adventures abroad, travel

Day 4: At Sea

Late night notwithstanding, I’m up reasonably early. It’s a strategic decision, not to go back to sleep: tomorrow my excursion meets at 7am. No sense in getting all off schedule.

Breakfast is at leisure at the buffet, and I share a table with a nice couple from Pennsylvania.

After breakfast I’m at loose ends. A podcast on the open deck. A stroll around the promenade deck. Looped around. The shops browsed. The internet checked. I find a trivia game in progress and sit in on that for a spell.

And this is why I never consider repositioning cruises: days at sea without ports are deadly dull to me, no matter now many activities they pack in.

Around lunchtime I bump into G, just startig his day in earnest, and T, just back from breakfast. G and I go for a light bite – lunch for me and breakfast for him, and we plan to meet up with T for tea and scones at 3pm.

In the mean time, we stop at the shore excursions desk. There are days that G doesn’t have any excursions, having already been on the ship for 10 days and seen some of the ports. He adds excursions to join me on mine – he’d like to get to know me, he says, and that needs time. Since he can’t make the cruise longer, he’ll settle for maximizing opportunities to have time together. (Later, he’ll change the tours he did have, so they will align with mine. When I point out, teasingly, that he’s giving me the sense he maybe likes me lilbit, he says, More than maybe. And more than a little.)

At 4:45 there’s a cocktail reception, T G P and I attend. A glass of wine goes to my head. Afterwards we stroll down to the Wheelhouse Bar to meet ND who is up for a very large Fosters, and T has another champagne. (I just have water. There will be wine with dinner but I’ve had enough for now.)

Even so, halfway through dinner I will just be feeling waves of love for this awesome group of people. They are ALL so fantastic. (And also, I’ll be missing awesome people from previous trips, anew.)

Over dinner we sort out who’s doing what and who has excursions together tomorrow, and we go up for the Stargazing event that proves to be a total bust.

But it’s just as well because by then it’s late, and the wine has overcome me, and I am anxious to go to sleep.

Night: Aft deck pools from the upper deck
adventures abroad, photography, travel

Day 3: (Phu My) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

I am far off time and don’t sleep well, so I oversleep in the morning, racing out without my excursion ticket (retrieved) and without my Fitbit (realized too late). We get into dock and cleared by Vietnam immigration an hour late, but T and I are among the first people off the ship to join the tour.

Continue reading “Day 3: (Phu My) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam”

adventures abroad, photography, travel

Day 2: Nha Trang, Vietnam

First port and first shore excursion!

On the way off the ship, I see G from the singles group from last night – he is on my same tour but arrived after me, so we’re not in the same tour group.

Our tour guide, Van, will take us to myriad stops – a breakneck pace to visit 7 in all – to see a traditional fishing village (being transformed by the growth of Nha Trang), a Hindu tower, a Buddhist temple, a pagoda where we are treated to traditional music, a facility where we are treated to traditional dancing (and coconut water), a visit to an embroidery ‘factory’ (workshop/museum), and of course some shopping stops. Continue reading “Day 2: Nha Trang, Vietnam”

adventures abroad, exploring and revisiting, travel, ups and downs

First post of the year, for first visit to Asia

My first trip to Asia came via a cruise over the Christmas holidays, courtesy of Princess Cruise Line.

Cruise Itinerary Map, courtesy of Princess Cruises.

Getting there would take 30+ hours, however, with connections through New York and South Korea Dubai, Continue reading “First post of the year, for first visit to Asia”

adventures abroad, exploring and revisiting, photography, travel

Quebec City and back again

I start my day around 9, coffee and Duolingo and Rosetta Stone in a corner of the Château.

Around 10:15 I go back up to make sure we get out in time for check out and get to our tour in time.

We do, with time to go get a little shopping in, and then we start our local walking food tour.

Poutine. I KNEW someone would make us eat poutine. Still, this version was WAY less gross than I’ve had before.

Our guide Florence is funny, friendly and informative as we trek through the old city, tasting and learning as we go.

Second stop includes pea soup. What the HECK have I signed up for? (No really the tour WAS really good).

The tour lasts a net delicious 3 hours of nibbling, and we get done in time to meet our tour of the hotel (another hour)

Funicular. Who wants to take that many steps when there’s a cool elevator thingy?

Then we take the funicular into the lower city to say we did– plus explore a bit and have a smidge of dessert, before we collect our bags and vehicle and trek back to Montreal.

That’s another three hours, plus check in, parking hoopla, unwinding time, and finally venture out into the evening drizzle to find a pub (full and loud as the locals watch the basketball game). The staff are nice though and the food is good. We share a Pad Thai with chicken (I add sriracha to my plate) and a cookie with cheddar and ice cream that we order on recommendation, but with doubts.

Our doubts are unfounded.