Thursday, January 19, 2012

 Finally, last days of my cruise

Finally, the last entry of my cruise.  Unfortunately, since I last wrote, the terrible incident of the 'Costa Concordia' has happened.  My heart goes out to all those that were on board and I pray that there will not be any more casualties.  Luckily, most cruise ships are very safe and take instructing passengers of safety drills very seriously!  I have been on 5 cruises (Norwegian and Princess Cruise Lines) and will certainly hope to go on many more.


Kuala Lumpur, or KL as the locals call, it was a surprise!  It is a bustling city comprised of a remarkable cultural diversity that has created this capitol city.  What I liked most was the many parks and rainforest reserves right in the city....Fabulous!!  The people are lovely, the food is wonderful, and the shopping FANTASTIC!!!

One of many beautiful buildings in the centre of KL

Flowers in bloom everywhere
LOVED this advert for a radio station!!!
The famous 'Petronas Towers'

Unfortunately, the viewing bridge was closed while we were there

We only had a short while there, but next time I would like to go back and visit the 'Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary' (

Singapore is an amazing city that really dazzles your senses.  Everywhere, there are beautiful visions of lush foliage and beautiful buildings. I have never seen so many varieties of palms and ferns and trees!!!
The food is by far some of the best that I have ever eaten (esp. 'Chili Crab' YUM!!!).  The shopping is almost too much!!  Incredible shopping centres everywhere with the most famous lines as well as wonderful ethnic shops.

'Holiday Inn Atrium' where we stayed!

Wonderful elephant sculptures for charity!  *

*Dollhouse Diaries blog ' ( has more pictures with an explanation of the worthwhile cause.

Rain is something that you can expect almost everyday !!!

*Not my picture of Raffles Hotel
'Raffles Hotel' at night and in the rain!

A peek inside the Dining Room
What a fascinating place .............but if you are planning to either stay there or to just have a drink, bring along a full wallet  ('Singapore Sling's were invented here and will set you back $28.00 U.S.!)
The infamous 'Skypark' and it really is 'a park in the city'!  Unfortunately, we did not have time to see it but here is a site with fantastic pictures:

Our cruise ended in Singapore but the first leg of our trip home was a 7 hour layover in Shanghai.....we could not miss an opportunity to see it..................

My husband was so excited to get a chance to ride on the famous 'Maglev' (magnetic levitation) train of Shanghai. This site explains it:
The Maglev takes 7 minutes to go from the airport to the centre of town (about 30 kim)
Photos from our taxi after train ride
That is not fog but SMOG!
At the base of the white tower is a teeny quaint bar
Traveling along the 'Bund' district which has many beautiful buildings of a European style
Contemporary style also prominent
A great river walk on the Bund
Loved this sculpture!!  Too bad the store was closed!!!

Back to the airport via the Maglev
As we exited, the speed accelerated to 431km/h!!  WOW
I am so glad that we did not miss seeing Shanghai and also trying out the Maglev...great fun!

The trip is still resonating with many wonderful sights and wonderful people .............especially our 5 tablemates on the cruise, who we sat with every night of the cruise. We looked forward to seeing them every night as much as we looked forward to every new location!!

Thanks for putting up with all the pictures.  My next post will show some of the miniatures that I acquired on the trip and perhaps some glimpses of my ideas for my dollhouse.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Beautiful MUMBAI

'Taj Mahal Hotel'

I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed our visit to Mumbai!  There definitely is a crush of people and cars everywhere, but the sights are so interesting that you forget to dwell on it. You are more consumed with the colours of the saris, that cover all sections of a colour wheel and surpass it beautifully.The scents in the air of flowers  and spices are intoxicating.  The city is very lush with trees of all fact, I think one could grow most anything here because of the heat and humidity!!!  The one thing, that outshines the rest, are the wonderful people of Mumbai.........they are very warm and generous of welcoming!!  I would love to have spent more time there, but perhaps in the future.
Here is a glimpse of this wonderful city:

Everywhere you go, someone is selling these peacock feather fans and I will admit that having bought one, they are a life saver when not in  air conditioning!

Banyan tree
India Gate

There were many trees in bloom and the fragrance was wonderful, that hundreds of dragonflies were flying can see them better if you click on the photo  (I am so jealous ,because back on Vancouver Island, I am lucky if I see a couple of dozen in the spring and summer!)

Mumbai's version of a traffic jam but in two directions
Glimpses of  one of many beautiful homes remaining from the 'colonial period'
First glimpse of a 'fishing village' located in the center of town with highrises on either side
Our first glimpse of the 'fishing village'
The village ladies getting ready for a wedding banquet

The happy bridal party dancing
The village's open air market
The fish market
Contrasts abound in Mumbai....the fishing village to the left, shanty- town to the right and the upscale highrises in the distance
The ever present 'sacred cow'
More beautiful buildings
First glimpse of the amazing ' Victoria Station'
Inside the station, which serves 2,500,000 commuters and a thousand trains daily!!!!
The beautiful ceiling of the ticket office
The oldest apartment building in Mumbai
Beautiful ceramic ceiling of the Jain Temple
Their beautiful new hospital
One of many beaches where it is not safe to swim in
Collected laundry going to the wash centre
The main 'laundry' all done by hand and for the most part by men!

Plaque outside the home where Mahatma Gandhi stayed when in Mumbai
The beautiful but austere bedroom of Gandhi
Interesting deterrent to parking in the wrong place
This is such a fascinating place that these pictures do not do justice to it.  The contrasts of the upper and lower class is very evident but nothing compares to showing this, than this man's $1 billion (yes, $1,000,000,000 house .....................see this site to see it:
What more can I say????

COCHIN (Kochi), India

Cochin is located further south of Mumbai on the coast.....we only had time to see the small communities near the ocean while the larger city of Cochin was closed for Sunday (shops, etc).  It has a different feeling than Mumbai because  there is not such a crush of people...............the people are poorer here but the majority have jobs and seem quite happy.

Water hyacinths everywhere after the rains
Out with the family for a Sunday drive
The famous "Chinese fishing nets"
Some of the homes along the waterfront
Market day
Local taxi service

One of my most favorite animals in the world is the 'elephant' and I was so privileged to be able to pet him and give him some words of love..................but having said that, I was so overwhelmed to see him kept in a large yard by himself (except for his handlers), chained on his back leg with lots of debris, dung, etc. everywhere!  I found out that he is 26 years old and I can only hope that he has not lived this way for a long time!!  He does not look to be abused but I feel that these magnificent animals deserve to live life free with their own kind!!! If I won the lottery, I would pay to move him to an elephant sanctuary, so I will keep buying as many tickets as I can to fulfill this promise.  I still get upset when I see these photos again.

Next posting will be the final post of my cruise photos (do I hear cheers???)
Until then,