Ah, Sydney, one of the best cities in the world, if not the best.. It’s on the list along with Barcelona, New York, Shanghai, Florence, and very few others.
We spent the first day with Tracy, Jess and Sam and since they hadn’t been on a cruise ship before we decided to host them and show them just what they were missing!
We met them in Circular Quay (where we should have been parked!!! Instead we were berthed as far out of town as you can get!) There was a big Carnival ship parked in the Quay. When there is a ship too big to go under the bridge, they get the space and the rest of us have to park at the new port at White Bay. UGH… a taxi from town to White Bay was $30 one way, thank God we had a Shuttle… I love Grand Voyages!
It was unseasonable hot and humid that day, but we walked to Queen Victoria Mall and Paddy Market.. then we headed to the ship.
I truly hope that Tracy and the girls had a great time.
Sailing into Sydney
Sailing under the Bridge
Sailing right past the Sydney Opera House.
Luna Park and the usual Ferris Wheel
Standing and admiring the view from the front of the ship
Sam making her grand entrance
Getting the bird’s eye view from the Crow’s Nest
Do you know that Russell Crow lives in one of these condos in Darling Harbor
We are so far from the city they might have just parked us in Brisbane!
School kids in Circular Quay – Where we would have loved to have parked!! Right in town!
The staircase lights up in all different designs as people walk up and down. Very cool!
This clown hula hoops all the time in front of Paddy’s Market
Right in front of the Queen Victoria Mall.. You think the statue might be the Queen.
Bagpipes in front of the mall
The Stain glass staircase at the mall. Magnificent!
Top of the Christmas Tree at the Mall. It was so big there was no way I could get it into the frame.
The next two pix are just for Elayne!!!
Love these UGGS but they cost a fortune in Sydney!
he most amazing little cakes. so much imagination
Birdcages floating in an alleyway.
The view from Circular Quay
The Carnival Legend who stole our parking space
View from our cabin on the way out of town
Even the woman on the tugboat was blown away by the view! Best view from a ship in the world!
Unlike Jakarta, Bali is basically a Hindu city. Muslims are a minority there.
There is so much to do and see in Bali besides beautiful beaches and resorts.
We were picked up by the father and mother of a friend who is a crew member on HAL. They are such gracious and sweet people. They spent the day driving us around and taking us to some beautiful places including the rice terraces that make Bali famous, where we had a great delicious lunch. We went to a wood carving factory, a temple, jewelry shop and their home. I took so many pictures from the car as we drove, but there was such glare that many did not come out.
Sailing into Bali
Typical daily offerings at the entrance to the temple
Artisans painting a future building in the temple
What it will look like when done
Preparing daily offerings
Beautiful entrance to the Wood Factory
L’via, this is for you! Checking for lice!
Joe ringing the gong
Beautiful embroidered top
Such amazing entrances to homes. Every home has a temple for prayers. The front doors are ornate
The basic spices that are used in Bali
LUNCH – Both vegetarian and chicken dishes
Satria’s Home! Magnificent
Dewa playing a musical number for us. It was magical.
Satria’s Mom heading into the house to get Durian fruit for us to try.. OMG… the smell!!!! lol… the taste wasn’t half as bad as expected.
The Geria’s temple on their roof. It is so serene and peaceful. What a way to live
Looking down at the courtyard from the temple on the roof. Great Buddhas watching over the family.
Our stops in Jakarta and Bali are very special for our ship. Most of the crew on the ship are either from Indonesia or Philippines. Jakarta and Bali are the main ports where crew members live and HAL is great about the crew spending time with their families. They invite the families to come aboard and tour the ship, have lunch let the kids play and spend the full day with their loved ones. It is very emotional and the morning is so full of happiness. Most of the crew have contracts that are 6 months to 10 months. That’s 6 to 10 months of not seeing their families. Many have new babies they never saw or saw just when they were born and haven’t seen for months. So you can just imagine how very special the day is. We make sure that the crew doesn’t have any work that day, and all the Balinese crew members do double duty that day and visa versa on the day we are in Bali.
There was also a shuttle to a mall near the ship. We were warned that the trip can take over an hour even though the mall was only about 3 miles away. Traffic and roads are awful but we were lucky and it only took 20 minutes. On the way we saw some kids who were naked jumping into a canal that was seriously filthy but they were having a ball. Of course, we got there hours before they opened so we just wandered around. Had no desire to do anything special that day, so I took tons of pics at the pier with all the families waiting for their loved ones.
The Lido (Buffet) for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner (if you want it!)
Everyone waiting at the pier.
Reza’s Bro and sis-in-law and baby! (Reza is a crew member we have connected with on the ship. So happy I got a pic of them!)
On the shuttle on the way to the Mall.
The difference between the old and the new
The kids who jumped off into the filthy canal.. Don’t want to show the full pics of them naked
Waving at our bus
Women practicing a dance in front of the Mall, the music was blaring!
Inside the mall
A Home Depot pick-up site? Or are they just hanging out?
A typical Taxi
A niece of one of the crew members.. Kimberly.. so very cute! Same age as Z.
Singapore is a country that consists of only one city, but that city is a wonderful successful one.
When we received our passports back there was a paper included that stated… If you smuggle drugs into Singapore the penalty is DEATH written is big red letters. You can get a fine for chewing gum.. There are signs all over the subway reminding people to give up their seats for the elderly.. not to make noise.. etc. Almost everyone speaks English. All signs are in English, too. The subway system is clean and so easy to use. The streets are very clean too, and there are bathroom attendants in every public bathroom.
