A Travellerspoint blog

2011 - H & A WORLD CRUISE - HONG KONG

HONG KONG & HALFWAY THROUGH THE CRUISE.

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THERE WILL BE A FEW GETTING OFF HERE.

GINA & HANS FROM MY DINNER TABLE WILL LEAVE & AN AUSTRALIAN COUPLE WILL JOIN US.

I WILL NOT LAST MORE THAN A WEEK WITH THE NEW DINNER COMPANIONS WHO ARE NOT AT ALL TO MY LIKING.

TOO BAD, THE OTHERS WERE GREAT.

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I LEAVE THE SHIP & INTEND A LONGISH STROLL NORTH THROUGH KOWLOON TO THE BIRD MARKET... & TAKE IN THE STREET SIGHTS ON THE WAY.

I ALSO GET A HONG KONG ESSENTIAL - THE OCTOPUS CARD.

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ALREADY AT THE BIRD MARKET...WITH LIVE FOOD ON SALE.

CAGED BIRDS ARE VERY POPULAR HERE.

LOCALS TAKE THEM OUT FOR WALKS & SIT IN PARKS WITH THEM.

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THESE ARE LIVE, CRICKETS I THINK

AND ITS ON TO THE FLOWER MARKET JUST NEXT DOOR..

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AND ON TO THE FISH MARKET & A BITE TO EAT...

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AND THE MEAT MARKET

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GETTING A BIT TIRED NOW, SO I DELVE INTO THE UNDERGROUND - WHERE YOU COULD EAT YOUR DINNER OFF THE FLOOR.

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THE TUBE TAKES ME UNDER VICTORIA BAY & TO HONG KONG ISLAND WHERE I STUMBLE UPON A RARE PATCH OF GREENERY AMID ALL THE SKY SCRAPERS... & ON TO THE PEAK TRAM FOR THE RIDE TO THE TOP OF VICTORIA PEAK

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THEN IT'S A BUS RIDE DOWN THE MOUNTAIN & THE FAMOUS STAR FERRY BACK TO KOWLOON...

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THESE GIRLS ARE TAKING A SURVEY & PRACTISING THEIR ENGLISH...

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BACK ON BOARD SHIP - WHAT A PLACE TO PARK THE BOAT..

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NEXT DAY, IT'S A BUS RIDE TO THE KOWLOON WALLED CITY PARK...

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ON THE BUS I SAT NEXT TO AN ANCIENT MAN WHO SPENT THE ENTIRE JOURNEY PLUCKING THE HAIRS ON HIS CHIN. A VERY PAINFUL WAY TO SHAVE BUT HE WON'T HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN FOR A WHILE I GUESS

THIS IS NOT LAUNDRY - BUT A PIECE OF ART, SPRINKLED THROUGH THE GARDENS...

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ONLY CHINESE TOURISTS HERE..

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IN HONG KONG, THE CITY IS NEVER VERY FAR AWAY....

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MORE KIDS DOING SURVEYS & BRUCE LEE ON THE STAR WALK...

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TIME FOR THE LIGHT SHOW....

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AND AN AFTER DINNER TREAT... ME WITH MY FAVOURITE LADIES - THE ADAGIO STRINGS..

NOTE TO SELF - GET A SUIT THAT FITS..

Posted by hasbeen 07:00 Archived in Hong Kong Comments (0)

2011 - H & A WORLD CRUISE - VIETNAM


View 2011 H&A - NEW ZEALAND TO RED SEA on hasbeen's travel map.

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THE MS AMSTERDAM IS TOO LARGE TO GET UP RIVER TO SAIGON & THE EXCURSIONS THERE LOOKED VERY LONG, SO I OPT TO GO TO VANG TAU, ON THE COAST.

VERY CLOSE TO BEING THE WORST DECISION OF MY LIFE.

MARCH 11, 2011

THIS IS THE DAY JAPAN WAS HIT BY THE TSUNAMI.

JAPAN IS NOT THAT FAR AWAY BUT LUCKILY FOR ME THE FORCE OF THE TSUNAMI WAS DIRECTED EAST AND NOT WEST.

