A Travellerspoint blog

September 2019

Gnaala Mia wildflower walk

Trying to find Kenny and Rodgers, maybe even Dolly, but no luck this time. But we had a very pleasant walk through the bush, and saw a few wildflowers.


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Trip to the Kulin races

We headed off Saturday with our flask full of hot water for our cuppa stop along the way.

We stopped at one of our farmers stalls between Donnybrook & Mumbellup to pick up some fresh apples and I couldn't resist the small pumpkin also. We like to support our local farmers.

We passed one of our favourite free camping stops Glen Mervyn Dam. There were plenty of campers along the banks & the water was high enough for the ski boats also.

We stopped at Collie for morning tea. Clean flushing toilet & even had a coin operated shower should you ever need one when passing.

On the roadside heading towards Williams there were plenty of sprays of red kangaroo paws & many array of wildflowers.

We arrived at Gnaala Mia, about 20km past Williams in the Dryandra Forrest. A quick set up was had and it was right into relaxing mode. A beer o'clock walk around the 2 ring roads to chat to fellow campers.

We took off down the dirt roads, ( yes dirt roads) into the Barna Mia Nocturnal Animal Sanctuary for a Wildlife Experience. Ian pre booked through Department of Wildlife for us to attend the tour. Costs were $22 each. Adult Concession is $16. Family (2Adults + 2 children $55)

We were privileged to walk through the sanctuary & we got to see Woylie, Mala, Boodie, Quenda, Brushtail possum & baby & a male & pregnant Bilby. They used a red filtered spotlights for night vision which doesn't hurt the animals eyes.

We are on the lookout for Kenny & Rogers ( see our previous Kulin Race & Gnaala Mia blog entry) & possibly Dolly.

Today, Lazy Sunday, Ian noticed our camping neighbour had left the campsite leaving behind 2 big lumps of wood beside the firepit. Ian gloved up and walked spritely across to the vacant campsite as he reached the wood another two gentlemen had also arrive from a neighbouring campsite with the same objective. There was a stand off at 5 paces, sanity prevailed, a gentleman's discussion & an agreement had been made. Each campsite got a cut of the takings. Here's Ian hard at it.

As the sun started to swing over the yard arm it was time to open our awning for its first outing. The washing line attached and the towels were dancing to the music in the sunshine.

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Farewell Singapore

Our last full day and night in Singapore this time around. Leisurely start to the day, remember we are on holidays.
First stop, one of Deborah's interests, a tea shop. We had looked at this shop, Yixing Xuan Teahouse, on a previous day, www.yixingxuan-teahouse.com . This time we sat down and partook of a couple of teas.

We took our tea purchases back to the hotel and headed off again pounding the pavement.
Enjoyed another Green Tea Mango Refresher.

Popped across the road for some reflexology.

Passed some pram doggos.

On our walk to tonight's "Chang E Cabut to the moon: A.Mid-Autumn Jubilation of Music, Food and Fun we passed some street art at Armenian Street Botanical Gardens.
We also passed over the river and posed with the Marina Bay Sands in the background.

Something else Ian spied on our walk.
Here's a message from Mr Shoosh about Library etiquette.

Stopped to enjoy some local food at Food Republic, a more upmarket street food Hall. Finished off at Starbucks next door for a cuppa & wifi top up to keep you updated.

Here are some pictures of the "Festival of the moon" walk with lanterns and festivities of the night. We even attended a tea ceremony and tasted Moon cake. The Mid Autumn Moon Festival dates back thousands of years. The official date is on the 15th August on the lunar calendar each year.
Deborah was really concentrating when doing her Chinese calligraphy.
It was a fabulous last night in Singapore for this trip, it has been relaxing & great fun.

We have picked up our last minute shopping & juice, walked back thru the local market, and showered & checking out of our hotel, before our trip to Changi airport. Flying home today.

Signing off for now, see you on the next trip.

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We arrived at our accommodation, The Keong Saik Hotel & left our bags to go off exploring as we do.

