Hundred Islands

Most the violent rocking and rolling seemed to stop about 0200-0300 this morning. I was still one of the few people up early to get coffee. I decided to go ahead and move my usual table back to the alcove where I like to sit, and watched people drag in for morning coffee.  The staff seemed a lot better today as well. 

Our stop today was Hundred Islands. According to the information provided there are 124 islands at low tide and 123 at high tide. Geologically they are fascinating, appearing almost as mushroom caps with the area immediately below the water line (at high tide) being worn away. 

We were not landing on one of the inhabited islands, but one obviously set up for tourists with kayaks, beach, swimming, & snorkeling; Quezon Island. The ship was setting up a beach BBQ. 

We wandered over on one of the later tenders, traveling mostly with crew bringing all the last minute things needed.  After less than an hour, I was more than ready to head back to the ship. I am afraid that I am really not much of a beach person, the sun was hot, the air was humid, and I was delighted to be able to get photos of several of the small islands on the way back. 

Now – does this count as an island? As 2 or 3 islands?

 

You can clearly see the undercutting that has happened as a result of the ocean. 

 

I didn’t spot this till the way back to the ship. I would have been more than interested in walking across – it looked interesting. But, at least from the sea there was nothing much on the adjacent island

 

The rest of our day passed more than quietly.

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Rock and Roll

There were a lot of unhappy people today. Shall we just say that the seas were rough enough that the portholes in the dining room were covered, a good half of the passengers didn’t venture outside their cabins, and I had most of the Deck 8 forward lounge to myself for most of the day. I didn’t think it was “that rough” but apparently my view was not held by most on the ship. A fair number of the crew didn’t look all that much better. 

I spent the day comfortably listening to audios books and stitching. The main entertainment for me was getting on line to get my Philippines Visa sorted since the Immigration crew wanted a QR code. I didn’t have one, neither did George. So there was this. – well, go on-line. My return comment was that I wasn’t going to pay for the day’s worth of internet to get a QR code that they should have mentioned the day before in Hong Kong when I was on-line. So the Purser logged me in long enough to fill out the form for George and I on-line. We then could clear immigration and go back to reading. 

We ended the evening in Candles aka the Veranda aft on Deck 7. In the evening it serves as their specialty steak/fish/seafood restaurant. The ship was still rocking and rolling. There were broken dishes. The poor woman at the table next to us had her chair slide more than a meter and practically dump her in George’s lap. Other than her clothes being a bit soup covered, she was all right. 

(Amazing how many people freeze in shock. Except for the restaurant manager who raced over and helped me get her back on her feet.) After that experience, I decided that dinner was just about over and that I really didn’t need desert. The ladies at the next table were moved to one of the small side seating areas where the tables are fastened to the wall and the chairs are a lot sturdier. 

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Hong Kong -> Bali

The second segment:

Sunday, November 12 Hong Kong 5:00pm

Monday, November 13 At Sea

Tuesday, November 14 Hundred Islands, Philippines 7:00am-4:00pm

Wednesday, November 15 Manila, Philippines 10:00am-6:00pm

Thursday, November 16 Boracay, Philippines Noon-9:00pm

Friday, November 17 Coron, Philippines 9:00am-5:00pm

Saturday, November 18 Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines 9:00am-11:59pm

Sunday, November 19 At Sea

Monday, November 20 Sandakan, Malaysia 8:00am-6:00pm

Tuesday, November 21 At Sea

Wednesday, November 22 At Sea

Thursday, November 23 Makassar, Indonesia 6:00am-4:00pm

Friday, November 24 Komodo, Indonesia 1:00pm-5:00pm

Saturday, November 25 Lombok, Indonesia 1:00pm-10:00pm

Sunday, November 26 Benoa, Bali, Indonesia 7:00am

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Kowloon, Hong Kong

Not surprisingly, there was “heavy mist” on the way in which didn’t clear till well after sunrise. But the view of Hong Kong is amazing as row after towering row of buildings appeared as the rain cleared and the light increased. I am not sure why I was surprised at the building density – but you have to have hundreds of high rises if you want to pack 7.5M people in such a small areas. Here is just a sample of the pictures from earliest approach to the Ocean Terminal.

 

Leaving this one out of the gallery so that something comes through in the email post – with the lighted front of the concert hall clearly showing.

