Friday, January 07, 2011

Final photos from the cruise

In most countries (other than China, that is) we didn't have to physically clear customs. Instead, the customs officials would come on board while we're taxiing into the harbor, and clear us for entrance into their country. This is the customs boat that from which the officials boarded our ship

And here they are, boarding the ship. Tricky business, I'd say, seeing that our ship kept moving during this process (albeit at a slower speed)

Nha Trang, Vietnam, here I come! This is a great dive spot, but our ship came in too late for me to join some dives. I might have to go back to Vietnam to dive...

The sign says it all

Kiptoo took the shuttle to town to explore. Water? Check. Sunglasses? Check. Camera & money? Check. Sense of adventure? Check!

Nha Trang's bicycle rickshaws. These drivers were relentlessly going after tourists, offering to take you around town for $5/hr. Kiptoo and I decided to explore on foot

The little guard dog at a little convenience store along the road

Despite the busy-ness of the market, it felt like I was walking in a scene from the 70s

I love the colors of the different fruits. Can you identify the different fruits??

Coconut vendor

Yummy mandarin oranges
The chickens were almost as orange as the mandarin oranges...
In Indonesia, as in Vietnam, quail eggs are often sold alongside chicken eggs. In fact, some of my kids sometimes bring boiled quail eggs in their lunch packs
I love walking through the markets and smiling at the vendors and getting permission to take their photos
Mushroom vendor
These Vietnamese clay pots reminded me a lot of some of the pots I had seen in Ethiopia
Amazingly, motorbikes (even with sidecars, such as this one) and rickshaws would squeeze their way through the narrow market alleys
Buddhist ghost money (burned for ancestors to use in heaven). But Vietnamese dong aren't worth much (around 20,000dong to a US$), so they were selling US$100 bills as ghost money so it's easier to burn (or can one say, wire) more money faster...
Though this girl doesn't look friendly, she explained in broken English to me that these banana leaf wrappings contained raw pork to be steamed

Dried seahorses and what, a flying rat or bat? Not sure!

After walking around for long enough, I found a halfway-decent-looking salon where I got a hair wash and blow dry, massage, manicure and pedicure for $4.60. If you're ever in Nha Trang, check these guys out :)
The next morning, we docked in the not-so-nice port of Phu My. Seeing that bad traffic is our nemesis in Jakarta, I chose not to take the day trip to Saigon, despite wanting to see that city. (The return journey would've been up to 6 hours.) So I took the shuttle to the nearest town. These water buffalo were simply out in the fields alongside the highway
Since there was little to see in the town we were dropped off in, I hooked up with some Aussie ladies and we negotiated a deal with a taxi to take us to nearby Vung Tao, where we saw this statue of Jesus. It was a bit surprising seeing this statue in a Communist and Buddhist nation
After seeing the beaches and the statue, the other ladies wanted to go shopping at the central market. One half of the market had clothing, shoes and jewelry, and this half had fresh goods. It's much more fun walking around the wet market and take photos!
I guess sitting on top of the tables makes for good use of space. Chicken, anyone?

Or do you simply prefer some chicken feet? (The toes, I'm told, are handy for cleaning your teeth after dinner)
This vendor gestured that I should take a look at what she had in this bag... Only two furry feet were sticking out. I peered in and lo and behold, there were three slaughtered rabbits, ready to be made into rabbit stew
More quail eggs. Aren't they pretty?
All over town, one would see ladies wearing these funny toed socks with sandals

Back to the ship for the last leg of the trip

It was fascinating watching these fishing boats/house boats, with entire families seemingly living aboard. Behind them are the mangrove forests of the Mekong. I kept wondering what these forests have witnessed over time...

The skies were beautiful that night!

Kiptoo tried some coconut juice
Some of my new friends from the cruise... I met this family when racing around Xiamen, and ended up playing translator for them in Shanghai. Originally from Jo'burg, they all live in Perth now. Getting to know them was one of the nicest surprises of the cruise (and I'm not saying that because they might be reading my blog!)
Same family, but here you see some of the men. This was last night, the final night of the cruise, and the chefs and waiters were bringing in a parade of baked Alaska. People were twirling their napkins and clapping. It was a nice ending to a fun cruise
Mohan, the junior waiter at our table, with the baked Alaska. I didn't care for this dessert at all. It was way too sweet!
Another guest I was blessed to get to know on the cruise, a lady named Anne (pronounced in the German way, not the American way) from Geneva, Switzerland. She, along with a German friend of hers (from Texas) have been on the ship for the past 10 weeks! They started their journey in Rome, all the way to Cape Town, then to Asia. What fun!

And the final view from the deck where I had breakfast every day: Sentosa Island, Singapore, with the Hard Rock Hotel in the foreground and Singapore's mascot, the merlion in the back
We had a couple of hours to kill in Changi Airport. Kiptoo and I agree that we love Singapore! And we love exploring. Bottom line, we love life. :)


  1. Greetings from India. Beautiful photos really enjoyed them.

    God bless you

  2. My late pastor Rev Benjamin Buys was from South Africa - originally Dutch - he sang Afrikans songs for us - die d in th e early 70s.

    What are those clay pots for? They have openings at the side. We have similar cycle rickshaws in India.

    I am fascinated by your blog.

    I knew a Snother South African missionary (white0 here Miss Margaret Housin - she lived in India for many many years now she 's back in S Africa