm
While there are a lot of things that we will miss when we finally leave
the ship, we are looking forward to seeing our family and friends. But
we still have 14 more ports to experience and they are all very much
anticipated! Not sure how the blogging will go when we have 5 port days
in a row , up to now we have had lots of sea days. More to write about
but less time to do it :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Technology at sea......arrgggh

Just want to say that my phone shows no service most of the time, yet Katie's is fine ???? Also wrote a lovely post yesterday offline, went to send it and it hadn't saved......(scream, scream). I am writing this online so until I write some more in a few hours after dinner (offline), this is it. Will now wander around the ship and try and get my phone to hook into the maritime service!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 24,25 and 26 Sea and Salalah

Newly built Mosque
Katie outside one of the meat huts
Me and our mini van. Had to be covered below knees and elbows.
View over port from our balcony on ship
2 days at sea that couldn't be more different weather
wise......yesterday was just so hot and humid and uncomfortable, it got
to 43 on the open deck yesterday and when Katie was playing volleyball
in the pool they could only last 30 mins because the water was hotter
than a spa! Needless to say we spent most of it in our room reading and
trying to keep cool. Can't even shower to cool down as the water from
the tap is hot, ever since we have on the cruise the water to clean our
teeth is warm. Which isn't that big a deal except when the days are
really icky. Today on the other hand has 4 metre swells and a 48 knot
head wind, which means we get to Salalah tomorrow 3 hours late. The poor
folks on the tour desk are having a nightmare of a time on this trip.
After dinner last night I went with Katie to Jammers to watch the folks
play Mario Kart before the music started, I didn't play but ended up
staying up til 2.30am ( where do those hours after midnight disappear
to?) Katie got back around 3.30am and because the seas are rough today
she is feeling a little off. I being the good mother that I am had 4
hours sleep and then got up, I have to set a good example! In about an
hour I have my first hair cut since getting on board, so that should be
nice and relaxing......will report back after I get that done.
Well that was yesterday and we are now back from Salalah in Oman. Hair
cut was fine, had a colour as well, so am feeling better! Rest of that
day was spent not doing much, sea still rough so Katie didn't make it to
the quiz in the afternoon. We had dinner in the Horizon Court and then
had a early night.
Today in Salalah we got a shuttle bus from the ship to outside the port
area as it is a working port not a cruise ship port and we obviously
aren't allowed to walk around the port. Once outside the port area we
were dropped off in an area where it felt like hundreds of taxi drivers
were waiting and asking if you needed a taxi as soon as you stepped off
the bus. As we were the 2nd shuttle of the day there were lots and lots
of drivers and choices, it may have been less chaotic after about the
15th shuttle! So 7 of us, Katie, me and 5 of Katie's volleyball/Jammers
friends got a minibus and a lovely driver for $100 for the day. He took
us to a couple of stops for photos, ( Sultan's palace, a new Mosque and
an outdoor barbeque kind of place), he also took us to 2 souks and a
lovely restaurant for lunch and finally a new Supermarket complex for
some last minute supplies. We only had about 5 hours, but it was lovely.
It is their monsoon season and again we were blessed with no rain, it
was humid and hottish but not too bad......much cooler than Dubai. The
supermarket and the souks we went to and I imagine most other places
took $US. We bought some perfume and body lotion at the souk, in fact
most merchants wanted to dab perfume on you, I still smell like a
mixture of things (very nice). Normally the shops are closed from 1pm to
4pm but I think most of them opened up for the cruise ship. I heard that
only about 3 cruise ships stop there a year which is a shame as everyone
was friendly. But in the coming weeks they get lots of visitors from
Muscat and also Dubai and the other Emirate states as Salalah is much
cooler this time of year.
To top off our enormous lunch we went to the MDR for dinner, and you
can't leave there without eating dessert, so I am now really stuffed.
Katie has gone to play cards so I don't expect her back any time
soon..........Next up we have 4 sea days and then are in Aqaba, Jordan
and the Lost City of Petra. After that things start to get hectic with
port day after port day, oh well some-one has to do it :)
As usual thanks for the comments, much appreciated.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dubai pics

