– Landed in . (Temp. 70F.) Very pleasant tour in morning to Hoi An, ancient town untouched by war. With guide took two-hour walking tour visiting Buddhist Shrine and Pagoda. Visited ancient Vietnamese/Chinese sea Captain’s house, given drink of tea, visited old bridge, which had survived monsoon floods for thousands of years. Bought souvenirs, back through countryside past marble carvers and wood carvers. Visited city of Da Nang in afternoon, full of motor bikes and street vendors. Again dancers in harbour before boat sailed. Also duty free sellers on harbour side. Margaret and Geoff had an excellent day, visiting Cathedral and School, walked along harbour and very pleasant day had by all.
At Sea. Lovely sunshine. Bridge in afternoon Cocktail party before formal dinner. Guitar recital one evening, theatre another.
– Day in (Temp. 91F.) Hottest day so far. City very busy, fast traffic and smart hotels. Shuttle Bus took us to smart expensive shopping area. Took taxi to Singapore Zoo. Best Zoo in the world. Fantastic display of animals in natural settings. Took loads of photos. Taxi back to City at 3pm. Did some shopping. Phones not working. Shuttle Bus service very bad. Of course Margaret and Geoff had to go to Raffles for a Singapore Sling, which cost an arm and a leg. £14 for two drinks in the long bar. Geoff was ejected from the main hotel because he was wearing shorts although he did have his M & S Panama Hat on. Singapore is so clean and fabulous – very hot and very busy but most enjoyable. Dancers on dock as we sailed away.
– Landed at . (Temp. 88F.) Took tour to Kuala Lumpar with great local guide. Lovely clean city. Saw Twin Towers, National Museum, National Monument to dead of 2nd World War, and English Cricket ground. Lovely buildings and fountains. Bought shorts and postcards. A very good day and a very good trip. Margaret sent Clare and Chris text to New Zealand as they had asked them to vet City for their return trip to New Zealand.
– Arrived off , at 9pm. Mobile phone working. Received text for Mothers Day from John, so phoned him. Mardi Gras show on deck at 10.30pm
– Transfer to shore by ships tender at 10.30am. Makeshift landing stage as Tsunami had damaged shoreline. Tsunami devastation very evident, but beach very clean and lots of facilities up and running. Walked streets, had beer and coffee, sat under beach umbrella and bathed in warm sea. Bought fruit and mineral water also bought sundress off beach vendor. Back on board about 4pm. People seem to be coping and getting back to normal as much as possible, worried about lack of visitors to area – no wonder.
– At Sea. Very hot and sunny. Bridge in afternoon. Ian had haircut. Sunbathed after 4.30pm when air had cooled down somewhat.
– Landed in . (Temp. 88F.) Brenda and Ian took trip to see Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage. Traffic on roads amazing. Porcupines on road. Tuk-tuks (small taxis like bond mini cars) are everywhere. Animals, people, bikes all over the place. Orphanage in lovely setting, at river falls. Lots of baby elephants being bathed in falls. Lovely buffet lunch overlooking the river falls. Elephant charged down village street causing us all to take shelter in shops, Watched baby elephants being bottle-fed. Another horrendous journey (2 hours) back to ship. Little cottage industries lining roads, lovely schoolchildren were waving as we passed. Margaret and Geoff opted for beach trip to Hotel Beach Resort. 5 star hotel and lunch. Beach Resort of Negambo on the Indian Ocean. Very very hot and well worth the visit. Lovely sea and great swim and wonderful lunch.
– Landed in , at 11am. (Temp. 81F.) Cochin even more hectic than Sri Lanka. People even more persistent sellers and beggars. Hard to walk in streets. Visited Jew Town, but synagogue closed. Saw Chinese fishing nets unchanged in 1000 years and first Portuguese church. After drink in smart hotel, took Harbour Cruise round islands with lakes and channels, teeming with fish, egrets and fishing boats, people living in shanty dwellings right on edge of sea.
Shocked at the poverty and dirt. Margaret glad to get back on board. Shame the India Government doesn’t put the visa revenue to better use.