Around the World 2024

My blog posts since January 1 document our ongoing cruise around the world (literally) on Oceania. Please enjoy the stories and images. Let me know if you have any comments or questions!

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Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe- 1 of 2- A (small) National Museum in a (small) nation

São Tomé is the capital and largest city of the Central African island country of São Tomé and Príncipe. Its name is Portuguese for "Saint Thomas." Founded in the 15th century, it is one of Africa's oldest colonial cities. The nation comprises two islands, aptly named Sao Tome and Principe. Thus, the nation's official name is the Democratic Republic of San Tome and Principe. It is the second-smallest and second-least populous African nation. The legacy of long Portuguese rule is visible in the country's architecture, culture, customs, and music, which fuse European and African influences.

The islands' National Museum is housed in a small 16th-century fort named San Sebastiao. The Portuguese built the fortress in 1566 to protect the port and city of São Tomé against pirate attacks. The exhibits are mainly religious art and colonial-era artifacts, with a smattering of colonial history. Many exhibits are decaying and show the effects of a lack of care, but they give a feel for the small nation and its population. 

The Entrance Yard

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Inner Courtyard and Museum 

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The museum guide said a few letters may be missing

 

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If you look closely, the extra arm is not a person


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Showing some age


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On the parapet

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Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 1 of 2
06/09/24


Luderitz, Namibia- Short Town and Port walk

Luderitz is a town in southern Namibia on the west coast of Africa. It lies on one of the least hospitable coasts in Africa. The city is a port developed around Robert Harbour and Shark Island. Luderitz is known for its colonial architecture, including some Art Nouveau work and a strong German influence. The town is named after Adolf Lüderitz, founder of the German South West Africa colony.

Town Walk 

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Green


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Wilson (and Ruth) FINALLY get up close to a penguin!


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Hanging out in front of the grocery. The kid walking towards us asked Ruth for a dollar to buy some bread. She, in turn, asked him where a  shop that had been recommended was. He earned his dollar by taking her to the shop, introducing the owner, and finding me after I wandered off to take pictures.


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Main downtown street


The Port and its Boats

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Big Ship in a Small Port


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I already published this one, so here it is again. Water reflecting off the side of our ship where the anchor is stored.

 

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Luderitz, Namibia
06/04/24


Cape Town, South Africa- Day 2- Stellenbosch = WINE

 

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Stellenbosch Valley, generally referred to simply as Stellenbosch, is located 31 miles east of Cape Town. It, along with the Paarl and Franschhoek Valleys, form the Cape Winelands. The South African wine industry produces about 1,000,000,000 liters of wine annually.

Here is Wikopedia's description of the area. "The region has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cool wet winters. Stellenbosch lies at the foot of the Cape Fold mountain range, which provides soil favourable to viticulture. Grapes grown in this area are mainly used for wine production, as opposed to table grapes. The region possesses a wide range of soils in the area, from light, sandy soils to decomposed granite. Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon is beginning to get a good reputation as a fine wine." 

Our private tour took us to four Stellenbosch wineries. The wines and the wineries were all excellent, equal to or better than Napa's offerings. Pinotage, a grape developed in South Africa in 1925, is a unique cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. We were fortunate to taste the top-rated pinotage at our second stop. Excellent.

Rustenberg Winery

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Lavenir Estate
Their Pinotage is a wonderful wine.

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Local inhabitants


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Beautiful South African flowers. The punt (the indent at the bottom of a bottle) on one of the bottles was designed to look like the flower.


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Guardian Peak Winery with lunch!

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Grape crates from other wineries. Ernie Eis is a pro golfer who is also in the wine business

Lunch

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View from the dining room.


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Waterford Estate

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Cellars Tour 

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Thank you to Willem Swanepowl at Tsiba Tsiba Wine Tours/ Travel for a fabulous tour!

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

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

Cape Town/ Stellenbosch, South Africa- Day 2
06/02/24


Stonehenge, Britain- An Explanation

 

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On July 2, 2024, a team from the expeditionary vessel Insignia completed an overland trek in The United Kingdom to the infamous site known as Stonehenge. As a result of the arduous journey and accompanying research, the team finalized a statement revealing the following:

One: The true history of Stonehenge.
Two: A description of Stonehenge as it was.
Three: How Stonehenge was built.

As a quick introduction, Stonehenge as it appears now:
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Now, as with all high-level research projects, a review of the four methodologies used to reach the conclusions:

One: a team of renowned experts conducted a detailed and extensive on-site survey, documenting all aspects of the survey using precise digital photographic techniques.

