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Sunday, 31 March 2013

To all of you who like shopping....

In Honolulu, I was in Chinatown and went to Victoria Boutique.  I bought this necklace and bracelet, with magnetic clasps, for $45.  Before that, I was always asking my cabin stewards to fasten my necklace.  Of course, they did not mind, but sometimes, there was no one around. 
During the 6 sea days, I was watching tv in my room, and was looking at pearl stringing taught on the ship.  It turns out that you can string anything, so I decided to take this course. You have to buy the pearls from the instructor - so these pearls, the teddy bear, the two silver beads in front and the clasp costs me $104.

The pearl stringing was held in the store and was very busy during the day.  But at night, it was quiet, and I usually went after dinner.  There was an older couple, excellent pearl stringers, Anna and Stu - who sat beside me, one on one side, one on the other side, until I finally picked it up.  They were very helpful and lots of personality.

On Fanning Island, I bought this sea shell - even though it is sitting in a drawer at home, I had to buy something and it was only $3. 

There was a store on the ship - lots of jewelry and clothing.  I bought some Chanel #5 for $100.

From Tahiti, here is the Polynesia skirt - it has elastic in the back and ties in the front with a bow,
so will fit everyone.  When I wore it on the ship, lots of compliments. 

The store advertises sale items in the daily program that is delivered to your room.  They had these bracelets on sale on the last day -  regular $125, but they had them for 70% off, so I picked them up for $40.

Photos belong to Dorothy Lloyd.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Jaro attended a BMX racing event....

Attended a big BMX racing event here on Mauritius, which took place on a 5 km circuit next to the historic Albion lighthouse, only a few kilometers from my residence.

Impressive participation by local bikers at all levels and ages.

The race circuit looks fairly flat and easy -- except for a VERY difficult technical section right around the lighthouse.

The pack split up real quick after the start.  After that, the leaders lapped the slower riders a couple of times - they were doing six laps, while the "mom & kids crowd" were doing just one or two....


Enjoyed participating - even though it was only as a spectator.

Photos belong to Jaro Franta. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

To all of you who like cars.....

In downtown Ra'iatea, there was an older BMW car.  The couple from Saskatoon and I were sitting outside Chez Charles, because they hung up scarves to give some shade, and the owner heard us talking.  It turn out that she owned the car, and let us see the registration.  The car was 1981 - 520 - just before fuel injection began.  The owner drives it to work every day, but said that the island is small, so not too far to go.

The mileage was very high, and the car worn, but I say good for BMW to make a car that lasts for 31 years.

Smaller cars, lots with well-worn tires.....

Delivery vans are smaller.....

This is a car in Tahiti....

And Official cars are also smaller...

Photos belong to  Dorothy Lloyd..

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Jaro's bike ride to the Botanical Gardens....

The goal of today's ride was the Pamplemousse Botanical Gardens.  My route from Albion was by way of Rose Hill, Moka, La Nicoliere reservoir, and return by Montagne Longue, Ruisseau Rose, Ripailles, and again through Moka and Rose Hill.

As luck would have it, I met up with three local riders on the way out.  

We rode together for a few kilometres, after which they turned off to the east - I think they said they were going to Bel Air and Grand Rivière.  Hope to ride with them again in the coming weeks.

Yes, it is a nice park.   But as a Botanical Gardens, I think it's being oversold as a tourist attraction - there isn't even a souvenir shop or restaurant.  Much more could be done with it, but they seem content to leave as is, and provide employment for a bunch of locals working as guards, guides, maintenance, etc.

The person at right gives a good idea of the scale of these giant leaves....

This botanical garden is also partly a zoo.

Photos belong to Jaro Franta.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Wednesday was Halloween.......

Now we settled in for 6 sea days - on Wednesday, it was Halloween, and this was a big celebration on the ship. 

In Tahiti, lots of stores had Halloween clothes in their window - not so much as costumes, just stuff you would wear - orange t-shirts, orange jeans......

I like to have a drink during their happy hour, which starts at 4 o'clock.  It was usually very busy in the Deck 3 lounge, but quiet in the Crows Nest.  The drinks are two for one, but each drink has to be the same - for instance, if you order a double spiced rum, then the other drink has to be a double spiced rum.  And if you order a diet coke, then the other drink has to be a diet coke. 

