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Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis October 28th 2016

Geo: 16.7837, 96.1568Rangoon is a sprawling city of 6 million inhabitants and is the largest city in Burma. It used to be the capital until an astrologer told the military generals that they needed to move to a new place. Very convenient for them, they had new roads and houses built for themselves in the middle of nowhere so that they never need see any demonstrations or unrest. Rangoon is not a pretty city with a mixture of the usual wooden shacks next door to modern buildings. The jetty to which we were moored is a rickety wooden bridge with gaps in the floor boards. However the best thing to see is the Shwe Dagon pagoda. This huge gilded edifice is set in a large complex of beautiful smaller pagodas with Buddha images galore. We walked ... read more
Tour guides (both male) as king &queen
Tiz tries a betel nut wrapped in a leaf!disgusting
Shwe Dagon pagoda

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis October 21st 2016

Geo: 20.1253, 94.9318We have now settled into a familiar daily itinerary. The ship moors up overnight. I still find it fascinating to see them pulling the ropes up to any object on the river bank usually a tree. The staff line the path from the gang plank up to the top of the river bank to make sure we don't fall. We take a walk through a village and see how the people live. They really have next to nothing. The wooden shacks don't contain any worldly goods and some don't even have electricity. They are still all well dressed usually in the longyi, the long skirt worn by both men and women. Although as a nation the Burmese are slim they get by with enough to eat usually rice or deep fried onions like a ... read more
The band
Kids dressed up at the Pagoda
Stefan looks at the view

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis October 19th 2016

Geo: 21.3667, 95.4667It was still pitch dark at 5pm when our group was collected from the boat and taken to the take-off area for hot air balloons. By 6am it was light and they started filling the enormous balloons with air. As soon as our balloon was full of air but still there to the ground we cambered in. This was the most difficult bit of the whole process as the sides of the oblong basket are quite high. We were shown the landing position and then we were off and able to stand up and watch the ground receding below. Milton, our pilot, guided the balloon over the temple area and pointed things out. It was a terrific experience. So peaceful one minute then suddenly hot and noisy when the flaming gas was turned on ... read more
Tiz waiting
almost ready
ready to go

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis October 18th 2016

Geo: 21.6378, 95.3636There are no proper jetties at most of the stopping places along the river, so it is a matter of walking along a gangplank and then clambering up steps carved out of the river bank. The staff are out in force helping everyone with smiles and "mingle a bar" (Burmese hello). We walked along the dried mud paths, which are totally flooded during the monsoon season, and into a large village. Each family in the village has a large house where they all live and sleep together. In the dry season they live on the ground floor and during the monsoon season they move up to the upper level. Historically this village is important because it is where the first Anglo-Burmese treaty was signed in the 19th century to end the 1st Anglo-Burmese war. ... read more
a solar panel for each house
the local shop
lady working her pots

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis October 17th 2016

Geo: 24.4731, 95.5207Early in the morning we were taken up Sagaing Hill from which there are lovely views of the Burmese countryside. There is also the Kaungmudaw Pagoda which has lots of paintings of the story of the Buddha and lovely floor tiles, which are much nicer to walk on without shoes than the paths or wooden floor boards. Knees and shoulders have to be covered too. The general region is called Innwa which used to be the ancient capital from the 14th to the 19th century. On the way back we visited the Bagaya Monastery which is no longer in use but is a beautiful building. The streets were crowded with people as the Full Moon celebrations were still going on. Driving along the road was slow due to a huge parade, noisy and colourful. ... read more
Disney Buddha!
Stefan with little fan
stuppa about to be gilded

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis October 13th 2016

Geo: 21.9759, 96.0842Mandalay is only one and half hour flight from Bangkok. It is worth going Premium Flux for front seats and luggage first off the plane. Our driver was waiting to whisk us through a pleasant landscape of fields of corn and peanut bushes. Golden stuppas abound. A few years ago the government decided to switch from driving on the left to the right. However all the cars are still with the steering wheel on the right so everyone is inconvenienced as they haven't started importing left hand drive cars! We arrived at the Mandalay Hill Resort hotel, probably the best hotel in Mandalay at the moment. The rooms are spacious but the bathroom is surprisingly small. Initially we thought it was very cheap until we realised all the prices are in dollars. We sat ... read more
Central market
Tiz in Fort palace
carvings on pagoda

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis September 14th 2016

Geo: 43.7405, 7.42543After a bad nights sleep for me, the morning was slow to get going... Anyone who knows me, when I'm tired knows I am not a pleasant person to be around!! We wandered to the train stations abt 10 to toddle off to Monaco...We attempted the ticket machines, however my GCSEs French of 16 yrs ago wasn't enough and we ran away to the ticket office. This place was huge, with counter machines to take your turn. We looked a little lost, when I overheard a lady talking through the ticket machine in English! We jumped at the chance and proceeded to get our tickets.Armed with pain au chocolate and a cappuccino, we boarded the busy train, through nice to Monaco and Monte Carlo. We found our way down (a steep descent down the ... read more
Panorama
Panorama
Posh

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis May 30th 2016

Geo: 43.7324, 7.4186We had a long coach trip along the south of France, stopping by Nimes, France, the home of denim fabric. We are staying 30 feet from the border of France and Monaco. ... read more
Arena
Arena
Arena

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis May 14th 2016

Geo: -7.36247, -6.67969The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever- Jacque Coustaeu –We have now been at sea for almost seven days. There have been no further medical emergencies or stabbings to report!! After a series of initial misgivings about MSC we are now starting to settle down, enjoying our lengthy sojourn up the West Coast of Africa.No one came to sort out the Wi-Fi problem in our cabin so I had to report it once again. This time, the customer services assistant arranged for the I T Manager to contact me. That he did, ten minutes before we were due in the restaurant for dinner!! He checked the signal and confirmed that it was very weak. He told us it is because the router is far down the ... read more
Christopher's gigs!!
Our dinner buddies Dave and Hanlie
Afternoon games!!

Oceans and Seas » Atlantic » Atlantis May 7th 2016

Geo: 13.904, -60.9742May 12th, 2016 – Nevis to St. LuciaHello from St. Lucia!We are in the land of MANGOES and boy! is it mango season! We've loving it! Yes, we've moved a fair ways south since the last time I wrote. Here's an overview of the past six weeks.(Please forgive my point form...but there's a lot to tell you and wifi is trying my patience. I'm also working from my ship's notes, so I realize I'm going in and out of the past and present. Not my best work.)March 30th:Attempt number one to leave Nevis for Montserrat. Winds were right on our nose and we were only moving forward at 2 knots. Said forget it and returned to the mooring field. It was a one and a half hour round trip. By 8:30am we were relaxing ... read more
waking up in St. Lucia
First things first....FIX Dinghy Engine!
With the engine running, we go to check in.




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