Christmas Cruise 2008..........
We embarked on cruising this xmas. The Royal Carribean's Legend of the Seas Ship was in Singapore for a series of cruises. This is a very multicultural boat staff wise.....they are from all over the world but they run on American business principles.
A cruise is no doubt the most hassle free, relaxing holiday. No airports, line ups, delays, lingo issues, choosing eating destinations, cleaning, supermarket shopping and the list goes on! Hume loved it.....nothing to do! Humie it is fair to say was a bit bored...he has grown out of needing other kids, shunned the teens club and was mortified to not be able to skateboard for 5 days! Me, I thought cruising was good but I would probably only go again where there are destinations I want to get off at. I struggled with the food (saucy, high calorie, meaty, same same things).........I am a fussy bitch! However, if you love the Sizzler type of dining and food you would be able to stuff yourself stupid for hours everyday!! I sort of got tired of hearing people say ....I have put on so much weight, my pants are so tight.......derrrr, not hard to work out why?? And, it would be true to say I think I was a bit preoccupied with my Nepal trip to really relax and chill as you should.
This cruise, we chose to get off at Phuket and take a speedboat to Phi Phi island group to snorkel amongst the hub of islands. I love snorkelling and was in seventh heaven, although my hair takes an instant dislike to salty water and being wind blown! It was nice to be at the beach and getting a bit of sun though. We didn't bother getting off at Langkawi and KL in Malaysia. Been there before and besides so many people got off the boat it was like being on your own chartered cruise liner! Everything continues as normal!!
Activities wise a cruise to me is a little outdated with the nightly showtime but there were two acts bought in from Las Vegas and Cirque Soliel which were absolutely fantastic. The ole dance and singing routine show with the onboard dancers was a bit too blah blah for me......but then they have a very wide range of people to appeal too and I guess its a part of the cruising way of things for entertainment they try hard to keep 'alive'. Of course there are plenty of bars and nightclub and other singing gigs going on so plenty to check out.
They had a reasonable gym which I used with a thousand other people and best of all a Rock Climbing Wall. It has a bit of a spooky location right at the front of the boat and is really high. I have always wanted to try this and so did! It was great, not as hard as I thought and FUN! I will be doing more. I finally talked Humie and Hume to going up and they did really well.........I think they even enjoyed it! To keep up my Nepal training, there is a running track on Deck 10 - 1 mile equals 4 laps....10 km is alot of laps but the scenery was beautiful and there was a cool wind which was really nice.
The cruise enabled me to introduce Humie to Bingo. Hahahahaha... I had to drag him there under protest but he got hooked and we went every day! So funny. Becky Bingo (a Brit) was the chick in charge and she was so proud of herself and us 'regulars' turning up everyday. I was a bit dissappointed in her Bingo Lingo as it wasn't as extensive as I have experienced before but she was good with the 'hissing snakes' and 'legs eleven' calls! Unfortunately we had dud cards and didn't win anything but we got close a few times.
Our room was good. Great towels, sheets. One thing that really stuck out to me was how clean the boat was. Very very clean. I like that. It was nice listening to the ship travelling through the water with the balcony door open and sea breeze wafting in.
So thats Christmas for 2008. I think there is definitely a place for cruising on the travel itinerary. If you like people watching its defintely a goer........all types believe me. But more importantly if you want hassle free and a full on relax and chill, its up there. Definitely a good option if you have young kids, they do a really good job with the kids adventure area and they put on a fab Santa and pressies etc. Not bad, considering half the ship were chinese and they don't celebrate Xmas!!
Hope you had a nice xmas day.......signing off with 2 days to Nepal!!! Yeah Baby!!
Yesterday was a public holiday in Singapore - Hari Raya Haji
My very limited knowledge and understanding of what this is all about may escape me at times but I believe it is;
Where a zillion muslim people make the pilgrimage to Mecca to ask the Prophet Mohammad for forgiveness of their sins and where animals - namely sheep and cows are executed in offerings - because they can?? Actually its because some important figure of ancient times gave up his son Ismail I believe to God as an offering and this was special?
Apparently, so the Straits Times told me today, +6000 sheep were bought in from Australia for the slaughtering - only to be slaughtered with the sharpest blades of course so the animal doesn't suffer (and moreso I say, to keep animal activists satisfied people actually care about the animals feelings!)- on this holy occassion. The meat apparently is then distributed to the muslim pilgrims and poor and needy etc. And, well, knowing the outrageous cost of meat in Singapore this is quite a treat I tell you!
But what really struck me about this holiday was how cold it was in Singapore!! You actually had thoughts of putting a jacket on!! Thoughts I say.......but it was very cool, breezy even. A refreshing change, but my curiousity got going of course, wondering, is this a sign from the Prophets? A message/s being transmitted from the universe? I mean, you can't slaughter animals in the usual mental heat and humidity of Singapore.....imagine the smell and mess and .............ewwwhhh.....was the sudden cold change a gift to the muslims from the Prophets? Gets the ole thinkin machine goin doesn't it?
