Thursday, March 10 saw us in Singapore.  Having been here several times, we decided to do our own thing.

So after breakfast we braved the hot, humid weather to grab a cab for Chinatown.  To our amusement, the cab driver very helpfully dropped us off at the jewellery store, then we were taken to the camera store.  We know what they do, but you can always say no!

As it turned out, Alex bought me a lovely jade bracelet and he purchased a new lens for his camera which turned out to be a very good deal, compared to the price in Australia.

Chinatown is fun and you can find some very nice souvenirs.  We were very happy to sit down for something to eat and a couple of Tiger beers.  Up to our usual thing of checking out the beers in every country!

After lunch we made our way to the highlight of the day – Gardens by the Bay.  This was still being constructed last time we were in Singapore, so we were looking forward to seeing it.


Gardens by the Bay consists of two glass conservatories and towering supertrees covered with dramatic, vertical plant displays.  The tour started with an audio shuttle tour which took us around the huge expanse of gardens.  There was so much to see – lots of themed gardens with many sculptures and the range of plants was breathtaking.  We even saw cherry blossoms in bloom.

Then there were the two cooled conservatories to explore – in the Flower Dome we saw thousand year old olive trees and unusual Baobobs as well as wonderful flower displays.

The Cloud Forest had beautiful orchids, pitcher plants and ferns amongst many others that we did not know the names of, all growing happily together as well as a man-made 35-metre mountain and waterfall.

This is truly a diverse plant display from the world’s four corners with lots of info along the way about the intricacies of plant life.  We spent about 3 hours just exploring the two domes.  A very enjoyable day!



Darwin, NT

Had an enjoyable day in Darwin, Sunday 5 March.  We went to Parap Markets – most interesting was the array of Asian cuisine available …. very multi-cultural!   To our disappointment, apart from a few locally handcrafted items, most were timber or clothing imports.  Anyway, it filled in the morning and then we returned to the city centre by shuttle bus where we made a leisurely stroll through the shopping mall.

The weather was in the mid-30’sC, which wasn’t too bad, but the killer was the high humidity which made our last stop at the Monsoon Hotel for a glass of beer a necessity!!!

We were just about to set sail at 5.00pm when a storm came from nowhere.  Nil visibility, so that delayed our departure for about an hour.  After some heavy rain, out came the sun and we left port just as we were eating dinner.

Food is fantastic, but we are managing to keep ourselves in check.  Alex is keeping himself busy with art lessons every day.  Not so much for me, but I am happy spending time reading in a deck chair out on deck or doing a bit of cross stitch if I feel like it.  Our stateroom is very comfortable and we are sleeping extremely well.  Must be the “motion of the ocean”!


Mon,  June 10

What an enjoyable day in Dubai!  We thought our excursion only covered a trip to the museum, the gold souk and a look at a mosque.   What we got was so much more….

The morning started with a visit to the Dubai Museum in Al Fahidi Fort which was built in 1787 and opened as a museum in 1971.  Much of it is presented as realistic life-size dioramas as well as artefacts and hands-on displays.  Afterwards we headed to the ancient Al Bastaklya quarters, which is famous for its traditional wind towers. 

We then traded our coach for an abra (water taxi) crossing the river to Deira where we were able to visit a spice souk, which was amazing,  where Alex was able to buy some liquorice that he hasn’t seen since he left England and looked like a tree twig.  We also strolled around the renowned Gold Souk – a large concentration of jewellery stores where I was very happy to haggle for some jewellery.

Finally boarding the coach again, we were taken to see the city sights, including the Burj Al Arab hotel in shape of a sail, the Burj Khjalifa, the tallest building in the world and the Jumeirah Mosque, one of the most photographed sites in Dubai and a wonderful example of Islamic architecture.

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Water taxi

Water taxi

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Water tower

Water tower

Mumbai, India

Fri, Jun7

Our excursion began with a trip to Dhobi Ghat, known as the world’s largest outdoor laundry where much of the city’s laundry is done at quite a cheap rate.

Next we jumped on the train for a short ride which ended at Churchgate station.  That was exciting – get on the train quickly or it just takes off without warning after a minute or so.  We found out that there are some optional carriages for men, women and senior citizens to board separately.  We realised why when it was explained that out of the city’s population of 18 million, 5 million people catch the train to work each day and 2 million catch the bus.  Everyone is in hurry and getting on and off the train quickly was quite a feat.  Also there are no doors on the carriages so it’s a mad scramble to get on and off.    

At the station we were able to see the famous “dabbawalas”, known for delivering meals to thousands of people at their workplaces in the city.  Metal containers are divided into 4 sections, each containing a box filled with vegetables, roti, curry and rice.  Empty containers re then returned at the end of the day for the wife to pack her husband’s lunch for the next day’s pickup. 

Taxis are plentiful and relatively cheap, and we saw them carrying 5 or 6 adults plus children. 

We also visited Crawford Markets, which was divided into a bird and food market.  Watch where you walk as it was not very clean and I noticed that pieces of cardboard were placed over holes in the concrete… we certainly had to watch where we were walking! 

The last stop was at the famous Gateway of India where the coach dropped us off as there was no parking.  It was quite nice to see it come back to pick me up after standing in the rain for ten minutes whilst Alex stayed in the bus.   

My memory of Mumbai is of an exciting, noisy city, where everyone drives with one hand on the horn!  There seem to be no road rules, motor vehicles ignore traffic lights and crossings and pedestrians duck and weave across the road.  We were quite pleased to cross the road via the subway!

We loved our first visit to Mumbai where this excursion enabled us to immerse ourselves in the culture of India. 

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