Saturday, March 31, 2012

Peek from Penang, Malaysia

Arriving in Penang.

House with caged doves.

Standing Buddha.

Butterfly Farm.

OK dear readers................India may be where the computer people are smart but the reception for Internet on board the ship is lousy! Today, Sunday here, We are headed from Cochin to Mumbai, a long day at sea when I hoped to show you a lot of what we've experienced over the past week. Unfortunately loading pics is most frustrating so you just get another glimpse right now until I get a better connection later. Take my word that we've visited some amazing places, have some good images, and I will share them with you another time.

Missing catching up with everyone - but thinking of you all and hope life is good wherever you are.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Glimpse of Kuala Lumpur

Our tour bus - taking us around this amazing city.

 Petronas Towers - highest twin towers in the world.

National Monument - designed by Felix de Weldon, architect of the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, D.C,.

Best friends,caught acting silly by Bob, at Malaysia's National Monument.

Kuala Lumpur, the capital and largest city in Malaysia.  Surrounded by forests and hills and is the only city in the world to have a million year old primary forest within the heart of the city.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia........ Singapore our ship was waiting.

Port Kelang arrival early yesterday morning at sunrise.  Breakfast in the suite before heading to the bus to Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur...................which was astounding.  Will share more another time.

I've purchased some Internet time but it's slow......more later!  We're just docking now at Penang this morning.....then off to see the many interesting places here.

Goodbye Singapore.............

.....breakfast on the 27th floor.....

............great coffee. And everything else!

I really wish I could have spent more time here in Singapore.  

This is a fabulous place for those who love the atmosphere of a bustling city...........and don't mind crowds. OR escalators. Underpasses. Politeness. Greenery/palm trees. Roof Gardens. Noise. Traffic. Flowers. Orchids. Smells. Humidity. Youth. High fashion. Youth dressed in high fashion! Neatness. Cleanliness. Lawfulness. Helpfulness.........and smiles!

Until next time......when I should be at sea!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Glimpse of Singapore.................

The Airbus 380 is a huge plane, the largest flying the skies................very nice ride and we landed gently, quietly, softy at Changi airport. An unexpected and interesting plus to the usual 'flight path' map on the seatback screen, was the webcam mounted on the tail giving us views of take off, landing......and, while in daylight, the very long 13 hours between!  

My image of the famous Marina Sands Bay resort - taken from the taxi as we whizzed along on our way to our intown hotel.

via Wikipedia

 (Window) shopping on Orchard Road where mall after mall contained every designer shop imaginable.........and required a fat billfold!

 French patisserie with a cute macarons display.

OK, no more time to chat, our ship awaits and we'll be boarding this afternoon. Singapore is an amazing place and I wish we had a lot more time to explore.

I'm wondering.................... the garden is faring while I'm away.

This was the morning before I left for Singapore. More rain had fallen early, nearby thunder rattling the windows, lightning going head to head with the murky sunrise. Squirrels clung tenaciously to the bird feeders, probably feeling safer there than high in the swaying oak trees. Then everything became quiet. The rained ceased. The sun appeared brightly. The trees were reflected in the wet table. The garden was clean and bright, blossoms bloomed and the daffodils stood proud. The lovely fresh green grass, just cut the day before, looked close to perfect. Of course I had to run outside with the camera before packing it away for the trip. I'm missing my garden, my home, but most likely I'm having a wonderful time!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Time never stands still..........................

We're on our way east............clocks will change their time along the journey but never stop. Time waits for no man......or woman. Travel requires stamina and plenty of time to get it right. Rushing to try to beat the clock often means problems. I always feel comfortable traveling with Bob. He looks out for me, remembers what I forget, knows the right words, is very diplomatic when it comes to ironing out problems with airline personnel after years of business travel.........and he carries the heavy bags, thankfully!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Leaving home............. always hard to do!
You know I'm loving all this traveling to see the great big world out there, but I do miss my home while I'm gone!

Seeing my much-loved bits and pieces on the front porch, as once again we haul the heavy suitcases down the front steps, always brings a lump to my throat.......wondering what will occur whilst gone. Hopefully no water leaks like last time - turning the main supply off this trip - thankful for kind and thoughtful neighbors who lovingly look out for our little cottage when we're gone.

Early Spring shadows on the porch

When we return, southern gardens will be bursting out all over. Today I can see the dogwood blooms already opening, buds on my fig trees, even peonies poking through the ground. Spring will have arrived fully and with all this early warmth and sunshine and I just know what will be facing us..............plenty of back breaking garden chores! That's fine though, I'll be up for it I'm sure, the exercise will be good and the rewards worthwhile.

Family and neighbors will take care of the cottage so I won't worry. Hopefully I'll be able to post now and then from the Queen Elizabeth.........meanwhile the garden will grow on without me!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Around the world.......

It's a long way to Southeast Asia.........when you live on the southeast coast of America.

Hey, do you recall my trip last November? I flew westward meeting Paula in San Francisco, spending a couple of days enjoying California, then the two of us headed to Thailand and Vietnam across the Pacific in a fabulous Business Class 'pod' with a comfy flat bed, talk about comfort. This next trip, with Bob in tow - which is wonderful - will be a monster. An 8 hour overnight to London, followed by a 4 hour layover at Heathrow, then the long 13 hour haul to Singapore, another endless overnight. Picture us unfolding our limbs from those coach class seats,(business Class would have emptied the bank account!), stumbling numb and aching onto terra firma at Changi Airport in Singapore after two missed nights of real sleep.....neither of us sleep well in the air. Quite honestly, I daren't picture it because it's too scary!

