FUN-photos: 2016 Crystal Cruise – Bali to Singapore

March 31, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Slow Boat to Singapore – Indonesia & Malaysia

  • The last segment took us from Bali to Singapore with another 6 ports of call and 4 days at sea.

IMG_0002

  • And we had a lot of firsts on this one!
  • Borobudur – the single largest Buddhist structure anywhere on earth. Lovingly restored after 14 painstaking years is one of the world’s truly great ancient monuments.
  • Kuala Lumpur – Petronas Towers (and KL’s claim to fame) are the “Big Boys” and the official titleholder of the World’s Tallest Twin Towers.
  • Penang –  a temple here, a temple there, a temple everywhere! And the only Burmese Buddhist temple outside Myanmar.
  • Langkawi – Bikinis and Burkas dotted the Beaches.
  • Singapore – The Most Expensive Beer on Earth! In the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel and where the Singapore Sling was invented and just celebrated its 100th birthday.

FUN-photos: 2016 Crystal Cruise – Sydney to Bali

March 31, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-photos: 2016 Crystal Cruise – Sydney to Bali 

Slow Boat to Singapore – Australia & Indonesia

  • The second segment took us from Sydney to Bali with 6 ports of call and only 5 days at sea.

IMG_0001

  • We never made it to Thursday Island as the sea was too rough and choppy for the tenders to take us ashore. Oh well, Champagne for lunch and a nap instead!
  • While it was very cool to go to Komodo and get to see the dragons, the whole thing felt very staged. More like going to a zoo without the fencing.
  • And then Balmy Bali…in Monsoon Season. This lovely island with a population of over 4 million is one of the smallest in Indonesia covering an area of 2000 square miles. And with the majority of them practicing Balinese Hinduism there were temples on almost every corner and tucked away down side streets. Every 210 days is 6 months on a Balinese calendar and encompasses a big celebration filled with food, music and dancing. It turns out that we were in for a real royal treat too! Incense filled the air as they prepared a multitude of delicacies for their evening’s feast and festivities.

FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 15th Port – Bali, Indonesia – Day 36

March 7, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 15th Port – Bali, Indonesia – Day 36 

Tuesday, March 1stBali, Indonesia 2016 112

1st stop – Silver Factory – It must be against the law for a tour guide to “not take you to at least one rip off store!”

  • And today we actually hit 3 of them! Shopping in Bali is not the same as it was when I was here 25 years ago. Success has gone to their heads and the prices they are charging….totally obscene!

4th stop – Ubud – considered to be the cultural centre of Bali, is famous as an arts and crafts hub. Here you can find first class art galleries and stores….and with prices to match. Ouch! I wandered into a fabulous fabric store with hand painted silk scarves that were pure heaven. And unfortunately had to walk out empty handed. Too rich for my blood…and wallet!

  • Puri Saren Agung translates to Water Palace and this little gem of a temple sits back from one of the main streets.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 163

5th stop – the Ubud Monkey Forest – a sacred rain forest featured in the book Eat, Pray, Love – this huge protected area in the middle of town is home to hundreds of monkeys all either roaming, running or swinging from the trees.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 126

  • “Whoa Dude! Could I possibly be that cute?”
  • Today the floors are being scrubbed and incense fills the air as the temples are readied for this evening’s festivities.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 158

FUN-cocktail – Vanilla Sidecar – Courvoisier V.S.O.P Cognac, Galliano, Grand Marnier Rouge, with freshly squeezed lemon sour.

FUN-fact – The Oscars are still running nonstop on channel 73!

FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 15th Port – Bali, Indonesia – Day 35

March 7, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 15th Port – Bali, Indonesia – Day 35 

Monday, February 29th 

  • Oscar’s Live on the Red Carpet begins at 6 am in the Hollywood Theatre. And the good news – it’s on channel 73 in our stateroom!Bali, Indonesia 2016 37
  • Deal of the Day – $50 got us a car and driver for up to 10 hours with Bali Made Tours. We booked it online and met Diana (a male) at 8:00 am just past the “taxi gauntlet.” Today was all about exploring the major sights in the Northwestern section of the island.
  • Bali is one of the smallest islands in Indonesia covering an area of 2000 square miles with a population of over 3 million. On the beach you‘re lulled by the gentle lapping of the waves on the sand. And in the city you’re alarmed with all the  beep, beeps and putt, putts…brought to you by the hundreds of thousands of scooters attempting to weave in and out of the cars and miniature trucks on the tiny narrow twisting roads!

1st stop – Pura Taman Ayun Temple – which translates to Garden Temple in the Water. This large complex is surrounded by a man-made moat. The grand stone entrance walkway led us through an expansive grass garden area to various open air buildings near the back and on each side. We were met with a symphony of Cicadas in the trees. So loud they drowned out all the other sounds.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 41

  • It turns out that we were in for a real royal treat too! Every 210 days is 6 months on a Balinese calendar and encompasses a big celebration filled with food, music and dancing. In one of the largest rooms women and men alike were busy chopping, shredding, skewering, stuffing, and wrapping all of the delicacies for their feast. 4 inch thick slices of tree trunks served as the cutting boards and banana leaves as the wrappers.

2nd stop – Ulun Danu Temple at Lake Bratan – a 16th century complex on the edge of a crater lake at the base of one of two volcanic mountains. The morning mist made this temple all the more magical.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 58

3rd stop – Jatiluwih – terraced rice fields as far as the eye can see. Recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site it consists of 5 massive rice terraces covering over 48,000 acres.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 85

4th stop – Tanah Lot Temple – which means temple of the sea and earth. Built in the 16th-century, it is one of 6 temples built at the water’s edge.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 97

  • After 10 hours of touring today we are totally exhausted! It’s a kick back night of watching the Oscar’s re-run.

FUN-fact – 93% of the population is Hindu.

FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 15th Port – Bali, Indonesia – Day 34

March 4, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 15th Port – Bali, Indonesia – Day 34 

Sunday, February 28th

  • The Bali bay was abuzz with boats of all sizes zipping back and forth as we sailed in at 2:00 pm.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 6

  • As we walked down the gang plank we were treated to a traditional Balinese Cultural Show.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 9

  • Then we hit the tourist information booth inside the terminal and were floored when they said the cost of a taxi was $25 US to go 7 kilometers to town. Hello? Are you people serious? “Let’s Make a Deal” is what you have to be able to do to get a decent price for a taxi. Oh, and yeah, not to mention running another gauntlet. This time its taxi drivers all desperately trying to get your attention. Been here, done that. You just keep walking until you finally hit the end of the line where the price comes down drastically. And even at $10 it was $5 too much! The problem is crazy tourists saying “it’s only $10” and totally screwing up the economy here. 13,000 Bali dollars = $1 US.
  • Got Gas? Not a problem if you have a scootah in Kuta.

Bali, Indonesia 2016 16

  • After two hours of walking around in balmy Bali without a breeze and dripping sweat from more high heat and humidity we called it a day.

FUN-cocktail – Stepford Sister – Beefeater Gin, St. Germain, Elderflower Liqueur, Averna Italian Bitter, fresh lemon sour.