Zanzibar, Tanzania- 1 of 2- Grocery shopping in Africa

Stone Town, the historical center of Zanzibar, is home to the Darajani Bazaar, a huge marketplace selling vegetables, spices, dried goods, meat, and seafood. While largely outdoor, there is a smallish central building, built in the early 1900s and un-airconditioned, featuring meat and seafood.

Cautionary note: if you are squeamish about your meats and seafood "au naturel," you may wish to approach the latter part of this post with... ahem... a grain of salt (poor marketplace humor). 

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Sorting!
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Rice and Beans

 

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Figs

 

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Meat and Market. First-time Visitors tip: come here early in the day. The smell is tolerable then.


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Not sure about the purpose of the helmet and he was not in a mood to answer questions.


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Click here for full-size, no-watermark images at www.ImagesByBill.us

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Zanzibar, Tanzania
05/23/24



Mombasa, Kenya- Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo National Park is Kenya's largest protected area and home to larger mammals, such as elephants, hippos, and zebras. It is about 95 miles from our port in Mombasa. 

The drive to and back was an experience in itself. The road to the Park is two-lane and moderately (for the area) well-maintained. It is also heavily trafficked by trucks from the port city. A weigh station for all vehicles except cars/ SUVs (us) backs up traffic literally for miles, making a relatively short drive into a challenging experience. 

It all started reasonably well...

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Note the dirty windshield... more about that later.

 

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Some roadways are in better condition than others

until everything stopped, and trucks backed up as far as we could see. 

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Trucks were backed up on the roadway and the shoulders.

 

What to do?

Option 1: creative driving.

On the shoulder.
Weaving between trucks into the other lane with no concern about oncoming traffic.
If construction zones, ignore barricades and drive through, including on unpaved sections being built.
In villages, parking lots and parallel streets if viable options. 

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On the shoulder and then between the two trucks into the oncoming lane.

 

Option 2: people watch

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Option 3: look at the interesting scenery and trucks

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Option 4: ponder where would be good lodging and dining places along the road

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The Break Point Hotel

 

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"avalable"

 

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The "Rolex Hotel &"... something

 

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"CALIFONIA"

 

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"Self contained rooms" available


We finally arrived... after about three hours!
(the ride back was equally exciting, with the added drama of heavy rain, muddy splash water, and no windshield wiper on the driver's side!)

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Moving past the armed soldiers into the Park

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An overview of the landscape. Pretty much all the Park looked like this.

 

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Elephant from afar. Look carefully, or just admire the scenic.

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Elephant under a tree

 

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Monkey in a tree


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Looking over our driver's shoulder at the dusty road ahead

 

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What we thought was a dark rock in the watering hole turned out to be a hippo when he stuck a small part of his nose out of the water.


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Mombasa, Kenya (Tsavo National Park)
05/22/24
 


Dubai, UAE- 2 of 2- A Magical Evening at the Al Sahara

On the evening of May 12, Oceania's Around-The-World travelers, aka "Worldies," boarded busses for a journey through beautiful Dubai and out into the desert. There, we were treated to an outstanding evening of food and entertainment.

Here is a sampling of images from the night. Click the link at the bottom of this posting to see them all.

In route

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Preceding an excellent buffet dinner of local delicacies, activities abounded, aided by an open bar and wait staff offering glasses of wine.

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Meeting new friends

 

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Admiring the costumes some of the worldies wore (thanks, Mark and Justin)

 

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Henna tattoos

 

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Meeting new friends, part 2


Dinner was accompanied by a show featuring local talent.

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The show began with traditional music, 

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Out amongst the guests

 

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Traditional Belly Dancer

 

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The fire dancers were amazing!

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The evening was topped off with fireworks and a final fire exhibition.

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Wow, what an evening!

Click here to see all the evening's images, full-size and no watermarks.

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January. 


Victoria, Seychelles- A Walk in the Park and Local Wildlife

The Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It is the smallest and least populated African country, with a population of only 100,600 in 2022. Victoria is the capital city. 