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The team at work. Note the use of high-tech photographic devices

 

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Team members observing a hole

 

Two: an in-depth review of all pertinent literature on the subject, including onsite documentation. Examples follow:

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Stonehenge build
Three: state-of-the-art AI 3-D imaging technology was utilized to visualize the site. Disclaimer: The second image does not represent the team's findings. It is only to document the high-tech nature of the tools used. The movement of the stones is addressed in the explanation. 
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Please note disclaimer above


Four: an in-depth review of the findings. The initial review, occurring shortly after the site study, is referred to colloquially as the Bus 22 Tour Return Review (B22TRR). A final, in-depth review by senior staff took place onboard the expeditionary vessel at the team's HQ, Martini Lounge. For the most part, the team agreed on the conclusions. Small disagreements do not deter from the overall explanation. 

 

An Explanation of Stonehenge

The History

Our past is rich with stories of companies and nations establishing resupply stations, or waystations, in remote areas for early sailing ships to restock and replenish supplies. Some also provided outlets for sailors to escape the rigors of sailing. An excellent example is the Dutch East India Company in 1652, which established a resupply station in southwest Africa for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. It later grew to the city which is currently named Cape Town, South Africa (click here for a detailed history of the Cape Town waystation).    

More than 4000 years ago, long before the advent of sailing ships, an expedition from far, far away sought to establish a waystation to restock and refresh travelers on the arduous journey through an undeveloped, primitive area. They found a small, remote island once connected to the mainland, but due to volcanic activity, it was isolated. The area had no governing body and was inhabited by rural farmers. It was long before any written histories, so the team felt comfortable in their anonymity. The island was well-located for their needs and, as an additional incentive, had excellent beer and mead. The expedition leaders decided it was the proper location and established a base. To keep the native inhabitants ignorant of their efforts, they bribed the locals with snacks and trinkets to create the story of a religious center celebrating the solstice. The station operated successfully for many, many years, providing a respite for weary travelers and even developing small, exclusive resort-style lodging around the central station.  The religious myths isolated the area, and only occasional local visits were made to sustain the storyline.

As with many places, an aging infrastructure and transportation improvements rendered the waystation out-of-date and impractical for continuing operations. Management decided it should not be converted to a tourist destination, despite the increasingly enjoyable antics of the natives, and the base was abandoned. The landscape was returned to a natural state to hide the station's location. Electro bio-mechanical neural transmitting zero synapse repositioners, commonly referred to as neuralyzers, were used on local inhabitants to prevent the station from being recorded in the newly established local practice of historical documentation. To further prevent their being known, rumors about Druids and strange religious practices were implanted. The success of their efforts continues to this day.  

A Description of Stonehenge in its heyday

The station designers and base architects decided that an infrastructure primarily underground was the best approach. There were three reasons for this. First, the station would be less obvious and intrusive to the local environment. Second, in severe weather or other threats, the station could be locked down and secured rapidly. And third, it was modeled after the design of their far away residences, giving a sense of home and lessening new architectural design requirements. If you look at the current images of Stonehenge, you will see the stones are at the top of a small hill. Construction of the hill was necessary as part of the build to place the station underground. The hill also provided easier ingress and egress to the station without the need to go far down.    

The stones of Stonehenge have long been a matter of debate. A view of the 3-D models and a knowledge of the station requirements provide the answer. The station needed a way to communicate with incoming vessels so they could be directed properly. The builders had long surpassed the need for multi-array broadcast tools, and the technology of the day required only a single large dish, much like our large satellite dishes today. Looking at the model, it is obvious that the dish was held up and stabilized by the five massive sarsen stones in the center that are in a horseshoe pattern. The smaller "bluestones" actually were conduits for the cables and placements for other equipment. The outer ring of sarsen stones was the security perimeter for the installation. The devices that blocked access were removed when the base was dismantled.

The small mounds surrounding the waystation, now mistakenly referred to as burial sites, were small luxury residences that visitors could rent at the base. 

A couple of additional clarifications: Why are there only five massive stones in a horseshoe shape and a large gap? Again, knowing the technology of the day is essential. The dish was made up of several big pieces analogous to pie slices. In cases of emergency, the dish would fold up and fit into the gap where it would be lowered into the ground. The "bluestones" have also been a matter of debate. The builders cleverly designed their blue color and made them appear to have been brought in from a distance. This was part of the plan to disguise the base. They were conduits for the power and data transmission for the communications dish.   

