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Singapore to Bali abourd Boudicca

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    Singapore to Bali abourd Boudicca

    What a fabulous end to a fantastic day in Singapore. Ian Jacks, the pub singer certainly knows how to get a party going. He was singing on deck 6 for the 11pm sailaway. We danced to the music as we left the twinkling lights behind. People were looking down from all the open decks and the Boudicca statue watched over us. Lots of boats were around in the harbour. They must have thought we were a party boat, not ship load of pensioners! It was the best sailaway of the cruise so far.

    Earlier in the evening we had enjoyed a few drinks on the deck outside the Lido lounge. It was just perfect with the heat and humidity of the day gone. This is the first day we have made full use of our all inclusive package which was included when we booked the cruise. The cost is now £29 per person per day which is too much as lots of drinks are excluded. We have been paying for cocktails at half price as the only one included is cocktail of the day which are mostly awful, especially the one with creme de menthe. I had a French martini last night which has never been is cocktail of the day. We had another trip to the laundrette today. I have never done so much washing on a cruise but the weather has been so hot and sticky.

    There seems to have been a lot of rain overnight, the decks are wet and the cushions have been removed from the chairs on deck 9 where we like to sit for a while after breakfast before beginning the days activities. We have seen more ships today sailing through the straits of Malaca but still no other cruise ships. The weather this morning is a bit grey. We got a soaking at the golf putting and shuffleboard was rained off. Better weather is forecast for tomorrow in Phuket. 30 degrees with a bit of cloud.

    PHUKET THAILAND

    It was a beautiful sunny day as we arrived in Thailand. The forecast is for 32 deg. Boudicca is berthed 10 miles from the town with no shuttle bus. Our fare includes free shuttles but have only had one during the whole cruise. We still haven’t seen any other cruise ships but someone said an NCL ship is berthed close to the town in Phuket today, unlike us in the cheap dock.

    Today we are doing our first ever Fred tour to see the sea gypsie village and some scenic views with lunch in a seafood restaurant. We assembled in the Neptune lounge at the appointed time and given our group number. Then we proceeded to our coach. As we passed through Phuket town I wished we could have stopped for a wander round. The old Sino-Portugese buildings looked interesting but we were trapped on the coach heading for a Buddhist temple.

    It took a long time for everyone to get on the coach as only the front door was opened. The tour guide said the steps were too steep for us to get off at the back. We assured her we would be able to manage and the doors were opened at the next stop. Wat Chalong, the largest Buddhist temple in Thailand, was beautiful with the added bonus of market stalls in the grounds. My husband would disagree! We are not good on group tours and although we enjoyed the places we visited it was a trying day.

    Lunch in a seafood restaurant was a typical place for large groups and the sea food mediocre. We enjoyed wandering around the stalls selling exotic looking fish and pearl jewellery in Rawai, the village where the sea gypsies have settled. Most make their living by fishing or pearl diving. I bought a pretty pearl bracelet which I like to the think is made with pearls collected by the sea gypsy divers but for less than 10 US dollars I am doubtful they are genuine. The beach in the village where the sea gypsies live had some stunning views but the beach was littered with rubbish. We returned to the ship in time to have a quick shower before the sailaway party.

    Another superb effort from Ian Jacks. Then it was time for my Happy Feet treatment which I won in the spa raffle. My feet were coated in mud from the dead sea then immersed in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes. The procedure was performed by the gym instructor. Not really what I was expecting. TBC

    #2
    The early morning sun was a big red ball in the sky when we arrived at the port for Yangon. During the night we had a rather alarming letter posted under our cabin door telling us we would be issued with masks due to the corona virus. So taking no chances we had a good squirt of first defence up our noses before leaving the ship for our tour, A Taste of Yangon.

    I had looked into the possibility of alternative options to see Yangon but decided an organised tour was the way to go. We had been warned about the heavy traffic and the long journey into the city. Five coaches travelled in convey headed by a police escort in a motorcycle. He made a very good job of clearing the traffic for us and we arrived at the Shwedagon Pagoda after 1 and a half hours. Our guide was excellent, keeping us entertained with information and amusing stories about Burma. He showed us how many uses there are for the lungi he was wearing and how important the day of the week you are born on is in Burma. Being born on a Friday we are both guinea pigs.

    He called his country Burma, not Myanmar and referred to Yangon as Rangoon. On arrival at the pagoda we had to remove our shoes to explore the huge complex. The gold buildings were gleaming in the sunlight, it is hard to describe the beauty of the done which is topped with over 6,500 diamonds, rubies and if he precious stones.
    I will post some photos when I get home if I can.