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Walk to the park with mountains in the background,

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Jardin des Enfants (Children's Garden).

Close to the port is what was once a very nice park. Images in the early 2020s pictured a brightly painted, well-maintained park. Unfortunately, the pandemic and subsequent years have not been kind.   

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Sign at the entrance to the park

 

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Looking out at a side bay of the harbor


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The centerpiece of the park is a shallow pond with a large concrete ship in the middle of it

 

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The walkway to the "ship" is no longer passable

 

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The faded name painted at the bow of the ship is "LIBRA"

 

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The concrete pads used to have brightly painted sheds selling a variety of goods and food. All are gone now

 

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Is it an omen that the area behind the children's sign is a fenced-in paddock with a watch (guard?) tower

 

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An urge for action to prevent climate change

 

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The road bordering the park is home to some abandoned trailers


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7D films?


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Local wildlife

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A Merpigeon?

Final view of the port

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On our way out

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Click here for full-size, no-watermark images at www.ImagesByBill.us

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January. 

Victoria, Republic of Seychelles
05/19/24


Dubai, UAE- 1 of 2- A Stroll Amongst The Noveau Riche

The overarching impressions of Dubai are its immense wealth and its newness. Since the 1960s, the Shieks turned a small fishing village, later a trading center, into the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, basking in its wealth and newness. It is home to 395 skyscrapers, of which 28 are supertalls, and all but one built since the mid-60s. There are more 5-star hotels in Dubai than anywhere else. The Dubai Mall is the city's largest shopping mall with a dancing fountain, aquarium, huge Americanized food court (Krispy Kreme doughnuts!!!), and a waterfall. Another mall features a snow ski slope in the desert. One of Dubai's nicknames is the City of Superlatives. 

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A Five-Star hotel. Dubai bought the QE2 and converted it to a hotel.


Jumeirah Grand Mosque

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Even the phone booths are new and modern looking. BTW, bus stops are enclosed and air-conditioned!


The only SEVEN-star hotel in the world.

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A walk through (highly restored) Old Town

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Old-style water cooling system... roughly equivalent to swamp coolers in the US


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Wall art #1
 
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#2

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#3


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Downtown Camel


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Museum

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An art piece comprised of purple pillows


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Three-D model of Dubai

Two views from behind the museum
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Scenic ride to the spice & gold markets

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Spice Market entrance

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Not a pharmacy in sight

Two views from a bus

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The famous Dubai Frame opened in 2018... the largest frame in the world (please excuse the perspective distortion)


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Click here for full-size, no-watermark images at www.ImagesByBill.us

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January. 

Dubai, UAE
05/12-23/24
 


Khasab, Oman- Pretty Port Pictures

Pretty Port Pictures with Multiple Magnificent Mountains
(Playing with Alliterations)

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A hazy morning coming into harbor


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Many little wooden boats are loading freight, some destined for far-off places. "Rumor" has it that some goods may not have been "strictly legal."


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No mountains. Instead, a Welcoming Window

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Click here for full-size, no-watermark images at www.ImagesByBill.us

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January this year. 

Khasab, Oman
05/11/24


Mumbai, India- Laundry, Gandhi, and more

Mumbai, known as Bombay until it was renamed in 1995, is the largest city in India and part of the sixth largest metro area globally, with a city population of 12.5 million. The overwhelming impression is a Very Crowded City, bursting at the seams of overcrowding.  

A busy intersection with Very Important Big Buildings

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Dhobi Ghat

For 18-20 hours a day, over 7000 people flog, dye, and bleach clothes in outdoor concrete wash pens, dry them on ropes, press them, and transport the clean garments throughout the city. The washers, known as dhobis, beat clothes with a stick to remove the fine dust throughout the city. Over 100,000 clothes are washed each day. It is claimed to be the largest outdoor laundry in the world. The area is so popular with tourists that the city built an overlook on one of the highways that can accommodate the number of viewers on buses.

