Saturday, March 29, 2008

From the Other Side of the World

Please do not chastise me, gentle reader, for not blogging. We’ve been so busy touring! I needed some time to reflect and to download pictures so you won’t be too terribly bored. I have been writing along the way, trying to capture the feelings of the moment…..So drift back a few days and play catch up…..

En Route and Losing Monday

Just a pic while sitting in the Delta’s Crown Room while waiting for my flight to Shreveport.

While there, the whole gang had dinner and I got a great pic of Jula and the nieces

and Gran and the nephews…

What I wrote on the 18 1/2 hour plane ride from Los Angeles to Singapore

To say that I am now totally spoiled to air travel is a mild understatement. As I type this, I am traveling almost 600 miles an hour over Indonesia, feet comfortably elevated, padded with a down filled pillow, tucked in with a wool blanket designed by Givenchy. I am sipping a freshly frothed cappuccino out of a china cup, listening to classical music through airline-provided noise-cancelling headphones. Over the past 15 hours, I have had Piper Heidsieck champagne, a lovely Savignon Blanc with a delicious sea trout dinner, port with three delicious cheeses and a dim sum snack. I’ve watched “No Country for Old Men” and “Elizabeth-the Golden Age”. And I still have 3 hours to go, so I might choose another of the over 30 titles available as I have my breakfast. Monday was totally lost over the international date line- I need an Einstein with me to explain why. I figure I have a set number of days on God’s green earth, and I don’t like misplacing one…..

I didn’t really sleep, but had two naps, with my seat hydraulically shifted to almost prone. I’ve been able to knit some, using the pinpoint LED spotlight so I didn’t’ wake anyone else.

Travelling with Gran is fun.

It will be difficult to return to steerage.


Singapore was fascinating and damp. Heat and humidity like a Georgia summer, but with an oriental flavor. The Taxi cabs have a faint redolence of Jasmine rice and satay. It is a very modern, and at the same time, very old city.

We visited Chinatown, and saw the exterior of the Hindu temple

and then visited the Botanical Gardens,

and thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the National Orchid Gardens.

The Singaporeans are justly proud of the national bloom.

We did a little shopping at Takashimaya and explored the food court there.

The lounge of the Mandarin Oriental is quite nice—

we loved relaxing, having a cup of tea or a glass of wine and looking out high above the city. We had dinner with my cousins, who were getting off the ship. They took us to the famous Raffles Hotel, where the Singapore Sling was invented. Of course, I was obligated to sample:

While traveling to the ship, we visited the mer-lion, the symbol of Singapore

and saw bunches of schoolchildren acting…well, like kids.

Tuesday night we went to Clarke Quay.

It’s not the street shopping that Gran remembers—it’s an upscale, upbeat nightscene. As we were queuing for a taxi back to the hotel, we were joined in line by a group of 19 year old girls out celebrating a birthday. They had blindfolded their friend, the birthday girl, to spirit her off to an unknown location. We, of course, had to get into the fun of it.

Gran gave her a hug and wished her many happy returns. I wonder how her evening went and what she thinks of all the photos made of her with the unseen American lady.

Yesterday we went to Kuala Lumpur, or KL as everyone calls it. The Capital of Malaysia. Home of the Petronas Towers—as of writing, the tallest building/s in the world. It was a ride of 1 ½ hours from the port of Kelang. Looked about like any other large city, with an incredible skyline. We stopped a the king’s residence for a photo op and got a good look at the guards.

Saw the city foundations at the confluence of the two rivers

and got a good look at the twin towers.

First sea day
Started off today with a quick bite at the breakfast buffet.

The Filipino waiters remembered me from the last cruises….

or, more likely, remembered the kids and my ownership/rental interest in them. They always manage to brighten my day—no matter what time of day or night, whatever condition the seas or cruisers, they have a smile on their faces, a merry attitude and plenty of happiness to share.

Today, I plan on a little reading, a little knitting, a little napping. The Asian buffet is on tap for luncheon, and our first formal night is tonight. Going to the captain’s welcome cocktail party and on to our very delightful table of eight in the main dining room- more on that to follow! Right this second, there is a wicked thunderstorm brewing—I’m headed up to the pool deck to watch it roll in.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

And We're Off!

At the present moment, I am in Los Angeles, sitting in Singapore Airline's Business Class Lounge, waiting to hop on a plane to Singapore. It's been a long day so far- didn't sleep much last night, and woke up at 5:30 so my mother and I could catch the early flight from Shreveport to Dallas, and from Dallas to LAX. Now, we only have one ---ahem--18 hour flight from the west coast to the island country that lies 60 miles from the equator.

From what has been reported to me over the telephone, the remaining inhabitants of Maison Cou Rouge are playing nicely. No one has been injured or maimed. No one has starved.

And no turkeys have been shot as of sundown. Yes, mirth reigns once again, as hunting season (this time, turkey) started on Saturday.

I wish I had pictures, but my card reader is packed in my luggage, which- with all hope and prayers to whomever is the patron saint of traveler's luggage- is somewhere in the bowels of LAX, about to be loaded into the hold of a rather large, trans-pacific plane.

See you when we get there!!!!!!!!!