We were safely docked before 0700 with disembarkation for those leaving the ship here starting around 0900. I saw a serious number of the 68 remaining for the next leg at. the Veranda for breakfast as soon as the majority of the passengers had cleared.  Those of us in transit were able to get off the ship after the last of the disembarking passengers had cleared immigration.

We headed off shortly before 0900 just walking into the portion of the city on this particular island. Our significant tourist stop was the Heritage Center in Kowloon Park.

The exhibits covered archeology, ethnology, architecture, with related items, drawings, and reconstructions from prehistoric early Iron Age through to the present. Not being from here – I thought it might just be a bit Han Dynasty centric, but what do I know?

So you could see how the roofs were constructed along with the decorative details in different eras.

or coinage in use back when most of our early ancestors weren’t out of the basic barter for survival. –

But then there is the Ming Dynasty with all of its porcelain leftovers on display under the glass flooring.

From there we went up Nathan Street toward the various outdoor markets.

I just looked at things & places –

and noted that there was an amazing amount of specialty highly expensive calligraphy supplies available including all of the ink trays shown at the Palace Museum –

and headed back to the ship being very grateful when this tower came into view.

as it marked the entrance to the building complex at the Ocean Terminal.

 

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Veteran’s Day

Today is the last day of cruising for 2/3 of those on board. Tomorrow we dock in Hong Kong which makes that sort of your bog standard turnover day. It will also be an extremely  short turnover – as we can’t get off till 0900 and have to be back on ship by 1600. 

Meanwhile – it is Veteran’s Day. From what several of us can tell, there are no American staff members in the current crew. Nevertheless, today’s short ceremony at 11:11 was American orientated. I met several other veteran’s in the crowd, a couple from the Viet Nam era.  There was a short ?annoucement? about the history of Remembrance Day, the raising of both the ship’s flag and the US flag after the minute of silence.

I thought back to the ceremony I experienced in Australia in 2013 while doing the circumnavigation on the Radiance. (the link to that post is here). Not only did it have meaning but it much more truly reflected the many countries and peoples that were affected by WWI. We have long since buried all of those served then; it is still so important not to forget. 

 

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Keelung

After sleeping the sleep of the completely exhausted and hip sore I headed out early to check email. Amazing how much of our lives are now controlled by electronic communications, isn’t it? Anyway, at 0630 the port terminal isn’t open and the guy on the gate couldn’t have cared less when I hiked out and along the building front back to the Harbor Police Station and across the street from the Evergreen Hotel where there is most excellent WiFi. And motor scooters, all them lined up at the light and ready to rumble.

On my way back, I noted that there were some interesting engravings on the top of some of the posts –

Around noon, George and I went off the ship for a bit mostly to explore and see a bit of Keelung. Train station, an attempt to find the Maritime Museum, one of the outdoor markets, numerous narrow streets and no thermoses at the first of the two local Starbucks, I was about ready to head back to the ship. 

Oh – we also found what I am mentally calling Motor Scooter Street. New and Used lined up and at least four repair/maintenance shops that I could see. 

And then the sky opened up and it started pouring. I lasted long enough to confirm that there probably isn’t a Starbucks Taiwan thermos and I had no interest in collecting even a Taiwan only mug as I would only manage to break it before I got it home. 

Two other things of note – the walk signs which include timers –

and the occasional shop with a row of what I thin of as Toy excavation machines –

headed once more back to the ship in the rain. Want to warm up and maybe take a nap. Dinner with an officer tonight….

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Taipei

This post is long. As I am starting, I am unsure as to whether or not I will send out the email portion in either two parts or without photos. There are a lot of photos…

We sailed in to Keelung Harbor shortly before 0800 this morning. 

with the temple on the hill and the painted fueling towers.

After disembarking and sliding through immigration, George and I headed down the sidewalk where a colleague of his (and one of those he mentored this past year through the Bakar Labs) picked us up to give us a tour of Taipei. The drive took about 45 minutes for a distance that is less than that in km, we parked the car to walk/take the MRT (transport system).

We started from an area that was, in my opinion, the same as the NY garment district. Shop after small shop featuring bolts of fabric or notions with occasional models of made to order fancy garments.  At one corner we made a quick stop at a Visitor’s Center where, on the second floor there were racks and racks of traditional costumes which could be tried on.

across the street an amazing small temple with ornamentation and delicate roof details.

From there it was on to the MRT as public transportation is easier and more sensible (much less cheaper) than moving cars around. Bon actually has a motor scooter (herds and fleets of motor  scooters everywhere ) but rents a car when having to go long distances. Can’t put three people on a scooter – so there you are.

