Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Colors of Thailand..................



Quite honestly I don't know where to start, how to tell, what to share................it's all so amazing and different from home, and of course I haven't even got time to really sit and post as we've been on the go non-stop!  However, here at the end of another amazing day, I'm sharing a few images from the city that is Bangkok, and the surrounding countryside.  We've spent three incredible days, very hot and humid, with our guide and driver, seeing places both wonderful and very sad (the flooded areas where people are struggling to survive and rebuild their lives).  All this has made us stop and think how fortunate we are to have safe, dry homes, food, clean water and sanitary conditions, and all the comforts in our lives compared to what many Thai people are going through right now.  








Our delightful tour guide, Tuk, teaching us to open the lotus flowers which we then offered at a temple.





















So much more to show you another time, and of course I still have much to share from the previous trip...............I'll catch up soon!  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

One Night in Bangkok.................



..............oh yes, just like the song (from the musical Chess), our first Bangkok night was short as we arrived at our hotel from Seoul, Korea at 3:00am Bangkok time last night.  I guess that was actually Sunday.............and we did sleep in a wee bit this morning!



A heads up here for ASIANA, the Korean airline that took us on the first leg from San Francisco to Seoul. 13 hours in a very comfy Business Elite seat..............complete with duvet, pillow, slippers, and wonderful L'Occitane en Provence lotions and potions.............


 .............crossing Alaska and the 


frozen Bering Sea................... 


..........down across Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, and over the Sea of Okhotsk to South Korea.



These delightful Korean flight attendants were the best I've ever flown with, nothing was too much trouble, all done with a gentle manner...........and fabulous food. 







My 20 year old Port came while I was still on my excellent Shiraz - unfortunately even they didn't help much with sleeping, guess it just wasn't my bedtime!


A layover in Seoul for a couple of hours, then off again on Thai Airlines for the almost 6 hour flight to Bangkok.  Understandable that Paula and I were feeling a bit tired by then!  A long trip but all flights were on time and everything went very smoothly.


Baggage Claim at the spotless and very attractive Bangkok Airport.


More on Bangkok coming - we'll be here for several days.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Zodiac expedition around Enderby Island, NZ.........


Before signing off from Enderby Island...................a few more images of the amazing giant kelp beds surrounding the rocky shores.


This kelp grows up to two feet a day making it one of the fastest growing plants in the world.





Gas bladders keep the kelp plants afloat in clear, cold water.



 Kelp is the largest marine algae...........plants live up to six years. 



No roots as they are floating on the surface, instead they have a 'holdfast' which does just that, anchoring them to the rocks such as this.  Note how thick and leather-like they are, and amazing shades of green, gold and brown.



 The Yellow-Eyed Penguin......hanging out on the rocky shore above the kelp.


The ever watchful sea lion.............always posing for a portrait!




A Shag colony on the cliff top.


Leaving the beautiful colors of Enderby Island after a sunny afternoon expedition, we had a day at sea ahead as we sailed toward Macquarie Island, Australia.

It was one of the roughest nights at sea but oh was it worth it!  Come back to see Macquarie Island.........BEAUTIFUL in sunshine and snow!!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

You may well ask...................


..................where the heck is she now?


Well here's a little change from the sub-Antarctic islands - but I will be back to post the best of the penguin pics, and the days spent in beautiful Australia, very soon.  

The Golden Gate Bridge photo is hanging in my hotel room - as close as I'll get to seeing it on this trip!


Views taken from my hotel room window this afternoon as the sun set over San Francisco International Airport. I flew in today and haven't even smelt a turkey cooking let alone sat down to a nice tasty Thanksgiving dinner.


I was thrilled to be able to view the city several miles away the distance.

............and tomorrow morning I'll be back there with Paula as we start our long journey to Bangkok via Seoul, Korea. Hope to be able to blog along the way - so do check in now and then during the next two weeks to see what crazy things we get up to this time.........I've heard mention of elephant riding, covering my arms and legs for tip-toeing through temples in the sultry heat, and definitely shopping!

Off to find a bite of something now, and of course I don't eat turkey anyway!
Hope you each had a lovely Thanksgiving Day.
I do know that I have much to be so thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Auckland Islands...........

...........where our landing was on Enderby Island, the northernmost island of the large group..........a World Heritage Site.
The early morning landing in Sandy Bay was perfect - bright sunshine, flat water, and the Yellow-Eyed penguins were watching out for our arrival.




Orion at anchor in Sandy Bay, Enderby Island - large colonies of Hooker Seals and sea lions lazing around on the beach.


Easy landing - quite warm temperatures made it pleasant for walking.


These islands only permit a specific number of tourists annually.......all arrive by expedition ships.



A few old rusting buildings remain on Enderby where a small research station once operated.............loved the daisies.



The seals were playing in the area known as 'penguin alley'................. 


............and on the sandy beach...........


........some just snoozing in the warm sun as we walked quietly by.



The Yellow-Eyed penguins on their way to the water for some serious swimming......



..............and diving from the pristine beach.


A wonderful morning on Enderby Island and then back to the ship for lunch.  In the afternoon we returned for a Zodiac expedition around the shoreline.............


..........the penguins were still watching from the rocky cliffs.  More pics coming of this lovely place.

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