Tuesday, 31 December 2019

December 29, 30, 31, 2019 Mumbai to Cochin (or Kochi), India

December 29, 2019

We sailed away from Mumbai last night at 17:00, this visit provided a whole new look into a fascinating culture, one that simply survives in millions of lives, and another where their lot is improving through education and adoption of Western ideas and concepts put into practice.
Terryl made an inquiry at the Spa for which she was invited to participate in a lucky draw. The Gym area, next to the Spa, was crowded and after a few comments extolling the virtues and relaxing feelings their work provides, the first lucky number was pulled and 6075 (our cabin) received a $75.00 treatment. My arms went up and a loud noise of some kind covered the room. Terryl’s name was on the card and she was thrilled and gave a warm and respectful thank you to all those present.
This morning we are cruising south toward the tip of India and will dock at Cochin, India tomorrow morning. The sea is calm, the pollution is gone, the food continues to be excellent along with super service by attendants who know our preferences and react accordingly. Read, relax, enjoy is the name of the game for these 38 hours sailing to Cochin.

December 30, 2019

Last night we had a drink with Teresa and Tracy Boyer in the Living Room on Deck 10 facing south as we cruised to Cochin. Terryl had met them the other night and invited them for a drink. For one hour the conversation was constant and lively detailing many adventures on the high seas including a robbery at gunpoint in Mexico City. This is not a pretty story; They and their luggage were followed from the airport and pulled over by a look-a-like police vehicle, and with a gun forced into the side of Teresa’s head, were frisked, and verbally accosted while their personal possessions as well as the contents of several luggage bags were taken and loaded into their vehicle. Their passports were not taken. Why? Because these criminals wanted their targets to get back on a plane asap and not report the crime to the real authorities. The Boyers are well-healed, retired for 11 years and have a home in Dallas as well as Mexico, and as of last night have spent the last 99 days on board the Azamara Quest as she travels the world.
This morning, while docked in Cochin we have cleared Indian Customs (again) and will begin a tour entitled ‘Walk the Broadway Market followed by sundowner at Taj Malabar Hotel’ this afternoon at 16:45; this will take us well into the night and then back to the ship. Currently, we are having a cool drink onboard.

December 31, 2019

Let’s begin with last night: at 16:45 outside the terminal the bus attendants came to find us, because we had not picked up our #10 chest sticker prior to leaving the ship. (I need to tell you that our instructions did not include that little detail - incidentally, the first time this has happened on this trip with Azamara.) So off we go into the city of Cochin or Kochi which ever you prefer, that is teeming with motor bikes, Tuk Tuks (three wheel motorbikes with room for two passengers in the back), buses, few private cars and loads of people with some on the move and others hardly moving. Our Tour guide talks and then the microphone quits, he taps it and he’s off again. His is giving us some of the history of Cochin and the 28 states in all of India. President Modi runs the show but he needs help to do his job for 1,400,000,000 of his fellow citizens, (only China is greater) and he does this with 28 Prime Ministers where some states are richer than others. Hundreds of years ago spices were the number one product India exported around the world with Pepper being the largest and most profitable for India. Today, it’s still the most popular among the dozens and dozens of spices India grows and ships everywhere. Our tour included a few stops, and what I concluded to be about a one mile walk through the narrowest of streets filled with vendors politely selling their goods. For me it was difficult to keep up with him holding his sign over his head, as I continued to drip with sweat while side-stepping the pot holes and loose slabs of worn concrete. Terryl asked, “Are we going to stop and shop sometime soon?” Of course, we’ll do whatever you ask was his reply. In due course no other one person, especially me, really wanted to shop in this local. The end of our tour was a stop at The Taj Malabar Hotel, a quite luxurious hotel on the water with a comfortable sitting area by the water, and nicely dressed waiters serving a nice cold local beer that made my day. After a pleasant rest stop we were back on the ship for a late dinner in Windows Patio.
This morning after a little breakfast we left the ship, and before we passed Immigration a nice young man reached over a small barricade and called, “Gary and Terry I’m here waiting for you.” We went out to greet him and hopped on his  Tuk Tuk and headed for the Old Town past Jew Country (no kidding, it’s still called that even though all have left for Israel and other parts of the world over the last century or more). We were driven to three shops, very nice shops, where the prices were higher, the selections were greater, and the service was friendly with kind words like, “I’m not trying to sell you anything, I’m just doing my job.” After the third shopping stop the driver asked if we’d like to shop for spices, or, if we’d like to go anywhere else in Cochin (all for the same price of $15.00 US). We had been with him for two hours by this time, so we thanked him and asked to go to the ship.
At 13:45 I’m sipping on a cold beer and writing this copy. Tonight is New Years Eve and we don’t have to ask about this evening’s entertainment because the Azamara Quest has it all laid out in the dining room first, followed by the countdown extravaganza around the pool deck and its’ bars, and a fabulous sail-a-way after midnight toward Seychelles with fireworks galore. 