I HEARD SOME PASSENGERS SAY THEY SAW UNUSUAL WAVES BUT I DID NOT NOTICE A THING. EVERYTHING WAS VERY PLACID.

BUT IS DOES SEEM THAT BAD THINGS ARE HAPPENING AROUND US. FIRST THE EARTHQUAKE HIT CHRISTCHURCH IN NEW ZEALND A FEW DAYS AFTER WE LEFT, & NOW THE TSUNAMI.

BUT - ON WITH THE SHOW

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VERY PATRIOTIC FISHING BOATS FESTOONED WITH FLAGS & LIGHTS..

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GA RAN KENTUCKY ANYONE??

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LADIES SWIM WITH THEIR CONICAL HATS ON....

... . . & HERES THE TSUNAMI COMING ASHORE....

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A TEMPLE STOP....

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AND BACK TO THE SHIP.

IT HAD ONLY BEEN A HALF DAY TOUR SO PLENTY OF TIME TO SIT ON DECK WATCHING LIFE ON THE RIVER.

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KIDS TRYING TO SELL STUFF TO PASSENGERS MANY FLOORS ABOVE THEM...

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WANNA BUY A WATCH?

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THAT WAS A VERY PLEASANT DAY - BUT NOT FOR THOSE POOR SOULS IN JAPAN.

Posted by hasbeen 06:50 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

2011 - H & A WORLD CRUISE - SINGAPORE


View 2011 H&A - NEW ZEALAND TO RED SEA on hasbeen's travel map.

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MY TABLE MATE SANDY, HAS A VAN BOOKED HERE AND OFFERS ME A SEAT.

THERE WILL BE JUST FIVE OF US.

SHE HAS LOT PLANNED.

FIRST THE ROLLS & COFFEE ON DECK....

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THEN OFF THE BOAT & A VISIT TO THE JURONG BIRD PARK....

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WHERE I GET TO SEE A PENGUIN - BUT JUST STUFFED ONES.

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WE WALK INTO A HUGE AVIARY. A BIT LIKE THE SNOWDEN AVAIARY IN REGENTS PARK ZOO.

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FINALLY - A REAL PENGUIN..

AND A VERY UNUSUAL OUTDOOR TOILET....

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NEXT UP IS A DRIVE TO LITTLE INDIA & A TEMPLE OR TWO.

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NOW WE ARE ONTO A BUM BOAT....

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I WILL BE AT THE TOP OF THAT HOTEL IN A FEW YEARS TIME..

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SANDY, HER COUSIN - LORRAINE & BOB, LORRAINES BOYFRIEND - IF A 90 YEAR OLD CAN BE CALLED A BOY. INTERESTING TALKER WHEN HE GOT GOING. ACTUALLY HAS PATENTS TO HIS NAME. BATTERIES MAINLY, BUT ALSO A FISHING LURE - WHICH HE SAID DID NOT WORK TOO WELL.

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WE ARE NOW GOING TO HAVE HIGH TEA AT RAFFLES HOTEL.

COSTS AN ARM & A LEG BUT GOOD FUN...

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AND INTO RAFFLES LONG BAR FOR A SINGAPORE SLING WHICH WAS INVENTED HERE & COST THE OTHER ARM & LEG .

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BACK TO THE BOAT FOR A NAP & THEN OFF TO THE NIGHT SAFARI..

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SOMEWHERE IN THERE WE ALSO VISITED THE BOTANICAL GARDENS, BUT NOW IT'S THE FOLLOWING DAY & I AM OUT ON MY OWN. TAKING THE CABLE CAR TO SENTOSHA ISLAND. SINGAPORE'S AMUSEMENT ISLAND

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A COUPLE OF UNUSUAL ANGLES GOING OVER THE SHIP...

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THAT WAS AN INTENSE VISIT.. DID NOT SEE ANYONE GET ARRESTED FOR CHEWING GUM..

Posted by hasbeen 06:40 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

2011 - H & A WORLD CRUISE - KOCHI


View 2011 H&A - NEW ZEALAND TO RED SEA on hasbeen's travel map.