Our first stop was Chiang Ki-Shek Memorial Plaza which is also has the freedom gate,

the theater and music hall (roof detail).

Inside on the top level is a statue and honor guard (changes once and hour which we didn’t wait for).

There are two levels below – an exhibit of calligraphy –

and the ground level floor explained Chiang’s life.

A brief stop for beef noodles for lunch

and we were off for the The Palace Museum which contains just about everything that Chiang brought back from mainland China. It is huge with three floors of exhibits starting with early Bronze Age and working to the present. The only thing I didn’t notice was clothing through the ages. Otherwise, from furniture through decorations to porcelain, books and calligraphy – it was all there.

we have decorative pins and fingernail guards
(and I thought that the current artificial nail spikes were bad?)

decorative boxes. And books with painted illustrations from eras long before printing

and then there is the jade. I now have the maps and information on the different mineral types and a map on where they are found if anyone is interested.

since the white and green jades are actually two completely different minerals and found in different areas of the world. The earliest uses seemed to be weapons and beads with the fancy items appearing later.

The most amazing piece was this jade screen

the detail of which is incredible with each panel being different.

The last exhibit we walked through was of ink stones –

which unlike the inkwells of the western world were used to first grind the ink materials into powder, then reconstitute into a liquid form before apply to paper with brush.

It was dark when we drove back to Keelung. George went off to the BBQ, I ordered room service and crashed!

 

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Hirara Port

This was not the original plan. But, due to another inbound cruise ship or so we were told, our overnight in the port was cut short. When I looked at various port schedules, I could see our ship but no other cruise ships. Anyway – we moved on to another port on another of the smaller Japanese islands. This location, although obviously the administrative headquarters for the island which isn’t even in George’s Lonely Planet Guide.  The ship didn’t offer any tours for this port if that gives you any idea…The other fun thing about today is clearing Japanese customs on the way out and pre-clear for Taiwan.  Enough about all the administrative stuff. 

We waited till close to 1000 – since not much of anything seems to open before than – and took the shuttle from the ship to the cruise terminal where it was the usual card and passport check before catching the second bus to the city center. I say city advisedly. Wifi is free at the port and in town, so I am sure that played a significant part in people interested in getting off the ship. Walking past the Post Office – 

On closer look it is obvious that every business and family seems to be labeled on the map. 

Unlike some of the other cities -the manhole covers here came in two sizes, were identical, and not painted or enameled. But the larger is more detailed than the smaller.

for those who like anime (or perhaps just Pokemon) – there was this bus near the elementary school –

Really the only thing we noted otherwise in our wander about town was this monument from Kaiser Wilhelm on the occasion in 1873 of the local citizens rescuing the eight men on a German freight vessel and getting them back to Germany.

The description plates are pretty worn –

(right click on the website should get you the larger size which just might be readable).  From there we wandered to the beach – mostly to say that we had been on one prior to leaving Japan. The water was cool, the tide going out and there were small shell and coral pieces scattered everywhere. 

But other wise, frankly, there were only a few other passengers from our ship on this particular stretch of sand. 

The Customs/Immigration deal is from 1230-1530 which is oh, so shortly so headed back to ship. Can also frankly use lunch.

(Actual posting time is 1127, 8 Nov 2023)

Since I have finished as much as planned on the Ships that Pass – I have moved back to Lady Violet Witherbottom – who is now more than 2/3 complete – having the rest of her face and her hat to complete. It is easy stitching as it is large blocks of color. 

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Naha, Okinawa

Learning new things every day. The cruise terminal is new & shiny. Okinawa is actually the name of the Island (not the city). I, of course, have always thought of it in terms of there being a US base still here. One that has had various serious challenges due to the extremely awful behavior of some who were stationed there.

What I also learned this morning is that the US did not turn this area back to Japan till 1972. That is an incredibly long number of years considering that the war ended in 1945. I am thinking that it might be more due to proximity to Korea and China than a particular need to control Japan. But I really have never studied this area of the world. Probably comes of spending most of my “outside the US’ time in Europe & the Middle East (plus the Balkans & Afghanistan).