Ski Dubai
The Tower
View from the top
some dunes on 4wd
More 4wd pics

On our camel

Eating a date before the coffee, at the camp
my new tattoo, supposed to go in 10 days!
From my iphone from the tower

Dubai Day 23 - Pics to follow internet being silly

Here is a place I would want to spend at least a week in if not 2 weeks 
 or more.......Katie and friends arrived back about 2.30am and then we 
 had to be up at 7.30am for our first Princess Tour of the day. 
We left  about 15 mins late and our first stop was at the Mall of the Emirates 
 with the indoor ski slope, very impressive. Skiing, snowboarding , 
 tobagganing and it was a very pleasant  -3 degrees. We didn't go inside 
but others from the ship did independantly and had a ball. We had about 
 40 mins to check out the mall but with over 300 shops didn't see much, 
 Katie did buy a new SD card for her camera for a very good price,
 so we  were happy with that. Our guide gave us commentary about Dubai and the 
other 6 emirates along the way, which is always nice to get history and 
 facts about where we are. We then had our trip up the Burj Kalifa to the 
126th floor, you couldn't even feel the lift move and it wasn't until 
 our ears popped at about the 80th floor did we realise how fast and high 
 we we going. And yes the view was worth it, I don't particularily like 
heights but it didn't worry me in the slightest (I must be getting  old!). 
 After taking some photos we went back down to the mall and  bought food, 
it was then out to the beach next to the Burj Al Arab (Sail shaped Hotel) 
for some pics. The beach was beautiful and the water looked very tempting but
 we were on a schedule and didn't even dip our  toes in. 
Photos were taken quickly and we jumped back into the cool of 
the bus. Next stop was a mosque for more photos and then we were dropped 
back at the ship where we had a nap before we were off on our 4wd desert 
safari. The 4wd trip was a Princess Tour and has been the highlight of our trip
 so far. We were in a convoy of 30 4wd's with 4 passengers and a driver 
in each car, I was in the middle in the back with a lap seatbelt and I
 had a great view from there. We were in car 10 and we generally kept in 
order, first off was the drive out to the desert along the highway with 
Sam our driver giving great commentary, first stop was to deflate the
 tyres once off the highway and we pulled up where we could take some 
photos of camels in pens. Once into the desert ( it was a conservation 
area so had to follow a general set path) the fun began. We travelled
 up, down and around the dunes for about 20 mins until we had a stop for 
drinks and a photo or 2, we then continued the bouncing around for
 another 15 mins when we had another photo stop for the sunset. Around 
another 15 mins of 4wd and we arrived at our desert camp. First up was a
 ride on a camel which was great fun, Katie and I shared ours. We then 
 ventured into the camp (which was just for our group, they have another
 camp for general tourists). Katie and I got henna tattoos and then got a
 drink and sat down at a long table. We were sitting on cushions on 
carpet over the sand, next was scrummy food and the night at the camp 
ended with the most gorgeous and talented belly dancer. She was 
incredible and beautiful and had everyone mesmerized by what she could 
do! We then sadly had to leave, but everyone who took this tour was as
 happy about it as Katie and I. I would recommend it to everyone as
 something not to be missed. In hindsight (wonderful thing that it is),
I wouldn't have done the  morning tour, but we weren't to know when I
 booked it that the ship  would be delayed and our time cut short in Dubai
(and none in Abu  Dhabi). Instead we would have just taken a taxi to
 one of the malls and  spent most of the day there before coming back 
and doing the 4wd safari.  I still would have gone to the top of the Burj Kalifa
 but would have  bought tickets online (they are much cheaper in advance)
  and done it  ourselves. In fact there is so much to see and do,
I would really love  to return here. Though I did say to Katie,
each new city seems to  entrall me.........(and her). The good thing about
Princess or other  tours is that you learn a lot from the guides,
which you wouldn't get by  just doing it all on your own. So despite
 the heat and humidity (but no flies at the desert barbeque,  so yay),
Dubai was great. Hope to get pics and video of belly dancer from the blokes 
who were closer and concentrating more..............   