Singapore is a great place to visit but it is not all that exotic.

I hope Kochi will be.

The ship’s staff do a good job of changing the indoor appearance & here’s a look at some of their bits on board.

I like seeing that people really do wear items like conical hats & here are some other uses.

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A few views from the ship...another great reception with the band in full swing....

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some armed presence....

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the GANGA bus. Don't think I am on that bus but it could be fun...

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Today I am off into the country-side, to visit a village, but we have to get out of the city first.

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We are greeted by the band & escorted to the village by this National Geographic girl...or the worlds next supermodel perhaps...

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I gave a tube of tennis balls to a youngster on the idea that all kids like them. I know I did.

This girl looks at her dad who says ‘tennis balls?’ And the girl does not open the tube but takes it indoors.

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Selling things of course...

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This guy shinned up a palm tree to get coconuts...

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Husking a coconut...

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Spinning coconut fibre..

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Using palm leaves to make baskets - note the use of the feet.

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Making flour...

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A fishing demonstration...

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Dragonflies are fast becoming a favourite photo. They pose so obligingly.

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& here is a Cattle Egret, complete with cattle...

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That was an interesting visit...

Not totally sure if people actually live here or if it is just a mock up. If it is a mock up, they do a great job.

We now head back to the city

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& take in a spinning co-operative on the way.....

where, strangely they were not selling anything to us.

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some big boats in town...

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and our pool....

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and time for a sundowner...was it a little exotic..yes!

I like it..

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Posted by hasbeen 06:30 Archived in India Comments (0)

2011 - H & A WORLD CRUISE - TAJ MAHAL


View 2011 H&A - NEW ZEALAND TO RED SEA on hasbeen's travel map.

THIS EXCURSION IS WITH THE CRUISE LINE & IS OUTRAGEOUSLY EXPENSIVE,

BUT - I AM NEVER IN MY LIFE GOING TO GET THIS CLOSE TO THE TAJ MAHAL AGAIN, SO IT JUST HAS TO BE.....

LEAVING MUMBAI, EARLY MORNING FOR THE FLIGHT TO AGRA.

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WE GET TO FRESHEN UP AT THE HOTEL....

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THE DRAGONFLY WAS IN THE GROUNDS...

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NOT FAR TO THE ENTRANCE TO THE TAJ BUT THERE IS QUITE A WALK FROM THE BUS TO THE ENTRANCE & NOT MUCH IN THE WAY OF HELP FOR THE PEOPLE WHO CANNOT WALK VERY WELL. WE HAD A LADY WITH A CANE WITH US WHO WAS STRUGGLING QUITE A BIT.

WE ARE TAKEN TO THE NON-INDIANS LINE THROUGH SECURITY, WHO GOT A LITTLE TOO FRIENDLY WITH HIS PAT DOWN.

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WE WAIT HERE FOR THE GROUP TO RE-GROUP & HAVE LOST SOMEONE ALREADY.

I DON'T SEE PADDY FROM ALBERTA ANYWHERE..

TOO BAD, LETS GO....

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AND THOUGH THE ARCH - THERE IT IS - JUST AS YOU HAVE SEEN IN A MILLION PICTURES.

AND JUST AS ADVERTISED.

THE TAJ MAHAL

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LOTS OF PEOPLE. MORE TO THE POINT, LOTS OF INDIAN PEOPLE.

GETTING TO ENJOY THIS WONDER OF THEIRS.

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AND THE ODD TOURIST

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HERE WE ARE, RE-GROUPING AGAIN.

STILL NO SIGN OF PADDY.

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THE LADY WITH THE CANE IS STILL GAME.. CLIMBING THE STAIRS TO GET TO THE DOOR OF THE TAJ

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AND INSIDE TO WHERE THE COFFIN HOLDING THE MUMTAZ IS LYING., ALTHOUGH I THINK I READ THAT SHE IS SOMEWHERE ELSE.