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

December 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 2019 leaving Oman and arriving in Mumbai, India

December 24, 2019

Last night was an amazing evening compliments of Azamara Cruise Line that bussed us to Muscat's huge new Convention Centre by the Airport. Once again Captain Filip greeted us as we entered a magnificent auditorium to hear a five piece authentically Muslim band, followed by fourteen piece brass band, both playing their favourite works to the delight of all who attended. In a little over an hour we drove to the ship where the party had already started with more food and music and drinks to be had in several venues.

Today Terryl and I shuttle-bussed it back to the Souq to purchase a few little goodies and immediately were at a loss to find the store of choice: a gold shop with our ears, necks and wrists begging to be adorned. Alas, I gave up and walked out of the Souq with the guidance of many vendors, and when seated with a drink Terryl went back in and then, came out fourty minutes later claiming no success once again. Now we're on the ship - have had a nice little lunch with refreshments - and preparing for the sail away at 17:00 and of course, the party to follow. In about sixty-four hours we'll dock in Mumbai, India.

December 25, 2019

Last night, Christmas Eve, Terryl and I agreed to meet Jamie for a drink followed by dinner at the Discoveries Bar and Dining room. This time he was there and we easily launched into another spontaneous and lively discussion about life, illnesses, family and cruising. Jamie is the same man we had drinks with very early in this 11 day cruise to Mumbai. When we stood to announce our readiness to dine Jamie says, “We’re five for dinner please.” Terryl and I looked at each other with surprise that we were now five. These two additional gentlemen were not; Jamie had prearranged that too. So off we go and when seated Roberto and Alfredo introduce themselves as did we. They are originally from Cuba and have been living together in Miami for twenty years. And of course they were pleasant and well spoken with their cuban accent still in evidence. The food was wonderful and the service was even better. Just before the main course was brought to our table Jamie excused himself and said he was a little tired and was going to his cabin. The four of us finished the dinner together and departed as friends.
The show last night was a little like an old fashioned Bing Crosby family gathering with all kinds of performers on stage singing, playing guitars and telling Christmas stories until well into the night. We were tired by 23:00 and went to our cabin just before midnight.

This morning a beautiful Christmas Brunch was laid out in the Discoveries Dining Room where we enjoyed Crab Legs, Lox, Lamb Chops, Fruits and so much more all presented beautifully under an Ice Sculpture slightly higher than head high. Another start to an Azamara day at sea where the temperature has been a steady 25 degrees Celsius and sunny since we landed in Dubai fifteen days ago. Many of our fellow passengers will be disembarking and heading for the Mumbai Airport on December 28, but not us, we have 38 additional days before we fly to Dubai from Cape Town, South Africa on Emirates Air and then to Toronto on Air Canada.

