Transport in and round Dubai.

DSC06357rMetro station entrance – note the lack of graffiti, litter and rubbish, nor did we see anyone constantly cleaning so the locals must have been well educated with regard to litter etc.

DSC06358rMetro platform, well designed and marked out to let passengers off the train before new passengers enter the coach.

DSC06359rTrain about to leave

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Believe me, this is an air-conditioned bus stop. One is hardly uncomfortable in the heat at 41 c , while moving from cold shopping centres to cool metro station, and comfortable trains, even when crowded.

DSC06361rThe old way to transport people and goods.

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Local river boat, the fee to cross the creek is about $0.30 so the boat leaves when it is full.

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Floating restaurant getting in position for the evening trade

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When I first visited Dubai in the early 60’s the creek was quite wide.
The dhows ran aground on the creek bank or tied alongside small wooden piers.
Over the years the creek bank has been pushed closer to each bank to create a river rather than a creek.
I just wonder what would happen with heavy rain up river, would the Creek over flow its banks as did the River Seven after that river banks were ‘squashed’ closer to each other.

DSC06380rAnother ‘water taxi’ which we hired for an hour to check out the views of Dubai from the river. The cost was about AUD $24 per person and we had the boat to ourselves.

DSC06381rTaxi area that reminded me of Venice.

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Many more restaurants boats from dhow shapes to Chinese junk shapes.

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Not sure if this is a private or public boat.

We passed the home of the Sultan, which was hidden behind a high wall and protected by signs that photographing any part of the wall was forbidden. The area of the home was very large and took up a great length of the ‘river’ front. Obviously I didn’t take any pictures because I’d heard of 28 days lock up for small offences, before one can see a solicitor.
I wasn’t sure that the people on the roof that I could see, on some of the buildings, were guards or just staff relaxing – I wasn’t going to take the chance of being wrong by taking any pictures.

The largest shopping mall in the world.

DSC06298rThe mall was HUGE – with waterfalls, ice ring, aquarium, its own souk, and 1200 hundred shops that made us feel over whelmed (well they overwhelm me!).

DSC06301rElectric baby chairs – place the child in the seat, switch it on, and it rocks back and forth with a very similar movement as it would have felt before it was born.

DSC06303rWater down a waterfall – the water fell for two or three floors.

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A lone diver

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This attempts to show the size of this indoor waterfall.

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Of course if the waterfall gives you cold feet go ice skating in the Olympic size ice rink. . . .

DSC06312rIn addition to 1200 shops you can walk around the Souk.

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Souk corridors lead to a centre . . .

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I didn’t know that dinosaurs were blue. . . . . .
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More Souk

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A rather large fish tank – so large that you can walk through it via a tunnel, and watch the fish from within one of the largest aquariums in the world.
The coloured lights in the picture above, are lights from various shops, reflected in the glass.

DSC06322rSting ray

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Only the chips are missing.

DSC06327rWe had a drink across from the aquarium wall.

DSC06329rWalk outside the mall and you will find it very difficult to get the next building in the one frame – the tallest building in the world (at the moment, as there is another being built in Jeddah, so of course Dubai is planning a larger one again.)
We saw an advert for a trip to the 124 th floor, the observation deck, at a rate of $140 for the two of us, so we thought we’d bite the bullet and experience the trip.

On showing up at the counter we were asked for $400 for two tickets, apparently they have different prices for different times. The $140 was the most unsocial time so we gave it a miss and I downloaded the view via Google . . . $400 to look out of a window was a bit steep (excuse the pun).

DSC06330rThe lake was impressive, but the fountain was not working during our visit.

DSC06342rAnother old style (but very new) Souk, with views of the man made lake.

DSC06345rInside this Souk we found a small supermarket and the food was inexpensive considering the very up market position. This building also housed an hotel.

DSC06347r  A shot of the old style building come hotel & Souk, from across the lake.

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Our last port of call

We docked in Dubai, UAE, the largest man made harbour in the world, our last port of call before we left the ship.
As we entered the harbour I could see a familiar sight ahead, the vessel with the red funnel, in the middle of the picture.

DSC06259rThe other white vessels along side belonged to various UAE dignitaries – more weekenders.