    We had a bit of a delay when we got back on the coach. Apparently 2 passengers had forgotton which coach they were on and got on the wrong one, causing confusion and delaying all 5 coaches. This is why I don’t like organised tours but apart from this the rest of the day went well.

    Next we were taken to Chalk Htat Gyi where we were able to view one of the largest ‘re lining Buddhas in the world. We had a short walk through the colonial downtown area and went a Lo cal restaurant for Burmese snacks. This exceeded our expectations. The inside of the restaurant had been beautifully restored to reflect a bygone age with authentic music playing. We were seated in comfortable chairs to enjoy the substantial selection of snacks and some very tasty fish soup. A selection of soft drinks were also included with local beer available to buy. We had coffee served in a glass. It was good, similar to some we had in Vietnam with condensed milk.

    The centre of the city is a mix of old colonial buildings with washing hanging from balastraded balconies and modern blocks. It is very green with tropical trees giving shade to the wide avenues. As we left the city to return to the ship we passed many shacks along the road side. We crossed a long bridge spanning the Bago river and had a police escort all the way back to the ship. On boarding the ship an announcement was made telling us to go straight to our cabins to wash our hands with soap and got water. We couldn’t comply ad we had no hot water in our cabin. This is the third time this had happened. Not very pleasant washing my hair in cold water again.

    We had a front seat in the Neptune lounge for the evening show. Local performers were brought on board for our entertainment. The singing and dancing was very good and we enjoyed the puppets performance. All the Burmese people we met were very smiley and so polite.

    DAY 2 IN YANGON

    Because we are docked in an isolated location long way from any sights i pre booked tlurs for both days here. Our tour today is, Local life in Thanliyn. The drive wasn’t as li g as yesterday, the coach was cool and comfortable and we didn’t lose anyone. We had the same assistant guide ad yesterday but our main guide was a lady. She was just as pleasant and informative Our first stop was Bon Pyan monastery which was built of wood.

    We were able to observe the monks going about their daily business. We even saw one having a wash in a big wooden tub. Our guide explained four different types of monks living there. We climbed a steep wooden spiral staircase to have a peek at the dormarary style bedroom where the young monks slept on a hard wooden floor, some of them were only 7 years old.

    It was interesting to hear about the some of older ones who had tired of their wives after long marriages. If their wives agreed they could choose to live out their days in the monastery. All the monks live a very simple life, relying on donations of food from the local village to survive. They were pleased with the pack of colouring pencils I left for them

    After leaving the monastery our luxury coach drove us through dusty villages lined with stalls selling fruit and vegetables and bamboo shacks, homes to the villagers. Our guide told us many have no electricity or running water but we did spot a fair few satellite dishes, looking out of place amongst the roaming chickens and goats. Before long we arrived in the bustling town of Thanlyin where a convoy of trishaws were waiting to take us to the morning market.

    The friendly residents peered out of their houses and waved as we passed by. I expect we looked quite a sight wedged into the trishaw seats build for much smaller Burmese people. This is the mode of transport used by housewives for their shopping trips. Having no refrigerators they must shop for fresh food every day. We were given one hour free time to look around the vast market. It was quite dark and narrow in places, rather like a Morrocan souk. The exotic fruit and vegetables looked fresh and there was a big selection eggs, some tiny and colourful others more like hens eggs. We didn’t venture too far in too the fish section, the small was overpowering in the heat.

    Small children, barely old enough to out alone, were begging for money. I gave them some pencils and was rewarded with big toothless smiles. Continuing our exploration of local life in Myanmar our coach took us to a small village.

    By now the temperature was well over 30 deg and sweat was tricking down my back. Our guide showed us inside one of the villagers houses and explained about the shrine to the spirits. The inside of the house was stark with none of the trappings of modern life. A cat lay sleeping on the bare wooden floor and the two young daughters were busy peeling vegetables with a lethal looking knife. The house stood in a large plot with a few trees and chickens running around on the dry, dusty soil. We left the house and walked for around 45 minutes to the end of the village to see 2 lakes. One was for washing, the other for drinking water, which had to carried to the houses.

    Plenty of children were playing in around the village so I was able to give away the last of the pencils, originally intended for a school in Bali which was closed when we visited. It seems so long ago that we were there, like a different holiday, we have seen so much since leaving Australia. Before boarding the coach to return to the ship we were given a fresh coconut full of milk. We sat on a low plastic stool under the shade of a mango tree to drink it whilst watching our guide demonstrating the many uses for a lungi similar to what we saw on the tour the previous day.