After dinner, I went to the Queen's lounge to save a seat for the other couple.  They wanted to go to the early show, and I wanted to go to the later one, so I saved them seats.   It was interesting in the Queen's lounge - lots of people dress up for Halloween.  They had singing, dancing and games, with lots of people getting involved. 

In the Vista lounge, there was also a Black/White dance, where you could dance with the officers from the ship.  The front seats were set back, and this turned into a small dance floor.  Lots of cruisers were watching.  Everyone who was dancing was very well dressed - some ladies were in white, but lots of other colours.

Dessert was served in the hallways - they had lots of desserts, but no place to sit.
I ate leaning against a bar, with lots of people around.

A good celebration, especially if you like to dance. 

Photos belong to Phil Bianco and Dorothy Lloyd.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Jaro's bike ride to the Coeur de Mauritius........

Rode to the "heart of Mauritius" ("coeur de Mauritius" according to a sign in the town of Moka).

From the start in Albion, my route went through Bambous, Vacoas, Glen-Park, la Marie, Curepipe, Côte d'Or, Moka, Circonstance, les Mariannes, Montagne Longue, Creve Coeur et Notre Dame, looping counterclockwise north-west, and returning by way of Port Louis, Petite Rivière and Canot.

I believe this mountain is called Grand Pic, and is 823m at the summit - second highest after the Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire, in the south, at 828m.

No idea what the occasion was, but I saw several of these processions in various towns along my route today....evidently some sort of religious thing.  Very colourful though, thus photogenic.

My first glimpse of the north end of the island of Mauritius:  might be a bit too far to go by bike from Albion.  Besides, all the interesting stuff looks to be in the south part....

Besides the scenery, I might add that the paved roads here generally have a smoother surface than in Tasmania, although not necessarily less bumpy......"

WRITE YOUR OWN CAPTION: Traffic sign in Vacoas, Mauritius.

Photos belong to Jaro Franta.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Our eleventh stop was Nuku Hiva.......

On Saturday, we docked at Taihae, Nuku Hiva -  I decided not to take Holland America's cruise around the island.    

The paddlers would come out and meet the tender - neat to see.

There were two girls, the mom and baby right besides the dock.  I gave the girls $1 each, and asked the mom if I could take their pictures.  I don't think she could speak English, but she called the boy over, poised herself, and here is the family.

These girls were working in a food booth - maybe more like socializing than working - I asked them to smile for all the boys in Canada....

For the cruise, I had not put my feet in the ocean.  On this island, I paddled in it - very dirty.  One of the other cruisers told me that they had an oil tanker upsteam which wept into the ocean.  

My computer card was not working, so I used another wifi place - 15 minutes for $3 - and run by an English speaking person.  I asked him where I should eat lunch and he told me the building below (white with red car).  In this same building, they had cooking pots out - I had rice and sweet potatoes cooked in a sauce and a can of coke - $7.  One of the woman could speak English, but she was busy with other things.  The other women spoke only french, but as I was eating lunch, we tried to talk a little.  Then the woman's husband, who is an American, came in and translated.
Every building had table after table with jewelry.  One of the men in the white building had home made knives worth about $1000 - beautiful. 
You were made to feel welcome here - there was music playing, shopping, and very nice people. 
Photos belong to Phil Bianco and Dorothy Lloyd.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Jaro's bike ride to the east coast of Mauritius....

Did I mention that there are some great sights along the roads in the south of Mauritius...

This is the Mare aux Vacoas, a fresh water lake in the south-central part of Mauritius.
It is fenced off, and appears to be the main fresh water supply for the population of the island.

Today's ride to the east coast of Mauritius, including the Pointe du Diable historic site.
Several showers along the way, but one always dries out a few kilometres after each one.
Only unlike a washer/drier cycle, on the bike you just keep getting dirtier instead of cleaner - by the time I got back to Albion, I noticed that my legs were a shade or two darker than my usual tan.

I was amazed how quiet this road was...hardly any traffic.   By contrast, it is a bit of a pain getting through the morning rush hour traffic in Quatre Bornes... it is kind of unavoidable, unfortunately.

Would you believe Deep River, Mauritius....

Photos belong to Jaro Franta.