Whilst walking into China Town we came across a Michelin Star restaurant named Hawker Chan..... & as we were taking a photo Ian noticed one of the Pommy couples from our Hoi An excursion. Turns out they are even staying at the same Hotel as us for a few nights before flying to Bali before flying home.

We continued further into Chinatown for a juice & to change some money.

Deborah loves the tea shops and sampling tea. The tea pots are amazing and so much fun.

Picked up some dinner at The Maxwell Food Court.

On the way back to the hotel we heard some traditional Chinese drumming & saw the Lion dance.

It is mid Autumn Moon cake festival, so music, dancing and lanterns.

Day 2 in Singapore
Ofcourse we headed off into town to do some shopping as you do. Another 2 distinctive Singaporean dress shirts and a pair of joggers for Ian to fit into the suitcase. Deborah found some gifts to add to her suitcase. We had some of the local foods & fruit for lunch in the shade of a pagoda.

We tried some refreshing Mango tea today in Chinatown and loved it..

Guess what we found in Chinatown, yes a Library.

Ian just couldn't find his way up to sit on this chair sitting on the Marina waterfront across from the Merlion.

We visited The Red Dot Design Museum, what an amazing place.

Artize Tailwater basin mixer - Love it
The flowing appearance mirrors the flow of water. A reflective surface underscores the natural graceful appearance & makes the metal appear almost liquid. Toward the base, the mixer widens & arches distinctively to balance the design & consistently conceals all technical details.
Red Dot Award - Manufacturer Jaquar & Co Pty Ltd

Safety gloves
The black pair: Granberg 5501
The work glove has flexible impact protection system on the back of the hand that guards against crushing forces & other impacts, directing it away from the hand.
The coloured glove: Granberg 9000 series.
The glove features protective elements to absorb impact. The crease lines on the palms follow anthropometric hand points to prevent fatigue during work. The materials are cut resistant, breathable,with bright colours that are highly visible.

Helmet Technology
Lumos: The bicycle helmet features lights, brake lights & indicators. The flashlight signals of the helmet can be controlled on the handlebar, while the brake lights are activated via a motion sensor.

Copenhagen Wheel
This is a self contained rear wheel electric bicycle system, which transforms a traditional bike into a hybrid e-bike. The app connected wheel is equipped with an electric motor, battery, and suite of sensors that work together to seamlessly amplify a riders pedal power.

Ring technology
By simply pressing the panic button which concealed in this smart ring, previously entered numbers can be dialled. Vibration gives the user the feedback that the alarm signal has been sent successfully.

Which one of these is not like the other?

Off to visit the Selangor Pewter store at the Marina Bay and picked up a couple of goodies.

We walked past this store. No yelling could be heard from inside. We just kept walking ofcourse.

We saw the Marina Bay Water & Light show which was a sight indeed.

Took a taxi home then ventured out to the Maxwell Foodcourt for a late dinner & walked back home.
Another amazing day in Singapore.

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Cruising into Singapore

We had a restful last day crusing. Deborah managed to finally get to the beginners Tai Chi lesson on the pool deck. We had a game of mini golf which Ian won. It was quite windy on deck 13.

We caught up with our fellow suite members for our final happy hour before dinner. Ruth, Fay, Joanne (daughter of Fay), and another Ian (hubby of Ruth), all from New Zealand.

We met up with some fellow cruisers & enjoyed a wonderful dinner onboard.
And as usual at the end of a cruise we listened to the crew sing farewell to us. Then off to see a fantastic show of two brothers who displayed precision coordination in a light filled juggling act.

We departed the ship as it heads for the dry dock for 40 days of labour intensive work. As we all left the ship the labourers were arriving. We will see the work in November 2020 as we plan to sail from Singapore to Brisbane.

And now for 3 days in Singapore to finish off our holiday before we head home to WA.