Anyway – rather than a tour, we elected to take the shuttle bus into town and just hike around. There is a Main Street (more than a couple of km long) that is considered the “Main Street” according to the guide type woman who chatted over the tannoy the whole way into town. Not all that far from the port, but it really seems to be one of those “you can’t get there from here” kind of locations.  Anyway – we started strolling along. I found the Starbucks and added another thermos to my collection

(photo obviously taken after I got back on the ship since taking it out of the box while underway seemed even dumber than attempting to take a picture in the shop). My Japan collection is now up to three….

While I am thinking about it – George found dark chocolate and some kind of gummi candy –

We found the entrance to the Public Market –

and wandered through –

seeing everything from made/grown/harvested locally to stores crammed with items clearly plastic from China. At 1000 it was easy to wander through. At 1200 the corridors were so packed that it was a challenge to walk much less see anything. There is one street that is know as the “Pottery Street” along with having a related Museum. We looked in a lot of the shops – saw a number of characters that looked like this –

The lovely woman at the reception desk directed me toward their admin office where I comfortably enjoyed sitting in a chair (instead of on stone steps) and using the city free WiFi while George toured the Pottery/Ceramic Museum. From there it was through a number of the smaller stores before heading back again through the Public Market. By this time the streets were swarming with secondary school aged children along with (it seems) every young person on the island. I know that the population is aging, but you couldn’t tell it from what we could see. 

Along the street –

along with music, screens displaying ads, screens with anime, and just general music. 

Our last stop of the day was a major department store. No fiber related department, so I was more than fine boarding the bus and heading back past the dragons to the ship.

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Naze

cloud cover this morning –

And this is as far as I am going to go on “Ships Passing” I have decided to insert our ship name and the dates once I have some graph paper on which to figure it out.

This is just a really short note. We bailed off the ship at around 1030 this morning. I had planned on later, but it turns out to be emergency drill day. My ears really don ‘t need to hear all of the alarms.

We hiked into town – there is one pretty bit of enamel on the covers –

Unlike yesterday – all the covers are the same.  The ship from across the bay 

and – as a fiber person, I really appreciated the following in the bridge railing –

the symbols of the textile industry. 

We finally located the tourist information center. Wifi log in was a bit challenging…. to say the least. OTOH- it is free…

(actual date at time being 6 Nov 2023 @ 1155…)

Addendum –

For those interested in fiber – I found a small shop in the covered arcade that had… yarn, fabric, floss and all the notions in the world. 

 

The shop – a cash only establishment which is not at all uncommon – had a lovely woman working there. I showed her a picture of my most recent cross stitch. She figured it out and found four bolts of stitching fabric.  Three were rather large Aida and the fourth was evenweave. I was trying to figure out how to communicate how much I wanted when she started to unwrap a portion and found that there was about a 1/4 of a meter already uncut. Done. I think it will workout to about 28-32 ct. Either one is fine. One small corner was smudged. The cost? 500 Yen (current exchange rate is 1$US to 167 Yen). Definitely a bargain. 

 

 

It was still raining when we sailed out – which didn’t stop the farewell that we received!
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Yakushima

 

This particular island, once the source of cedar shingles for a large proportion of Japan has now two towns with a total island population of ~13k. Industries are the local chopstick factory, fishing, and the now designated World Heritage Nature preserve which is most of the central portion of the island.  Cedar trees thousands of years old. The options for being on the island were to spend a lot of money to take a tour, arrange a private tour (both of which involved at least an hour drive each way) or just walk around and enjoy myself. Duh…

But first –

there were clouds this morning.

We walked from the ship along the road – across the bridge with inset flower panels –

saw an example of cedar at the school entrance

and wandered back and forth for a while before finally locating what might be called a tourist information center but I am thinking it more resembles a library out front

So, finishing up with the free wifi (thank goodness because AT&T apparently does NOT have any partners here that will connect with my iPhone.)

We will wander further and stop at the Turtle Museum.

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Nagasaki

Before we get to the hard stuff – sunrise this morning was amazing.

and was pretty much enjoyed by those of us who can manage to get up in the morning. Since the ship wasn’t due to dock until 1000, the Deck 8 lounge was a bit emptier than usual.

We sailed under yet another bridge

on our way into the harbor.

Getting off a ship in Japan is now pretty routine. There is ALWAYS an immigration check which wants to see both your ship’s card and your passport. This time we also had a custom’s inspection (mostly looking for food products I think).

We joined a couple of other travelers and took the tram first to the Atomic Bomb Museum and then hiked over to the Peace Park (links are much more expressive than me on a soap box or trying to interpret – English here & here. Unlike most often, these are not Wiki links.

