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What did you bring home from your cruise?

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    What did you bring home from your cruise?

    In 2003 we were on Aurora for her World Cruise and the Aurora's port call to Phuket coincided with my wife's birthday.

    Prior to the Phuket visit we were well travelled in Thailand and my wife had taken a great liking to Thai Spirit Houses.

    The Spirit House can be seen at a prominent spot outside every business establishment in the country. It can be seen on a pedestal in Front of every hotel. It dresses the corner garden area of a restaurant, the Front of a bar, disco or put Spirit houses are even seen at outdoor food markets. They are built on the grounds of Buddhist temples. outside caves in the mountains, near Fishing ponds in the valleys, and occasionally in the middle of an otherwise uninhabited forest. Most importantly, however. the Thai Spirit House is built at the yard or entrance of every home.

    The purpose of the Spirit House is to provide an appealing shelter for the spirits, or celestial beings, who would otherwise reside in the heavens.
    Phuket just happens to be a tender port so, having made a few prior onboard logistical arrangements, we set off ashore to commence the celebrations.

    To my wife's surprise I immediately commandeered an open back tuk tuk style taxi and had a quiet word with the driver. Some 20 minutes later we arrived at a factory where Thai Spirit Houses are manufactured where I invited my wife to choose the spirit house she most liked.

    That was the easy bit, let me explain. Spirit houses are generally manufactured from concrete and come in three sections (The Pedestal, The Tray and the actual House). They weigh an awful lot.

    I mentioned that Phuket was a tender port. It took four men to carry the concrete pedestal along the flexible pontoon and into the tender, under the rather apoplectic gaze of the tender coxswain.

    Cutting a long story short, once onboard the movement was easy. I used one of those sack trolleys that the staff move bedding around the ship with.

    And so the Spirit House was assembled in our cabin...

    That evening, and indeed the following two evenings, we gave cabin parties to many friends we had met and table companions.

    We eventually got the Spirit House home to Southampton and using the same general methods managed to get my wife's rather unique birthday present back to Lee on the Solent where it still, to this day, adorns out balcony...

    Any other tales to tell?

    I cannot think of many other men who have gone though this process to surprise your wife on her birthday.
    Would have loved to see the expressions on the porters face at Southampton, the customs and I hope you did not just leave that outside your cabin for luggage pickup.
    On reflection , did the tender crew smile when you got back on to the ship and up the narrow staircase and through ships security.

    You win the prize..
    Next Cruise:> QM2 2016 / My Blog robbarcruises.com


      I brought severe food poisoning home from a land based holiday when I was 21.Nearly ended up in an isolation ward as they thought it was typhoid. Does that count?


        My tale is mundane, overnight at Southampton where hotel is across a few streets from the mall. Liz discovers a Mothers Own shop and we have just had our first two grandchildren so here we are going back to a hotel with all these clothes now filling the spare suitcase. Going back on the plane I now had one of those Princess large canvas bags to check as that was now stuffed with shore purchases around the British Isles..

        We did better last year around the Caribbean for four grandchildren
        Next Cruise:> QM2 2016 / My Blog robbarcruises.com


          Bronchitis !!!!!!!!!!!


            Richard, what a lovely story and the "house" looks fabulous!

            If we go to Kusadasi I visit one jeweller who over the last three years has been making me a set of jewellery one piece at a time and now have a unique set that I have designed myself. We go straight to the shop and he has it ready in the afternoon, amazing.

            My OH jokes he is always so pleased to see us as he sees pound signs but I like to think maybe he does quite like us as well..Carol


              Hi Richard, mine is not as glamourous as yours, we had an unexpected wait at Port said, and the stall holders etc appeared form nowhere,after a while we were allowed to visit these stalls I bought two little wooden carved tables with camel's heads, to hold the round tops. I was so pleased with them. CG


                Well done Richard, you've raised the bar for men everywhere! Your purchase makes my beautiful felt jacket from Norway look very mundane indeed. Any suggestions for souvenirs from Mexico? Judith


                  Love it Richard .. I want one !!!

                  Do you think the next time you are in Thailand you could oblige

                  Your wife is very lucky, my husband moans if I want to take an extra suitcase


                    Brilliant posting (and Topic) Richard. I have seen the aforesaid mentioned Spirit House and it is super. You really are a smoothie! Like most matelots I have bought my fair share of rubbish "rabbits" from around the world. The most memorable was from Bahrain (where I spent 15 months unaccompanied), I designed a gold heart pendant which incorporated my wife's and my initials and which she wore constantly for over 35 years until some scrot burgled our house in Spain. Like Carol's Jewellery it was ordered am and ready pm! It was as cheap as chips but I kept that info to myself! Must just add that it is now 9 (NINE!) days to until our USA/Canada Arcadia trip on 31st, excited? Nah!


                      As a novice cruiser, I haven't brought anything material back. I have made a new friend though, and that's worth a lot!
                      Queen Victoria - Mediterranean Explorer

                      2019 -
                      NCL Getaway - Norway and Iceland
                      Adventure of the Seas - Fall Foliage

                      2020 -
                      Jewel of the Seas - Abu Dhabi & Dubai
                      Magellan - Panama Canal


                        a couple of kilos! ........ of weight around my middle!

                        the keeper Loobyloo, Hugo and Tinkerbell (the cats) and The Cluckingtons (the chickens)


                          ....and there was me thinking it was a bird table !!!!! Oh dear !!

                          The only thing I always bring back is a chesty cough...have tried everything ...wet towels in cabin, balcony door open, balcony door closed, olbas oil to inhale....nothing seems to prevent it.


                            About 26 years ago just before we were married we went on an CTC cruise on the Mikail Lermontov with my then to be husband and my mum and dad. One of the ports of call was Maderia and we took a taxi between us up into the hills to one of the wicker factories.

                            I suddenly decided I wanted a wicker chair. I could see what my dad was thinking - because he just knew I would pick the biggest chair in the shop. And that I did - I marched right to the back of the shop and found the biggest queen wicker chair they had - sat in it and said I'm having this one. This of course was with no idea how we were to get it home but I was having it. If memory serves me right I think the chair was £20 and he wanted another £2 ontop to despatch it to the ship.

                            So off we go and finished out little tour and got back to the ship and mum says - you'll never see that chair again. They've had your money, thats it. But looking over the ships rail, I spotted in the distance a truck with a wicker chair strapped to the top. We waited until it arrived alongside the ship and carried it up the gangway, still with no idea what we were going to do with it. The ships crew were great and took it off us for storage in the ships hold.

                            That was the first part out the way - now how were we going to get it home from Southampton in a normal faimily car with 4 people and all our luggage. I had some idea in my head that the port authorities would tell us how we could frieght it home by train or something or so I hoped. However, that evening we were chatting to one of the entertainers on board and were recounting our story to him and suprisingly he said - no problem, I have a son who lives in Coventry and he is coming down to Southampton to bring me some more gear. He will take it back for you!! Now how lucky was that - I think some things are just meant to be.
                            We still have the chair, I havent got the heart to part with it - it stands in our hall and the guy wouldnt take a penny off us for taking it back to our house.

                            It has always remained one of our most memorable cruise purchases.


                              Dont think I can top a Spirit House ( isnt that a pub !!! LOL )
                              I do have some lava rock from Iceland.( that I picked up off the ground). and tea towels from most places ( I like something practical ) and a PEG BAG from Gibralata !!


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