All posts by leakygreens

Interested in #Travel, #Gardening_Organically, #Animals, #People, #Information_about_everything_almost. #Ted_Talks, #Permaculture

Cruising!  Fremantle to Fremantle via Albany and Busselton, Western Australia 4 night cruise on the Sea Princess.

Never done it. Thought about it, but have never actually taken the plunge until now! Love, love, love it. Sure there are lots of people, but they don’t get in the way much.
We boarded the #PrincessLine #Sea_Princess.  It’s a lovely little cruise ship. 857 feet long, 77,000 tons, 1950 Passengers. We decided we don’t think it is full, but how would we know – we are first timers in this cruising thing.

It’s been extraordinary already. The mood on board is ‘buoyant’,(pardon the pun!) expectant and everyone everywhere on staff wants to help you. The crew are an eclectic bunch of nationalities. More Phillipinos than any other group, but we’ve met a man from Trinidad and Tobago who lives in Winchester, England, and a Welshman who claims his name is Robbie Williams.

We mustered this afternoon so we could be told how to put in our life jackets and how to leave the ship if it is required. All done with people moving all over the ship heading for their Muster Point.  We have a letter on the front of our life jackets so the people checking can identify where we should be or should have come from.

The ship has 14 decks which can be found by stair or lift. Stairs tend to be quicker sometimes but the lifts are efficient. The carpet is thick and springy underfoot.

The pools look lovely and inviting and they are heated so if you wanted to, you could swim. The food is fresh and delicious and the presentation is excellent.

There is a library, Internet cafe which charges like a wounded bull for access. Not going to bother until we get to Albany.

It’s a cruise ship. It has an outdoor theatre and bars, a gym, a casino, restaurants and decks for strolling on.


Day Two

Today we woke to a calm sea, blue as far as the eye could see. The stateroom is perfectly adequate and the bed is wonderful. The shower is terrific, great pressure and hot. The cabin is so quiet, sometimes you can hear people in the corridor but generally nothing. Very peaceful.


We had breakfast around 7:30 this morning at a window table facing west. The food is good and plentiful and the walking needed to get places helps with the calorie burning required. We have both had heavy colds so sleeping was necessary today.  I read for a while and later we had dinner in the Rigoletto. This is our pre-booked table with other people.  We had a great group on our table and have enjoyed lovely meals and conversations.

After dinner we went to the Princess Theatre to see the #Scared_Weird_Little_Guys perform.  They were great, professional, well practised, clever, funny, irreverent and comfortable. The harmonies were tight and beautiful. Good show.  Just 30 mins.​ 


Day Three

We started early today after an reasonably early night. Slept pretty well, in spite of the continuing cold. Disembarked and found our hire car. We drove directly to the #National_Anzac_Centre. 

I was able to take some photos before anyone arrived. We were they around 8:30 about half an hour before the venue opened.


After that we drove through Yorke Street, Albany on our way to Denmark. Once there, we parked and found a cool cafe called #Chilli_Lime_Salt. Had a pot of tea and I had a most wonderful, Date Slice. Beautiful. After our refreshments we meandered in and found the Denmark_Co-op. There I happened upon some #Sloggers. Own some purple ones already but bought some with chickens on them. So cool!

We returned to the National Anzac Centre and had a proper look around. Very moving, very detailed, very informative. Beautiful sculpture of a man using his upturned hat to give his horse a drink of water.

We skipped our arranged table, for an early night in our stateroom.  The sea was getting a little more active. It’s an interesting feeling when you are sleeping. It was rougher last night than it has been the whole trip. But not in an upsetting or unsettling way. The rocking of the boat while you are lying in your warm bed is almost comforting. I slept through it all, and having heard In the lift from a well travelled woman, with much cruise experience, said it was rougher than any she had experienced before.  Well, if that’s the worst, cruising looks like a fairly good idea.

The parts I like the most are the fact you can run your own timetable. The only thing you need to do at a specific time is dinner but that is also option really. There is entertainment provided all day and night. Take it or leave it. Also our stateroom has a balcony and just being able to, open the door and feel the fresh air and stand outside and look out is wonderful. Today we saw a whale in the distance. It is one of the most relaxing holidays I have ever experienced.

If I was doing a cruise to places I had never been, I may do more ‘shore time’. Having the option to stay on board is lovely.

