Friday, September 4, 2015

May 3-17 Singapore-Dubai Cruise Part1

This will be the first part of 3 legs of our 40 day cruise.We arrived in Singapore on the 30th April to begin our adventure. On May 3rd we set sail on Rhapsody of the Seas to our first port of call, Kulau Lumpur.

Our ship Rhapsody of the Seas

Our first stop was Kulua Lumpur. Since we didn't have a private tour we ended taking a shore excursion a big mistake. The only thing we saw was the Petronas Towers and since it was a national holiday we couldn't go up in the tower.

                         Petronas Towers

The next stop was Phuket,Thailand.Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and is known for their beaches.We took a tour of the island and stopped at Patong beach,a cashew factory and a Buddist Temple.The cashews are grown on a tree and look like a pear with the nuts growing on the outside.It was interesting watching the process and sampling all the wonderful flavors of the cashews.


                          Patong Beach

Our next stop was to see Phuket's largest and most important Buddist Temple.Wat Chalong is a complex of buildings and temples. Many tourist come here to pray and feel the serenity of the area. Here are some of the temples.

Wat Chalong Temple

We returned back to the ship after a hot day. Our view of Phuket was saw it did it but wasn't overly excited. Next stop Sri Lanka.

We arrived in Columbo,which is the capital of Sri Lanka and had a private tour with 6 of us.Columbo has been ruled by the Portugese ,Dutch and British and gained their independence in 1948. Sri Lanka is the major center for Budistism in the world. It is believed that Buddah was born under a tree somewhere in Sri Lanka. People get around in Tuk Tuks and you see them everywhere.

Tuk Tuks

After getting in our van we went by Viharamahadevi Park,Columbo's largest park.At the entrance to the park is a large Buddah statue.Across the street is the town hall also named the White House.

Our next stop was Independence Square.When we arrived there were lots of tour buses but what was really scary was a man playing his flute for the cobra.

Our next stop was along the water to see the fishing boats and the stilted fisherman.In days gone by the fisherman would sit on stilts and fish from there sitting. Now it's just for show for the tourists.

Later our guide took us to a nice place for lunch.

Sam,Alan,Margaret,Ray,  Sharon

Our next stop was the Galle Fort.The fort is a Unesco site and was built by the Portugese in 1620 and fortified in 1667 by the Dutch.It has a long seawall in which you can walk along. 


Sam and I



Our last stop today was a boat ride to Cinnamon Island. They harvest a lot of cinnamon for exporting. On the boat ride there are lots of mangrove trees and we went in a small ways to see the mangroves and we were surprised to see a monkey.

Here is a woman preparing the cinnamon

Passing Bird Island

That ends our time in Sri Lanka. Although it was very hot we enjoyed the day and liked Sri Lanka.Our next 4 ports will be in India.Should be interesting. 

Cochin India

Cochin is known as the Queen of the Arabian Sea right on the spice route. Ft. Cochin was the first European colonial settlement in India and joined the Indian Union in 1947. One of the churches we visited was St. Francis. Vasco De Gama died here and was buried in this church although later his body was taken back to Portugal.

Another church we visited was Santa Cruz Basilica one of the oldest in India and only 1 of 8 Basilica in India. Pope John Paul 11 raised the status of the cathedral to Basilica on Dec.19,1984.

Our next stop was to see the Chinese fishing nets and the fish markets along the river.They just lay the fish out for those who come to buy.The chinese fishing nets are fixed along the shore for fishing.Nets are set up on teak and bamboo poles and held horizontally by a large mechanism which lowers them into the sea.They look like hammocks and are counter weighed by large stones tied to ropes. The nets are only left in the water 4 to 5 minutes and then raised. Their catch is small and they sell the fish to passerbys.

Some vendors selling their wares.

One man trying to sell a flute to Sam


Goa was ruled by the Portugese for 450 years after that in 1961 the Indian army came in and overthrew the Portugese. Goa is known for their beaches and trading of spices and other goods. We visited the Church of Born Jesus which contains the body of St.  Francis Xavier.We walked through the heritage district of Fontainhas an old residential district and went to a large market selling all kinds of vegetables.

Basilia of Born Jesus

Next port Mangalore

When we got to Mangalore we went to a very large Hindu temple named Kadri Manjunath Temple.This is a ancient historic spot dating back to 1068 AD with 9 tanks,a square  temple at the foot of the highest hill. 

These pools are used 

for clensing the spirit.They go mostly fully dressed.

There are many rituals that the Hindus practice.

Our next stop was the Jain Temple known for their 1000 pillars. It was built in the 15th century and and each pillar is made from one piece of stone.

There's also a statue at the end of the temple made entirely of gold.

Beautiful tile floors

Hundreds of marriages take place everyday. The cars are all decorated. You see them everywhere.

Our next port of call is Mumbai


Mumbai was originally named Bombay and there are millions of people that live here. When we arrived we immediately went on a private tour to see the Gateway to India and Elephant Island.The Gateway to India was built to honor King George V and Queen Mary when they landed in 1911.

From here we got on a boat and was transported to Elephant Island.

The island is a Unesco World Heritage Site with large caves and is believed to between the 5th and 6th century old.There are many carvings depicting Hindu God Shiva.When we arrived on the island they had a small train we got on to go a short distance. Along the way there were many vendors selling wares, monkeys, and a lot of steps to get to the caves.

After leaving the island we got back to Mumbai and went to the Taj Hotel. 

The Taj is beautiful inside as well and lots of important people have stayed here.

The beautiful Victoria Station built while British were in power.

One other place we stopped was the Dhobi Ghats. The laundry is done in stone cubicles where they wash and use the stone for flogging the laundry. It his hung to dry using no clothespins.

Some other photos of Mumbai

India has been a cultural experience seeing how other people live.It's always a adventure going to places we've never been.

We're off to Dubai
When we arrived in Dubai it was hot and very hazy due to the reflection of the sun on the sand.Dubai is booming and is fairly new. There are skyscrapers everywhere and huge malls with ski slopes among other things.Everything here is high end.We went to the Burj Kalifa,a 162 story building the largest in the world.We went to the 125th floor for the views although it was so hazy we couldn't get good photos. We also went on the hop on hop off bus and saw lots of the sights.As I said it was very hot so we stayed mostly on the bus and went to the largest mall in the world.Here's some photos of Dubai.

Some of our cruise mates had a party in their balcony for several of us and we had a great time. One couple was leaving and we said goodbye to Curt and Camilla and Fiona.

 Steve,Me,Valerie,Camilla, Sam, Curt,Ian and Fiona
Goodby Dubai and friends