DSC06264rThe cruise terminal with the city in the background.

DSC06270rA closer view of the vessel with the red funnel – Queen Elizabeth 11. She was bought to convert in to a floating hotel similar to the Queen Mary in Los Angeles, as yet it hasn’t happened. I must admit she does look like a ship and not a box boat or a block of flats . . . . sign of age I suppose.

DSC06276rThe view from our room at the Pullman Hotel.

DSC06277rOur hotel is built on top of a shopping centre . . . .

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A short metro ride to the nearby Dubai Creek we found the ‘Old Souk’, which we thought was not as attractive as the souk in Muscat.

Tomorrow we will visit the largest shopping centre in the world, I don’t know if I am looking forward to the visit or not . . . . .

Muscat, Oman

We arrived off Muscat, Oman around 7.00 am on the 29th April – Maureen’s birthday.

I’d not seen Muscat for about fifty years, and my memory of the city was of ‘yesterday’, so when we arrived the only piece of Muscat I remembered was the cliffs, the old fort and a few houses along the shore line.

DSC06127rThe old fort overlooking the town of Muscat.

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  The old town, with a piece of yesterday floating in the harbour.

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Harbour side road, and the one thing that jumped out at me was the lack of rubbish.

DSC06136rThe road leading from the harbour area, which was spotless.

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The dhow in the harbour is similar to the dhows that were used fifty years to carry cargo from the ship, in which I sailed, to the shore.
The vessel behind is the Sultan’s yacht – thanks to oil.

DSC06145rFind the rubbish . . .

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Even under the freeways the pace was litter free – very impressive.

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Opera House

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Center of a roundabout – water flowed past the bows of the dhow.

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Part of the parliament area. . . . more like advisers to the Sultan, than a parliament as we know in the UK, Australia etc. I had a feeling of a benevolent dictator.

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Location, location – the Sultan’s home.

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A weekender. . . .

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Muscat Souq.

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We were told that if you are asked to buy anything and you refused the approach they would not keep pestering you.
They were correct – each time we refused to buy, the seller backed off, unlike the sellers in Bombay and Cochin.

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As a rough guide AUD $4 = one rial, many items were not as cheap as they first appeared, but we did buy a few items.
We did buy a stuffed camel for our grandson – it was made in China of course!

DSC06229rWe sailed for Dubai in the evening.

 

A few hours in Bombay.

I know it is now called Mumbai, but for me it will always be Bombay, and our guide spoke of the city using both names. We were told that many people living in Bombay still referred to their home city as Bombay.

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As we sailed closer to the harbour we overtook an Indian naval vessel.

DSC05933rThe skyline that I remember from fifty years ago.
Gateway to India and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on the left of the Gateway.

DSC05938rWe saw many war ships alongside, including an aircraft carrier and these torpedo boats.

DSC05943rA touch of the old days with a double decker bus.

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A street full of second hand books – they are never packed away just covered with sheets at night.
There must have been thousands of books. The blue tint is due to the windows of our bus.

DSC05958r  Victoria terminus built by the British.

DSC05959rHousing being refurbished.

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Health and safety – scaffolding held together with string and rope.
We also saw men on the roof, and of course they didn’t have safety harnesses or hard hats.
Basically they worked as the older members of my readers worked in the late 50’s & 60’s.

DSC05969rGateway to India, it hasn’t changed since the 1920’s.
It was the gate that the last British troops symbolically marched through as they left India in 1947.DSC05971rThis is the hotel that suffered a terrorist attack some years ago, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The hotel is located across the road from the Gateway to India.DSC05975rAn interesting day out on a boat ride for the locals – all full of colour.

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                             Next stop was the ‘Lunch Box’, near Church Gate railway station.
The lunch box delivery system is unique – a business man’s wife produces a hot mid-day meal, which is collected by dedicated people and then ‘trained’ to the city centre. Outside the railway station others co-ordinate the final delivery to the office of the business man.
Late in the afternoon the meal ‘box’ is returned via the same system to the lady of the house, and the whole thing is repeated the following work day.
There is a very good commercial film called ‘The Lunch Box’, which is part in English and part in Hindi (with sub titles) that explains the whole process much better than me and is quite funny in parts.
The above picture shows the ‘lunch boxes’ being coordinated for various delivery people.