Have had a great time.  

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Breakfast at Tropico – North Beach, Perth, Western Australia

Poached Eggs with bacon and hash browns.  The presentation was magnificent.  The attention to detail was marvellous. The Hash browns were the best I have had, and inside in the soft mashed potato, I happened upon mustard seeds’throughout the soft white deliciousness.  The sprouts on the eggs were a nice touch, and the bacon was beautifully crispy. The meal wasn’t the hottest, in fact the eggs were a little cool, but the yolks were golden and the food was scrumptious.  I really enjoyed the meal, completely.

The restaurant was not very full when we arrived at about 7:40am. It filled quickly and the sun shone through the large windows on the north side. The seating was good, right height for the tables and the noise was abated with clever wood and fabric around the large room.  It was cosy in our area without being cramped. There were different height tables which added interest and the casual nature of the venue lends itself to a relaxed atmosphere.  The staff were very good and attentive, but I did notice a pair beside us went and got their own menus.

Overall we had a terrific time and stayed almost two hours.  A beautiful morning, great food, terrific service and a nice vibe.  We will be back.

Thanks.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2016/7

Petronas Towers
Petronas Towers

Well, talk about indulgent! The prices in Malaysia are about a third of the prices in Australia and as a result we could afford a ten course dinner  on New Year’s Eve. What a great time we had. We managed to spread it out from 7:30pm – 12:00 midnight without too much trouble at all. We needed to really, in spite of the delicate sizes of the courses, we were filling up slowly over the evening so needed the ‘wait’ time between courses to rest. We had a lovely trainee hotel management student looking after us and he was very willing to travel at our speed. It was a lovely evening and even the musical duo, provided for our enjoyment, wasn’t too distracting.

Our  meal was in the Tosca Restaurant in the hotel beside the pool. A lovely setting and cool enough, with the fans on and the night air wasn’t too hot so, quite acceptable.

The 10 courses.
The 10 courses.

The courses are listed so I will add the images in order so you can see what we consumed very slowly and happily. Oh, and the wine was magnificent too.

Hokkaido scallops carpaccio
1 Hokkaido scallops carpaccio
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2 Foie gras terrine
Porcini Arancini - its shaved truffles
3 Porcini Arancini – with shaved truffles
Crab raviolo
4 Crab raviolo
Pan roasted cod fish
5 Pan roasted cod fish
Rack of Lamb
6 Rack of Lamb
Boston Lobster Squid Ink Risotto
7 Boston Lobster Squid Ink Risotto
Wagyu beef
8 Wagyu beef
Madagascar Vanilla ice-cream
9 Madagascar Vanilla ice-cream
Valrhona Chocolate Mousse
10 Valrhona Chocolate Mousse

The view from our table over the pool.

Pool view
Pool view

We were very well looked after by Mehmet.

It may not be his name. Can’t remember

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SINGAPORE – MALAYSIA 2016/7 Last Day

Two more exciting food adventures that were shared in Kuala Lumpur were High Tea, at The Ritz Carlton, and New Year’s Eve dinner, consisting of ten courses of really lovely food.

First the Ritz Carlton.

The front doors of the Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The day was humid, as we expected, but the air conditioning was at a reasonable temperature. I found that the air con was often on much colder than I found pleasant, but I carry scarves for these times.  We were taken across an amazing foyer to the room in which we would be served.

Ritz Carlton Foyer
Ritz Carlton Foyer

Room for high tea
Room for high tea
The choices were, as expected, but the food was delicious. Quiches and pasties on the bottom, sandwiches in the second level and sweets at the top.

Beautiful to look at and equally to eat
Beautiful to look at and equally to eat
I have decided that in my old age I am increasingly pleased if I can drink my tea from Fine Bone China cups. I love them. The delicate service we had at the Ritz was beautiful too.

Tea service, in an exquisite pattern
Tea service, in an exquisite pattern
We were given an extensive menu of teas from which to choose, and the consensus on the day was, the Ritz Carlton blend (Only available at the Ritz Carlton) and the reliable and tasty Orange Pekoe. After our feast I bought a bag of each. Into the bag, I was also given, a small metal tea strainer. Very nice.  The staff were lovely, friendly, very attentive and knowledgeable. If they didn’t know the answer to a question, they found out very quickly. We were treated very respectfully and all the beautiful china and food was presented exquisitely, and we all really enjoyed it.