But it is also a melting pot of different cultures. There are many food courts around the city with every type of food you can think of and you can get a meal for less than $4 USD. and it’s delicious. Many of the food stalls are vegetarian so we had a good time! We arrived at the terminal which is also attached to a mall as is Hong Kong but very different. This mall is full of electronics and bargains unlike HK which is very exclusive.
We spent part of the day helping a friend buy a tablet and actually that was fun. The prices were pretty good, and I believe, she is happy with it. We took a subway ride to China town and spent some time in a department store that had some beautiful products.
Another great port, Hong Kong. I don’t understand why they say that sailing into Hong Kong is fantastic. Shanghai, Sydney, Rio and others are so much better.. But no complaints… The ship makes special rolls called Hong Kong rolls for everyone who wakes up early (5:30am) to watch the sail in. Funny thing is that in every great port, the same rolls are made and called by the city we are sailing into. They are delicious. Barbara, who is the location guide give commentary as we sail in, explaining the history, the geography of the city and anything new that has been built since the last time we were there.
Since we have been here already we thought to go out of town to Victoria Peak.. But 2 things happened, 1. The weather sucked and there was no way we would see any of the view and 2. K came down with the noro-virus (many were sick on the ship at that time) so he didn’t get out. Instead I went with Tom and Jean to eat Dim Sum at the number one Dim Sum Restaurant in Hong Kong. It was pretty good. Not as good as I expected but good. Then we walked to the Ladies Market. On the way we walked right into the middle of a protest that was happening throughout the city about the future elections in Hong Kong.
Our ship docks near a fashion mall like no other. Picture Bal Harbor Mall just 20 times bigger. It’s about 5 stories of high fashion shops. People fly to Hong Kong from China to go shopping here. We look for a slip for Jean to wear under a dress she had.. Nothing was less than $600. Ha, $600 for a slip to wear under a $40 dress? Not happening!!! Beautiful, yes, silk, yes but so not worth that kind of money, at least for us. So funny that people who are on a 78 day cruise complain about the prices of the items in this mall and how so many people were buying like there was no tomorrow! At night there is a light show and the ship went all out, having Debbie Bacon play for us on the deck. Funny thing is .. on one side, Debbie was playing lounge music and on the other side on the dock, there was an October Fest beer oomph a band pig-out. So if you wanted refine elegant music you stayed on the port side and if you wanted oomph band and load noise you walked over to the starboard side!
Every major city has a Ferris wheel!
In the AM
In the PM
High Tea is $60 per person… anyone interested?
Having tea at the Peninsula Hotel across from the Mall
Need a ride?
One of the many entrances to the mall
That evening under the stars
The next day, heading to One Dim Sum
Walking the neighborhood
A tea house
A local restaurant
One of the most expensive clams
The first stand we came upon once we entered the Ladies Market
Not sure what kind of apples these ar3e, anyone know?
Another yarn stall
Once we got done with the market we walked through a home rehab area with tons of shops selling ceramic, flooring and fixtures.
I am posting pictures of the ride into Beijing and what we did. We took a tour overnight and had a great time. We visited the Great Wall, Forbidden City, spent the night in a great hotel and so much more. We had some great meals and brought some really nice things. Just scroll through the pictures and you will see.
Dawn over China
Cities are still being built by the dozens.
and with every city they build a power station
Just imagine how many people live in each complex multiple that by the amount of buildings.. It’s enormous.
The road signs in English are just too funny
The back of a Buddha as we drove by
Entering the City
The Jade factory where we ate lunch on the first day. It turned out to be the worst meal during that trip. But we ate there because it was closest to the Great Wall. It was ok just not great.
Our future dinner! Ducks for Peking Duck!
First glance of the Great Wall
Love Locks (?) along the wall
Chinese women don’t have a clue! Complete fashion victims
A tourist from one of the “Stan” countries
Wouldn’t this make a great Challah cover?
An Officer and his little hip hop son
After our reflexology and the pitch to sell us herbal stuff for all that ails us, (we weren’t allowed to take pictures) Outside was the most amazing street food, we had no idea what half the stuff was. Or it was so disgusting there was no way, kosher or otherwise, we would ever eat it.
Think this stuff was rice on the bread.. Carbs, carbs and more carbs.
UGH UGH UGH!!!
So much better! YUM YUM YUM!!!!
These buns look so good!
Rickshaw ride in old town Beijing
Front door, the marks over the door reflect who the family is.
Chinese kids don’t wear diapers! They do their business wherever and whenever they need to
A Communist Guard, see what he is holding? Guess he is expecting a riot???
Tiananmen Square was closed off, they said because they were preparing for APEC
Entering the tunnel that leads to the Forbidden City.
Be Civilized, Obey Rules, Be Diligent, Make Progress! That is what is on the jackets of this group of kids.. HUM!
Tons and tons of humans entering the city!
Marching through the crowd
See the cameras? They were everywhere in China, even when you didn’t expect it!
Amazing work, all hand worked by artisans centuries ago!
Our guides! Daniel and Judy! Fantastic guides
Do you notice that no one walked up the middle staircase? That was reserved exclusively for the Emperor, and you still can’t walk up that staircase.
The moat around the Forbidden City
Around the city
Couldn’t figure out what kind of car this is.. and pink?????