29 Mar 2015

Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China

Nanjing Road is Shanghai’s main shopping street. Named one of the seven most important streets in the world in the 1930s, it suffered during decades of Maoist austerity, but like Shanghai, is now making a huge comeback during the last 25 years.


It is almost four miles long and attracts over 1 million visitors daily.


Like in all the metropolitan centers, all of the international luxury brands are here. Chinese citizens mainly patronize those stores. (They do have 24 million residents here).


Yes, Hong Kong is part of China, but it is run as an entire different country including passport control. Hong Kong is a bargain hunter’s delight. Shanghai and Beijing are not. There are huge tariffs and other taxes in China not seen in Hong Kong.


One typical example is a certain well-known Rolex Submariner is priced at about $12K in Hong Kong, $13 in NYC, $14 in Singapore and over $16 in Shanghai and Beijing.

The view from our Crystal Symphony cabin was superb.







21 Mar 2015

Bibo, Hong Kong 2015


I love Chinese food, and not surprisingly some of the best is in Hong Kong.




I’m not a big fan of French “gastronomie gourmande”.

So our first night in Hong Kong it was dinner at Bibo, French “gastronomie gourmande”. For you single guys it’s this happy wife, happy life thing.





We were joined by LA travel agent extraordinaire, Myrna Oken.

They food was as great as the art.

20 Mar 2015

Sanya, China



Sanya is on the southern tip of an island that is the southern most point in China. They bill themselves as the Hawaii of China (false advertising), attracting some warm weather seekers from farther north in China and some Russians.

Normally cruises heading north through Asia stop in Northern Vietnam at one of the beautiful places that allow a choice of just enjoying the area or heading into Hanoi for the day.

We got Sanya instead. Cruise lines are always looking for new places to visit. I think this was one of those places. 

My guess is that it will be back to northern Vietnam in the future.



18 Mar 2015

Once in a Lifetime

On the eve of one of Israel’s closest and important national elections, Allyn and I had the privilege of having a four person private dinner with Ambassador Marc Ginsberg and his lovely wife, Janet, in our cabin on the Crystal Symphony.

Besides being an Ambassador to Morocco, (the first Jewish ambassador to an Arab country), he has held major Middle East policy jobs for E Kennedy, Carter, Gore, and Clinton. Currently he advises and reports for CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, MSNBC, BBC, Al Arabiya, CBC and Fox News.

I mean who else advises and reports both for the left and the right?

We learned more about Israel and the Middle East last night than in all of our previous years combined.

17 Mar 2015

What Happened to Saigon?




This is the Saigon we knew and loved for decades. Before that the only difference was their bikes were manual instead of motorized.

Now it’s becoming just another big city with the same stores, same high rises and same look.