December 26, 2019

Last night was one where both of us were tired - we really wanted to be alone together - and had a very light dinner on the outdoor Patio which is always a delight. I had an appetizer of Carpaccio artistically prepared especially for me, and Terryl had a tiny piece of chicken providing the energy required to take the elevator to our cabin. There is a music only channel on our Television that did the trick and we were asleep in no time.

This morning we got up at 08:30 just in time to get dressed and out on the Pool Deck to see (with special glasses provided by Azamara) the complete Solar Eclipse, an episode that lasted two hours with the maximum effect visible at 09:15. The Deck was full of passengers with a staff member describing the visual effect in technical detail. I did take several photos but could or should have made iPhone settings, if possible, to get the most dramatic effects.
Professor Chuck Richardson lectured at 10:00 on ‘Mumbai: Gateway To India’ complete with his photographs yielding a valuable precursor to our visit scheduled for December 27, 2019. His delivery was as expected dotted with explanations of population, poverty, working children, and of the very wealthy going about their business in the fastest growing GDP in the world, even ahead of China. The Professor discussed India’s political scene before and after India’s independence from Britain. But most importantly his focus was on their working children who should have been in school, along with the working adult poor’s need for employment which keeps them using ancient tools instead of modern equipment. Why? If new equipment requires one person to do the same task as ten then what would the replaced nine do to earn a living? This is a direct opposite thought process that is used in North American and many other areas in the world. He also instructs that the 80% Hindu population is quite happy doing what they do because the real rewards in life come to them in the after life. Full Stop.
From 14:00 for an hour in the Cabaret the entire singing and dancing team entertained us with fabulous and familiar songs from Broadway Shows. They were terrific and this their penultimate show was performed to a packed house who truly appreciated an extraordinary performance.

December 27, 2019

This is the day we dock in Mumbai, India at 07:00 and make ready to enter this amazing stand-alone Metropolis of 22,000,000 people. Terryl’s recollections going back to the 1980’s are well known - and they are not pretty. Memories of children with limbs broken and bent begging in the streets, others stealing from your pockets, crushing crowds continuously moving, men lying in the streets, and even dead babies lying in the gutters, and a certain unpleasant smell emanating from everywhere was constant. Terryl recalls gifting pens and little trinkets to give to the little ones, and to one crippled child she and her fellow Air Canada friends gave a set of crutches one week only to find they had been sold to buy food the following week. All sad but true.
Our tour this morning entitled ‘Mumbai on the Move’ declared that things have changed somewhat in fourty years. I recognize that a four-hour bus tour only skirts the heart of a major city like Mumbai, but it was enough for Terryl to state with certainty that Mumbai really is on the move. All of India’s GDP is the fastest growing in the world, even faster than China. The streets are much cleaner, we saw only one man lying down in the street, only one or two children begging, and lines of children walking in formation in school uniforms. We saw much of what has not changed too: prepared lunches arriving by 11:00 via bicycle messenger by the thousands, dozens of men pounding other people’s laundry in cement tubs and then hanging it out to dry in the sun. Both occupations have survived modern process and procedure for decades. One theory is that why replace employment with machinery that only costs more money for electricity, and most importantly, puts men out of work. We were told that more young Indians are receiving better education now more than ever, and that the divorce rate for ‘love marriage’ is going up and up while ‘arranged marriage’ is staying as low as ever.
We toured Mahatma Ghandi’s home (now a museum) to view photographs, letters and events that form and speaks to his incredible life in service to his fellow citizens. Of course there are volumes written on Ghandi: one letter above all that caught my eye was Ghandi’s letter to Adolph Hitler beginning:
“Dear Friend…Friends have been urging me to write to you for the sake of humanity. But I have resisted their request, because of the feeling that any letter from me would be an impertinence…” How wonderful and humble can one man can be?
This evening Jamie dropped by the Spirits Bar and jumped into a last drink with us. Of course he had a few stories, one fairly risqué, mostly about his time in Leavenworth Prison (as a Doctor, not an inmate), which prompted me to launch my 1960 Cincinnati Workhouse Prison escape with John McCusker (you know that one I’m sure) along with its trials and eventual outcome. On leaving us for the last time he handed Terryl a piece of folded paper and stated, “Oh, here’s a message for you.” I opened. It and it was his name, telephone and email address in Washington D.C. What a class act: Jamie’s way of saying I want to see you again.
That evening we exchanged emails with the Ainslie couple from Vancouver, and the Boyer couple from Dallas, friendly people indeed, and one of the ladies was a former Air Canada flight attendant. How good is that.