Hari Raya Haji is I am told the biggest day of celebration in the muslim calendar. I am sure it is, to the devotees, and I would never undermine the importance of this occassion, but, it just seems a little morbid to me........if you know what I mean?
Think about it.......making a collossal effort asking for forgiveness for being naughty or bad? Slaughtering animals? Hmmmm..........
33 Days to go to my trip to Nepal........
Since I made the decision to go I have upped the training bigtime and for some strange twilight zone reason, loving it! Bosco isn't. He has only a couple of hours in him, then I am dragging him along.....the whole 10kg of him!
But I am so glad I made the decision. I was sick of myself saying I am going to do it. And as my older age motto is, copying the famous....JUST DO IT, I am gonna JUST DO IT. You know, people climb mountains with one leg, ski with no legs, swim with one arm, write with their toes, blind people run marathons, thai girls do things with vaginal muscles I can't even get my head around for money to survive, and not to mention the zillions of children starving in our world who would be in seven heaven to just have clean water and a bowl of rice! So how pathetic am I, able bodied, to be concerned if I could do it or not! Hence, I say again.......JUST DO IT!
I will be as fit and as strong as I can be. If altitude is a problem, well, so be it. Nothing could prepare me for that. Actually I am told the older you are, the better you seem to cope with altitude? I figure its because your lungs are older and because they have been subjected to such poor air quality over a long period of time they don't need so much good air??? Oh, who would know! Your theory?
Its fortunate that we have skiied alot as we have loads of warm gear. I am going to take my toasty jacket I bought in England many moons ago. Nothing keeps you warmer than that jacket. It will be winter so cold, but they say great time to travel as skies are blue and scenery very beautiful. Last year the trekkers wore tshirts through the day!! Sounds good for Miss Sweater of the year, Debbie Ronald!
And of course I will take goodies for the nepalese kids I see on the way.....they usually want lolly's, but they only get pencils, paper and stickers from me......what a boring westerner I must be!
So training hard so that I really can enjoy myself without worrying about sore feet or back or whatever. I wish I could take Bosco but>>>>>>>>won't start on that, you know my thoughts on that one.
One thing I do know for sure is that I feel one of the most fortunate people on earth being able to do this. For as long as I can remember as a young girl, I always wanted to go to Kathmandu. Whether it was the mysticsm of it all, the so far out of reach thing.......I don't know.......but the excitement of going is really overwhelming at the moment. And the reality is, if I still lived in Australia, I probably wouldn't be going.......... I am truly blessed and thankful for this opportunity.......
Singapore ......things that make me go hmmm hmmmm..........
A 'Bikebulance" - I just cracked up really. But then I thought maybe this is the islands answer to a motorbike tow truck? Not bad idea considering how many acco's bike riders have here courtesy of car drivers!!
Very 'SAFE' Singapore....ahhh, daily open tray trucks commuting with as many human workers as possible tucked in with no seat belts/barriers? Some even lounge and sleep on plastic outdoor chairs! But thats okay as they are just foreign workers (malays, indians, filipino's, indonesians)????
Average wage rate if your lucky $12 sing an hour.....even less in retail could be as low as $4. Singaporeans begrudge working for this type of money so they don't.....the foreign workers do.... lending the Singaporeans to winge and complain they can't speak good english and provide very bad service??
The 'Aunties' and 'Uncles' (Grandparents to us) are employed by fast food outlets as the youngies don't want to cook fries and clean tables! Good for the Aunties and Uncles as with no pension in Singapore they need to keep working. But nonetheless a bit unusual being served by a wrinkly granny in a McDonalds outfit!!
After sales service. Doesn't exist......
The 'dumb look'.......SUPREMELY mastered by Singaporeans when they are confronted to deal with answering a reasonable question, explain a products capability, or, provide information or service when they don't want to.
No speak english......when it suits. Refer to above!
Harmonious multiracial country?......Racism exists bigtime ....there is a pecking order of course. Who is exactly a singaporean? Decent from Chinese, Malay, Indian relatives.......Hmmm
They complain about spitting in China.......I complain about BO in Singapore.......Deodorant? Whats that??
Its against the law to be 'gay' in Singapore. Modern, democratic, international, first world asian country? But its okay to give sex workers from other countries a 2 week WORK VISA to bonk themselves silly here!!! Whats that??? Wonder if they pay tax?
Fuel stations don't display price boards. Price Boards generally show a promotion....like.... 10% off unleaded (in small print not visible to the naked eye) ONLY, if you use a specific plastic card of course!! Price of fuel, who knows, they let you know when you pay.........it probably helps to have a calculator in the car and a folder of every credit card available to man!!