The Atomic Bomb Museum is pretty blunt about what happened. Including the fact that this city was a secondary target and was hit due to smoke density at the first choice. Unluckily, the cloud cover cleared enough for the bomb to be dropped/detonated. The maps, remnants and descriptions are difficult to view at best. Read about it yourself – and think about a bomb that killed 1/3 of the citizens of a city, injured another 1/3, and wiped out schools, hospitals, and religious landmarks.

It was emotionally easier for me to walk over and to the Peace Park. On the way – we walked past the obelisk placed at ground zero.

saw other memorials contributed by other countries –

what remained post blast of the local prison (all died)

and the peace statue

Since it was “only” about three miles back to the ship, we elected to walk using the tram tracks as our guide so as not to get lost.  I checked two Starbucks on the way but no luck on my favorite souvenir thermos.

We stopped for a short time at this amazing sailing vessel which was attracting hundreds of onlookers.

It is now 1615 on Nov 4 here and I am seriously thinking I need some lunch. The ship sails out at 1800.

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Sunrise on a Sea Day

The sun came up this morning as a ball of red fire

 

which only started appearing what we think of as our yellow sun when it had climbed into the sky.

Seeing it explains both why Japan is the land of the rising sun and why the sun on their flag is red.

I spent the early portion of the day putting a few more stitches into the LongDog – Ships Passing before an afternoon lecture, a loyalty/welcome back party & dinner rounded out the day.

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Tomanoura

We sailed this morning past interesting looking islands, under the world’s longest suspension bridge and arrived in Tomanoura by late morning. 

This small, old fishing village is most noticeable as the harbor town on which the anime film  Ponyo was based,  According to Wiki (among other places) if you look closely as you wander through town, you can find indications of the little fish girl. 

Me? I was just delighted to ride the tender in and wander streets before walking along the sea wall and a bit up and down hill. I saw but skipped entering anything that looked like a temple, instead enjoying the view of various fishing/sailing vessels, the island directly across,  and the old light house. 

my personal bit of smile came from outside a small tea shop –

After a few hours, I wandered back to the tender meeting point. There were only two of us on the trip back to the ship. But I actually got off the tender (unlike some ports where I will ride the tender in and back simply to get a picture of the cruise ship at anchor.

The ship sailed back out headed for a sea day around 1900.

 

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Traditional Kyoto

Up front, I should have known better but blaming George is so much easier. After all, it was his idea that we should take the ship’s tour today  rather than explore on our own. Exploring would have worked had we stayed in Kobe where we docked, but noooo, he wanted to see temples & palaces in historic Kyoto. Yes, I know that Kyoto was the capital for centuries upon centuries and important in both the history of emperors and shoguns (objectively – the Wikipedia article is reasonably informative and provides further links and references.

(Cue in 90 minute bus ride on an elevated highway while the tour guide talked nonstop.)

Our first stop was an historic  Buddhist temple. Home to 1600 statues of Buddha + several dozen representatives of other gods (India pantheon I am assuming based on all statues with multiple arms). There are no photos – no shoes, no photos. I can understand both – with thousands of tourists from foreigners to school children tramping through everyday the wear and tear on old flooring would be horrible. As for the no photos – well it is one way to sell more books.

Ignoring my general crankiness, all of this might have fine had it not been for the incense. I should have remembered from India & Nepal that temples = incense. I hate the smell and find the taste even worse than Paxlovid if that gives you the idea of how strong it all was.  I escaped fairly quickly and went to walk the grounds instead.

Instead I enjoyed the small reflective pond and admired

the roofline at the end of the temple

and the gate off to one side of the main complex.

From there we went on to the historic Shogun Palace and (obliviously shoeless) walked through the palace with seemingly endless corridors passing to the outside of rooms with sliding panel walls, murals of tigers, pines, cranes etc depending on the use of that particular room. Again – no photos allowed and I am not feeling tacky enough at the moment to photo the brochure.

Instead – the architectural detail of the outside were what I found more fascinating –

from the entry to the roofline details on various buildings –

I but I especially loved the cranes

and the outside pond with small waterfall

The final stop for me was lunch at the Shozon Resort.

The last stop was The Golden Temple? I skipped it  which turned out to be a good decision as there was “something” going on and no one got inside)

 

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Halloween at Sea

Today being both Halloween and out first full day on the ship I expected some kind of “celebration.” Turned out there were a couple of events. Neither \compared to the party on an NCL ship’s trans-Atlantic maiden voyage several years ago. But then, this is a smaller ship and most definitely an older passenger population.