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About 200 families live full-time in Dhobi Ghat
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The laundry was built in 1890 by the British and operates mostly the same as when built
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Two of the concrete wash pens. They are equipped with "flogging stones" that clothes are put on and beaten with a stick to get the very fine dust out.

 

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Some interesting details: satellite dishes are everywhere; left center is the train station that adjoins with people hanging out of the trains as they go by; blue tarps are in abundance, most turned brown by the dust; all dirt walkways and roads, nothing is paved; clothes are hung on ropes on big racks to dry.


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Former Lodging of Mahatma Gandhi and now a museum dedicated to him

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One of the more popular writings posted throughout the museum


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Two of the roomful of dioramas depicting Gandhi's life. In this one he is made to move from a railroad car because he is Indian, not British,


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The depiction of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919 when British troops fired on an unarmed crowd killing several hundred people and injuring many more.


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Sidewalk outside the museum


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Two from a temple,

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Two from a historical monument,

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Four from a museum,

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A sculpture titled "The Buddhas Within," because of the view from the back...


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And two to go.

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Click here for full-size, no-watermark images at www.ImagesByBill.us

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January this year. 

Mumbai, India
05/07-08/24


Mormugao, India- Short walk down a long pier, a warning and a conundrum

Mormugao is a city in the state of Goa in western India. The state was a Portuguese colony until 1961 and maintains much evidence of its colonial heritage.

Mormugao Port (MPA) is one of the oldest ports on the west coast of India and consists of a long L-shaped pier with the top of the "L" connecting to the shore. We were sandwiched between three Indian military ships, with two on the bottom of the L (this bit of trivia becomes essential later in the post). The MPA pier is away from town. It shows its age and lack of maintenance, as evidenced in our walk down the dock. Even the well-worn cruise terminal was wholly closed except for a security checkpoint.

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This is a view of our ship at the pier. I do not take pictures of military ships, so imagine one in front of us and two more down the pier behind our ship.
 
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"Wall art" of the pier wall.


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"Facilitation Centre." It appears to have been a while since any facilitating occurred.
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Read on about the sign.


The Good News is that construction on a new cruise terminal is, maybe, underway. Unfortunately, according to the worn construction sign in the preceding image, work was to be completed in September 2023. Our visit was on a Monday, and there was no evidence of ongoing construction. Various internet posts stated the work might be done by the end of the year, but there were also stories about a lack of funding.  

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Along with the terminal, industrial infrastructure additions are planned in the treed areas.

 

Moving along, our walk to the land side of the pier revealed no reason to continue strolling, so we decided to return to the ship. On our way, we walked past one of the military ships and returned waves to what appeared to be a civilian maintenance crew (no uniforms) working on the ship. When we arrived at our gangway, The Boss decided she had seen enough and returned to the air-conditioning on board the vessel. I looked down to the end of the pier and decided a trek there would be nice. Seeing no signs, blockades, or people saying no, off I went. A bit later, I was at the base of the L. Following a longstanding practice, I took no pictures of the Indian military vessels (avoiding the aggravation of possibly being arrested for spying in a foreign country... it happens, look it up!). Instead, I took the nice, if bland, scenic below that looked out to the bay. 

As I turned to return to the ship, a gentleman in uniform came running towards me, waving his arms. He informed me I couldn't be here; it was restricted, and he would escort me back to the ship. He had no answer when I inquired, very politely, about why there were no warnings not to go into the area. I was escorted to our ship and left on my own to go up the gangplank, oops... gangway, into the safety of our ship.

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Earlier while we were on the street leading out of the port, I had ducked under a chain and took a picture. When I looked at it later, I couldn't decide which of two versions I liked the best.

What do you think? 

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Close cropped 

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More rocks lead the eye in.

Click here for full-size, no-watermark images at www.ImagesByBill.us

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January this year. 

Mormugao, India
05/06/24
   


Cochin, India- Out and About

Cochin, also known as Kochi, is a port city in southwest India and the first of our stops in India.