I LEAVE OUR GUIDE & WANDER A LITTLE BIT.
EVERY NOW AND AGAIN A WHISTLE BLOWS.
THERE ARE MEN, MAYBE SECURITY.
ANYWAY, THEY BLOW WHISTLES TO STOP PEOPLE WHO ARE TAKING PHOTOS WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN INSIDE HERE.

IT'S VERY DARK IN HERE & ONE OF THE WHISTLE GUYS SHINES A SMALL TORCH ON THIS SO I CAN SEE IT BETTER

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YOU WILL HAVE NOTICED I GUESS, THAT THIS IS A PHOTO. MY PHOTO

THE GUY HAD MIMED MY TAKING A PICTURE.

NOT ALLOWED I TOLD HIM.
ME, TELLING HIM IT IS NOT ALLOWED.
HE'S THE ONE WITH THE WHISTLE....

HE SAYS - YOU ARE WITH ME. IT'S OK.

CLICK, CLICK, CLICK & MORE CLICKS

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MUMTAZ - ALTHOUGH I STILL THINK SHE IS REALLY SOMEWHERE ELSE.

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THE WHISTLE GUY HAS FOLLOWED ME OUT & STROKES HIS HAND.

HE GETS A FEW DOLLARS & HE WALKS WITH ME TO SHOW ME THE OPTICAL DELUSIONS ALONG THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING..

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MANY PEOPLE GET DRESSED IN THEIR FINERY TO VISIT, LIKE THESE TWO LOOKING VERY ELEGANT, & NO SHOES. WE WERE PROVIDED WITH SLIPPERS.

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NOT THE FIRST TIME I NOTICE HOW NICELY DRESSED EVEN THE SWEEPERS ARE.

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ON THE WAY BACK TO THE HOTEL THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN COVERED WITH COLOURS. THROWN AT THEM IN THE COLOUR FESTIVAL.
WE WERE TOLD TO KEEP THE WINDOWS OF THE VAN CLOSED.

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AND PADDY DID TURN UP FOR THE NEXT STOP. THE AGRA FORT.

SHE STUCK LIKE GLUE TO ME FOR A WHILE.

Posted by hasbeen 06:20 Archived in India Comments (0)

2011 - H & A WORLD CRUISE - AGRA FORT


View 2011 H&A - NEW ZEALAND TO RED SEA on hasbeen's travel map.

AGRA FORT

WE HAD A DELAY AT AGRA AIRPORT & I SPENT THE TIME CHATTING TO THE INDIAN GUYS THERE. ABOUT CRICKET MAINLY, BUT THEY DID PUT ME RIGHT ABOUT THE AGRA FORT. I HAD BEEN CALLING IT THE RED FORT & ALTHOUGH IT DOES LOOK A LITTLE RED, THE ACTUAL RED FORT IS IN DELHI OR I COULD BE WRONG ABOUT THAT TOO.

ANYWAY - THIS IS THE AGRA FORT

IT'S JUST ALONG THE RIVER FROM THE TAJ MAHAL & WHILE THE TAJ IS VERY BEAUTIFUL, I PREFERRED VISITING THE FORT MORE.

THE TAJ ALSO HAD TOO MANY PEOPLE THERE TO APPRECIATE FULLY.

MY WIFE WAS THERE WITH THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA ( NAME DROPPING AGAIN ) & THE TAJ WAS CLOSED TO ANY OTHER VISITORS BESIDES THE PRIME MINISTERS PARTY. ONE OF THE PERKS - I BET THEY LET HIM IN FOR FREE TOO.

MY WIFE HAD A STORY SHE WAS TOLD AT THE TAJ BUT WHICH I WAS UNABLE TO CONFIRM ON MY VISIT.
AS YOU KNOW, THE TAJ IS MADE OF WHITE MARBLE, A COLD ROCK. IN SOME PLACES. THE TAJ HAS FRESCO LIKE CUTS MADE IN IT. THE OUTSIDE OF THE CUT IS WIDER THAN THE INSIDE SO WHEN A BREEZE BLOWS THROUGH, IT SPEEDS UP & SO COOLS DOWN.

17TH CENTURY AIR CONDITIONING. I HESITATE TO SAY THIS BUT - HOW COOL IS THAT?