December 28, 2019

This morning approximately 440 passengers disembarked - we were two of sixty continuing on to Cape Town - and approximately 600 coming aboard for this twenty-four day cruise to Cochin, India, two stops in Seychelles, (Kenya has been cancelled due to internal unrest and conflict), stops in Tanzania, Mozambique, and four stops in South Africa with final disembarkation in Cape Town. The crew, including navigational, service and administration is not changing. (It’s nice that we know many of them by face and name now.)
We have returned our last, and received our new room keys, in a seamless process identifying us as back-to-back passengers to begin enjoying the day on board. Terryl and I discussed taking another tour of Mumbai today and decided against it after speaking with fellow passengers who had visited what they call the ‘slum’ area yesterday. After hearing their comments Terryl said, “After 40 years this part of Mumbai has never changed.”

Monday, 23 December 2019

December 22&23, 2019 in Muscat, Oman

December 22, 2019

Our tour to the Grand Mosque was exceptional in that it is perhaps the most important thing that one must see when visiting the sister city to Dubai, and that is the capital city Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Our driver took us through tunnels and over bridges that appeared to be quite new, and as is the case, spotless. He detailed the area’s relevancy to the Ruler's master plan as well as its Islamic religious dominance of their population which is 20% by birthright, with the expats running at 80%. He talked about the young adult when getting married is given a  significant amount to have the wedding of their dreams, a full amount of money to buy their first home, and a few additional contributions to get their young marriage off on the right foot. We are amazed at what appears to be factoids about their country. They don’t pay taxes, but if they can afford to give 2.5% of their earned or inherited net worth, it is a one time only donation to charity, and their medical plan is also their birthright and paid by the rulers. 

And again the cranes on buildings being constructed are many in the city centre and blossoming in the outskirts. The bridges and tunnels are already built to handle the growing population - the expats are doing the grunt work and the well educated Emirates are calling the shots. In every business activity controlled by foreign investment there are mandated locals working in the administration office of these firms: it’s the law.

The weather at this time of year is in the mid 20’s Celsius, and higher than the mid 40’s in the summer. For us I’m sure their summer conditions would be unbearable, but for now, the air is warm, the sky is blue, the Azamara Quest is the place to be.
Last night we partied at the White Night event with a fabulous buffet on the pool deck topped off with Crepes smothered in sweets and cognac, and had an early night to sleep-in while we sail toward Muscat, Oman for our docking on December 23, 2019.

December 23, 2019

We arrived within minutes of our schedule and hustled up to the Windows Cafe for a nice breakfast of Pancakes and Fruit for me, with eggs and fruit for Terryl. Jamie dropped by and apologized for missing our cocktail and dinner engagement the other night; he was bushed and took a nap and slept right through the appointed hour. Totally understandable, and we had another nice chat with this 81 year old practising Physchiatrist from New York City before heading to the gangway and our Omarian (?) Tour Guide who had us for the next 4 hours.
The capital city of Muscat, and the country of Oman is a well run Muslin empire whose current ruler is Sultan Qaboos the son of the previous ruler who relinquished his crown in 1970. Sultan Qaboos has ruled for 49 years and if he can overcome his recent illness will celebrate 50 years as the supreme religious and governmental leader of Oman in 2020. Once again oil and gas is 90% of their GDP with tourism and editable dates completing their working lives. Earlier we talked about the citizens loving their leader. Sultan Qaboos is no exception; for an example, when he was younger and healthier he would ride through the villages tossing money out on to the streets for any all to use as they wished. No strings attached, just like their current practice of giving plenty of money to their citizens for marriage costs, home purchases et al. Remember, they have no income tax payable by the citizens and their medical and educational costs are born by the government, and the government is Sultan Qaboos. Our tour guide tells us that everyone loves this man who has no children to pass on the Royal Paton. So when the time is right he will appoint a member of his collective family such as a cousin or a nephew.