During the meal we had a string ensemble playing not far from us which was lovely to hear.

Musicians for tea
Musicians for tea
Overall it was a wonderful afternoon.

The Christmas decorations were still up all over the city and as we were leaving we found a gingerbread house downstairs.  The outside was real gingerbread stuck to polystyrene blocks. Some people like to go into these structures. Can you see who it is?

The gingerbread house
The gingerbread house

 

Malaysia, here we come.

Flew into Kuala Lumpur (KL) on the funniest flight we have ever had.  We seemed to have found our way into Business Class on the flight from Singapore. The pilot informed us that the flying time to KL was 45 mins.  As soon as we boarded, the steward was offering fruit juice. We settled in and the flight attendants started bringing around the food.  We had to find our trays first, but we did locate them in our arm rests. Once we had them in place a table cloth was issued, and a tray with a bag of nuts, a Lindt chocolate ball and a small bowl of about 6 short satay sticks. Then drinks were offered, I had water.

Within about 8 mins, max, they were collecting trays behind me and as I had almost finished my meal, I was eating the peanuts, I handed over my tray and they were in such a hurry they did not take my napkin, but later retrieved them. In another 15 mins or so I heard the captain say “Cabin crew, prepare the cabin for landing”.  We just laughed.  So hilarious, we had just settled in, had a meal and here we were putting our seats upright and preparing for landing. I hadn’t even put my seat back so I could make it upright.

On the drive in from the airport, we were introduced to the fluidity of the rules in some areas of Malaysian laws.  The driver of our taxi assured us the way he drove was fine. We didn’t think so. No seat belt, continuous right indicator, 140kms per hour at times and straddling lanes, using his phone.  He seemed sober, but just a little casual in his application to his duties. We did get to the hotel though!

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We arrived in the afternoon so went straight to our lovely hotel #Double_Tree by Hilton, in Kuala Lumpur.  It is in a building with 34 floors, and 3 levels below for food and shops.  Useful shops like, a supermarket, food hall, chemist, phone shop, sports store, Massage place, beauty therapies, and gift shops. If you didn’t want to leave the place you could stay very comfortably there.  There are about 5 restaurants and a huge pool, gym, sauna and steam room.  All pretty nicely laid out and clean.

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The hotel foyer, decorated for Christmas within an inch of its life.

We had access to the Executive Lounge on the 34th Floor for breakfast – included – and when we needed  somewhere to hang out. As we did today while we waited for our room to be made up. Breakfast was well done with variety for Malaysian or western tastes.

We could see the famous Petronas Towers a bit from our hotel – on each landing near the lifts. We went for a walk to it and entered the very classy Suria ILCC Shopping Centre. Full of classic labels with very ‘busy’ staff filling their days with creative persuits like face gazing.

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Stylish Security
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Bored in Laurent
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A Harrods Cafe, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur
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The Petronas Towers, about one kilometre from our hotel.                                                      An easy walk, but a little sweaty in the tropics.
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The pool. Sublime! Ive had three morning swims and the water is wonderful.

SINGAPORE – MALAYSIA 2016/7 DAY 2 PART 2

Once we reached the other side of the Ferguson Bridge we passed through a shady park, with a small bird population then some beautiful colonial buildings before reaching the National Gallery – which was wonderfully air conditioned.

5d00abde-c260-4080-95f3-ca84ec4cc9dd9a4391f6-b91b-4a1f-8d46-c31d6b3c3db4fe57269f-17dd-4acf-8d09-65031830f0c74a27940e-1545-4d27-80d5-3ab6d2c6b014ec10dba1-83c7-4106-a5dd-757a5cca42edThis was very pleasant as was the walk to the gallery. Once inside we found food at the Owl Cafe and had iced chocolate and an Ambon cake to share which is made with tapioca, egg, yeast and sugar. It was yellow and spongy. Very interesting and tasty.

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The Owl Cafe menu showing the Ambon Cake

Next we wandered around the gallery and saw some interesting works. One fun one was in the children’s education section where we found a jungle made from  twisted balloons. Very clever. Note the Bear and Tiger.