BACK TO AGRA FORT

DOESN'T THAT LOOK RED TO YOU? EVEN A LITTLE?

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LOST BALL?

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AND THIS MAKES IT THREE LOVE BIRDS?

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A GREAT SPOT TO VIEW THE TAJ MAHAL

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TWO OF THE GIRLS WHO WORK ON THE SHIP...

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AND ANOTHER. THIS ONE GAVE ME THE SANTA HAT THAT I WORE IN FRONT OF THE TAJ.

SHE WORKS IN THE EXCURSION DESK & WAS PROBABLY FIRST CHOICE BUT THERE MUST HAVE BEEN FIERCE COMPETITION AMONG THE STAFF TO COME ON THIS EXCURSION. THE IDEA IS THEY HELP KEEP AN EYE ON US WANDERING SHEEP BUT HERE THEY WERE TAKING A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO BE JUST TOURISTS.

BRAVO

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LEAVING THE FORT NOW FOR THE RIDE BACK TO THE AIRPORT.

IT MUST BE A COMBINATION OF THE LIGHT & THE CAST OF THE WINDOWS BUT I REALLY LIKE THE 'LOOK' OF THESE FEW PHOTOS.

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THE CAMEL AND THE COW WERE A BIT TOO FAST FOR ME..

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AND THEN THE FLIGHT BACK TO MUMBAI.

THE TAJ MAHAL & AGRA FORT IN A DAY.

I WOULD NEVER HAVE MANAGED THAT ON MY OWN.

I NOW REGRET NOT DOING THE THREE DAY EXCURSION THAT LEFT THE SHIP & CAUGHT UP WITH IT IN MUMBAI.

MY DINNER COMPANIONS DID THAT & TOOK PART IN A POLO MATCH - ON ELEPHANTS - AMAZING.

SANDY I COULD RECKON SHE WOULD DO IT BUT LORAINE & BOB ARE NO SPRING CHICKENS.
BUT THEY DID - I SAW THE PICTURES. BOB WAS THE REFEREE.

Posted by hasbeen 06:10 Archived in India Comments (0)

2011 - H & A WORLD CRUISE - MUMBAI


View 2011 H&A - NEW ZEALAND TO RED SEA on hasbeen's travel map.

TODAY I TAKE A TRAIN FOR A COUPLE OF STOPS OUTSIDE MUMBAI WHERE MEN DO MUMBAI'S LAUNDRY. ONLY MEN DO THIS.

WE THEN GO TO MAHATMA GHANDI'S PLACE, HAVE A LOOK AT THE TIFFIN DELIVERERS & BACK TO THE SHIP.

WE HAVE A WAIT AROUND AT THE GATE OF INDIA.....

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A SWEEPER TAKING A LOT OF PRIDE IN HER WORK...& LOOKING GOOD IN HER SARI,

I REALLY RATE THE LOOK OF SARIS. SO SIMPLE. SO ELEGANT.

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THIS BUILDING WAS BOMBED A WHILE AGO, AS WAS THE RAILWAY STATION WE ARE GOING TO.

LOTS OF SECURITY. SOLDIERS WITH MACHINE GUNS TYPE SECURITY.

NO PHOTOS ALLOWED IN THE STATION.
WE HAD THE SHIPS PHOTOGRAPHER WITH US & A GUY WITH A GUN TOLD HER , QUITE POLITELY, NOT TAKE PHOTOS.
MAYBE SHE DID NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT HE WAS SAYING, BECAUSE HE HAD TO TELL HER TWICE.

I MOVED AWAY A LITTLE.

RULE NUMBER ONE - DO WHAT THE MAN WITH THE MACHINE GUN ASKS YOU TO DO.

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ON THE TRAIN, WE ARE GOING OUT OF TOWN. MASSES OF PEOPLE ARE GOING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION

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OUR GUIDE HAS EXPLAINED THAT WE ARE TO GET OFF AT THE THIRD STATION.

SHE SAYS THE TRAIN WILL ONLY STOP MOMENTARILY, LIKE LESS THAN A MINUTE.

