Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bali.......Beautiful and exotic

Exotic..... its a wonderful way to describe Bali.....As you sail into port, it is a beautiful and misty island far off in the distance. There is no dock in Bali big enough to port our ship, so we have to anchor offshore, and tender in. That in itself is quite an experience!  Picture 3000 people, anxiously awaiting departure from the ship.....lining and sweaty....not pushing and shoving...( yet)...but getting close! And you wait....almost an hour until you finally make it port side.....
The first sight that you see, are beautiful Balinese dancers and musicians awaiting you, as you exit the tender. The music is fascinating, and the dancers so anxious to please. We left a small offering, found our driver, and off we were to our Island tour!


Our first stop was a magical place along the shore.. These Shrines along the water are used to honor the Balinese Gods....
we could walk up to them, but not enter thru the gates to view the offerings inside.

as we walked along, thru the gardens, we could see another shrine in the distance. This shrine was accessible only at low tide.  
Driving thru the countryside, we saw rice paddies being flooded with water.

Passing thru small villages reminded me of the little neighborhood "Mom and Pop" of my childhood. I suppose you could liken this market, as the "7-11" of Bali!

Religious festivals happen every day somewhere in Bali....I'm not sure of what this group was celebrating, but they were dressed in their finest clothes, carrying flowers and fruits to place on the alter. There were musicians in the rear, playing solemn music. 

I'm sure these women spent hours preparing their offerings
The Priests awaiting the procession.....
Some offerings had already arrived....That would be me....I am ALWAYS early!!

A traditional home in this village....these were thatched roof pillars....We saw them everywhere!
even the most modest village homes had them, in various states of repair. 

A local village store... we wandered thru...looking for Christmas ornaments...I collect  ornaments as souvenirs, and I'm sure these shopkeepers thought I was nuts, looking for ornaments in April.....Actually, in a lot of places, they don't even celebrate Christmas, so I buy small things, bring them home, and make my own ornaments....It's so fun at Christmas, to hang them on the tree, and reminisce  about our travels!

As we were exiting the village......well.....this speaks for itself.....
Modesty is apparently, not prized, but cleanliness is a virtue!!
( he looks as surprised to see us, as we were to see him!)

After the above picture....we needed a frosty cold local beer....
The view was magnificent!
We loved Bali....from the  beautiful rice paddies.....the lush landscapes, the turquoise oceans, to the smiling, happy faces of the Balinese people.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Sea Days adventures

When you choose to do Transatlantic cruises, you are faced with 6-7 sea days in a row.......A lot of people tell me that they do not enjoy the sea days at all! What is there to do, they say, throwing their hands up in the air?? Its easy, .....find creative and fun ways to keep yourself busy!!


Michael reads...or snoozes ....he's so cute when his book falls into his lap!  I must tell you though, he is not alone......There are a dozen people in this lounge, knitting, playing cards, and sitting in groups sharing stories of other voyages.  Many new friends are made, and we have learned a lot of money saving tips from other frequent cruisers.... but then , that is a story for another blog....

 Painting is a fun way to while away the I get to meet a lot of people who stop by to comment....( they have no idea that I don't have any talent!) I keep that little secret to myself!

The ship is beautiful from top to bottom! As I snapped this picture, there were a group of people in the centram... Walkers and canes were parked, as they learned the fine art of napkin folding! I did not rush down to join them..... I do have my standards!!

Instead I wandered into the casino to try Lady Luck! I snapped a picture of the dollar machine, as I hurried to get a seat at the 2 cent machines..what a great way to spend the afternoon! I turned my 3 buckaroos into 20 bucks!

 We stop for coffee and cookies in the afternoons.....After all.....Dinner is a long way off!

 Holidays are celebrated....We were on the Solstice on Halloween.....Brenda and I had both brought decorations to surprise our tablemates! I didn't know that Brenda brought things, and she didn't know that I brought things! We were both surprised, and giggled as we decorated the table...BOO!!!!

We always spend cocktail hour in the Concierge lounge....We have cruised on Royal Caribbean a ton of times, so we have a free cocktail hour every evening.....We have met a lot of our good friends in this lounge, and laughed ourselves silly......Or were we silly because of the free cocktails??? be the judge!

While at sea, we have lots of time to watch the glorious is so relaxing to not have to rush in the evenings.  A luxury only afforded on sea days.

We spent a whole sea day in South America, sailing past glaciers in the Chilean Fjords.... How awesome is that!

  Honestly, the best thing about sea days is the required afternoon nap! All that fun is exhausting!!!! And we still have a cocktail hour or 2, dinner and a show ahead of us!
We have lots more sea days.... I may not make it home!!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Doors,doors, and more doors!

I'm an architecture nut!
I never realized how much I loved doors, until I started looking back at all the pictures taken on our cruises.  I found pictures of doors and doorways of all types and in all countries.....It must be because doors are the opening into who we are, and where we are going.
Sometimes I'm just walking down the street, and I spot a door that I just can't resist!

It draws me and I must put my hands on the old wood, close my eyes and take a moment to touch and try to capture the thoughts and feelings of those who have gone before me. You can almost feel them speaking to you!

I'm Always locked out!

Doors always have tales to tell, these colorful doors in Dublin, served a purpose.....A way for workingmen in the 1700's to find their way home after a night at a pub. I want to live in the house with the purple door, I'm sure Michael could find his way home easily!

This door was only about 2 feet tall. I spotted it in a church that was built in the 1600's in Scotland. Were the Scots that small? Who was this door built for? An unsolved  mystery....

On the other side of the church, on a new addition, that hailed from the 1700's, was a larger door, although only about 5 feet tall......and it looks like it is still used today...Verrrrrry interesting!

A cemetery door, in a famous Argentine Cemetery....
Evita lies here, and is still beloved by her countrymen...

An old time elevator door....It is still in use! Who wants to go to the tenth floor???
I loved this artsy door in Valparaiso Chili...The whole town was filled with colors, it is known as the San Francisco of the south.
We had the best hot dog in the world here!
A hand carved door in Rio....Surrounded by tropical flowers that hint at the exotic people who may live inside.....

A simple English cottage with a red door....I loved the flower pot next to the stoop.
Across the courtyard was the village church with a blue door...I tried to open the door, but it was locked.....perhaps the caretaker lives in the cottage with the red door...

The English cottage of my dreams with climbing roses over the door. I imagined myself having tea and scones in the garden, with the warm sun on my face....

Ancient doors are Fascinating...This doorway in Petra was carved out of sandstone over a 1000 years ago. Ancient caravans on their way to Istanbul, used this town as a resting place. .
Ancient door ways are still being used in Ephesus....Paul preached here, can you picture him going thru this door?

This door was built in the 600's by Saint Kevin. His church was a  place for peasants who needed a safe haven.

On the other side of the world, here in Bangkok, they built the doors out of gold...
The King of Siam used these doors to enter his palace. Followed by his concubines, and hundreds of children!

A giant door in China......For ceremonial use by the Emperors, so long ago.
If I close my eyes, I can hear the drum beats, and the wooden mallets hitting the gongs, as the emperor arrives.

Along with doors, I love the elaborate door knockers

We can't forget Bathroom doors!
Feeling glamorous with the stained glass windows!
when traveling, bathrooms  are a necessary evil

or without doors!

When you gotta gotta go!  NOT!