Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 12 - Singapore - The End

Cruise Stats - It 5:53 am Saturday morning and we are at this moment pulling up to the dock in Singapore. Total nautical miles since leaving Galveston, TX on April 21st is 14, 199. Shall we just fudge and call it 14,200 nautical miles?

The trip from Dubai which began on May 21 was 3,693 nautical miles. It's been a great trip, now my mission is to go and find coffee, no room service available today.

Day 11 1/2 - Almost Home

I will be off to bed soon to wake up in Singapore for morning coffee. It has been a grand trip, not yet finished... I am a bit sad tonight, saying goodbye to friends and the many people who have served me well these past 40+ days.

So I will just leave you with some thoughts from Frankie Boy...

And to all of you who have thought of "running away from home for awhile" let me quote Nike and say - Just Do It!

I will post the final cruise stats in the morning after we dock. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog on this wacky and wonderful adventure.

Day 11 - Port Kelang, Malaysia

Cruise Stats - This is day 40, one day left before we arrive in Singapore. To date we have traveled a total of 13,981 nautical miles since we left Galveston, Texas and 3,475 nautical miles since we were in Dubai.

I woke up this morning and looked out my window and I thought I was back home in Missouri. This scene really could be the Missouri River and all the growth you see along its banks.

I did not opt for an excursion today; really those Ten Thousands Buddhas from yesterday did me in. I spent the morning getting organized and packing up a few things. Then met a friend for lunch and wandered ashore to the little shops they had at the port terminal

I must admit this was my first experience at “bargaining” mostly out of necessity since I didn’t want to exchange any money here and also didn’t want to break my large US currency. So I had $7 in US cash and I just selected some bracelets that for me seemed to be worth that amount and walked up to the cash register person and said I will give you $7 US for these bracelets. He made a quick calculation on his calculation and started to say…”let me ask my wife”… when he hesitated and said “OK”.

I am not sure if he thought his wife would squelch the deal or if he really understood I had $7 to spend and nothing more. I think we were both happy with the deal.

So the journey is drawing to a close. Tonight Table 411 will gather for the last time as our ship slowly slips out of port and heads to Singapore. We are due to arrive early in the morning.

My bags will be tagged and placed outside my cabin door tonight around 7 pm, no later than 11 pm. And when I wake up I will have been halfway around the world in 41 days. What a trip it has been.

But it is not over yet I still have a few days in the city of Singapore left, some sightseeing to do and maybe a little shopping as well before it will be time to board a plane that is US bound – see you soon Chicago/St. Louis.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 10 – Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Cruise Stats: Nautical miles since Dubai 3,260 – Total of 13,766 nautical miles since our departure in Galveston, Texas. We are now cruising the Malacca Straits, next stop is Kuala Lumpur tomorrow… Saturday we arrive at our final destination, Singapore.

Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas

It was a short but busy day today. We arrived in Georgetown at noon today, by 1:15 pm I was on a tour bus heading out of the city and up the mountain to visit the Kek Lok Si Temple, largest Chinese Buddhist Temple in Malaysia.

 The Happy Buddha

Believe me taking on the Temple of the Ten Thousand Buddhas is not for the faint of heart. I am not sure if my thigh muscles will ever forgive me for taking on the 100+ steps leading up to the top. The journey was well worth it as the view was breath taking.

On our way back to the ship we made a stop at Penang New World Park, which is Penang’s famous Hawker Fare – another was of saying “food court” with a vast array of local Penang food. This was not a hot dog and taco stand establishment.

Hawker's Fare

Penang New World Park

Penang is an interesting place and worthy of more than a brief visit. The skyline as we approached the port of Georgetown took me by surprise with its many high-rise buildings with the lush Malaysian landscape backdrop

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 9 - Last At Sea Day

Cruise stats at 2:30 pm Wednesday afternoon:  2,867 nautical miles since we left port in Dubai and total since Galveston, Texas is 13,373 nautical miles. The end is near.

Today I have just been trying to relish these last few days. Certainly in this area we have seen more ships than any of the other locations, just today I counted up to seven freighters at one time.

 We passed through an oil spill the other day

I haven’t seen any other passenger ships but that is probably not unusual because of the time of year. I think I heard someone mention that we are the last cruise ship to come through the area before the start of the monsoon season, which begins in June.

Although the monsoons can bring a lots of rain and flooding the water that comes with the downpours are always needed and very welcomed by the natives.

In less than twenty-four hours, 21 to be exact, our ship will be docked at Penang, Malaysia for a short 6½-hour visit. My choice for a tour will be the Kek Lok Si Temple, its better known as the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas, and it is the largest Chinese Buddhist Temple in Malaysia.

Like Goa, the Portuguese traders were the first Europeans to reach this area in the 16th century in their search for spices. So it is no wonder that Penangites like to eat, and round the clock it is said and they like to eat something different everyday.

Roadside stand in Cochin

Certainly if I come across some of the food hawkers on my way to or from the temple I will have a sample of what this Gourmet paradise has to offer. I hope for the sake of my photos that the fare is as colorful and it is purported to be delicious.

It is hard not to feel a little sad knowing that the end is drawing near. Next stop after Penang will be Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) and our final destination, Singapore on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 8 - At Sea - Bay of Bengal

Photo from backwaters of Cochin, India

Cruise Stats for today: 2,475 nautical miles from Dubai and 12,981 nautical miles from Galveston, Texas. 

Today has been another at sea day and we have cruised around the southern tip of Sri Lanka and now are about halfway across this southern portion of the Bay of Bengal. Tomorrow, Wednesday, is another sea day before we make port in Penang, Malaysia on Thursday.

I will see if I can find some interesting photos to post tomorrow for you.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 7 - At Sea - Just off Sri Lanka

Not the only one heading home...

Day seven cruising just off shore from the island of Sri Lanka at the moment as we head east into the southern Bay of Bengal and Adaman Sea. We are to reach Penang, Malaysia around noon on Thursday.

Cruise Stats as of 1:30 pm today :1,987 nautical miles from Dubai and  total of 12,493 since leaving Texas shores.

It is incredible that we have only a few days left until we reach Singapore.

This afternoon I am having a small cocktail party, just for the fun of it and to share my wonderful view with my friends.

More tomorrow... I love these lazy cruising days.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 6 - Cochin, India

Today was a full day and most of it was spent exploring the backwaters of Alappuzha by houseboat. What an incredible experience, so peaceful and quiet and we motored by verdant coconut groves and rice paddies.

These houseboats are unique to Kerala and are a blend of old and new. The old being the traditional kettuvallam with a thatched roof and the new being the solar panels which are used to provide lighting to the boats.

You can actually spend nights on these boats and the accommodations are not that bad at all. We stopped for lunch at the Marari Beach resort for a somewhat typical Indian fare.

Over the next couple of sea days I will add a bit more about todays travels and add some more photos. Right now all I want to do is get in my jammies and jump into bed. More to follow…

Cruise Stats: 1,658 nautical miles from Dubai to Cochin for a total of 12,164 nautical miles since the start of the trip in Galveston. Captain Flemming said we have about 1,100 nautical miles to our next stop in Penang, Malaysia.