Singapore, US, Beijing, Langkawi
Back in the USA
Finally, after changing our flight plan three times, each with a cost associated to the change, we were ready to leave Pt Dickson to head to Kuala Lumpur where we would catch a flight to Singapore. There we were planning on meeting our friends on Blue Sky and Sandpiper and spending a few days before departing for the states. We stayed at a lovely little place right in the heart of China Town obviously close to the red light district as there were lots of young women garbed in short tightly fitted clothing standing at the 7 Eleven right across the street. At night the steps to our hotel were filled with men ogling the girls and enjoying the entertainment. Singapore is filled with huge malls some specializing in electronics and technology. Of course we started at the marine store. One night we had "Singapore slings" at the famous Raffles Hotel. In Little India it was the celebration of Deepvala, the triumph of good over evil. The streets were lighted and decorated and it was very busy. We found a small Indian restaurant where we had dinner before heading back to the hotel.
The next day Rene and I walked all through China Town. We took time to visit the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas. In this temple is the only known relic of Buddha. Enshrined in a special ornate room is a tooth which belonged to Buddha. Now this is not the cloth bag Buddha that is sometimes characterised in ceramic as a overweight beer belly fellow but rather the original Buddha.
There are 10,000 little buddhas that are all specifically numbered and owned by someone making the donation to the temple. The larger the donation the larger the Buddha. The temple also contained a very large prayer wheel. The gardens surrounding the temple were filled with orchids.
Later we had dinner and went to the night zoo with Tom and Amy. We aren't big fans of zoos but the night zoo was different. Singapore is a great mix of old and new but after three days we were ready to continue on with our journey.
Then on to the the US to have holidays with our family and to visit a few friends. After getting new drivers license we were off in our rented car. "Never has so much been given by so many to so few." This is to say we lived off our family for the entire visit and really had a great time. It was lovely seeing everyone again and especially our grandchildren, the youngest of which we had never met. I think London was impressed with us or as impressed as a nine month old boy could be. Taylor, Trevyn, and Zoe have really grown and of course are as cute as ever. I stayed in Indiana for the Christmas holiday but Rene flew to NC to be with her Mom and family. She had also planned to fly to Texas but Judson came to North Carolina for Christmas instead and Josh arrived home from Iraq after we left. Enough, I know you don't tune in to hear about our trips home so lets cut to the chase. For pictures of our grand kids click on the slide show below.
We departed the US on New Years Day and flew to Beijing to spend a few days wandering around Tiananman Square, the Forbidden Palace, the Lama Temple and of course we took a side trip to the Great Wall. But none of those compare to the monument of capitalism that the Chinese are building. I
first traveled to China in 1982 and at that time the tallest building in Shanghai was the Peace Hotel at ten stories. Everyone was still wearing Mao jackets and hats and the highest wattage bulb you could find was 25 watts. Today the explosion of wealth; personal, business and government is astounding. I always liked to compare Hong Kong to Guang Zhou and now every city looks like Hong Kong. This amazing transformation will soon be topped off by the upcoming Olympics and if you haven't seen the stadium for the main venue well it is a spectacle to behold. We got a glimpse of it as we were going by on our way to the Great Wall.
We also spent a morning at the Panjiayuan Market, aka the "dirt market" and then took a taxi for a visit to the Lama Temple which is the most important "functioning" Buddhist temples in Beijing. The entire temples are decorated in Buddha images and the air is thick with the smoke of burning incense.
It was cold and there were few tourists which was just fine by us. Just add a few more superlatives of your own and you have the picture about our trip to Beijing.
Back at Port Admirals Marina we found everything in order with Shiraz and an added bonus of our good friends on Blue Sky in the marina. We hadn't seen, Phoebe and Drake, the children aboard Blue Sky, since going our separate ways in Kupang. After a few days of provisioning and fueling we were again underway and off to Langkawi, the home of many marinas and suppliers of boat parts. Now having just come back from the states you might wonder how it is that we need boat parts but we had reached our luggage limit and in fact paid excess luggage but it wasn't enough and besides 100 meters of chain would have been just too much. The passage to Langkawi was full of fishing boats so we day hopped along with Blue Sky until the last leg and then raced for these 100 islands named after the bald eagles that habitat here.
And you know you've been away too long when your favorite boat shoes give you blisters.
Upon arrival we found well protected waters for an anchorage and the next day we were in Rabak Marina and so far so good. The resort host a cocktail party once a month and that was our introduction. We hauled the boat. I will not comment on this haul out since our previous logs are full of bitching about hauling the boat. But I will say that Rebak is a great resort and while a group of Italian business people were paying $400 or $500 per night we were paying about $350 per month and enjoying the same amenities. They even have an inexpensive restaurant for cruisers called the "Hard Dock Cafe".
If you are interested.....
For more pictures of our trip to Singapore, home, and China just click on the arrow below. While you are viewing the pictures ponder on this....Did you know that 24 emperors and two dynasties ruled from the Forbidden City, until the dynastic period ended in 1911. It took 200,000 laborers 14 years to build the Forbidden City, finishing in 1420. Note all the glazed yellow tiles which are a symbol of royalty. The more carvings on the roof the more important the building. Also notice the red doors. Most structures have nails in a 9 X 9 formation. Nine is the largest odd number less than the number 10, so it is considered both lucky and important.
Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world covering 100 acres. You most probably know the square as the scene of the 1989 student protest that was eventually crushed by the Army.
The largest engineering and building project ever carried out by humans is the Great Wall of China. It stretches about 1,500 miles. Parts of the structure date back to the 4th century BC, but the earliest major work on the wall came during the Ch'in Dynasty, which lasted from 221 to 206 BC. The wall is simple in structure. It is built of dirt, stone, and brick. Its height ranges from 15 to 30 feet, with watchtowers rising at regular intervals above it. It is 15 to 25 feet wide. Along the top runs a 13-foot wide roadway or walkway.
The wall's use as a defensive barrier ended in 1644 with the collapse of the Ming Dynasty.
Great Wall of China Jan 2008
If you're headed our way:
- Malaysia has been a wonderful visit. You can leave your boat for as long as you like and Langkawi is a great place for boat work. It is a duty free island and there are many parts and plenty of people to order from West Marine.
- Air conditioners are nice if not necessary. It is hot and for $300 US you can have one installed on deck.
- Rebak Marina provides free ferry service to the mainland and there you can find just about anything you need for provisioning, just not at one store. Be patient and look around. On Friday mornings there is a vendor that will meet you at the ferry dock selling fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, eggs, cheese, and frozen meats. Take the 8:45 ferry over.
- The nearest ATM to Rebak is at the airport. Take the ferry in and grab a ride or walk to the airport. Walk or taxi back. A taxi back to the ferry dock is 10 rm.
- Okay air conditioners are a must. Don't come without one if you plan on spending any time in the marina.