Houses and units are sold by a square foot price. Ie If you want to buy a 2000sq foot, 3 bed unit in a condominium, the sale price is advertised as $1000 sq ft. Meaning total price circa $2million.
Takes a bit to get use to, but I can tell you, you don't get much for $1000 sq ft!! And, 2000 sq ft with no back or front yard ain't that big baby......This price may not even include an oven in the kitchen!
Electricity is deathly expensive.......I mean deathly........but phone and mobile is relatively chirpy cheap cheap.
There are taxes on taxes on anything good. Wine, food, restaurant eating, holidays, yada yada. Nothing is cheap here, but you do have variety. Anything that is cheap is well, generally not the greatest quality and yes, that includes food.
Singlish....love it really. Its not always comprehensible, actually hardly at all...but....its quite a straight to the point style of language with just one simple word meaning a whole sentence!...ie 'can' - meaning Yes I can do that or I know where that is or okay then.....'cannot' - meaning I have no clue, I don't know where that is or just plain 'f*#@k off' in a nice way! 'lah' - meaning OMG or really, no way or what a cack or so amazement! 'Makan' - meaning lets get some food or lets get something to eat.
The love of all asians of anything cutie pie in their cars (sometimes the inside of the car looks like a kids room or lounge room!). Winnie the Pooh is big! Closely followed by fluffy pillows, and disney character tissue box covers.....
When your waiting at the pedestrian crossing for the green man and everyone has to push the button which has already been pushed by everyone already waiting just to make sure the green man will show up??
The sensationally perfected 'Slideways the Shoulder' move which is cleverly done just as your about to collide head with the person coming towards you because they are unwilling to move out the way and, or, they have no idea anyone else exists in their world! They also call this 'Kiasu' behaviour.
'Sorry Sorry'.........the frustrating and rage producing words said after they have slammed into you or cut you off because they don't F*@#n look where they are going!!
The myriad of lost in translation moments. ie
Me...Sorry Ms Helen for all the ironing you have half my husbands wardrobe there...
Ms Helen....with a big smile.....Your husbands birthday today Ms Debbie?
Classic liners from mates here;
Elsie (Singaporean Chinese)- so many china people here taking jobs and they can't talk english.....not good!
Olivia (Indian) - I have to go to Delhi...I hope I don't get delhi belly!
Sabina (Italian) - I don't want to go home to....... Milan!
Melbourne Cup Singapore 2008
I nearly had to face a fate worse than death by having to go to the ANZA Melbourne Cup event here in Singapore. Just the thought of all the Pru's and Tru's and Barbies was sending me off the ricter scale.....
So why??? Well a MATE....Lorina (Canada 2 yrs, Thailand 10 yrs, Beijing 3 yrs, now in Singapore) has decided she would volunteer at ANZA to you know keep a bit busy, and so in her wisdom for Melbourne Cup she was putting a table of chicks together of which she nominated myself!!! I hadn't had that conversation yet with her that I really don't do the whole dress up and hat thing just to drink Champagne and watch a gee gee run its guts out for a few minutes!!! However, I must admit as a sucker for ceremonies, I really enjoy watching the jockey cry and thank the world for his luck today Yada Yada, so that part is always worth it...... But, under protest and support of Lorina ONLY....I paid my money.
Then, Yogi Bahjan and Vishnu must have been in tune with my distressed emotions as next I know, Lorina's other 'friends' had this and that issues with being able to attend so she cancelled! Woohoooo.....
Instead she organised a get together thang at her place with a few chicks.
So I turn up before midday to do the right thang and watch the race, 3 mins later all over. Half the girls there had no idea what was going on...one being from Scotland, the other from Sth Africa, the other from Perth (not that interested) and quite frankly couldn't really care! And we did a shortcut in explanation because the vague looks were just a bit too much.
So race over, yes nice horse, oooh, trifecta would have been a bruiser and with no evidence of a financial crisis in Australia we got on to what really matters......champagne!
So with only lightning and thunder and big dark clouds as our entertainment we swigged away, solved all the issues of living in Singapore according to our rules, gave filipino maids a hammering, and discussed usual crap you do when you meet new people. You know exactly what I mean..........
Then, slowly, one by one, the girls left because they had to do this and had to do that.....no big day drinking spirit.....honestly.... which left Lorina, Jaime and me to soldier on and keep the flag flying!
We did till about 8pm when Lorina became a little speechless and was doing some great eyerolling tricks, Jaime was getting ready to go out on the town (not a good idea in Sing on a tuesday night at 8pm - ie boring) and I well just couldn't drink anymore.....I had hit the wall bigtime.....I was ready for a big Nanny nap!
So we called a blue limo, left Lorina and got ourselves home.
I bet we lasted longer than all the ANZA crew doing our thing! I will await for the report card from Lorina after her next 'funfilled' volunteering day at ANZA and will let you know if worthwhile.
Honestly, the things you have to do! X