Kiwi House OtorohangaDecember 18, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C
Lunch stop and visit a local attraction
This a huge garden and mall built since we were here a few years ago. Along the lines of Gardens in the Bay there must be thousands of plants in this massive indoor. The roof opens in the centre and forms a huge waterfall 5 storeys tall. The terminal to terminal train runs through it and there is glass observation bridge . Very tranquil very beautiful very lot of work keeping it that way. Awesome!
Changi is claimed as the world's best airport and we've certainly seen none better ...Read more
We were glad of the stop here where it is better aligned with our western preferences although buddhism is well evident. We anchored off and landed on Patong Beach, one of those severely hit by the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami ... rather sobering to think close to 1/4 million people lost their lives here and nearby. We took an excursion and visited the (unfinished) Big Buddha and a temple complex. Projects are seldom finished to to the belief that when anything or anyone's work is finished or completed the next step is death...the finish is "the end". Immediately adopted that policy with the "to do list". Ha...Read more
Colombo feels like a city trying to emerge from a difficult past. We saw extremes in wealth and lots of construction under way. The colonial past is very evident and we rather enjoyed the stop despite not feeling up to much sightseeing.Read more
Still a bit lethargic with our colds we ventured ashore for a couple hours and took a Tuk Tuk with local driver USD12 for up to 2 hrs. He took us to a "gem museum" aka jewellery store, then a nice lake in the city where we could see a temple in the distance and get an idea of the city felt like. It's much cleaner and better organized than any of the cities we saw in India. No obvious smog. We also visited a tea factory which turned out to be a tea shop. Couldn't miss the famous Ceylon tea thing could we now? We tried some teas and actually bought a few, too. Will look forward to sharing with visitors at home! It was a very hot and muggy day so were glad to get back to comfort of our ship.Read more
Cochin is a rather quaint port city, again a blend old and new. We toured the old, as usual, this time trying aTuk Tuk as a first for us. In the muggy heat they are surprisingly comfortable being so open. Driving is hairy to say the least with no respect at all for lanes, directions or anything in the way. U turns are common and everyone just merges and blends as necessary. No accidents, no road rage, no horn blasting. It was a fun way to sight see. We saw a unique net fishing enterprise, old churches, temples and fishing boats. The other half is a modern high rise big city.Read more
There are several speciality dining options onboard and tonight we enjoyed something we've never seen before. A video was projected onto our table and plates showing the preparation of each course. At the end of each presentation the real thing appeared in front of us as the video image faded. A remarkable experience with great food and fantastic service!
Each of these pics is of the same table setting ... all white cloth and plates for a beautiful effect.Read more
We visited these ancient caves on a cruise excursion with a lovely guide.
The caves are cut right into solid rock much like Petra in Jordan and also sometime in the early centuries, believed to be about 500AD. Unfortunately almost all of the beautifully carved figures are damaged by persons unknown (although Portugal and Britain are both candidates it seems...).
Never to mind, ruins are ruins and one can still see just what was achieved here. The main cave is a temple primarily dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and has entrances on 3 sides of its more or less square layout some 40m side to side and 6m high. In effect they dug out a horizontal slice of rock 6m high leaving only columns and a few wall to support the rock and hill above. There is a shrine room inside with 4 walls and a doorway on each side. Inside is the shrine itself, looking like a dome. All there because the surrounding rock was removed. Steps, wall, carvings, figures ... none had anything added, just carved away. There are some signs of a few restorations - ironically, some of these restorations are already in need of repair even though not yet 50 years old.Read more