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Saigon by scooter

Ho Chi Minh sightseeing and food by scooter, with Scooter Saigon Tour Company Ltd . We were picked up at the port gate and returned to the same spot. Sandra and Brian from Canada joined us on this adventure. We hopped on our scooters, and were very ably manoeuvred through traffic by our 4 young lady riders.
First stop was the old Railway now Post Office, opposite Notre Dame Cathedral. Next to these is a laneway known as Bookshop laneway. On this day it was holding an exhibition of photographs of people and places in the north east province of Ha Giang.
Sampling the local foods. Starting off picking up traditional baguettes.
Then rode to see the banana in sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves roasted over charcoal.
Next stop was the oldest, at 81 years young, coffee shop in Saigon, where we watched the coffee being brewed on the 81 year old wood burner and the storage of water in a large urn to help purify the water. Cold tea followed by our choice of hot or cold Vietnamese coffee.

Walking around the flower markets in between the rain with our Canadian friends Sandra & Brian.


Ian found an umbrella to shelter under in a sudden downpour of rain.
We had the awning.
We also got to visit the Temple if the Lady of the Sea. People write wishes on paper and the amount they are donating.
Large coils of incence can be purchased and lit.

Final food stop was for pancakes and saw the making of the pancake cooked in a wok with turmeric, prawns and bean shoots. Folded some pancake into the thin rice paper and dipped in sweet fish sauce. On the side were pork and veg spring rolls with noodles. Great fun using chop sticks and dropping bits everywhere.
Discussion at the pancake palace turned to the next stop. Was it retail therapy, that had been mentioned earlier, or a massage? Our young riders contacted the spa, and we headed off for a relaxing massage. Nothing was too much bother for these 4 girls, who were so flexible in organising the spa and our later departure for the ship. We would highly recommend this group.

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Nha Trang

9.03am we departed the ship on a tender boat and arrived onshore 8 minutes later. Quick as.
This time it was a mini bus private barter at the port gate. Our cost was US$50 per couple. So 4 couples....you do the math.
Driven along Nha Trang beach and our first stop was Long Son Pagoda, home if the seated Buddha.
Next stop was Po Hangar Cham Towers, a complex if old temples near the old fishing village.

A little retail therapy at Cho Dam markets. We changed some money at a watch shop, but didn't end buying anything ????

One venue we unfortunately missed was the National Maritime Museum right on the dock. Other fellow cruisers said it was worth a visit.

Back onboard for the 5pm bonus happy hour drinks for suite guests. Followed by the Royal Caribbean Music in the Pictures' show.
Our fellow bikers to be, Sandra, mentioned she and fiance had done a Chef Dat cooking day.

Photos to follow.

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Hoi An & Da Nang

Another privately arranged small tour group, this time not by ourselves but Phil from the UK. Marble Mountains, marble carving factory, and Hoi An old town with a drive by the beach to see the world heritage sites, Japanese Bridge & a Chinese traditional house. also we stopped to look at the 17 storey high Lady Buddha statue on Monkey Mountain.

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Ha Long Bay

The ship docked.

We saw Rob's new boat moored next to us.

We cruised past Dog rock and many of these small passenger boats.

Followed by the fighting cocks which looks like a fish on the other. In 10-15 years these rocks are expected to fall into the ocean due to erosion by the sea.


We decided we were capable of climbing the 135 steps into the cave, walk around & take the 135 steps back out of the cave. Once you start there is no turning back as the ship leaves to pick you up at the cave exit. It's huge. It was called surprise cave. It is World Heritage listed as I'd all of Ha Long Bay.









We then cruised across to Luon Cave to take a double kayak and explore this cave. It has lots of small monkeys climbing all over them. We saw a gold breasted small bird. We enjoyed a lunch on board the boat of local food whilst we were anchored amongst the islands. Time for a paddle in the ocean at Ti Top Island and relax on the beach before boarding the boat for out trip back to our big ship.

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Leaving Hong Kong - part 2

Back online. Thank everything for free wi-fi at cafe's.
Checked into the ship, a smooth process, and cruised out if Hong Kong harbour.