 

Mattancherry Palace/ Museum
aka non-museum pictures from a museum.

The Portuguese built and gifted the palace as a present to the king of Cochin around 1545. It was built to appease the king after they plundered a temple nearby. It is now a museum with murals of Hindu temple art and other exhibits. The day of our visit was very crowded, and photography was prohibited in many of the rooms.

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Ornate ceiling

 

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Figure at the end of a staff


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Out and About
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I do not believe the young man at the far right is looking at Art & Antiques.


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Along the beach
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Chinese Fishing Nets, formerly known as "shore-operated lift nets," were introduced by Chinese explorers in the 14th century. They are now primarily tourist attractions, replaced by more modern fishing methods.


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Tuk Tuk air conditioning

Harbor Tour

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A row of Chinese Fishing Nets


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Closeup of the second big boat from the right. 'Always essential to see where you are going!


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Sailing away

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Click here to see the first Cochin post!

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January this year. 

Cochin, India
05/04/24


Kataragama, Sri Lanka- Temples side-by-side... with critters

A little distance from our port in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, is the pilgrimage town of Kataragama, which is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. Two Buddhist and Hindu temples sit side-by-side, separated by a gated wall.

Buddhist temple, with critters

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"Never Give Up"

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The gate separating the two temples

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Hindu temple

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Click here for full-size, no-watermark images at www.ImagesByBill.us

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January this year. 

Kataragama, Sri Lanka
05/01/24


Langkawi, Malaysia- Above It All and the Art of Rice

Langkawi is an archipelago off Malaysia's northwest coast. It's known for its beaches and clear waters. The main island is also known as Langkawi.


Good morning.

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The SkyCab cable car runs to the top of Machincang mountain. From the summit, the SkyBridge curves out above the trees.

Entrance

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It started as a bright, sunny day


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Route to the SkyBridge from the summit

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The SkyBridge

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The gondolas we rode to the summit in

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The clouds start to roll in. What began as a bright sunny day, ended up with the mountain completely enshrouded in clouds


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At the summit

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All the padlocks had couple's names on them

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The Art of Rice Growing

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The traditional way of trasplanting and growing rice. Now, all the old ways are replaced with machines and tech.


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Being watched from below


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A demonstration by our excursion guide

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And lastly, one of the local inhabitants jest' a' hangin' out

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Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January this year. 

Langkawi, Malaysia
04/26/24


Goodbye, Kenya and Tanzania

Farewell, Kenya and Tanzania!

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Zanzibar Sunset


It was an exciting couple of days. Mombasa and Zanzibar were great visits. I was able to satisfy two major Bucket List items!


In Mombasa, we went on a death-defying journey to see wild African animals... elephants, a giraffe, and a tiger... in their natural habitats.
See below:

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In Zanzibar, we went to Freddie Mercury's Birthplace. I hummed Bohemian Rhapsody while standing in reverential awe.

Being proper American tourists, we bought The Teeshirt and a magnet (I had already seen the movie).

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(In a slightly more serious vein, actual images of our excursions are coming in a bit).

Mombasa, Kenya and Zanzibar, Tanzania
05/22-23/24


Singapore- a Bridge, a Temple, a Market, a Late Afternoon, and... a Vending Machine

Views from the island country of the Republic of Singapore. 


Views from a bridge

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Jubilee Bridge is a pedestrian bridge in downtown Singapore spanning the Singapore River, connecting Merlion Park and The Esplanade. The construction of the bridge in 2015 was suggested by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and was opened ahead of schedule due to his death.

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The top span of the building is built to look like a ship.
 
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A five-star Art Deco Hotel built in 1928
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The Merlion is the official mascot of Singapore. It is depicted as a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish.


