day of our voyage. We took a shuttle to town, because the taxi union was not as strong as in other ports where they threatened to blockade the port if the ship used a shuttle to transport the passengers to their town. We were brought to the center of this typically Asian town at a shopping center. Here we talked to the various taxi drivers to get the best deal to take us to a large waterfall, a large bird aviary, a bat cave, and a cable car ride to the top of the highest mountain. A very ambitious schedule, but hopefully one we will be able to accomplish. After a few minutes we picked a driver and off we went, as we drove I realized that our driver's scope of English was rather limited and this did present a problem, because he was unable to describe the area very well, as we traveled to our first destination the bat cave. Here there were many boats taking people to the caves and a few other places and they started at $88.00 per person and I got them down to 50.00/ person for one hour, but they would not take a credit card, and I didn’t have enough money so we skipped that place, next stop the waterfall
. Here we climbed 1000 feet up over slippery rocks till we reached the top of the falls, there we took a number of photos then we had to climb down, on the way there was an eastern toilet which I used but Mary Ann choose to wait. Back in the vehicle we headed for the Aviary again noticing our driver’s lack of communication in English. All of these places were miles apart and the clock was running for us, since we had to be back on the ship by 3:30 that afternoon. The Aviary was well laid out and we could interact with the animals both in cages and in large open areas. A lot of photos were taken and a monkey grabbed my hand thinking I had food to give him, but he quickly released me when he found no food. Of course through the exhibits we had to go through the obligatory shops where we bought a couple of t-shirts, then back to the cab for our ride to the cable car. We drove and drove and became more and more concerned when we got no answer to our question of "how much time till we arrive". Again his lack of English skills bothered us; finally after almost an hour we arrived only to find out that there was a 30 minute line to get on the cable car, then a 30 minute ride to the top of the mountain. Once their we would want to spend time taking pictures and exploring, followed by another 30 minutes to get on the car coming down, and the 30 minute ride back down and it was already after 1PM, with that and his lack of communication skills and lack of a cell phone in case of an emergency we decided to forego this part of the tour and head back to the ship
. Once there we looked through the many kiosks set up on the pier before heading to our cabin to get ready for dinner and the ship board entertainment. Before dinner we went on deck and noticed several passengers walking towards the ship well after the appointed time of 3:30 PM so I guess we could have taken the cable car and got back before the ship left for Phuket, Thailand.
The morning found us 7 AM at the dock, where we had a tour to see old Phuket Town and a shopping mall. We had been here in the past and saw quiet a bit so we decided to do this, only the bus that took us found it difficult to get around this very crowded city and the guide couldn’t show us much so we went to the mall. Here we decided to hire a cab to take us to the Golden Buddha and a few other temples full of Hindu, Buddhist and Confucius Gods. At one temple a young woman gave Mary Ann a large hand of bananas while I was taking pictures in the upper temple. We kept 4 or 5 of the bananas and gave the rest to our room stewards. Our cab drivers name was Rudy and he was very good so even though I had haggled with him on the fare, I decided to give him what he asked for and told him it was because he was so good. Back at the mall we found time for a beer and internet use across the street from the mall and I had to go to a bank to change some money into Thai baht since they wouldn’t take American money or a credit card
. Here we got off our blog and downloaded a few emails. This island is a resort area having even a beautiful Golf and Country Club which we visited the last time. Our table mate Peter and his wife from South Africa were picked up by a friend from South Africa who now lives here and golf’s at least two times a week; they had a tour of the island and a pleasant lunch together. Thailand used to be called Siam and most of us are familiar with the movie the King of Siam. But we found out that the people of this country love their elderly king and were upset by the way the movie portrayed him.
Our next stop is the Seychelles a place where many Europeans go for a honeymoon, we have a tour there and plan to swim on their beautiful beaches.
Father Bolles is getting ready for Easter services and hopefully our tours will not prevent us from going.
We arrived on the island of Langkawi at Porto Mali, Malaysia at the Star Terminal early on the morning of our 74