We are back on the ship after seeing the outside of their Grand Mosque, a certain Palace that Sultan Qaboos uses for guests, an incredible Opera house, a Souq (unfortunately with water running down one of its pathways from a broken water main), but just in time to get some jewelry to die for and two additional Pashminas for incredibly low bartered prices. The sellers enjoy this system just like the rest of us foreign shoppers.



Some of the art adorning the walls of Azamara Quest




Friday, 20 December 2019

December 21, 2019 Abu Dhabi and the Grand Mosque

December 20, 2019

Here’s an odd fact: on the way from Dubai to Doha, the clocks go back one hour, and from Doha to Sir Bani Yas the clock goes forward that one hour. And these are very short distances between places. Odd, I thought.
Today we are anchored off Sir Bani Yas which is primarily a wild life sanctuary with half of its area set aside for conservation. Azamara is using their Tenders to float the passengers back and forth. Terryl and I have decided to take a pass on this man-made island sanctuary and hit the gymnasium for a first workout in Azamara’s beautifully outfitted and handsomely designed facilities. This was one of my commitments because I just wasn’t doing it at home. My ‘Sport’s Medicine Doctor’ had recommended Physiotherapy and/or Accupunture to relieve some of my issues and concerns for which I did receive 5 sessions of Accupunture as well as a few exercises from a chiropractor named Neil. His treatment is all well and good but I really don’t think there’s anything like old fashion gym work, especially for me.
I’m now in Azamara Quest’s beautiful Library which is on the top deck occupying the width of the ship and a depth of thirty-five feet and completed  by comfortably padded chairs, deep coloured wooden tables, soundproofing carpets below painted-coffered ceilings and of course, numerous walls of books and materials housed in mahogany shelving. A perfect place for doing exactly this.
It’s about 12:20 and Terryl and I will meet at 13:00 for a small little drink, perhaps a tid bit or two and discuss the tour, of which there are several options, that we will take while in Abu Dhabi tomorrow. Its feature is and probably always will be their Grand Mosque boasting over 80 domes, four 350-foot-high minarets, and 100,000 tons of white marble rising above manicured gardens. This sacred place will accommodate 40,000 faithful. The rules upon entering are strict with regard to appropriate dress and use of cameras. One small consideration newly minted is that one’s shoes may now be left on when entering the Grand Mosque.

December 21, 2019

Last evening was delightful. Both of us had deliberated over the Shore Excursions options and marked the ones we wanted. In Abu Dhabi it’s today at 13:30 for the ‘Grand Mosque Visit’ and on December 23 it’s ‘Panoramic Muscat’ in Muscat, Oman at 08:15; and then in Mumbai, India on December 27 at 09:00 it’s ‘Mumbai on the Move’ when many of the passengers will disembark and head for the airport.
We met a nice couple before dinner who originated in Scotland for Roger, and China for Ilia. They now live and work in Bahrain and had plenty of information about their working and social lives as ex-pats. We will be sitting down with them at dinner sometime soon. Our meal in the Discoveries room was delicious, the entertainment in the Cabaret featuring the songs by Stephen Millet was very nice - Stephen also subs as Assistant Cruise Director - and we ended up in the Living Room listening and dancing to the Fancy Triplets, three young women singing and playing saxophone, guitar and keyboard.

And today all passengers were asked to pick up their passports, leave the ship and surrender them to the UAE customs. At that point one could go about their activities in Abu Dhabi. Our trip in Abu Dhabi will start this afternoon at 13:30 so we passed through the terminal building and went back on board for breakfast. 


