Blog #12 April 6th.
Wednesday, ship arrives in Penang Bay, Malaysia. This to us is a nothing port, we have been here several times and the pier is a long walk and the city is quite a distance from the port, so we decide to do some clothes washing and sit on our deck and just take it easy. Besides it is very hot, 94 degrees on the 7th.We arrive in Phuket, Thailand. No pier at this island city, so the ship has to drop anchor in the harbor. We have no tour today but will go ashore to shop for some sun screen, the weather is going to be very hot today also; location wise, we are just 9 degrees above the equator. After breakfast we return to our room and collect the carry-on bag with a bottle of water, our passports a few other items and head down to the Queens Room to collect our tender tickets. When we arrive at the Queen Room it is full of people, come to find out tender service was to start just after 7:30am. And not one tender has left the ship. We are told the ocean swells are too high and are unsafe to use our tenders, so the ship has ordered some much larger boats from shore to take everyone ashore. Our tender boats hold about 100, but the shore boats will hold 200+ people each.
We have to sit around until our tender ticket # 8 is called and we finally board our tender at 10:30am. The ride to shore is at least 20 minutes. The main street runs right along the beach and there are about 20 taxi driver awaiting our arrival, everyone wants us to take a tour with them. We just keep telling them no taxi, no taxi. We cross the street and there are more taxi drivers are trying to sell tours of the island. On the main street is on one side beach front and on the other side is souvenir shops and restaurants and other convenience stores selling beach related items, We find a drug store and a 7/11 store combined. They have Sun Tan location in small tubes for 390 Baht. One US dollar is 30 Baht.
We cross over the street and immediately we are walking on fine sand. The beach stretches in both directions for at least 2 miles. Right in front of us is a team of 5 young men operating a pera-sail launching sight and people are standing in line to take a ride. You get one time around with the ride lasting about 4 minutes, I think the price is $20.00. As we look down the beach we see at least 2 other groups are offering rides as well. The weather is perfect, very little breeze full sunshine and temperatures in the low 80’s. As noon approaches we walk back to the pier and show our ship’s badges and board one of the large tenders and return to the ship.
In the afternoon we select a padded chair and just hang-out. Shortly after 6:30pm. The ships raises its anchor and we head back out to sea. Now we are heading for Chennai, India. We will be at sea for 2 days. Sunday, April 10th the ship arrives at the scheduled time of 8:00am. We have purchased a tour for Chennai, India. The city was formerly known as Madras the name change took place in 1996. Chennai, the fourth largest city in India is also the home of 7 large Hindu temples built in the Dravidian style. Our tour today is to see the highlights of the city. We board the coach at 12:45 pm and quickly blend in with the local city traffic with the coach driver using his horn several times every minute. The entire four hour tour is the constant sounding of a traffic horn blowing. We have a lady step on guide who speaks fairly good English, she is dressed in typical India style with a sari and flat sandals. We pass by the Madras high court, part of what is to believe to be the second largest judicial complex in the world. We then continue to the fort St. George to take photos of the statues. Following St. George we head to Marina Beach the countries longest urban beach with the beach extending at least a quarter mile before reaching the water’s edge. We also see the area’s fresh fish market with many different kinds of fresh seafood to be found.
We then head for the San Thome Cathedral Basilica, a huge white building with trees planted all around. We then continue to the Kapaleswarar Temple, believed to be one of the oldest and most revered holly places in the city containing inscriptions that date back to 1250 AD. We return to the pier with our ears ringing still from the traffic horns. Just after 6:00p, we set sail for our last port in India that being Cochin.
On April 11th we are invited to another cocktail party to be held in the Queens Room at 7:45p to honor those passengers who are World Club Cruise passengers. Much to our surprise Marilyn and I among others were recognized for our sailing day at sea, and even further to our surprise both of us were called to the front of the stage. We were then presented with a silver candy dish inscribed with ‘World Club Explorers’ in addition to a large fresh flower arrangement which was presented to Marilyn. All the while a ships person was reciting all of our cruise accomplishments. We also received a color picture of the event from the photo department. The Captain was there and personally offered his congratulations. We also have a video of this evenings events that was recorded by one of the ships officers. The event really turned out to be evening that we won’t forget.
On April 11th we arrive at the harbor entrance to Cochin, our last port in India, and again we purchased tours from the tour department. We board the coach just after 10:15am and set off. We leave the harbor area and head for Fort Cochin were we pass St. Francis Church, the oldest church in India, before stopping for a photo stop and viewing the Chinese fishing nets. We were then transferred to the Greenix Cultural Theater to enjoy the Kerola Cultural performance of Kathakail for a one hour and 30 minutes of specialty dance and Martial Arts demonstration all in costume. The coach ride back to the ships passed many small towns built very close to the narrow two lane road way, again with horns notifying our presents for the many pedestrians and street traffic on each side of the road. At just after 7:00pm we leave port and head for Dubai. We will be at sea 4 days.
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