We are now anchored in Ishigaki Japan for two hours without disembarking to satisfy the the Chinese requirements as we cannot go directly from Taiwan to the China mainland. We are sitting just outside of a small Japanese town and a pretty island across the bay with nice looking beaches but cannot get off. We have a nice day today that started with jackets but now is quite warm and sunny and about 72 degrees. I'm going to have to take off the long pants and two long tops for my walk in a little bit. It was 16 degrees C this morning and we were COLD. Consider that just the other day it was 38 degrees C. That is 60 this morning and 98 the other day. Quite a change in temps. After our two our anchor in Japan we will have the rest of the day today and all day tomorrow at sea in the South China Sea heading north to Shanghai China where they house a mere 22 million citizens.
Boot Camp Karen:
We learned that the eye problem Karen has is a detached Retina. She had surgery the next day in Manila that supposedly went well. Just heard a minute ago that she may have had a second surgery on the eye yesterday and that doesn't sound good. Hope things are well with Karen and she sucks it up and gets back on the ship.
Our resident Author Jude:
After being a bit quiet and out of site Jude emerged the other night dancing up a storm in the dining room during dinner to the twist. The next morning she saw Sir Bill in the hallway (her next door neighbor) and went out of her way to chat him up. As they walked they came up to our table and we all talked. We were scheduled to start boxing lessons from Karen and Jude had heard about that. Jude is an avid boxer herself she says and has been working out with Karen all along. She has been boxing for a long time because she lamented that this is her fourth World Cruise but the first that had a boxing instructor.
Taiwan, Republic of China:
After the experience of the chaotic Malaysia and the Philippines with all their traffic and garbage strewn with abandon Keelung Port and Taipei were wonderfully clean and organized. Taipei is a city of three million people but the traffic is very reasonable because of their great bus and subway systems. We did notice they do drive on the wrong side of the road, the right as we are used to driving on the left side. We had the mother of shore excursions yesterday at nine hours. We had been scheduled to dock and go on shore in the morning but since we missed the Southern Port in Taiwan we didn't arrive in Keelung Port until 1:00 pm. Off we went in a very nice Volvo bus heading from the port to Taipei. It didn't take long only about 20 minutes to get to our first destination, the National Museum. This is billed as the fourth most important museum in the world with much history brought over by Chiang Kai himself and represents almost all of Chinese history going back thousands of years. It was stark raving Boring if you ask me. Ten Thousand people visit this museum every day! It was very crowded with mostly Asian people. We covered ground very quickly as we had about six or seven stops on our tour today. The Presidential building, several museums, the Confusious pagoda, etc. We had dinner at the Grand Hotel overlooking a river from a hill in Taipei. This hotel under a different name was billed as the number on hotel in the world in the 1960's. It is still very grand and beautiful. We sat a a table of ten that had the round middle turntable and were served family style with only chop sticks rather than traditional. I still don't know how you cut meat with chop sticks. Bill found a small spoon behind us. We were offered only one beer with dinner but it was a big one and pretty good at that. After dinner we had one more stop at the 101 downtown. The 101 refers to the tallest building in Taiwan and was the tallest in the world a few years ago. It is shaped like a bamboo stalk and is kind of a duplicate of a sculpture in the national museum. Some went to the top of the 101 and the three of us opted to go the the mall at the bottom. We had a half hour so not much time for looking. The place was fantastically clean and upscale. They don't take US money in Taiwan but that's ok as we didn't have any NTD's anyway (New Taiwan Dollar) Only bought a coffee on credit anyway. Dawn had purchased three fridge magnets in the National Museum shop. You would think it would be very expensive. It was on credit and for the three it was US $1.75, cheap! Our plan today was to find the Keelung night market after we got back for our day trip. That was a bit optimistic it turned out. We got back to the ship at 10:30 and last call was 11:30 and since the night market can move each night and takes some finding we passed.
By the way: Taiwan was day 58 of our 116 day World Cruise, exactly Half Way. It really doesn't seem like it because time passes pretty quickly here especially when we have busy port days. Sitting on the pool deck right now with Bill and next to Harry & Peggy. They get off in Hong Kong in a few days. Will be sad to see them go!
Taiwan Museum Pottery Dragon
Taiwan Museum Jade Statue
Local Beer at Gran Hotel Dinner in Taipei
Golden Dragon at Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel Taipei
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
Keelung Harbor Pac Man Building