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Archive for 'vacation'

Five Great Reasons to Visit Singapore

Singapore is a small island country with a big heart and presence. Around 45 km west to east and 25 km from north to south, the population is densely packed. I’ve visited Singapore three times now, usually on the way to another final destination since Singapore is around ten hours flight from New Zealand and makes a great stopover.

But those people who don’t spend time in Singapore are short-changing themselves because it’s a great holiday destination in its own right.

Five Reasons to Visit Singapore

1. It’s a safe, clean and friendly place to visit. Definitely easy to get around on your own.

2. The food is delicious! Dine on Chinese, Indian, Malay or stick to something more familiar. Dining out is a treat for the taste buds.

3. Retail therapy. No matter what you want to buy you’ll find goods ranging from designer to bargains in the older market areas.

4. The international airport – Changi Airport is one of the nicest and most interesting airports to visit. Save some shopping time for the airport too.

5. A wide range of attractions to visit and things to do for all age groups. Ride on the Singapore Flyer. Visit the renowned Singapore zoo or Jurong Bird Park. Have a Singapore sling at Raffles Hotel. Take a walking tour around the old parts of the city or laze away the day on Sentosa Island. The choice is endless.

View from Singapore Flyer

View of the City from the top of the Singapore Flyer

Tai Chi Botanic Gardens

Morning Tai Chi at the botanical gardens

Singapore River

Singapore River, lined with restaurants and pubs

Mosque and Market

Sultan Mosque and surrounding market stalls

Singapore really is an exciting and vibrant place to visit, and I’m looking forward to the next time we can fit it into our travel itinerary.

Have you or would you like to visit Singapore? Does it appeal to you as a destination?

13 Facts About Shipboard Food on the Pacific Pearl

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I’m home again after our cruise aboard the Pacific Pearl. Those who have been on a cruise before will know about the sheer amount of food available. It’s very tempting to have a little of this and a little of that and before you know it, clothes strain at the seams. I’m afraid I am physical proof of this fact, and I’m officially on a diet. Sick smile

The catering is a huge operation, and I found the food related facts they gave us fascinating.

13 Facts About Shipboard Food

1. 3000 dozen eggs are used during a 10 day cruise.

2. Plus 1000 kg of lettuce

3. 4000 litres of milk

4. 2000 kg of watermelon

5. 1400 kg of steak – hubby ate quite a few of these!

6. 7500 tea bags are dunked and drunk

7. 600 kg of cheese is consumed – I like cheese.

8. 12500 plates, 10000 glasses and 15000 items of cutlery are washed each day

9. There are 29 people on the dishwashing brigade

10. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish are delivered when the ship is in port

11. On average 90 tons (180 pallets) of food are loaded on board after passing inspection by the Food and Beverage Director.

12. There are five butchers on board to prepare different cuts of meat

13. 99% of the passengers put on weight. Unfortunately, I didn’t fit into the 1% category. I blame the pastry chef!

Do you tend to eat more when you’re on holiday?

The Holiday That Doesn’t Live Up to Expectations

Diamond Princess, Sydney

At some stage during most of the cruises we’ve taken, the cruise director will read out a list of the top ten complaints/questions they receive from passengers. Here are three for your amusement:

1. The passenger with an inside cabin who complained because they didn’t have a view and wanted the cruise staff to cut a porthole for them.

2. The passenger who complained because the sea was keeping him awake.

3. The passenger who complained because he didn’t get a suntan. He was cruising in Alaska.

This made me think of our past holidays and the things that have gone wrong. Luckily, to date, we haven’t experienced any huge dramas, merely minor irritations.

1. The hotel room in Egypt with mouse droppings all over the bed. The second room also had mouse droppings and I gave up. I slept with one eye open and used my sleeping bag.

2. The hotel shortage in Zanzibar. We stayed on Zanzibar for three nights with the hotels becoming worse and smaller each night. The last room was a small square box with no windows or facilities and we had to run the fan or melt. The fan was really noisy! Didn’t get much sleep that night. Oh, almost forgot. The first night our friends, who stayed in another room, had a nocturnal guest—a rat. They called the hotel desk and it was like a Greek comedy. The story and the size of the rat has grown over the years. We still chuckle about the rat story. Also, the ferry going back to the mainland broke down and we spent time drifting in the humidity while they fixed it.

3. The hotel in Greece that was really still a building site. After two nights we complained and were shifted to a new and much better hotel.

4. The camp site in Kenya. The porters asked if we’d heard any noises during the night. “No,” we said. They’d had to chase elephants away from our tent. When we didn’t believe them they showed us the footprints. They were really close to our tent!

5. The camp site in Tanzania. I was petrified about having to go to the loo in the middle of the night. Luckily I didn’t need to, but the roar of the lions kept me awake all night.

6. Camping once again, this time in Rotorua, New Zealand. It was a wild and windy night, so windy only our weight kept the tent on the ground. There was a few times when I didn’t think that would be enough to keep us earthbound. We ended up driving home at about three a.m.

Do you have any bad holiday stories to share?

The Best Holiday Ever

Thursday Thirteen

Since I’ve just returned from holiday I thought I’d use my Pacific cruise holiday as my topic for this week’s Thursday Thirteen.

Thirteen Things I Did During My Cruise Holiday

1. I tried Line Dancing for the first time ever.

2. I went to my first art auction.

3. I went helmet-diving in Bora Bora, Tahiti. I didn’t think I’d like it, but it was fun looking at the fish face-to-face with nothing but water between us.

4. I went to a series of lectures by a marine biologist and inspiration struck for one of my stories. The lectures were great.

5. I sat under the stars on a lounger, watched some recent movies on the big screen and ate popcorn. My favorite movies were Sherlock Holmes and The Time Traveler’s Wife.

6. I went to the Apple store in Honolulu and played with an iPad. I want one!!

7. I went to the gym every morning.

8. I took some Photoshop classes.

9. I climbed and descended lots and lots of stairs. It was 107 steps from the Patisserie (where I had my mid-morning coffee) to our stateroom and 140 steps to the Horizon buffet at the top of the ship.

10. I went to the casino and donated $5 most nights. Last of the big spenders, that’s me.

11. I met the captain and several of his officers when we visited the bridge. These days the security is high and security guards accompanied us.

12. I went to a theatre show every night and saw singers, dancers, comedians, ventriloquists and magicians. Some were better than others, but my favorites were the Princess singers and dancers with their excellent stage shows.

13. I visited 13 ports and explored Tonga, Tahiti, Hawaii, Samoa, American Samoa and Fiji. We also had two nights in Sydney and attended the Royal Easter show and explored the central city and Darling Harbor.

Your best holiday ever – where did you go?