A Travellerspoint blog

2015 - Sydney to Vancouver .. 3 Vanuatu

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This mans t-shirt says 'Vanatu' & I did take a tour with him there .. the other guy was filming us for some un-remembered reason.

The other two were the only other two on the tour . . .. we headed inland to a waterfall .. passing a lot of devastation caused by a recent Typhoon.

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Most houses had some damage .. some extensive damage ..

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A pleasant waterfall .. I did not go down to it with the others .. it was a bit too steep for me

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a very pleasant day out in Vanuatu

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Posted by hasbeen 17:13 Archived in Vanuatu Comments (0)

2015 - Sydney to Vancouver .. 2

Some islands

A week or so ago, while on the Mekong Sun, I met two French couples who live on New Caledonia, an island in the Pacific.

As an amazing coincidence, my next port of call is going to be .. New Caledonia.

And .. here is one of those people at his house .. he & his wife were kind enough to meet me off the ship & are going to take me for a ride across the island ..

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We are going to a restaurant on the far side of the island .. but stop at a few look-out spots on the way.

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The restaurant is almost on the beach by here ..

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After lunch we drove back across the island & a few more scenic spots in the capital ..

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The GPS on my camera tells me I am still in New Caledonia here but I think I have moved on to another island within that group.

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I do know I went for a short walk .. looking at the sights.

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And now I have definitely switched islands .. next up is Vanuatu .. I think

Posted by hasbeen 17:05 Archived in New Caledonia Comments (0)

2015 - Sydney to Vancouver

A couple of days in Sydney waiting to board a Holland America ship to cross the wide Pacific ..

After an uneventful flight from Bangkok I arrived at Sydney & after a bit of back & forth managed to find the place to get a train pass inside the airport.

The hotel is just a walk away from the station & I am going to take the train up into the Blue Mountains .. to the Mount Victoria station.

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It is not July but the advert says the the Xmas season will be then .. Xmas in July .. can that be true?

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I took a short walk to a look-out over the mountains but was less than impressed .. the weather did not help as it was drizzling.

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Time for a drink of ginger beer & a snack ..

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& another short wait at the station for the ride back to Sydney. The station could be in England 50 years ago.

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The train ride is nothing special .. not much in the way of Blue Mountain views but it was livened up when two young couple got busted by the cops for drinking on the train .. they were not rowdy, just drinking beer.

It was a pleasant & cheap way to while away a few hours

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The next day I decided to take a bus to the coast & walk from beach to beach ..

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I wonder what you need to do to get into this cemetery .. besides dying .. fabulous location.

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and there is the ships cute photographer ..

.. .. . as we pass under the Sydney Harbour bridge. I did not expect to do that as I thought the ship was to be parked at Circular Quay but Sidney has another cruise ship terminal .. lucky I found that out in good time

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Goodbye to Australia . . I doubt I will get the chance to be back

Posted by hasbeen 16:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

2015 - MEKONG RIVER in LAOS, more days in Luang Prabang

Water festival time

So . . off the river boat now & a few more days in Luang Prabang.

A stroll around town ..

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Another stop at this restaurant overlooking the river .. the floor above is made of bamboo & I trusted to luck that it would hold my weight .. of course it did.

This floor is more substantial . .

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Some war souvenirs at the entrance ..

Bare bums on display .. About as rude as Laos gets

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Lots of street food & many people per scooter.

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There a quite a lot of tourists in LP . .

Must be tricky riding a scooter & holding an umbrella . . . . but they make it look easy. Fold-up umbrellas to keep of the sun is a very good idea.

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as are surgical masks . . the air is very bad from the fires set to clear farmland.

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It's the start of the water festival ... I found that Laos people do not smile too much but that changes come water festival .. & a good excuse to get dressed up

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The little boy was always a tad too late with his bucket ..

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Another good reason to have an umbrella ..

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Buddha during his starving stage . . one grain of rice a day.

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Not just the very young get into the water festival ..

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The night market being prepared ..

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A beautiful old car belonging to one of the hotels ..

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An evening at a restaurant that has a cultural show upstairs ..

Followed by a walk around town ..

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... where the night market is up & running ..

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I spent a few hours sitting & chatting with this lady who attends a hole-in-the-wall place that sells juice & coffee .. . just the one chair on the pavement so I had a good view of the comings & goings on the street.

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The next day & the water festival is still in full swing

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These ladies are staff from my hotel .. on the right is the receptionist, looking very smart . . as is the girl next to her who cleaned my room & the very elegant lady beside her who cleans & supervises the young cleaners.

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Some of the kids have sophisticated water-pistols but most just use a bucket or anything that holds waters.

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It is really a lot of fun for these people .. look at the expression on the girls face .. . she loves it

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Some live music here ..

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The massage girls here .. plotting a raid on the tourists ? .. one of them gave me a pedicure here .. they don't charge very much.

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A passing tourist getting soaked. I did get wet a few times .. but they avoided my camera which was nice of them. I tried to bribe one group with a couple of dollars to let me by without getting wet but much to their amusement they soaked me anyway.

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There are some pretty scary spiders hanging in the trees ..

