29th March 2017
It's been a while since I've been able to put pen to paper again (or should I say finger to iPad ) in order to recount our on going exploits on this cruise. The reason for the delay has been due to our visits to a number of ports in fairly quick succession, such is the itinerary we're following. This also has meant lots of early mornings and a totally ridiculous amount of footslogging, peppered with only a few breaks in coffee shops. So at present I'm only able to sit on our balcony and try to stay awake, whilst awaiting an anti pirate drill to begin, as we head towards Colombo.
With visits to Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia duly completed it's only fair to say although hectic as ever in this part of the world there are many fascinating things to see and experiences to endure.
For the second time in our lives we were in Nha Trang a coastal resort that was once a favoured watering hole for GI's during the Vietnam war. Behind the seafront though is a different world and we headed to the local market whilst being pursued by Pedicab operators offering tours around town in these distinctly risky modes of transport. Fortunately ,previously experience had taught us how to give them the slip and with the market only a short distance from the front we arrived without incident.
It was hot, it was humid...in fact it seems to me this "Clammy" weather is now just routine, so life now has become a choice of either profuse perspiration or freezing our butts in air conditioning, there's no happy medium.
We had been told however that for tourists one tunnel had been enlarged to allow us " larger framed" people to make an easy twenty metre traverse in comfort and emerge elated with fond memories of a great experience.
It sounded plausible, so we stood in line awaiting our turn to descend down to the first level. When we arrived at that first descent Passepartou announced " I'm not going down there!"
Not daunted and feeling apprehensive although very brave I descended closely following the lady in front of me. At the next flight of steps down the lady in front abandoned her attempt squeezing past me to return to the surface.
The man in front of me was now some way ahead letting me see clearly the route ahead. Yes that tunnel had been made with more headroom, in fact it was a whole 120cm and I could see the man descending a couple of more steps to a left turn. I went down one step to watch as that slightly smaller man than me squeezing himself into that tunnel, to begin his journey. This was now decision time for me. Claustrophobia was nagging at me. 120cm is not terribly high. Would I get stuck? Are you a man or a mouse?
If I was a mouse it would not have been a problem...but I'm not ?
Twenty metres is not far, so retracing my journey back to ground level I rejoined Passepartou at the tunnel exit, to witness the really brave/daft few emerge, covered in dirt and looking very relieved, having had to crawl on hands and knees the last few metres....rather mouse like really.
One day in Bangkok
Without any specific plan, after two days more watching ocean slip by we were in Bangkok a city we'd been to in 2012. After a two hours on a coach from the port we were deposited in the city centre at the Asia hotel that enabled us easy access to cheap public transport. We decided on visiting first the temple of the dawn, then taking the ferry across the river to see the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho before returning to catch the coach back to our ship.
Sometimes one makes assumptions about things or people you see only to be forced to make a reality check, I'm not talking here about the sites visited but about the short ferry ride across the river.
Sitting on the ferry briefly chatting with Passepartou who was telling me to keep my rucksack close so the people on the bench opposite could get sat down and looking down at my bag, I noticed the lady opposite had rather nice legs ( not something I would normally take notice of you understand!). When I looked up I thought this tall slim lady was actually rather pretty , beautifully manicured hands, well made up and curvaceous, but she was draped across a smiling but much older man as she stroked his hair. As they say though " it takes all sorts".
What is a School of Hard Knocks one might ask?
I hated metal work when at school and this place is a Pewter factory that has a visitor centre that invites you to make your own souvenir pewter dish. We entered the classroom all neatly laid out with individual workspaces comprising a pewter disk some hammers and letter punches. However, I had spotted across the way a nice cafeteria that appeared to have a coffee machine plus an extensive cake offering and I knew we would not have time for metal work and cake.
The enormous piece of carrot cake and cappuccinos were great, but did lead to a bit of a snooze on the return journey to the port.
A day at the seaside
Finally after time cruising the Malacca strait we woke up again in Thailand at Phuket. With absolutely no ambition to visit any more temples, see any more Buddhas it was just a day at the seaside for us. This meant a 100 meter walk to get sunbeds and Parasols on Patong beach.