Here?

There was a pumpkin carving competition in the afternoon. The Captain’s Reception was right before dinner. The costume party? Not a clue! With the time zone change 2130 is past my bedtime!

I finished the small shawl which I had started – (picture to be added when I take one

and started “Ships that Pass” by LongdogSamplers which seems quite appropriate for this trip, considering everything – the fabric is 20ct Aida something or other and the floss is Silks4U in the same color way I am using for TapDancers

it isn’t all that larger – only ~90-140 and the top band represents the first 15xx stitches.

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Japan -> Hong Kong

Just in case you like your information in shorter bites – the first segment of our cruise  is Japan to Hong Kong and looks like this on the map –

and here is the day to day  list:

Monday, October 30 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan 7:00pm

Tuesday, October 31 At Sea

Wednesday, November 1 Kobe, Japan 7:00am-11:59pm

Thursday, November 2 Tomonoura, Japan 11:00am-7:00pm

Friday, November 3 At Sea

Saturday, November 4 Hashima Island, Japan (Cruising) & Saturday, November 4 Nagasaki, Japan 10:00am-6:00pm

Sunday, November 5 Yakushima, Japan 8:00am-6:00pm

Monday, November 6 Amami Oshima, Japan 8:00am-5:00pm

Tuesday, November 7 Okinawa (Naha), Japan 8:30am-5:00pm

Wednesday, November 8 Miyako-jima, Japan 8:00am-4:00pm

Thursday, November 9 Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan 8:00am

Friday, November 10 Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan 7:00pm

Saturday, November 11 At Sea

Sunday, November 12 Hong Kong 8:00am

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Japan – Australia

First – the visual

takes us down to Bali.

with some more clarity on the Indonesian and Philippine ports

and the Australian ports

 

Monday, October 30 Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan7:00pm

Tuesday, October 31 At Sea

Wednesday, November 1 Kobe, Japan7:00am11:59pm

Thursday, November 2 Tomonoura, Japan11:00am7:00pm

Friday, November 3 At Sea

Saturday, November 4 Hashima Island, Japan (Cruising)

Saturday, November 4 Nagasaki, Japan10:00am6:00pm

Sunday, November 5 Yakushima, Japan8:00am6:00pm

Monday, November 6 Amami Oshima, Japan8:00am5:00pm

Tuesday, November 7 Okinawa (Naha), Japan8:30am5:00pm

Wednesday, November 8 Miyako-jima, Japan8:00am4:00pm

Thursday, November 9 Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan8:00am

Friday, November 10 Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan7:00pm

Saturday, November 11 At Sea

Sunday, November 12 Hong Kong8:00am5:00pm

Monday, November 13 At Sea

Tuesday, November 14 Hundred Islands, Philippines7:00am4:00pm

Wednesday, November 15 Manila, Philippines10:00am6:00pm

Thursday, November 16 Boracay, PhilippinesNoon9:00pm

Friday, November 17 Coron, Philippines9:00am5:00pm

Saturday, November 18 Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines9:00am11:59pm

Sunday, November 19 At Sea

Monday, November 20 Sandakan, Malaysia8:00am6:00pm

Tuesday, November 21 At Sea

Wednesday, November 22 At Sea

Thursday, November 23 Makassar, Indonesia6:00am4:00pm

Friday, November 24 Komodo, Indonesia1:00pm5:00pm

Saturday, November 25 Lombok, Indonesia1:00pm10:00pm

Sunday, November 26 Benoa, Bali, Indonesia7:00am6:00pm

Monday, November 27 Lombok, Indonesia7:00am3:00pm

Tuesday, November 28 Komodo, Indonesia1:00pm6:00pm

Wednesday, November 29 Waingapu, East Sumba7:00am3:00pm

Thursday, November 30 Kupang, Indonesia8:00am5:00pm

Friday, December 1 At Sea

Saturday, December 2 Darwin, Australia6:00pm

Sunday, December 3 Darwin, Australia5:00pm

Monday, December 4 At Sea

Tuesday, December 5 At Sea

Wednesday, December 6 At Sea

Thursday, December 7 Port Douglas, Australia1:00pm

Friday, December 8 Port Douglas, Australia6:00pm

Saturday, December 9 Cairns, Australia7:00am

Saturday, December 9 Cairns, Australia6:00pm

Sunday, December 10 Port Douglas, Australia6:00am4:30pm

Monday, December 11 At Sea

Tuesday, December 12 Airlie Beach, AustraliaNoon7:30pm

Wednesday, December 13 At Sea

Thursday, December 14 Fraser Island, Australia8:00am2:00pm

Friday, December 15 Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia10:00am6:00pm