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 22 Sea and Dubai

Arrived in Dubai around 7.30pm, it is very hot and hazy and
humid......funny that. Katie and 4 others have decided to go into Dubai
and check out the shops and the nightlife, they are all dressed
appropriately so should be fine,( there was an announcement or two about
how to dress and behave). Katie isn't actually the only one to leave the
ship, I'm sure quite a few others have as well, I how-ever shall wait
til tomorrow to check it all out. Spent most of the day being lazy, too
hot to swim so read and ate, did the usual morning quiz but Katie and I
both had a nap this afternoon so missed the arvo quiz. There are
approximately 250 passengers disembarking here in Dubai, their suitcases
are already out in the passageway to be taken off tonight ready for them
tomorrow. It will be Katie and I doing that in 30 odd days, a bit sad
thinking about it , but then good as I will be closer to seeing Scarlett
and the family.
We had the lunar eclipse last night here at around 10.30pm, I got bored
about half way through and went to bed (sorry Di). Katie did get to see
some shooting stars, I might try some star gazing in the next few weeks,
although the ship is lit up rather well at night.
So a very short report tonight wish I had something more exciting to
report................though it was Grant's birthday so I rang him and
spoke for 3 mins or $18! And I ironed for the first time today! And we
did some washing as well, didn't get any real goss in the laundry must
have been a quiet day.......although I did hear that someone from the
Taj overland tour didn't pay their mini bar bill and refused to pay it,
so their bus was late and the guide had to pay the bill (believe it or

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 21 Sea

We we laze about!
What we see each day :)
What have we done today..........the seas have calmed from the last 2
days so we have made up time and will now arrive in Dubai tomorrow night
at 8pm not 11pm, Katie is happy as the "young" folks are intending to
find some night life! Still can't fathom why I booked a tour that
includes going up 126 odd floors at the Burj Khalifa as I really don't
like heights. Will get back to you with how I go with that.
As the seas had calmed the main swimming pool was opened up again, so we
took advantage of that after lunch. Was hot but there was a good breeze
so that kept us cool once we sunned ourselves. Even though the sea was
calmer there was still some good movement in the pool where one end
would drop by over a metre or more and the other end would overflow, as
one man said "it's like being in the ocean but without sharks". Once we
got out and read and sunned we heard an enormous roar and suddenly there
was a very low flying jet, it was so close and low, we all got very
excited! Then a few minutes later he did it again and then a third fly
over, thrilled all the folks up on deck. When the Captain gave his usual
5pm address he said it was our "friends" looking out for us. (I'm
guessing it was from the United Arab Emirates?). The Captain also
advised that the haze we have is actually sand not clouds.
And as it is now 6.15pm here but 12.20am back home, its Happy Birthday
to my baby boy Grant! Grant, I'll bring you a present when I get home
:) ( but I think he has already got the best present yet, Scarlett.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 20 Sea