We even got access to Silver Services as, although only in a Junior Suite, we had been sent an email suggesting we were to get full Suite privileges. The Loyalty ambassador then provided us with some of the higher level perks, for the distress if thinking we were getting ALL the perks. And number of other Junior Suite cruisers also got these extras with us, and we regularly met up for 5pm freebies in the Star Lounge. Hic!..

Our first formal night, after a cocktail party party earlier on the first day.

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Leaving Hong Kong - part 1

A first look out if the window in the morning by Ian gave us this image....Riot Police walking down the road

A quick brekkie at, you guessed it, Starbucks and after a quick stroll up and down Nathan Road we are ready to grab the taxi to the Kai Tak cruise terminal. HK$110 later and are at the terminal.
We decide to check the bags in and take a walk on the Runway Park. The cruise terminal used to be the Hong Kong International Airport up till the late 90's. What a sight that would have been, landing in the middle of the city between all those tall buildings.

Next step is to check-in to the ship. We might be going dark for while, unless wifi becomes available.

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A stroll in the garden

The day again began in a leisurely fashion. But, we had to remember that breakfast finished at 10am, so we had to get up.
A walk back up Nathan street to find the shop that sold Deborah here new phone cover. It didn't work properly so she wanted a refund! Humpfff. No refunds. So we grabbed a foldup umbrella and ran for it...

On the way back to the hotel we went into a shop we'd seen the day before, but which had been closed. The HK Automobile Association shop. Some nice car models, as well as strange people looking thru the window.

We dragged ourselves into a department store, very similar to Myers. Ian discovered some Peanuts/Snoopy plates and bowls. The set of 12 items was $1499HK. Approximately AU$325...
Deborah also found in the same store some cute Minion kids shoes...
After a quick refresh at the hotel we ventured off for the day, heading towards where we believed the harbour light show was to be at 8pm. Just around the corner from the hotel we found a 2 storey Lego store, Let's Go. Some great stuff. A model mini for HK1000.

We heard public transport was good in Hong Kong we saw lots and lots of people & busses filled with people. Loads of people on the streets.

We stumbled across the Kowloon Park, a patch of greenery and fauna in the city. It had the HK Avenue of Comic Stars.

In the Japanese section of the park we found some turtles

And pretty pink flamingos.
Venturing further on the way to the light show we found a few dolphins.

We then decided to put our feet up for a few minutes & enjoy another Starbucks experience in Hong Kong.

After the well earned break we ventured forth to the Victoria harbour front. We walked along the Avenue of Stars, handprints of Hong Kong movie stars, editors and directors. The hand prints are etch imprinted into brass tablets along the walkway fence.
Unfortunately we kept on hearing warnings about some Typhoon Level 1, so things started getting wet and windy. Asking a couple of locals, it appeared the light show might not be on, due to this pesky Typhoon.

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Navigating the Laneways of Hong Kong

A Father's Day Breakfast to start the day.

A stroll to the top floors hotel to see the views. The pool was closed due to a Typhoons warning.

We decided on a morning constitutional, which spread into the afternoon. But as we left the hotel we spied the following signage.
IMG_20190901_113249750_HDR.jpg IMG_20190901_113404542_HDR.jpg

Starbucks to celebrate Father's Day in style with Ian

Artwork seen on a stairway on the way to the Ladies Market after following a lane filled with tile pictures.
And then a lady found The Ladies Market. A 4 block long road of market stalls.

We watched people working in AM.PM to make a variety of deserts. They were very popular with everyone. People waiting up to 7 minutes for one. They had models of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Bart Simpson.

We walked through the Peace Garden. A place for rest & relaxation. Groups of people were playing some board game together peacefully of course. Ian reflects on his day.
And, although the MRT station near our hotel had been attacked we didn't need to worry, as we found The Railway Shop, a maze of all manner of model trains and accessories.

The time in Hong Kong is the same as back home in Australia.

One more sleep til our sailaway.

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