Doha, Qatar and the North, December 19, 2019

Our body clocks are still discombobulated: it’s 04:45 and we’re wide awake. However, the Insider and Azamara never disappoints with access and service such as the self-serve in the Windows Cafe with all types of specialty coffees, juices, fruit and cereals. It’s done, I’m eating, drinking and in front of the MacBook Air typing away with Terryl propped up watching her favourite of many world wide channels presented on board: this one is on specific wild life - lions, antelope, elephants, water buffalo, and others - all roaming in Africa and looking for water and food in their habitat.
I had not made any pre-arrangement for an excursion while in Doha, Qatar and I see one that looks interesting. They call it The North of Qatar with a duration of 7 hours showcasing their rich traditions such as pearl diving, the ruins of Zubara Fort an ancient fortress for a fascinating look at archeology in action. The other offerings are a wild ride through the dunes described as a roller coaster sensation, and strenuous too. We don’t need any more back pain. It also describes hanging out in tents and carpets covering the desert perhaps a little like the Bedouin. They offer a trip into Souq Waqif and a museum for 4 hours.
Voila, Ship Excursions opens on schedule and we are on; we’ll meet our fellow travellers on Deck 5 in the Cabaret Lounge at 08:45 and off we go. The Apple 8 is fully loaded and ready for action.
Photos to follow when I can coincide the transfer of photos from the iPhone to the MacBook Air because both devices need to be connected to the Internet. Azamara's offering allows one device at a time. I'll need to get the iPhone on Rogers Roaming and the MacAir on Azamara simultaneously.
Stay tuned, and thank you.


Wednesday, 18 December 2019

December 18, 2109 Leaving Dubai onboard Azamara Quest

December 17, 2019

Ater a seamless check-out of the Movenpick Jumeirah Beach Hotel our baggage handler loaded our stuff into a Meter’d Taxi (he made a strong suggestion to avoid the black limo type) driven by a grandfather whose home was in Sudan, he asked if we would like some music and if it might be from his country? Our answer was of course; and off we went on a major 12 lane highway to the Port of Rashid. The ride took a little longer than I expected, but only cost $33.00 Canadian.

99.8% of all shipping arrives and leaves from the Port of Rashid which I swear goes on and on forever. One may think that with its size that there could be a problem finding our ship. We passed the Queen Elizabeth 11, the Jewel of the Seas and several others when we found the big A for Azamara docked and ready to board. We paid our friend from the Sudan and he helped the attendant load our stuff on to a cart destined for delivery to our balcony cabin 6075, after which we entered the terminal for registration. Terryl was amazed when the documents prepared for this trip came out of my case in the order requested by the staff who register us and welcome you on board. She said that this amazed her, and I said, ‘It’s a steep learning curve that has evolved over the twenty odd cruises we have enjoyed over many years.’

On board our first encounter is with Alina from Odessa south of Ukraine who is a totally engaging young woman with an entirely unique haircut and a small tattoo of an airliner on the inside of her left upper arm. And of course my beautiful Terryl strikes up a conversation after I asked if she was an Airline person prior to her work on the Azamara Cruise Ships. Her answer is no, along with a confession that she just loves to travel. Terryl’s connection with Alina was instant. I’m guessing we’ll be looking for this young lady to pour our drinks on many of the next 35 days of this voyage to Cape Town, South Africa.

I’m sitting on my balcony at 15:10 on December 17, 2019 which is approximately 3 hours after boarding the Azamara Quest. I’m inhaling another gin and tonic after two Budweisers and two Champagnes and sampling a plate of cheeses, Pad Thai, and a breaded chicken that thoroughly if not completed met my needs when a tug boat pulled up along side the Monjasa Performer Monrovia ship nestled along side the Quest. After several minutes I look again and there she goes. This is a beautiful cargo ship that has set sail from Dubai to ports certainly unknown to me. My thought as she leaves her birth is that I know so little about this industry and shipping in general, and, that it’s probably too late to learn any more. Dennis Casassio, Daniel Loyd McDonald and Steve Ellis, son of Norm and Jeanette Ellis come to mind. These guys know something about this Industry: perhaps a word or two from one of these gentlemen to another in a position to get another started in an industry is all it took. Perhaps it helped to establish them in a position of authority. I like to think it so, just the way I was introduced to Duncan McGregor in 1963.

