Thursday, March 14, 2013

Our 115 day World Cruise, day 68, at sea!

Here we are and we did nothing today!

After coffee we went to Walmart and to QT and then on to home.

It seems like we were not home long and our next door neighbor dropped by.  After she left we went to see Rosine.  The sad thing is that we don't even have any funny stories for the day!

It is too bad that Jeff did not post any photos.  He is probably resting as I would think that the past 3 days in Hong Kong were very tiring.

It is 90 here again today but has made me feel lazy.  Actually it was the powdered sugar donuts that did it!  This diet challenge is not working well for me!

This picture was taken in Canada after a cruise to Alaska.   2004


         Where we did not go       today....but the Amsterdam did!

Postcards from Paradise!  Bill and Mary Ann

  Hong Kong, SAR   March 13, 2013   Wednesday   Day 3   Part 1

Our third day in Hong Kong found us once again walking to see some of the sites we missed on the first two days.  Our time was much more limited because the ship was due to leave around 5pm.  For the first time that we can recall, we were due back onboard at 3pm, cutting our stay by one hour.  Could be the reason was due to customs and immigration checks, especially with the folks who had to get visas to go into mainland China.  Those passengers, like the groups that went to Macau, had to turn in their passports with a face-to-face check with the Chinese officials between 2 and 4pm.  

Our destination this morning was the Jade Market.  This large indoor market is housed in two buildings a block off of Nathan Road.  Each stall has numerous pieces of jade stones and jewelry in many different shades.  Purple is one of them and something one of us does not own.  Now, we do.  It took about 10 minutes to locate a matching set with a pendant and earrings.  Whether or not the pieces are truly jade, well, we'll never know.  But the tip off may be the price, which was easily negotiate downward from a way too high amount.  It's the name of the game here.

Right across the street from the Jade Market was the Produce Market.  Their fruit and veggies looked like they were grown with steroids or some very good fertilizers.  No refrigeration is necessary, because it is all sold by the end of the day.  The same goes for the meat, chicken, and fish markets.  In the same building as the veggies were the fish vendors.  Each butcher had a machete and a block of wood, where the fish were quickly gutted and chopped.  Looks like nothing is wasted.  It was a bit unnerving to see turtles, eels, and frogs kept in syrofoam boxes, waiting to be purchased.  In large tubs of water were fish of all sizes, some of which did not stay in the tub.  While watching one fellow cut up a tuna, one crazy footlong fish came flying out of the tub and onto the floor. No big deal, since the butcher chased him down and flipped him back into the water.

Most of the meat and chicken markets were outside situated on narrow side streets.  All the hunks of pork are tied up on hooks, hanging in the air naked, not wrapped.  You would expect flies, but there were none.  Chickens were available either plucked or alive.  Cooked ducks and geese also hung in the doorways of the shops.  Again, nothing was refrigerated.

Time was dwindling, so we headed back to find the best pizza place in Harbour Center.  We found Pizza Express on the ground floor and were quickly seated by the window with a view of the side of the Amsterdam.  At least we didn't have far to walk back, thank goodness.  We both ordered margherita pizzas on thin crunchy crusts.  Nothing sounded better with pizza than Stella Artois beers, big, ice cold ones.  We took our time eating, savoring every last minute of our visit to Hong Kong.

Another muster drill was scheduled for 4:15pm, and it was mandatory for all to attend.  We wondered if the room stewards checked the rooms.  Barb found out when her fellow knocked on her door, waking here up from a nap.  So the answer is yes, they certainly do check.  Even though the passengers are threatened with being denied passage if you miss the muster, we do know that a make-up drill takes place the following morning.  It is serious stuff, and keeping in mind the accidents of the recent past, we do pay attention.

Sailaway was around 5:30pm, but unfortunately, the weather was not the best.  There was a heavy smog-like shroud that hung over the harbor and city that did not want to disperse. Barbara H., our port guide, gave a good commentary on our way out.  We passed the area of the old airport to see the new terminal building that will be in use sometime in the near future.  It will probably be very nice and modern, but we can see major drawbacks for the passengers and crew, who have enjoyed the easy and convenient pier we have always used. We can estimate the drive time to downtown Kowloon would be 45 minutes in good traffic.  Oh well, nothing lasts forever.

Once past the major islands, the Captain put his pedal to the metal and we were off towards our next port of Nha Trang, Vietnam.  Something tells us that as we head south, the weather will warm up considerably.  It could not have been nicer for the three days we spent here in Hong Kong.  We'll miss it.

 At Sea
Lovely day at sea…..  Perfect weather to visit with friends out on the aft deck and read.  Tomorrow a new adventure begins…..  we arrive into Nha Trang Vietnam, one of my favorite Vietnam destinations, and fly out in the afternoon to Siem Reap Cambodia.  We will be visiting one of the world’s treasures in Angkor Wat.  I visited there in 2008 and was just blown away.  I am looking forward to a return visit and Corrine is anxious for her first visit.  I will bring my computer and will post if I am able, otherwise I will catch up when I return to the ship in Singapore…….

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