Friday, December 29, 2017

Another Pin On Our World Travel Map

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Alotau, Papua New Guinea

If I ever take my lifestyle for granted, I will need to think of the lovely people that we met in this third world part of the globe.

I booked an excursion through Trip Advisor to get a feel for this small port - what an experience.

Started out that @12 of us boarded two vehicles dock side with an amazing 'guide' named Cathy (an American who married an Australian who resettled in Papua New Guinea - they're both involved in tourism and truly have immersed themselves in the culture).

We proceeded to their war memorial;



then a tiny outdoor craft market; introduced to a KasKas (a relative of our oppossum);


their meager hospital; a school (1-6 grades) where we donated a suitcase full of school supplies;

then to visit an artist who takes the bark of a specific tree, strips it off, pounds it thin (the result reminded me of papyrus) and then uses natural dyes to put special designs on it.  (Many different sizes and shapes).   The artists' wife was the daughter of a tribal chief and when she was 16, she was kept indoors for 3 months to have her face tattooed.  A lovely lady who was proud to share her tradition.  Interesting note, their daughter is being given the choice to have her face tattooed in a similar fashion or not.  As they described, it's a changing world and they want to be more 'liberal'.

We ended our journey for the day by visiting a local village where we were treated to songs by young school children; explained some of their special foods (and got to taste); truly got to chat with the elders and the children and OH, JOY, Jeff got to hold a two month old baby. 
There was also a very adorable toddler who wanted to entertain us on his own including giving high fives and the like.  It's hard to explain, but this didn't feel put on or very touristic - it was just an extended local family welcoming us into their lives for an hour or so. 
The ladies make baskets out of the leaves - reminded us of our chair caning!

And Jeff was adopted by a tiny kitten - he doesn't look it in this photo, but he was so happy!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

We weren't planning to take any excursions in this port.  However, there was a shuttle bus that was taking passengers from the ship to an outdoor crafts/clothes market (not for tourists - it's where the locals actually shop) and then on to a hotel that passengers could stay at for the day - enjoy the beach, etc. 

Jeff and I were the only two of our bus to get off at the market (and one of the guides came with us - partly for security since there is a lot of pick-pockets, etc. in this area).  We browsed, I purchased some lovely blouses; and truly enjoyed speaking with the locals.  Very polite - very hospitable. 

One of the other passengers from the bus handed me some currency and asked me to buy her something in the market.  I did so and when we got on a return bus, she was there and thrilled at her purchase without the effort.  Mission accomplished.

It was @ 100 degrees out, so this was the extent of our 'excitement' for the day.

Enjoyed the ships' pool deck for the afternoon - it's great to take a dip, sit in the shade, snooze, read and repeat.

One of our fellow passengers, Mary Anne, joined us for dinner and rounded out a perfect day.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

At sea on our way to Darwin.

Jeff didn't sleep too well last night so I let him sleep in a little later this morning, but he still couldn't really get it in gear.  We had breakfast; tried to play some cards (rummy - thank you Lane family); however, Jeff just couldn't stay awake.  So I escorted him back to our cabin and 'put him back to bed'.   He's been doing a good amount of walking on our days off the ship and his legs are bothering him a bit - seems to greatly sap his energy.  No problem - he'll recharge and be back to being my energizer bunny later today.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Time in Cairns

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas in Cairns.  We were able to disembark the ship @ 2:00 PM and walked down the Boardwalk passing lots of restaurants and shops.  Not surprisingly, the shops that were open were mainly aimed at tourists, but it was fun to browse. 

Lovely sculptures (of course, Jeffrey had to greet them up-close and personal).

Jeffrey and his new friends

And some birds that were just browsing along the same as we were.

On the way back to the ship, we passed a tree that had 'something' in it that was making a lot of noise.  Surprise, Suprise - it was bats.  I've never seen a bat except in caves or at night, so this was an unusual sighting.

And we couldn't pass up taking a photo of the Post Office in its' Christmas finery.

Cairns Post Office on Christmas Day

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Another day docked in Cairns, but today we took the Karunda Scienic Railway up to Karunda (which is a tourist destination (mainly for entertainment - shops, animal and butterfly exhibits)).  . 

The Railway was built in the late 1800's into the early 1900's under very harsh conditions.  It was a 2 hour ride from Cairns to Karunda.

We enjoyed the ride with a lovely young couple from Brisbane (Chris and Olga (?hope I remembered that correctly) - he's originally from Sydney and she's originally from Russia - they met in Thailand and are getting married in 2018). 

The ride goes through a rainforest and the natural beauty was lovely.


Here's what the train looked like.

There was a 180 degree turn so we got to see the other end of the train from our train car.

After walking around Karunda for a while and enjoying the sites, we made our way to the SkyRail - a cable car that goes back down to the outskirts of Cairns.  It's an hour ride with a couple of brief stops.

Here's a lovely animal I saw as well as a beautiful waterfall (at one of the stops).

This photo doesn't do this waterfall any justice, but it was lovely!

The view from the SkyRail was magnificent since it goes just above the tree tops all the way own the mountain!
That's my Jeffrey

These cars each can take up to 6 passengers - we had a car to ourselves!

And, by the way, the cruise is wonderful - lots of new friends/acquaintances - delicious food (trying to walk a couple miles a day to keep off the pounds) - the crew can't do enough for us and I'm getting plenty of hugs to keep me going!

Friday, December 22, 2017

And The Fun Continues

Friday, December 22, 2017

After some false starts and stops, we finally arrived in Brisbane in the afternoon and decided to take the ship shuttle into town.  Lovely pedestrian mall with every kind of shop you can imagine. 

Of course, we helped the local economy - yes, Jeff purchased some DVDs; I found some of the soft Australian licorice that I love; found an ace bandage for my still healing shin (of course, I have a perfectly good one at home...); and purchased postcards and stamps to start sending a dear friend, Phyllis, her treats from Australia.

The Australian people are so hospitable and kind - a pure joy!

Here's some photos from Anzac Square and the Pedestrian Mall...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

We're skipping a port today (because of our delay leaving Sydney), so we're just relaxing and getting a little sun.

Meeting more and more crew that remembers us from our prior cruises.  It's so wonderful to be remembered with smiles.  (I guess we were 'memorable' in a good way!)