I’m sitting on my balcony at 17:00 on December 18 with a slight rumbling of our ship’s motors and a gentle push and guidance by a perfect little tugboat and off we go to Doha, Qatar. 

The Birj Khalifa driving through the top of this photo at 800 + metres is very visible

Monday, 16 December 2019

Last night in Dubai December 16, 2019

What a day this was. I woke at 4:30 and started on email and blog until we left the Movenpick Hotel for breakfast. As always the promenade was full of activity such as everyday walkers complete with young families, young adults on two wheel motorized scooters, taxicabs cruising along looking for fares and all sorts of people on their way to the beach. Jumeirah Beach is a happening place just outside of the 'Old Dubai' which I will show at the end of this post. 
A must see in my view in any significant city is its museum, and here it is:

Doorway to Dubai Museum entry fee $1.00 Canadian



A Master builder and his apprentice

To protect the fort 
This fellow did the heavy slugging and appears to be quite happy in his work
The women are still covered from head to foot
Watch out for the spiked doorways to keep the invaders out
Just lying on the Great Wall of the Dubai Museum
A little billboard outside the Dubai Museum
All manner of herbs in this Souq
And then there is the Gold Souq
This a bracelet of gold and a diamond in the Gold Souq
Outside the many Souqs
Sheik Mohammed is still running the show in Dubai
Their pay telephone outside the Souq Markets












Outside the Souq vendors are in their shops ready to help you buy their wares. Inside the Souq these mostly young men are all over you with their precious jewels, herbs, textiles and assortment of foods and other items. This kind of shopping at first is entertaining however, one must know that this activity is the way their living is earned, and, they have been doing this for a very long time. I believe they also enjoy bartering with their shoppers; they never want you to walk away without a sale; moreover when the sale is not complete there are no hard feelings that I could see. This is a fascinating place in Old Town Dubai.



And of course back at Jumeirah Beach we have the Bentleys and Lamborghinis all parked and in full view. So long Dubai, I think we'll be back.

























Sunday, 15 December 2019

Dubai 16, 2019

By the way the weather has been perfect all week at about 26 Celsius with mostly sun and a few wispy clouds. Apparently the temperature can get to the mid 40's during the summer, but that doesn't stop the people from coming here. They had 15,000,000 come in 2018 and they spent $28,000,000,000.00 on the beach, in the sky, on the dunes, in the hotels, in the massive malls and on the golf courses too.
Just look at that cupped left wrist ready to explode at the Emirates Golf Club
This young man walked 100 yards and came back with a 7 iron just for me.


A display in the lounge of the clubs used by the likes of Woods, Ballesteros, Couples and Els 

After a few hours at the Emirates Golf Club having breakfast, hitting range balls and chatting with staff members we taxied back to our hotel to get ready for lunch. What a life.
This fellow runs things around here

Terryl spoke with this lovely young lady and asked if she could photograph her





What a pleasant day at the golf course, walking around Jumeirah Beach district and closing with Happy Hour drinks watching a Cricket Match and a dinner on the Promenade.













Saturday, 14 December 2019

Dubai all sorts December 15, 2019

With two days left on our tour of Dubai UAE the question raised is, what next? The answer is more of the same. In doing so, Terryl got quite a scare when purchasing some jewelry with her debit card. A salesperson presented the adjusted cost and accepted her card, but returned it with this comment: EMPTY. She tried it again with the same result and as might be the case Terryl thought the worst: HACKED. And yes, once again these people were concerned and helpful without question. Together we called the Canadian Bank and after forty-five minutes we were talking to a lady in Regina who advised that her money was still there. The next day it was the same result. However, when we visited a CitiBank establishment she was able to get plenty of cash using the same card. A pleasant young man gave us his explanation and off we went. No problem...if it happens again she will use my card. What?