    I am pleased we chose to do organised tours in Myanmar. Both our guides were excellent and we learned so much about the country, see sights we would not have seen on our own. Yangon was one of the highlights of our cruise. A city filled with golden pagoda and friendly people. Three days sailing followed our departure fro Myanmar to reach Colombo where we will be leavi g the ship.

    There is plenty to occupy us, it is difficult to fit in all the activities. A typical day for us starts with golf putting high up on deck 11. Other we options include walk a mile, yoga £5 per session, I have only been to one class, line dancing, we have done a few, wildlife deck watch, been but not managed to see any wildlife although we did see dolphins when leaving one of the ports. The day continues with morning prayer, dyna band in the gym, another class with a fee, hair care at home seminar, I didn’t go but I suspect the objective is to sell hair care products. All this and beginners bridge before 10am. I can’t understand how anyone can say tbey would be need on a cruise.

    The 10am talk on the first of the 3 sea days was From the Rocks, Hindu and Buddhist architecture. I will watch it on TV if I get time as we were busy playing shuffleboard. There was also a seminar on intolerance around the same time. Talking of food I really don’t want to get on the scales when I get home, I am certain my clothes have shrunk in the laundrette! The morning continues with ukulele fun, making an eveni g bag in the craft class, WI meeting, Fine Art in Singapore talk, quiz, improves bridge, dolphin racing, deck quoits, ships chaplain corner and drama group rehearsal. Just time to listen to Ian Jacks singing in the pub before lunch. The fun goes on with Nintendo Wii bowling, dance lesson, table tennis, Welsh gold seminar, friendly duplicate bridge, sounds an oxymoron to me, I haven’t found bridge players a very friendly lot, probably due to my lack of skill in the game but they are all so serious.

    At 2.30 we could enjoy an afternoon of classical music through wireless headphones whilst indulging in coffee and cakes in the bookmark cafe. The coffee isn’t expensive but I do think it should be included in the drinks package, or at least half price the same as premium alcoholic drinks. The afternoon continues with bullseye baggo. I won the game yesterday and collected another token. We now have 41 between us and still 2 days to go.

    Goodness knows what we will get with them all when we exchange them for prizes at the end of the cruise. If you are still reading this well done! Next we have Scenes at Sea drama class, What the ancients do for us talk in the Neptune Lounge, free circuit class in the gym, carpet bowls, paid for Pilates class and art class. The subject today is Sigiriya Rock in Sri Lanka. I have completed a few paintings during the cruise, some better than others.

    The afternoon quiz, classical concert, darts, choir rehearsal, happy feet, ukulele rehearsal and Do all religions lead to god? discussion complete the afternoon programme. Usually we have a lull in activities before dinner but today we have booked a session with the ships photographer, only because of the offer pushed through our cabin door for a free photograph with no obligation to buy any of the others taken. Being from Yorkshire my husband doesn’t like to miss out on a freebie!

    We met the ships photographer at 5pm and dusky trotted round the ship with him and his tripod. He snapped away at various locations inside the ship and on deck. We got a few quizzical looks from people we have come to know bit it wasn’t an unpleasant experience. We have a viewing arranged for 9am tomorrow. After the photo shoot we did a quick change into our red white and blue British Night I am aware some don’t like it and many passengers avoided weary g any of the colours completely. We enjoyed the singalong and flag waving in the Neptune lounge before the show, Britain Rocks, a celebration of British music through the decades with the Boudicca Show Company. The show lounge was full and it was a great show.

    We had a front row seat as we got there early for the pre show ballroom and sequence dancing which we have done most evenings. Two of the entertainment staff were singing in the Lido at 10pm so we had a listen then ended in evening in the bin listening to our favourite singer, Ian Jack’s. We didn’t quite make the late night dance party starting at 12.45am. We did have a peek at the late night buffet to see what we had been missing. The pizza and kebabs looked tasty but we resisted the temptation to eat any.

    We did a bit of early packing after breakfast on our last sea day to leave our day in Colombo free for a bit of sightseeing and to arrange a taxi to the airport for our flight home the following day. We ship we have seen since leaving Australia

    Comment


      #3
      great read thanks.

      Comment


        #4
        Lovely coffee read. I can almost ''taste'' the heat and atmosphere.

        Well done for a really interesting read.

        Comment


          #5
          Thank you for taking the time to do these blogs , really great.

          Comment


            #6
            Great read...thanks. We are looking forward to boarding Black Watch in two weeks. 😄

            Comment


              #7
              We are just about to go to the grill for a meal we won in a competition. Will tell you more later. Currently in the pub consuming the addictive dry roast nuts and a French martini
              Last edited by ilovesunshine, east yorks; 5th February 2020, 11:49 AM.

