09 Feb 2019

Sydney, Australia 2019

Just approaching Sydney is excitement in itself.

It's difficult to find a city nicer than Sydney. We are talking the people, water, old buildings, excitement and even food.

Here we have Allyn's favorite (retail) mall in the world - Queen Victoria Building. Located inside are so many high end stores with items just not found elsewhere.

And in the mall is her favorite store, an Italian designer shop, via Condotti. She is a sucker for matchy matchy and bling. Maybe I am the sucker?

It's even fun watching the underage rappers in the middle of the street. I'm sorry I did not take a video. They were great.

Doris Wineman, a beautiful, lovely, old time cruise friend was kind enough to invite us to dinner tonight to celebrate her 78th birthday. Somebody was shocked she mentioned her age and she responded that she is thrilled to be here and be 78. Classy lady.

05 Feb 2019

Auckland, NZ 2019

Auckland is always lovely.
Previously,  Allyn bungee jumped off the Auckland bridge. She was a bit more constrained this trip.
We did manage to take an incredible speed boat ride in an adventure jet. We got soaked and bumped having a blast.
A wonderful dinner was had at Oyster and Chop. All six dinners were different and all were perfectly prepared.
We are at sea for the next two days and then one of my world favorites - Sydney.

01 Feb 2019

Fiji, 2019

It was snorkel day on Fiji for Allyn and her friends
This is what you think of when you think Fiji. Actually it is really quite mountainous and rugged.There is no Fiji Island. It is a country with over 300 islands about a third of which are inhabited.The vast majority of its 800,000 citizens live on Viti Levu.
 Kava is the traditional drink here and prepared and served ceremoniously. It tastes a bit like bitter dirt we were told.
Firewalking is a fun tour. 
Yes Fiji water is from here. The ship brought on a huge amount of Aqua Pacific, a relatively new brand that has scored very well in international tastings.

28 Jan 2019

Pago Pago, American Samoa 2019

There are many reasons a cruise stops at a port. It may be historically important, beautiful, fun, interesting, or sometimes just on the way between here and there.
Pago Pago is the capital of American Samoa located about midway between Hawaii and New Zealand. 
The Samoan Islands are divided into the independent Kingdom of Samoa and American Samoa, which is a non-incorporated territory under U.S. sovereignty. 
Interesting factoids:
Fast food - American Samoa's island of Tutuila (95% of the country's population) has the largest concentration of fast food restaurants and is the biggest purchaser of fast food in the entire South Pacific
1918 flu pandemic - Governor John Martin Poyer quarantined the territory, and because of his actions, American Samoa was one of the few places in the world where no flu-related deaths occurred
Government - American Samoa is an unincorporated, unorganized territory of the United States. Translated, American Samoa enjoys diplomatic and military protection from the US, but not all of the provisions and protections of the US Constitution apply.
Geography - American Samoa is the only U.S. possession in the southern hemisphere. 

25 Jan 2019

Fanning Island, Line Islands, Kiribati

Today we are at Fanning Island, one of the Line Islands, and part of a country called Kiribati. Population is less than 2,000; roads and power are non - existent. 
Some interesting factoids:
International Date Line – We are 900 miles almost due south of Hawaii yet one day later. The International Date Line was jutted out east in 1994 because it dissected Kiribati. It is not like Chicago and New York where it is an extra hour. Two different days meant that local commerce could only be carried out in the four common week days.
The time zone is 14 hours ahead UTC making it the world’s farthest forward time zone. They see each new day first. 
Hemispheres - Kiribati is the only country in the would to sit in all four hemispheres.
Climate change – Some folks think climate change is fake news. Not these folks. Their country is sinking annually and it is anticipated to be totally submerged in 20 years.
WW II  - In the Battle of Tarawa (November 20-23, 1943) the U.S. began its Central Pacific Campaign against Japan by seizing the heavily fortified, Japanese-held island of Betio. 
Here, during four days, the U.S. Marines suffered almost as many killed-in-action casualties as U.S. troops suffered in the six-month campaign at Guadalcanal Island.