DSC05994rSome are delivered via trolly.

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Most are delivered via bicycle.

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Packing ones bike and maneuvering with so many tourists can be a pain,

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and it can be hard work.

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Next stop is the laundry, also called Dohbi ghats, where the laundry of Bombay is cleaned.
But first we have to catch a train.DSC06009rThe Indian lady is our guide and we were warned to disembark the train quickly at our destination, because the train only stopped for about 30 seconds.

DSC06010rOur window – without glass.

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Air conditioning

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Dohbi Ghat from the road.

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Each of the stone areas, within Dohbi Ghat, is passed down through the family generation after generation.

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Drying clothes – they do say that less than 0.1% of the laundry is lost, because each Dhobi walla has his own mark, which is placed in an unseen area of the clothing.

DSC06025rI wonder what happens to a person’s feet when they are in water all their working life.

DSC06029rOf course we have the crowds and the hawkers.

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We did see the occasional horse and cart.

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and the cows in the street are common.

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Never short of traffic.

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Our last visit was to Gandhi’s house – the above is the room where he worked and slept.

DSC06037rDSC06039rThe outside of his house.

Back to the ship and two days at sea before Muscat in Oman.

Goa

We arrived in Goa on ANZAC Day and after the dawn service we entered harbour to be greeted by a local quartet.

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They played a long time as the heat of the day became hotter.

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Not long after we arrived we had a neighbour – Seven Seas Voyager.

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Not far away, alongside a floating dry dock, was the Mumbai (I think), but she didn’t look all that passenger friendly.

We planned to take the Old Goa Churches tour, not to view the old churches, but to use the transport to get to Old Goa town and ‘do our own thing’ before catching the tour bus for the return trip to the ship. Of course the best of plans fail – as did ours. There was nothing to DIY of any interest around the churches, so we stayed with the group. There were three churches, all clustered together, after an hours drive (26 miles I was told), playing host to a great many tourists.

We have little interest in old churches, how ever beautiful, (according to our guide), but the drive was interesting as we passed through various villages and towns.

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A statue of Ghandi (with a child) outside the main basilica.

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The white – cream buildings on the right used to house 300 priests, but now there are only three left.

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For me, it didn’t feel like a church with all the tourists (me included) clicking away.

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Icons leave me cold.

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I thought this was another icon but it was explained to us all that it is the remains of a priest who died four hundred years ago. Apparently his body has not decomposed so apart of his coffin has small glass windows so one can see the body. The six gold squares are the windows, but I couldn’t see anything.

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The original coffin in on display, but it is empty due to his remains being in the glass window coffin.

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The last original gate to old Goa.

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The old Portuguese area in Panjim, the State of Goa’s capital, has a number of original houses from the first arrival of the Portuguese.

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Across the river from the old Portuguese homes I saw a happy sign for Kingfisher – which is the local beer.

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A much slower life style than those living in Bombay.

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The above two pictures are of the old buildings that has been refurbished and is now become famous for being the centre for the annual international Goa film festival.

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DSC05912rThe government has reduced the amount of ore that can be mined by half, so many barges, which used to carry the ore to the port for export, have become uneconomical.
They are left to rot on the beaches and the banks of creeks.

I saw plenty of examples of beached barges, but trying to get a good shot, as we bounced around corners and swerved to avoid on coming vehicles, was virtually impossible.

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Home sweet home after a very hot day sightseeing.

ANZAC Day 2016, at sea.

The ship arranged a dawn service for ANZAC Day, 25th April, in an area on the pool deck. They were also kind enough to supply all attendees with a poppy – a very nice touch.

The leader of the service was the ship’s band leader who had served with the Royal Australian Navy for eight years.
Others where Australian and New Zealand passengers who read poems and details of family members who had died in WW1.
At the end of the service the national anthems of Australia and New Zealand were sung, after which the ship’s trumpeter sounded the last post, followed by a minutes silence before he played reveille.

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Gathering before the dawn service.

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The band leader who lead the service.

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The last post being played.

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The sun rose with the what looked like landing craft making for the shore.
Perhaps the service had affected me more than I thought, or my imagination was in overdrive.

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Dawn as we entered Goa harbour.