One additional issue needs to be addressed. The vehicular traffic around Stonehenge today is very heavy and has become hazardous. Groups in Britain want to build a tunnel underneath Stonehenge to divert traffic away from the site.  The grounds were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites in 1986 and are protected under their umbrella. UNESCO is vehemently opposed to the building of the tunnel, claiming it could damage the site and antiquities underground. The actual explanation is more credible: a small cadre within UNESCO is comprised of ancestors of people local to the site. When the base was shut down, station management recruited local citizens to protect the site in perpetuity. Since the underground infrastructure is still in place and possibly operational, a tunnel would expose it. In addition, tunneling might activate defensive weapons built into the base, causing great damage. 

How Stonehenge was built

The waystation construction was fairly straightforward, using the techniques available to the builders. Most of the construction took place at night so as not to alarm the primitive natives. Supplies and construction materials were shuttled in as necessary.

 The stones presented a unique challenge. Except for the bluestones mentioned above, the designers wanted local materials that would blend in with the surroundings since they were the only parts of the site visible when a lockdown occurred. They hesitated to use conventional methods of moving and shaping the stones because it would upset the natives. Senior leadership came up with the brilliant idea of utilizing one of their allies... very, very BIG and STRONG allies. They negotiated with them to visit the base. Over a short period, they carried stones to the location, smoothed them, and put them in place much like we would Legos today. A BIG plaque (so the BIG allies could see it) commemorating the alliance once stood where the misnamed heel stone is today but was lost in time. 

Conclusion

Team leadership thanks you for reviewing and considering our findings. While some of the explanations may seem radical, the logic and technology behind the study make them irrefutable. Please do not respond with contradictory conclusions because, in the words of the Almighty Ray, WE DON'T CARE!!

 

<A note from the editor: our ship excursion to Salisbury and Stonehenge really was great. Our guide was knowledgeable, and the trip fulfilled a Bucket List item for visiting Stonehenge. Pictures and the REAL story  of our trip will be coming soon. Bill>

Salisbury/ Stonehenge
07/02/24

 


Cape Town, South Africa- Day 1- Walkabout Shopping and Port Sunset


Cape Town is a port city on South Africa's southwest coast. It is the county's legislative capital, its oldest city, and the seat of the Parliament. Cape Town is the second-largest city in the country and the largest in the Western Cape. The town was founded by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 as a resupply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. While significant changes have occurred, evidence of the Apartheid years is apparent. The legacy of Apartheid means Cape Town remains one of the most racially segregated cities in South Africa

Cape Town is a beautiful city bordered on one side by Table Bay, with the stunning Devil's Peak/ Table Mountain serving as a backdrop for most of the town. In a stroke of retail genius, they built a large, scenic shopping/ dining/ party district within short walking distance of the cruise terminal. 

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The shopping district is split by the harbor entrance. A pedestrian bridge, that swings open to allow boats like this through, brings the two halves together


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Title: Man (statue) looking at rhinos

 

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Title: Man looking at elephant

 

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Surge after the bridge reopens

 

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View from the middle of the bridge


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Shopping break


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Four men and a bird

 

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Ship in drydock

 

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BEST doughnut ever!! White chocolate frosting with sprinkles and caramel center.

 

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More views of the mountain background


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"Hidden in plain sight"



Sunset!

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

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

Cape Town, South Africa, Day 1
06/01/24


Durban, South Africa- A Walk into Dark

Durban is located on the east coast of South Africa and is the third largest city in the country. Our stay there was shortened due to impending bad weather, which forced us to depart a day earlier than scheduled. Also, the city has the highest murder rate in South Africa, and theft is common. We were warned to exercise caution when ashore and stay in certain areas only. For both reasons, our tour of the city was limited.

A quick hither and yon...

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Broken steps to... nothing

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Abandoned outdoor theatre at the edge of a market
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Gondola ride before dinner (some of our group expected an aerial experience)
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'Not sure of its purpose, but an interesting tower... viewed from our gondola

 

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No jumping off of or possessing fish on this pier
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Sand sculpture

 

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Quality sand work of a strange scenario


A walk into darkness,
aka A short walk down a long pier before and after sunset.

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Our destination was the small two-story establishment at the end of the pier for a pre-dinner libation.


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Returning back to the shore

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

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

Durban, South Africa
05/29/24

 


Zanzibar, Tanzania- 3 of 3- Stone Town stroll... with a Bucket List item

Stone Town, also known as Mji Mkongwe ('old town' in Swahili), is the old part of Zanzibar City in Tanzania. Many of the buildings date back to the 19th century and incorporate a unique mixture of Arab, Persian, Indian, and European influences. Tanzania was a British Protectorate from after World War 1 until the mid-1960s, so British architecture heavily influenced the city.    