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After the jungle we walked through some new collections and some contemporary art and of course, the obligatory gift shop.  Some really fun pieces, some of them, but I have enough stuff and tea towels.

Once we had been ‘arted’ out we found the exit again and headed home, only this time we did it above ground. The trees were magnificent and the afternoon was not too humid.  We were home in about 15 minutes having walked about 4 kms for the day.

 

Singapore – Malaysia 2016/7 Day 2 Part 1

Today we discovered the Merlion on the Esplanade, but before that, let me tell you, we walked! Initially we walked out the front of the hotel and asked one of the doormen which was the way to the Merlion.  We had a fair idea we just needed some arm waving in the direction we thought we should go. Well he did some waving but he directed us the CityLink” which is a labyrinth of tunnels which lead to several destinations like railway stations and shopping malls under the city. We followed the one we needed to and found The Esplanade exit, passing a sleeping homeless man and about five other people travelling in different directions.  It was a weird experience, had there been people who wanted to do us harm they could have, in spite of the two security dudes cruising the halls, but we felt no danger. In time we popped out below the ‘Jurian” Music halls and amongst some beautiful greenery, and quietness away from the cars and square buildings.  2aab3b58-fab4-40f8-bf5d-9aa5e842e82f5413f276-914e-456a-8778-454745af42ee

A magnificent day, and so we continued past empty man-made river beds, where shiny small stainless steel squares were positioned to direct the flow of water.  It would have looked terrific, had the water actually been there. C’est la vie!161b7e15-213c-4af7-896c-d4251726f237

Next stop the bridge which leads down to the Merlion.  Stainless steel again, shiny and well made, but covered in scaffolding type fencing, looks like it may be there to stop people leaping off the bridge on New Year’s Eve, but who knows. Looks ugly.

Merlion
Merlion

After the  photos of the harbour we made our way into the mêlée of people crowding around the Merlion for silly selfies and shots pretending the water is coming out of their mouths.  We waded through the crowd and took our own photos and then headed towards town under the roadway towards Ferguson Bridge.

Under the bridge near the harbour.
Under the bridge near the harbour.

The old and the new.

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Singapore is covered in history and modern conveniences. The beautiful wrought iron lamp and Ferguson Bridge’s steel is a soft and gentle shaped contrast to the glass and steel which predominates the landscape.

Ferguson Bridge

By this time it was getting pretty hot and as we wandered we saw some beautiful colonial architecture and happened upon the Art Gallery.

More tomorrow.

Singapore – Malaysia 2016

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Indian Temple on our bus tour

We have just eight days to swan around Singapore and have a look at Kuala Lumpur. I have a desire to see all the ‘old’ in the cities and places I visit. The time here in Singapore this time has been easy and fun.  We have walked further than we needed to on several occasions, however I am sure our bodies appreciated it. Not for the first few days though.  They now seem to have become accustomed to it all.

We settled into our usual hotel, Swiss Otel, Stamford Road. It feels like a friend we have met on the road again. The ownership has changed and there have been a few changes in the hotel as well. It is not as well appointed as it used to be, but it is in a fantastic location and we really enjoy the convenience of having food and shopping so close by.

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Swiss Otel, 2 Stamford Road, Singapore
We began our time here in the regular way, heading to the 3rd Floor for a freshly made hawker’s meal. Then down three floors to the supermarket.
The following day we took a cab to Mustafa’s, a 24 hour department store which is packed to the gunnels with stock. You name it, its there. Bought some sandals, because I needed some decent walking shoes for our journeying around.

Adelaide, South Australia

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Moreton Bay fig tree on Plane Tree Drive, Adelaide at Botanic Garden

Had a great day yesterday wandering around the Botanic Garden in Adelaide. The most beautiful day and the surroundings were very peaceful and relaxing. It is important for us to ‘get back to nature’ away from phones and work stresses and just be!

 We went through the Conservatory full of rainforest plants we continued on our day of peaceful meanderings and discovery.

Next we happened upon a female duck and her five ducklings foraging in a man made waterway nearby. Also, on the same path was a sculpture made of glass sheets in the shape of a wave. Very impressive.

The sun was out the birds were everywhere, and we trundled along towards the Santos Economic Botany Museum. Wonderful place which was probably fairly dated looking until, it was restored recently.

The building was constructed