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There was some problem on my visit to the cultural show & I got a voucher for a second performance .. here is a gecko on stage watching proceedings.

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The end of the show & the end of my time in Laos .. would I go back? Yes .. but somewhere other than Luang Prabang .. It is very nice but I do not think it is representative of Laos .. much too clean & rich.

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A bit of a wait at Banglok airport so a photo with these girls waiting to dance to entertain the travellers..

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Next stop is Sydney .. catching the boat to cross the Pacific to Vancouver .. It will be a nice relaxing way home to Canada..

Posted by hasbeen 17:01 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

2015 - MEKONG RIVER in LAOS, aboard the Mekong Sun

Beach barbecue .. waterfalls .. & a Laos folkloric afternoon.

The boys from the ship set up a net & played the SE Asian version of volleyball .. with a raffia ball that they use their feet to kick back & forth across the net .. they ate very skillful but it is too much work for me to join in so I have a beer instead.

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After they had finished their game, they piled logs on the sand & made a bonfire & some of the locals came down & joined us in a sing-song.

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The crew also helped us passengers send small hot air balloons into the sky .. it looked very good but I don't remember why I did not take photos .. I do remember a large bug crawling around inside my shirt though .. the pain lasted for over a week.

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Next day we progressed along the river towards Luang Prabang & stopped to have a wander along a small tributary filled with a series of waterfalls ..

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Some of the passengers cooled off with a swim ..

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& I headed for a snack ..

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These boys were playing with the water buffalo when we arrived back at the boat .. looked like fun.

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That evening, back at Luang Prabang we were treated to a folkloric show on board .. .

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Some locals drifted down to take in the free show.

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The girls .. looking very different in their everyday clothes

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And that's that for the show & also the Mekong Sun cruise. It was good fun .. only about 22 passengers .. the language groups kept mostly to themselves but the French couples were chatty as they were on my table for meals & it is an amazing coincidence that they live on an island in the Pacific that I will be visiting on my way home .. I made arrangements to meet them in a month or so.

Posted by hasbeen 16:28 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

2015 - MEKONG RIVER in LAOS, aboard the Mekong Sun

Visiting a couple of villages & a school trip.

I am not sure now if I am still travelling up-river or down but will be visiting a couple of villages

Half the village waiting our arrival .. .

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& oh my word .. look at all the steps up the bank ..

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Some folks are not enthused at all at our arrival ..

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Even the kids are quiet ..

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This one looks like a little angel ..

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& here she is banging the puppy against a wall & then dropping it on the floor .. not so angelic after all.

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Back to school for a passenger .. this one is English but works in the Emirates ..

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I think he is a little sweet on the teacher ..

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The girl is playing a game made out of a piece of bamboo .. I forget how it worked but it was quite ingenious.

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Life is not all play here .. Plaiting leaves .. for a roof or wall perhaps ,,

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Another lady hard at work with a giant mortar & pestle ..

We have left that village & moving to another ..

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Lots of smoke in the hills ..

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I think the flag is to acknowledge the 5 brits on board .. there were also 2 Canadians, 4 French ( who live on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific ) 1 Austrian & the rest were German.

Quite the blaze ..

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The kids here are a bit more happy ..

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Plotting some mischief?

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House building ..

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Another large Mortar & Pestle ..

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Not everything is done by hand here ..

If memory serves, these villagers have been relocated by the government.

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And .. we move on .. seeing life along the Mekong.

Posted by hasbeen 14:44 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

2015 - MEKONG RIVER in LAOS, aboard the Mekong Sun

A few elephants today

Sun was just going down on the Mekong for the short ride from the hotel to the pier & the hotel supplied the ride.

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First things first & the first thing is the lifeboat drill & meet the fellow passengers .. there are only about twenty, so it won't take long.

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No hanging about as we push off up-river & see the river life of the local Laos & there animals.

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The air quality is very bad on account of farmers burning to make space for crops.

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Looks like a good thing we had the lifeboat drill .. this boat came to grief .. .

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.. And another ..

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There's our guide .. a young German fellow.

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Coming up on a place we will stop at later .. Many Buddha images in a cave

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Oops! Looks like someone is in someones bad books ..

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Yes .. she gets a whack.

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Here's where we park for the night ..

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And the local youngsters coming out to see the tourists .. or maybe for a swim.

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It is still early enough for us to go for a walk ..

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.. it is good we do not have to carry anything like this girl

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We climb the bank & head inland ..

Not too far & we reach our destination . . a visit to some working Elephants

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And walk back through the small village to the boat . . being careful where we place our feet.

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.. I said that we walked back but some folks took the easy route ..

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The kids had grown bored with us & went for a moonlight swim.

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The next day now & we are taking a small boat back across the river to the cave.

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Quite a lot of steps up to the cave which is full of Buddha images

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At the entrance to the cave . . high up on the wall & very hard to spot was this gecko

We left the cave & instead of walking back down the steps we trecked up-hill through a forest ..

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and came upon this very small village

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Kids at school ..

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A nice little place ..

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.. and so back to the boat ..

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& head further up-stream.

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the end of the second day on the river.

Posted by hasbeen 13:26 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

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