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Outdoor Kitchen

 

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Part of the wall that circled a part of the old city


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Ending its usefulness


Old city walls and doors

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Hamamni, the largest Persian bath in Zanzibar


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Jaws Corner, the heart of the Stone Town World Heritage site

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In case there were any doubts about the name


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Words of wisdom


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The three kids goofing around playing violins were actually pretty good


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Staircase to a restaurant


A Bucket list item: the birthplace of Freddy Mercury

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Suggested music while looking at these three images is Bohemian Rhapsody (not all of it)

 

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Entrance to the Freddy Mercury Museum
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Bought the teeshirt (already saw the movie)

 

Seaside Views

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"Ladies Free": women ride for free... or is some kind of strange giveaway?


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Sunset

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Hello, moon

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

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

Zanzibar, Tanzania
3 of 3
05/23/24


Zanzibar, Tanzania- 2 of 3- Former Slave Market

In Zanzibar, the last slave market in East Africa was closed in 1873. In 1879, British missionaries built the Christ Church Cathedral at the site. 

The slave trade flourished in the Sultanate of Zanzibar for at least 1000 years until the 1880s. In the 1850s, there were 78,000 slaves in Zanzibar, captured from a vast area in Africa. When plantations became a big industry on the island, domestic slavery grew to the point that 2/3 of the population were slaves. Zanzibar was also a significant contributor to the Indian Ocean slave trade, where slaves went primarily to the Arabian Peninsula. The slave trade was a mainstay in Zanzibar's economy.

Britain started claiming lands in the 1880s, and Zanzibar became a British protectorate from 1893 until 1965. British influence gradually ended the slave trade, which was officially abolished in 1834 and ended completely in the early 1900s.  

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1997 memorial "Memory for the slaves," by Clara Sornas. 

 

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In the market, slaves were kept in underground cells until being brought up for sale.

 

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According to our tour guide, the chains are remnants used at the slave market.


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"...in memory of British Sailors who have died at this station."

 

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"... in memory of <Dr. David> Livingstone and other explorers."

 

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In memory of Richard Bridgeman, killed on an aerial reconnaissance flight in 1917

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

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

Zanzibar, Tanzania
2 of 3
05/23/24


Breaking News: Rescue at Sea

 

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We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcasts with the following Breaking News...

Late yesterday afternoon (the 19th), Spanish authorities in Tenerife contacted Oceania's Insignia about performing a rescue mission for a small boat with 40 souls on board that had lost power. Ours was the nearest vessel, about two hours away, capable of taking 40 people on board. Insignia arrived on the scene shortly after 8 pm, discovering at least 60 people on a small, open boat with no power. A large freighter was watching over them from a short distance away. Over the next several hours, Insignia's crew carried out a rescue mission in pretty rough seas.


CAUTION:

Some of the images are very graphic. Viewer discretion is advised.

 

The skies were partly cloudy with a reasonably stiff breeze.

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 Approach and maneuvering.

The small boat was dead in the water, so Insignia did all the maneuvering.

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First view. Just a speck in the water, with a small blinking light.


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Spotlight shows the boat.

 

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Rough seas made getting the boat alongside a challenge. Kudos to the crew.


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Transfer to Insignia.

Sixty-eight people were assisted onto the ship, including three women and three children. Some appeared injured. We were later told they came from Senegal and had been on the boat for twenty days.

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While able to have two, the boat only had one small motor, and it failed. There were also no electronics or guidance systems.


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The guy in the green stayed until the last person was off and then got off.


After everyone was aboard, the crew searched the boat and removed three of the five souls that had not survived the journey (the other two had to be left due to rough seas). Three heroes from the Insignia crew boarded the boat and carried out the job. 

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Boarding


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Last man off (crew member)

Our new guests are housed in the ship's lounge and will be disembarked tomorrow at our next port on the island of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain. Thank you to the passengers who donated clothes, as all the arrivals' clothing was thrown away.

The captain and crew of Insignia did an incredible job carrying out a difficult rescue in rough seas. Special recognition goes to the three men who boarded the boat to carry out their duties.

Thank you, Insignia team!

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

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

Rescue at sea
06/19/24






Zanzibar, Tanzania- 1 of 3- 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 Seafood 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

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

Zanzibar, Tanzania
1 of 3
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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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. 

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.

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

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