An interesting day today......yes I know every day is in my mind. The
seas weren't kind to those prone to sea-sickness as we had 4 metre
swells and the day was hazy and overcast. Katie's tablets fix the
queasiness but she stills feels a bit off and is best sitting on our
balcony or up on deck 12. Tomorrow should be calmer according to the
Captain but because of our late departure from Mumbai and a 30 knot port
side wind, and the swell,and one engine down, we will now arrive in
Dubai at around 10pm instead of 2pm. (And we were already missing Abu
Dhabi and having Dubai inserted). So instead of 1 day in Abu Dhabi and 1
and 1/2 in Dubai, we now have only 1 in Dubai. Our Abu Dhabi tour had
been changed to Dubai but is now cancelled, but we still have a morning
and evening tour scheduled for Dubai (confused, join the queue). In
cases like these I am more than happy I booked most tours with Princess
as any cancellations are automatically refunded and any changes are all
done by them, which must be a giant headache on this cruise! We just
wait to hear what has changed and we go with the flow.........
We also got to Skype with Grant, Meg and Scarlett today. Skype is
blocked through the Princess site but can be accessed via the Skype app
on iPhone or iPad. We used Katie's phone so we could see them but they
couldn't see us (no big loss there!) . We will try to find an internet
cafe in Dubai but we will be 6 or so hours behind by then, so teeing up
suitable hours for all of us will get harder the further we go.
The Captain also advised we will be having a pirate drill after Dubai,
guessing it won't involve eye patches and parrots! The water cannons
(big hoses) have been up for a few days on the promenade deck, but in
this weather not sure any pirates would be lurking about. No mention of
the cyclone from a few days ago so presume the swells are a left over
from it.
An observation from today (although Katie said everyone would be aware
of it), if you like cappuccinos and lattes and cold milk on cereal etc...
start using long life milk a few days/weeks before hand to get used to
the taste, as this is all that there is (obviously!) .
I thought I should weigh myself today after totally pigging out on
Indian food and other food went to the gym (for the scales)
and first up when I stood on them they were in pounds, so that was a
huge fright. Once I got over that shock and changed it to kilos, it was
very much like a Biggest Loser weigh in.....they would go up to 87kgs
and then down to 63kgs, then up to 80kgs and down to 60kgs etc etc, all
the while fluctuating with the rise and fall of the ship! Sadly it
finally landed not at the lowest, but happily at 300 grams less than
last time I ventured to the scales. Best I check it when the seas are
calm again.......
Still haven't used the lifts and with 16 steps between decks I figure I
get a small amount of exercise a day.....up 32 to breakfast, back down
32, then down 64 and back up 64 then down 80 and back up 96 then down
32 (to room) and down another 64 and a lap or 2 of the promenade
.......etc etc. The down are fine its the up from deck 5 to ours on 11
that gets me. Hopefully by Dover I can do it and still hold a
conversation with Katie as we go to our cabin! (rather than puffing and
panting). I'm good from 7 to 11 ....well I'm better than I was on day 1 :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 19 Mumbai

Outside Hindu Temple
Inside Jain Temple
sacred mystery water (look it up!)
More ....pole is where arrow landed
At our amazing lunch
Lunch delivery!
Us next to bike full of deliveries
Ghandi's room where he lived
Me photographing inside Ghandi Museum
Laundry again
More laundry
Interior of Jain Temple
traffic at wholesale markets
Outside Taj Hotel

In park overlooking Mumbai

more park
In a word fabulous.........Katie and I had a private tour arranged with
a company called Mumbai Magic, and it was magic. Our guide was a woman
called Sudha and she was wonderful, she obviously loves her city and it
certainly rubbed off on Katie and I. As it was only Katie and I, we were
in an air conditioned car so were able to pull up and jump out at each
site without any trouble, not sure how the buses and mini vans went.
While I think of it, today was the easiest day for getting off the
ship, we were all given groups and a time to be in the Vista Lounge to
be processed by Indian Immigration , we just left out cabin when called
and had no queues and it all ran seamlessly. (for us anyway, think the
ship had trouble when leaving as we left 2 hours late)
But back to the tour, again we had no rain (well there may have been a
quick shower when we were inside at lunch but not sure), our first stop
was the main railway station where we went inside and Sudha told us how
the trains run on time 98% of the time, its not 100% because the monsoon
season can cause the trains to sometimes run a few minutes late! This
for a city of 18 million...........Melbourne and Sydney take note.
Ok I started to write down all the amazing things we saw and did in
Mumbai and realised it would go for pages and pages and pages, so I'll
try and summarise isn't in order of what we saw it's in the
order that my brain spits it out. The traffic was amazing and if you
have seen it on TV then yes that is exactly how it is, organised
chaos....lots of horn tooting and people walking into the traffic to
cross the roads which were filled with , mototrbikes and scooters and
bicycles and hand carts and it was amazing, by the end of the day Katie
and I could just about happily walk into the traffic to cross roads. (
but we usually crossed with Sudha!)
If anyone has seen The Amazing Race TV series where the contestants came
to Mumbai and had to do the laundry and lunch challenge well we got to
witness both activivties first hand. To save me rambling on about them
do yourself a huge favour and look up Mumbai and both the activities ,
totally fascinating.
Take 3 :- I started both paragraphs above last night with the intention
of deleting them and starting over, but we saw so much and experienced
so much I really can't do justice to it. So have decided to just post
some photos and suffice to say if you ever get the chance to visit
Mumbai, do it and use the company we did Mumbai Magic. I know a couple
of the other bloggers also used the company and hopefully they are
better able to condense their time for you to read. Or at least name
where they went!