|The good thing of being retired, is that you have plenty of time to go on holiday, being in our case a cruise in South East Asia. Boarding ms ‘Volendam’ of the Holland America Line in Singapore, we made a 14 day trip along destinations in Thailand, Cambodja, Vietnam and China. This is also the reason I was not able to send the usual Christmas Greetings and wishes for a Happy New Year. Thanks for all the cards I found in my mailbox when I came home and a little bit late I herewith return these wishes. Anyway I was in time for a well-meant Chinese New Year wish, which started last week as the year of the Dog.
We boarded ms 'Volendam' of the Halland America Line' after a nice flight with Singapore Airlines in (surprise!) Singapore. We prefer the HAL ships because they are midsize ships and this being our ninth cruise, I am the better judge to say that this line provides an excellent service, As long as you stay away from the booze (extra charge and not cheap|), you find a cruise booked at the right time 'value for money'. As a 4-star mariners we are entitled to certain perks, of which we find free laundry washing top of the bill. When we left Singapore we experienced a relaxing day at sea. Normally I do the cooking at home and on board it is a luxury, that food is being served on your table with a big smile.
Our first port call was in Pattaya, Thailand, where we visited the so-called Prasat Satchatham temple. The Sanctuary of Truth is an amazing wooden building right on the beach in North Pattaya. The building has been under construction now for more than 20 years, and it might take another 15 years before it is finished. The Sanctuary of Truth is completely made out of wood, and all the delicate carvings are done by hand. A huge number of woodcarvers are at work here every day carving out the various figures.
In this temple, which actually is actually strange enough not used for religious purposes, I made numerous pictures and because of the dim light circumstances, this shot is the most appealling of the entire cruise. But you must be the better judge for yourself of course! As you see the King of Thailand, although departed, is worshipped and even the Pope has made a visit to this nice piece of craftsmanship.
Another nice shot I made near the temple yard was Marja under the golden leave tree. Its shade provides happiness and golden leaves don't fall out in Autumn, I suppose.
After a day at sea our next port call was in Cambodia. Compared to Thailand this is a poor country with a troubled past. Though people are extremely friendly and try to sell you souvenirs. We made a stop to visit a house where they made rice paper rounds.
And you are surrounded by nice flowers everywhere, not bad in December while the snow is falling in Holland.
Our cruise was not ending here and we visited several places in Vietnam, where we met some nice people as weel. I will tell you about that in a next chapter.