              Comment


                #8
                You are on the ship I least liked out of all the ones I have been on, but you are making me think, maybe we'll give her another try

                Thank you for sharing your time on board .................................................. ..................Carol

                Comment


                  #9
                  Great read, really enjoyed this trip with you, thanks again

                  John

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Hi ILS
                    Thanks again for taking the time and effort with your marvelous blog.
                    With both this and Michael Portilo currently in Vietnam on one of his great train journeys I almost feel like I'm there with you all.

                    Regards
                    Garf.
                    Last edited by Garfield, Waterlooville; 5th February 2020, 09:44 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I've been following your every word ILS, wishing I had been on board too.

                      Thank you so much for sharing your cruise with us.
                      Jill

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thank you for sharing your cruise experience ILS. I love a French martini.
                        don't want to work, just want to cruise.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          What a great read ILS, I love FO and this has been like a tonic to me on these chilly days. Thankyou. Jan.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            We had no plans for Colombo apart from organising a taxi to take us to the earlier early the following morning. We had been instructed by Fred that walking through the dock area was not allowed and a shuttle would be provided. When we got off the ship we could see no signs of a shuttle but the port officials assured us it was ok to walk. A few taxis were parked close to the ship with the drivers touting for business. We agreed a price of 70 US Dollars for our airport transport and proceeded to the gates, about a 10 minute walk.

                            We soon found a tuk tuk driver who wanted to take us in a tour of the city for 20 dollars. We told him we only wanted to go to see the floating market then be dropped off on the main shopping area and offered to part 15 dollars. He seemed happy with this so we hopped in and held tight as we weaved in and out of the chaotic traffic, narrowly avoiding local buses, motor scooters and cars. It took a while to get to the market. It was marked as an attraction on the basic map provided by Fred. I was imagining it to be like the one in Bangkok with lots of colourful stalls selling local produce. What a disappointment, a few empty wooden floating stalls, seemingly abandoned by their owners floated sadly beside a run down boardwalk.

                            We clambered back into the tuk tuk and instructed our driver to take us to the city centre. Unfortunately he had other ideas. First stop wad a souviner shop. “Just look, just look". We thought it easier to comply than try to resist and the air con inside was a welcome relief from the heat and humidity. We came away with 3 jewelled elephants to add to the menagerie of Komodo dragons and crocodiles.

                            So the driver asked if I liked gemstones, he didn’t believe me when I said no and duely proceeded to a jewellery store. We refused to get out so he drove on through the relentless traffic to a blue temple for a photo stop. As we posed outside the ornate temple I caught sight of a snake charmer sitting beside the road with a cobra emerging from what looked like his upturned hat. “ Very dangerous" said our driver and I agreed with him. I did take a quick photo before retreating to the safety of the tuk tuk. The snake charmer stuck his hand inside and I gave him a dollar ad we drove off.

                            We reminded the driver that we did not want a tour of the city. His reply, “Do you like spices?” We assured him we did not need any and he must take us to the city centre. We were hopeful that was where we were heading as he pointed out various buildings, the presidents house, the prime minister’s house, heavily guarded army and airforce headquarters and more temples. We asked how far away we were from the ship with a view to walking back. 7 kilometres came the reply, do you like tea?

                            Guess what, he took us to a tea shop. I wouldn’t have minded having a look and a few samples but my husband was getting very cross by now. We told the driver our unasked for your must stop and we wanted to return to the ship. He finally got the message. I gave him 15 dollars as agreed and one extra. He said be wanted 20. We walked away. I later found out the going rate for a tour in a tuk run for 1 hour was 5 dollars so we were well overcharged.

                            We set off to explore on foot which is what we should have done earlier. We were looking for somewhere nice to have a cup of coffee and spotted the Grand Imperial Hotel. We noticed a group of tourists going inside so we tagged along with them, realising it was the walking tour of the city from the ship.

                            We stood in the elaborate foyer for a while listening to the guide explaining the history of the historic hotel then followed the group up the ornate staircase where tea and coffee was being served. Someone we knew invited us to join them so we did! The photographer from the ship took our picture then we made a quick exit before the guide did a head count.

                            We had a wander around a big market before returning to the ship in time for a late lunch and a game of deck quoits. Tbc

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog, sounds a fascinating cruise. Thank you so much for posting, it’s given me something to read during a traumatic time ....my husbands had 40%of his lung removed due to cancer & will most likely need chemo & radiotherapy.

                              Comment


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