Cruise around the world on the Amsterdam

Trip Start Jan 04, 2013
Trip End May 01, 2013

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Our next port is Bali, Indonesia where we will dock at Benoa port on the Southern most part of the island, and because of another vessel at our dock we were a few hours late. But at least it was better than tendering to the island. Our tour was early so everything was set back, and we left the ship 2 hours late for a tour of the Southern part of the island. The bus took us through the very crowded streets full of motor scooters, buses, cars and trucks, but oddly enough almost everything was motorized. Our first stop was at a temple in Singapadu, Gianyar where we were treated to a Barong Play representing an eternal fight between good and evil spirits. A Barong (a mythological animal) represents good spirits and Rangoa (a mythological monster) represents an evil one. It was very hot and humid and the outfits they wore caused them to sweat profusely, and it was very nice for the families on either side of the temple, who were looking over at the play from their backyards. In the end the good spirits prevailed but the evil ones were not annilated as is their philosophy of a balance between good and evil. Next we visited a wood carving studio where they had spectacular pieces all cut from one piece of wood one which we could not take a picture was a fisherman with a large net, unbelievable work with all the holes of the net carved exactly alike. We bought a few small pieces, and then went to an art gallery where they painted using bamboo brushes such beautiful detailed work. The islands religion is made up mainly of Hindus, but the rest of Indonesia is 90%25 Muslims. Almost all the homes had a family temple in the back yard and still there were many community owned temples. We reached the dock in the late afternoon and the ships crews were busy setting up for a spectacular Balinese night on board with bamboo bridges, rice fields, and homes. All set with a night market motif in the back ground.

It was most impressive and enjoyed by all, and to think it all has to come down. We again used the shore side internet to publish the blog and upload the pictures, but it was so crowded with the crew also using the internet that it took a long time. We have another sea day, and then the island of Sulawesi, another one of the 17,000 islands that make up this nation of Indonesia, with the 4th largest population in the world behind China, India and the good old USA. This island has many peninsulas coming off the South, East and North and we are docking on the Southwest one at a city of 2million people called Makassar. Our tour started at 9AM and this bus was much better than the last were it was difficult to put my short legs between the seat and the seat back ahead. We went directly through the most grueling traffic to an outdoor market, where all the fruits, vegetables, chickens, goats and fish are displayed for all to see, smell and feel. People were packed together like sardines walking up this long narrow street with motor scooters ,bicycle carts, Pedi cabs and the occasional truck all competing for their space. It took us a very long time to go the three blocks. Then we went to a fishing village were we saw the fisherman unloading their catches and the larger fish were packed away for transport and the small fish were laid on tarps salted down and left to the drying process in the hot sun. Afterward they will go to the outdoor markets for sale. Fort Rotterdam our next stop was built in 1545 by the ninth King of Gowa and was called Fort Ujung Pandang. Originally it was constructed of clay , but later in the reign of the 14th King it was changed to padas stone taken from the Karst Mountains. Then the Dutch came along and took it over for the storage of spices. The toilets in the fort were very old and many people didn't know about Muslins and eastern toilets. Muslins wash before and after relieving themselves and each toilet has a place for washing, only no one told some of these people and since there is no western toilet only a small hole in the floor and a large cistern for water they presumed that you relived yourself in the cistern which is where they wash. (Big mess for the Muslins who followed our group.) There was a very interesting museum at the Fort describing the culture of the many different people who live in these islands. The Tana Toraja or mountain people had a particularly interesting practice of mummify their dead and kept them in a room in their house until they have enough money to burry them in a stone crypt with all the pomp and circumstance, which includes the slaughter of many buffalos. Their homes have typically three rooms one for the family one for a guest and one for the mummified relative, and the roof is very unusual and shaped like a stand for the bow of a boat. We left the museum and headed to the bus which was across the street and quiet a harrowing experience trying to get there with all the traffic, but we did, and were taken to a shopping area where all the businesses are run by Chinese. In fact the Chinese have controlled the businesses here for a very long time. In our travels over the years we have noted that in most third world countries the businesses are owned by either Chinese or Indian people. The businesses line the street and we found a luggage repair place, and since one of our suitcases had a missing wheel when it arrived in our room we have been trying to get it repaired on the ship to no avail. They wanted to give us $100.00 towards a new piece, but it only needs a wheel, the suitcase is in good shape otherwise.  So I bought a wheel and gave it to the front desk to see if their repair department would put the wheel on the suitcase. I’ll let you know what happens. The rest of the shopping trip was uneventful and we came back to the ship where we again tried to get a fast internet, but no success.

We have new speakers on board one is Adrian Cooper from Birkbeck College, London University. An he will talk about the coral reefs and the life they support in this area and the other speaker is Aline Bridgewater a radio commentator from Hong Kong who got her job Through William Holden the actor who bought the radio station and hired her. She went on to interview the interesting and famous people of the time including Mother Theresa, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Dali Lama,etc.

Also on the ship is a gentleman from San Francisco, Joe Oakes who went around the world by non motorized transport, meaning bicycle sail boat, running walking, climbing, kayaked, drove a team of sled dogs and swimming. It took him 10 years to complete by swimming the Bering Strait between Russia and the USA. We see him throughout the ship and I bought his book explaining his adventures, and he donates all the profits to Namibia, where he supports an A.I.D. center for children. Joe did the Ironman in Hawaii 6 times, and guided 30,000 swimmers across the icy waters of San Francisco Bay.
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John & Maria on

The open air Market looks amazing. Good luck with the luggage repair.
Love to both
stay healthy
J & M

LaVaughn Kellogg on

Very interesting "blog" about Indonesia. Also enjoyed the photos, loved the bright colors.

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