IF ANYONE IS NOT ABLE TO GET OFF - DO NOT PANIC - SHE WILL STAY ON THE TRAIN, GO TO THE NEXT STATION & COME BACK TO JOIN THOSE WHO MADE IT ONTO THE PLATFORM THE FIRST TIME,

SIMPLE ENOUGH!

A FRENCH LADY IN OUR GROUP ASKED ME TO HELP HER OFF THE TRAIN AS SHE IS A BIT SLOW ON HER FEET.

THE DOORS HAD NEVER BEEN CLOSED, EVEN WHEN WE WERE MOVING.

I HAD HER UP BEFORE THE TRAIN STOPPED.
WAITED TIL THE TRAIN STOPPED.
STEPPED QUICKLY ONTO THE PLATFORM & HANDED HER DOWN.
SHE HAD ONE FOOT ON THE GROUND AND THE TRAIN STARTED TO MOVE BUT SHE WAS OK & STEPPED OFF.

A GUY BEHIND MUST HAVE MISSED THE BIT ABOUT 'STAY ON THE TRAIN' & DEFINITELY MISSED 'DO NOT PANIC'

HE LEAPT ONTO THE PLATFORM FROM THE MOVING TRAIN, AND CRASHED TO THE FLOOR.

NO DAMAGE - FORTUNATELY.

WE HAD TO WAIT ON THE PLATFORM FOR THE GUIDE TO BRING THE NON-PANICKED PEOPLE BACK WITH HER.

GAVE US TIME TO WATCH THE ACTION ON THE PLATFORM, NO ONE WAS SAYING NO PHOTOS HERE.

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THOSE SEVEN PHOTOS WERE ALL TAKEN ON THE PLATFORM. THE PEOPLE GOING ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS ARE RIGHT NEXT TO THE TRACKS..

NOW WE GO TO THE LAUNDRY...

NOT LIKE ANY COIN-OP IN OTTAWA.....

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THIS LITTLE ONE LOOKS A TRIFLE PEEVED.

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AND ON TO THE MAHATMA'S PLACE..

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AND THE TIFFIN DELIVERERS....

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NO - THOSE ARE THE TOURISTS, WATCHING THE DELIVERERS. LUNCH BOXES BROUGHT FROM HOME & DELIVERED TO AN OFFICE DESK. AMAZING SYSTEM.

HOW DO THEY NOT LOSE SOME?

SAME WITH ALL THAT LAUNDRY. HOW DOES IT ALL GET BACK OK TO THE OWNERS?

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AND BACK TO THE BOAT WHERE THEY ARE HANGING OUT THE LAUNDRY TOO...

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I NEVER DID SEE A TIGER IN INDIA SO THE POSTER NEXT TO THE SHIP WILL HAVE TO DO,

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MARTHA TOLD ME SHE TOOK A PHOTO OF A SOLDIER WHO HAD HIS GUN POKING OVER THE TOP OF SOME SANDBAGS.

RATHER YOU THAN ME - GUNGA DIN.

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THE SHIP LEFT HARBOUR, WENT OUT TO SEA AND THEN STOPPED & WE JUST SAT THERE.

AN ANNOUNCEMENT WAS MADE TO SAY THE WE LEFT TO CATCH THE TIDE, BUT THAT WE HAD NOT FINISHED THE PORT FORMALITIES.

HENCE THE WAIT.

NOW - THAT MAY BE TRUE BUT, I WAS ON DECK & A SMALL BOAT APPROACHED. MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS - 'PIRATES',

NO - IT WAS A PASSENGER & HIS WIFE. THEY HAD BEEN OFF SHIP FOR THREE DAYS ON THEIR OWN & MISSED THE BOAT.

HE OWNED AN OIL WELL, SO HE COULD HAVE AFFORDED TO CATCH UP WITH US AT THE NEXT PORT IN DUBAI.

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FORMAL NIGHT AT SEA & THIS IS NOT A PASSENGER. SHE IS THE NEW BARTENDER......

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Posted by hasbeen 06:00 Archived in India Comments (0)

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