In the Dubai Mall at five football fields of one way space
The aquarium







Incredible waterfalls show just outside the Dubai Mall

Diving art with running water
A little snow place for the kids to play
I forgot to mention how dangerous it is here
We survived this too

Magnificent show...but also note the cranes in the background. How big will Dubai get?


We finished the day with a drink in the hotel's sport's bar where Federer lost the 2019 Wimbledon to Novak again and then to a nice little Noodle Restaurant to share some Chinese Broccoli and a lovely bowl of noodles, prawns, chicken and an assortment of tasty other morsels. 




















Friday, 13 December 2019

Dubai people, camels and things December 13, 2019

UAE was nothing but rolling sand dunes. 

"Forty-seven years after its establishment in 1972, the UAE has become a shining country filled with soaring skyscrapers and architectural marvels. And the country owes its thanks to the remarkable ruling families of the UAE! The royal families of the UAE that serve as the country's rulers have built this brilliant place from the ground up, and are admired for their grace and dignity, hard work and charity. They also rank amongst the world's richest royal families - and some even have a massive fan base on Instagram." (The preceding was written by MyBayut.) 

Of course these wonders would never have been without their oil. While riding along on the Hop-on Hop-off bus the narrator casually mentioned that 40,000,000,000 (billions) barrels of oil held in reserve will run out in the year 2040. Furthermore the UAE is ranked within the top Financial Markets in the world along with London, New York and Hong Kong; and its Tourism business is booming internationally; here's a factoid, at one point 40% of all the Cranes in the world were in Dubai and its immediate surrounds.
As we continue our journey we find the service people are friendly and effective. Bartering is ingrained in their system. A little advice on this is to start at 50% of the asking price -- (which is very difficult to achieve because the object is to warm you up to the point of buying, and then you still need to drag the asking price out of them) -- and then finally agree to buy it at slightly more, or less, than that.
I must add that the police are not in evidence here; there are people employed to help one in all manner of needs. We were leaving the huge Dubai Mall and wanted a taxi -- there was one idling by the curb and we approached him with a question, and with his answer he said get in quickly. He could see an attendant of some kind was approaching him and he said that his picture was taken by this fellow. The three of us were in the wrong place so he asked us to leave his cab. (Which we did.) The fines are serious: if you run a red light and an accident occurs the fine is 30,000 AED ($10,000.00 Canadian and loss of licence). I hope we didn't get him in trouble.



These camels are not worth $500,000 like some racing camels



His

The beach, across the street from the Movenpick Jumeirah Beach Hotel, with a camel or two

Sheik Rulers watch over Movenpick Jumeirah Beach Hotel 


Just cleaning the sign at The Beach

Across the street from the Movenpick Jumeirah Beach Hotel is a nice sign pointing to the Beach


Hers

It's a giant wheel that never moves

A Park Bench at the beach glowing and spotless.

At the beach's Cabanas in the early morning

What kind of bench is this?

Styled after Atlantis in Nassau with a room at the top of the arch for the 'A' listers valued at $30,000 US a night



This is the Burj Khalifa at 124 stories and 830 metres (the Empire State Building is 381 metres) 



This one blows me away...look at those reflections...gadzooks








Their architectural imagination knows no bounds


These are old old ships once used for fishing and cargo, and now appear to be living quarters; but I could be wrong.

This is not a building but an adornment that you can walk along the top panel

Yes this is a building.

















Shawinigan, QC February 22 - 25, 2020

It's a lovely winter morning in Toronto and I'm booked on AC498 to Montreal at 15:30 where I'll meet Greg and drive to Shawinig...