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Words to live by


Inside a Temple

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Closeup


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Sideview with steps


A Market and "Wall Art"

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Late Afternoon

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And a Vending Machine

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'Never seen anything like this in the US.
IJooz is a Singapore-based company that makes a high-tech machine that vends fresh orange juice. The vending machine is, according to their website, "powered by groundbreaking technology of AIOT and robotics" to create a "smart juicer <that> integrates hardware and software seamlessly with groundbreaking innovation."  
The machine squeezes about three oranges in 45 seconds to dispense 10 oz of juice at 39 degrees F. It can hold up to 500-600 oranges. 

Click here for full-size, no-watermark images at www.ImagesByBill.us

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January this year. 

Singapore
04/22/24


Bangkok, Thailand- Temples, Temples, and more Temples

There are over 40,000 temples in Thailand, 33,902 of which are currently in use, and more than 400 wats (temples) in the capital city of Bangkok alone. 

So, without further ado, images from four Bangkok temples up close and two from afar...


First, sailing into Bangkok harbor

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First temple sighting in the mid-foreground


On to the temples...

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The solid gold Buddha, weighing over four tons, is a four-story climb to get to.

 

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The aforementioned gold Buddha

 

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Self-portrait (selfie?)


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Close-up of the bottom of the previous image


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Buddhas in a row


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I liked that I could get the small figurine in the background


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Gold represents enlightenment, and black the transcendence of darkness into enlightenment.


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Closeup of a window sill

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Wall Mural


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I was really pleased to be able to capture the window from the other side of the building in the middle window. It makes the image.

 

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Monks at prayer

 

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I couldn't decide if I liked this image in color or black & white, so...

 

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here are both!

 

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According to Buddhist lore, in the sixth week after his enlightenment, the Buddha was deep in meditation when a storm caused floodwaters to rise. A snake king, or nagaraja, protected him from the rain with its cobra hood and from the floodwaters by wrapping his body in its coils.


Leaving Bangkok

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Final temple view behind the ship


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Click here for full-size, no-watermark images at www.ImagesByBill.us

Click here to see all my Around-The-World 2024 images going back to January this year.

Bangkok, Thailand
04/18-19/24


Cochin, India- An Out-of-Business interlude

Off to the side where we docked in the port of Cochin, India, were two boats on scaffolds and out-of-business... obviously untouched for a while. They are named the Mega Dolphin Iviskos and the Venice Carnival.

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Some history:

Both were manufactured at the Volograd Shipbuilding yard in Russia, the Mega Dolphin in 1995 and the Venice Carnival in 1996. They are Kolhida model Hydrofoils, two of approximately forty that were built and are classified as high-speed vessels with a gross tonnage of 135 tons.  Russian hydrofoils were popular in Russia, Europe, and Canada as ferries and short-tour boats.  Hydrofoil popularity has declined because of the difficulties of building and maintaining them compared to newer generation boats. The only interior views I could find showed rows of comfortable seating in what appeared to be first-class and economy sections.  

Both ships operated under different names:

Mega Dolphin Iviskos was, at one time or another, the
Adriatic Joy
Seaflight IV (Canada)
Seawing I
Katran 2

Venice Carnival was
Seaflight 3 (Canada)
Katran 3

The hydrofoils have had multiple owners. They were bought by the TOP Line tourist agency in Croatia in 1999, which acquired them as a new business line and chartered them out. TOP Line sold them to Atlas, another travel agency based in Split, Croatia, in 2002. Atlas, in turn, sold them to Greek owners in 2009.

The Mega Dolphin is shown as currently registered in the Caribbean island of Dominica and Venice Carnival in the West African country of Togo. I couldn't find any record of their sailing in either place. According to registry records, they spent time in Canada, where all hydrofoils were named Seaflight, and in Greece, according to picture sources.  

The last entries for both are in the mid-2000s and show them on ground stands somewhere other than India. Given their dilapidated appearances, particularly the Venice Carnival, neither has received any attention for quite a while and are sitting abandoned. 

Click here for a full-size image in the Out-of-Business section of www.ImagesByBill.us

Cochin, India
05/04/24