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17 Feb 2016

Sydney, Australia 2016

 

 

Call me crazy, but what’s the first thing I do when arriving Sydney after three weeks on a cruise ship – I take a Harbour Cruise!

 

 

 

 

Then we had a delightful dinner at  Catalina on the waterfront with our Sydney friends Stephen and Wendy Baer whom we met cruising previously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sydney has so much to see; both day and night.

 

 

 

 

 

Today, again we enjoyed the view and weather eating lunch outside at Café Sydney on top of the Customs House.

 

 

 

 

That was followed with a wonderful tour of The RocksSydney’s historic area. Our guide, Alex, made it even better than one would expect.

 

Sydney was founded as a penal colony. Since England was overrun with prisoners, they used "transportaion" laws to sentence felons to be sent away to far away places to work in poor conditions, although not necessarily be incarcerated. The USA (prior to being the USA) was the place of choice for 150 years until the Revolution. Shortly thereafter Sydney was formed and used to transport felons for 80 years.

 

Then it was goodbye to Frankie and Dick who left today to return home.

 

 

 

 

Finally we took a walk through the Pitt Street Mall, Sydney’s iconic one block cosmopolitan shopping area.

 

Sydney has always been one of my favorite cities. It is so beautiful and the people are great. A couple of my favorite previous blogs about it can be found here, and here, and here, and even here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 









13 Feb 2016

Noumea, New Caledonia

 

 

 

 

Today we find ourselves way far down in the South Pacific in New Caledonia. Touring was easy and fun today on a guided open-air railroad (that uses the street.)

 

 

We saw the world’s largest lagoon, learned about the world’s second largest barrier reef and third largest nickel producing county.

 

 

 

New Caledonia still has many ties to the past. It is a French Colony currently debating whether to opt for independence.









11 Feb 2016

Mystery Is., Vanuatu

 

In a survey made in 2006, Vanuatu was found to be the country with the happiest people on earth. Maybe it’s because they were hard-core cannibals until recently.

 

Playing the bottles is fun. 

Vanuatu has some of the most accessible active volcanoes on the planet.

 

 

220,000 people live in Vanuatu. None live on Mystery Island. They think it has bad spirits. Even the locals don’t live here.

 

Strangely they speak 113 languages giving it the most languages spoken in a country per capita in the world.

 

 

 

Out of nowhere a plane landed. Pretty strange for an island with no people that you can walk the entire perimeter in 20 minutes.

 









09 Feb 2016

Lautoka (city), Viti Levu (Is.), Fiji



Fiji is known for its beauty and peacefulness making it one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in the world. It wasn’t always that way.

 

Explorers of old called it the Cannibal Islands and stayed as far away as possible because it was, indeed, Cannibalism Central. That is why it was relatively unknown for centuries.

Today I took a nice tour with the family. Our guide, Ryan Kafoa, was terrific.    

 


We visited a small, but typical village. The Chief is the absolute boss of the village. Not surprising he lives in the most prominent place and his house is both larger and higher than all the others.

  



Breadfruit is an important food staple throughout the tropics.   


 

Next up was a visit to a typical local school. Like most places around the world, the kids wear uniforms. They were a friendly and happy bunch.

 

  


 




The Garden of the Sleeping Giant was originally founded by TV’s Raymond Burr (Perry Mason) to house his vast orchid collection.

 


 

The Sri Siva Subramaniya temple is the largest Hindu temple in the Southern hemisphere.

 

Numbers – Population is 900,000. There are 333 islands. 600,000 live on this island. One third of the populations is fourth generation Indian. 

 

From 1879 until 1916, 60,000 Indians were brought in as indentured workers to work the labor intensive sugar cane industry because they would (they had no choice) as the locals had a slower way of life.

 









08 Feb 2016

Yasawa Is., Fiji

 

Today we stopped at Yasawa Island somewhere in the South Pacific. But for one small luxury bungalow hotel here, there is no commercial development; nothing but pristine beauty. That, alone, is ample reason for the stop.

 

 

It seems that there are 15 words in the Fiji language for heaven and yasawa is the first.

 

Expedia rated their beaches in the top 10 in the world.

 

Both The Blue Lagoon movies were shot in this area.