Saturday, December 16 At Sea

Sunday, December 17 Sydney, Australia10:00am

Monday, December 18 Sydney, Australia4:00pm

Tuesday, December 19 Eden, Australia9:00am5:00pm

Wednesday, December 20 At Sea

Thursday, December 21 Melbourne, Australia8:00am

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Too fancy for postcards

As our youngest appreciates postcards (I sent them to her while she was in the US at University and I was traveling) my payback for taking me to the airport at  ungodly hours is re-establishing the habit of collecting postcards for her.

We are staying at the Prince Sakura Tower Hotel (Tokyo).  Then it gets complicated. There apparently is a “Prince” hotel group in Japan. Apparently it is also an affiliate of the  Marriott Hotel group. Now that it is daylight, it is easy to see that we are barely a block from the Shinagawa Train Station.  Late this morning (seriously late morning since we woke up about 0300, breakfast wasn’t till 0630) we took a stroll around the area. It seems to be business oriented + a ton of quick food locations due to the proximity of the train station. There is a lot of steel, glass, and towering buildings.

There is even a 7-11. What there was not? Any location selling tourist type things.  Specifically, no postcards. I didn’t even see a newsstand which would have been my other thought.  However, I did find the StarBucks & obtained both the Tokyo & Japan thermos. Interesting that all the US and Canada ones are shiny silver while these

are obviously not. We gave up and came back to the hotel. An inquiry at the desk as to whether or not they had postcards featuring the hotel? No… I am hopeful that at least I can start tomorrow at the port since souvenirs, including postcards, can often be found at cruise terminals.

We skipped lunch and will have an early supper before heading to bed at a fairly early hour. I am close to exhausted and decided that cross stitch was just too complicated for me so sticking with knitting a small shawl in garter stitch.

(time here – 1630 on 29 Oct)

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Jumping ahead 18 hours

Yes, that is correct – 18 hours gone in the blink of an eye. First, of course you have to get boarded on your Air Canada Flight 3, find your seat, stash the backpack overhead and figure out all the controls & cubby spaces, and get settled into your little pod while you happily escape the noise, pushing and shoving of all those passengers who are entering through a jet way BEHIND you.

My pod was in the middle of the plane, so no window pictures – the best you are going to get is a couple of screen shots –

first – the flight –

which left Vancouver and headed to Narita (apparently the main international airport for Tokyo). First the hours roll back, then we crossed the International Dateline and suddenly it is the 28th,  From here on in –  I start out with my date and time since it is not going to match TigerTech’s server located on US Pacific time.

Anyway – we were served a lovely supper about 90 minutes into the flight then I attempted to sleep. Right. Next – read books and play solitaire since my one attempt at knitting didn’t go well.

Upon landing our next bit of fun began. Yes – far end of the terminal of course, but at least there were some moving walkways. Then we spent an hour clearing Immigration followed by finding luggage, followed by finding yet another form to be filled out so that we could clear customs.  Any initial concern about having 3 hours between landing and our bus to the hotel rapidly vanished. As we came out of the customs area there were the usual signs – Regents Seven Seas, Oceania, HAL, OAT. Most of the lines offer an airport pickup on arrival packaged with an overnight in a hotel for those arriving from the US/Canada west coast. Given distances, traffic & time – do NOT plan on arriving the same day your ship leaves, just saying. This is one of those times when the few extra dollars are going to be well worth it.

The Airport Limousine Buses pick up at Terminal 1 – stations 10, 11, & 12. There is a clear list of the hotels which each services and the departure times on the electronic board at each stop. Our bus loaded & departed promptly at 1700. Yes, we could have taken the high speed train. Why would I want to do that with luggage?

It took almost two hours due to traffic by the time we were dropped off at the hotel (third stop) and we walked into bright, clean, shiny, and extremely helpful. Check in went smoothly and we headed to our room. At this point I am not exactly sure how many hours have passed or if any of them involved sleep…

(28 Oct 2023, 2020 – Japanese Standard Time)*

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