Above, I'm showing the section of the Queen Elizabeth World Tour we are taking........Singapore > Kuala Lumpur and Penang (Malaysia) > Phuket(Thailand) > Colombo(Sri Lanka) > Cochin and Mumbai(India) > Dubai(UAE). I'm sure it will be a fabulous time and we'll be rocked to sleep gently each night as we sail the seas. Hope I can share some stops along the way with will depend on whether I can get Internet.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mahalo Hawaii.................

"Mahalo" (thank you) Hawaii for sharing 
your beauty and history.  
Here's to the memories........

......of all the fun times we spent with your friendly people on 
four of your picturesque islands. 

No, Bob didn't actually surf, but the exciting 
ziplining experience will remain in our memories as a really fun time..........

.........AND when I armed "I take no prisoners photos" Bob with my small digital Canon during our Maui whale watch and he caught this great humpback fluke shot, he was as proud as Punch!

The lovely places we stayed........and surprises such as waking early to unexpected visitors who arrived under cover of night and anchored just beyond the garden!

Shopping at a very fancy mall on Maui.........loved this window display.

The stunningly beautiful grounds of The Four Seasons Resort on Lanai........

.........and the crashing surf over the volcanic rocks on Maui.

A lovely new, but practical, sun hat by Wallaroo - a treat from Hawaii - looks like fine straw but is polyester, can be hand washed and packed flat.......and will be going on the Queen Elizabeth with me for those hot, sunny days in India and the beach at Phuket!

This is Mrs. Teaupa, the friendly Polynesian lady who handcrafted my beautiful wreath of Tapa flowers in Kona. 
Tapa is an important part of the culture and traditions of the Pacific islands and is presented as a gift of high value on birthdays, marriages, funerals, and religious occasions. It is made by many hours of beating (with a wooden mallet) the long narrow strips from the inner bark of the Paper Mulberry tree. Before the availability of textiles it also served as clothing material.

The freshest foods for roadside snacking....including pineapples and coconuts.........

.....the thrilling evening at the Luau on Maui, more great food, dancing, and the story of Hawaii presented so beautifully.

Hawaii's topnotch restaurants.......the fabulous salad......

 ...............and my best ever fish dish featuring Opah, a new fish to me,(and probably my best ever complete meal in any restaurant anywhere, the others concurred) the first one on the above menu at Mama's Fish House on Maui!  Love how they shared the fishing boat details. If you're interested, 'upcountry style' was a bed of the most delicious flavorful black mochi rice, a wonderful addition to the rich fish and caramelized Maui onions, cooked to perfection.

Yes, Hawaii was a spectacular treat in so many ways.............Aloha!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

One thing.......................

...........leads to another.

Early this afternoon, before the sun appeared, I ventured into the garden. It rained last night, drenching rain accompanied by thunder so loud it awoke me from a deep sleep. Everything was washed clean and the grass appeared to be two inches taller than yesterday.
You may recall I mentioned my Spring garden chores have been a big fat zero. No time between these two trips to clean up the remaining fallen leaves. I'm on my not weeding, instead asking Mother Nature's forgiveness for letting my little cottage garden become so overgrown and untidy while I travel the world! I did however grab the pruners and cut off the dead daffodil flowers (always leave the foliage until it dies back, it feeds the bulbs for next year), trimmed dead hydrangea tips, and cut back the Knockout roses. That's why I'm titling this post 'one thing leads to another". Really I should have been stuck here in the house addressing the packing issue!

I stepped outside into the back garden today because the fox was there. Standing quietly, surveying the garden around the gazebo. I hope so much she doesn't have her babies here this year. Seeing her looking so calm in a familiar area makes me think there may be a new litter of kits soon.
Do you recognize these rather bland buds waiting to burst?  They are the wisteria on the arbor..........

...........and I was surprised to see them opening. Of course they will be beautiful when the purple racemes are dangling elegantly, and their soft perfume fills the air. Our azaleas are also getting ready to put on their spring colors. I'm hoping all these beauties will still be blooming when we arrive home at Easter.

Looking up I see the flowers on our one remaining dogwood tree showing their pale green petals which will soon turn white.

Another embarrassing thing................I've not even hung a more seasonal flag on the potting shed, still showing Autumn pumpkins and falling leaves, shame on me.

I'll miss my garden as this is the time of year when it really looks so lovely, but with much of April and all of May here at home I'll be able to catch up. Mother Nature, I promise I'll do better!

I have a bee in my bonnet................

My personal peeve right now is reading stories of doom and gloom for the garden due to lack of bees arriving to pollinate. Perhaps if more organic gardening was practiced, and people would hold off spraying all those toxic chemicals around the place, the bees and other friendly creatures would have a chance to do what they are best at.

Last week I already had bees arriving........several on my daffodils. Lovely healthy looking bumble bees enjoying the sunshine and gentle breeze, a pleasing sight. Not only have I not sprayed a darn thing, good or harmful, on anything this year, I haven't even had a chance to do any clean up or weeding. Hopefully Nature will forgive and keep on tending my garden for me until I get home again!

Garden visitor on a warm March afternoon.