Sunday 27 February 2011

Hong Kong - Day 1

6 days sailing from Cairns through the Celebes Sea, Sulu Sea and the South China Sea and we anchored in Junk Bay, Hong Kong on Friday. Originally the plan was to dock in the port, but due to reasons that we will never really get to know, we got a letter in our post box telling us we would be tendering into Hong Kong. The way the letter read, my first thought was that we wouldn't be stopping at all, so it was a small relief to learn that it was only a minor change to the plan. I'm sure it made a few people unhappy, but on the positive side, we would be dropped off pretty centrally, and within easy reach of other ferries and transport links.

Like in Sydney, we'd be here for 2 days, and our first day we'd booked a "Grand Tour" so that we could orientate ourselves better for the time that we were here. As an aside, we were worried at first about the amount of time we'd get in each place, and there are places where more time would have been great. However, we're finding that we are really getting the most out every port of call by planning ahead, and packing as much into each day as possible. For example, I think that if we'd had a week in Sydney, we'd have done one thing each day. Instead, we're doing 2 or 3 things. Inevitably this means some long days, but we have the time at sea to catch up on non-essential things like sleep and food.

Hong Kong was no different. We were boarding our Junk boat for a bay cruise at 9am on Friday and this took us directly off the ship, into and around the bay and dropped us at a waiting coach and our guide, Stanley. I forget where the name "Junk boat" originates, but it appeared sea worthy and didn't require balancing with people on each side in order to stay upright. Other boats that day, did. Stanley herded us like good sheep towards his waiting coach, while at the same time managing to humor Katie as she tried out her newly learnt Mandarin Chinese phrases. It turns out that Hong Kong locals speak Cantonese. She wasn't to know, but on the plus side, Cantonese for "Good Morning" was much easier to remember. It came in very useful as a phrase, right up until about noon. The official languages of Hong Kong are English and Cantonese, and as we were driven through the city on Hong Kong Island, you could see that all the road signs, advertising, and place names were written in both languages. That's a really good thing because even with Katie's 24-in-1 multi-lingual mini-translator, we'd have been stuffed, especially as it appeared to have a preference for Mandarin.

Our first stop of the day was about 30 minutes drive away. We passed through the city then, heading south along a coastal road overlooking some stunning views of cliffs, thick-forested hills and empty beaches, arrived at Stanley Market. The market, in Stanley, is a permanent fixture, frequented it seemed by locals as well as tourists and sold the standard tourist guide book fayre. " is great for finding locally grown flowers, clothes, cloth, leather goods and hand carved local souvenirs". Leather goods seem to be popular everywhere we've been, why make an exception here?! If you'd have told me all this before arriving, I'd have happily spent a while browsing before moving onto the next stop, a pleasant way to spend an hour. But when we got into the thick of it, we had to be pulled out, agreeing that we would go back in our own time the next day. The range, size and extraordinarily low prices kept us looking for bargains long after we should have been heading back to the coach. The best way I can describe it; like having eBay in front of you, you just had to find it, and secure your price. The difference here was that you didn't have to know what you wanted to find things you never knew you needed!

Most of the "Bricks and Mortar" shops had fixed prices in Hong Kong or didn't display prices at all, meaning you had to ask, and therefore have a price assigned to you depending on how you looked, what day of the week it was, and even what mood the seller was in. The market stalls had prices displayed but pretty much everything was negotiable. Because Katie is not British, her bargaining skills were better than mine. Her best example was getting 10 individual items originally priced at HK$450 down to HK$200. You had to be prepared to walk away, or face a lengthy exchange. Usually I gave up when I realised I was "exchanging" over a matter of £1.50. Even the currency exchange rate at which we changed some money was up for debate, moving from HK$10 to the pound, back to a more reasonable HK$11.5 after a bit of persuasion. I pity the poor tourist that takes everything at face value. After 2 full days of haggling over any number we came across, we felt like trying to drive down the cost of a beer back onboard Arcadia!

After another 20 minutes on the coach, and more entertainment from Stanley, our next stop was a trip around a busy marina on a Sampan boat. Can I ask you to imagine a James Bond film, with a boat chase through a busy waterway? Got the image? Well, a Sampan boat would be the boat that James jumps into when his first choice crashes or runs aground. You know the one. He jumps onto its cloth roof, ripping a hole in it, and lands on the deck startling the tourists and the old local woman driving it. This one looked like James had already been to visit, except that the old local woman was still vaguely in charge of the helm. I say vaguely because the ring of used tyres strung around the outside of the boat would come in handy several times as we weaved and, in the main, dodged the water based traffic. But don't think it was all plain sailing, with only 10 people on each boat, we played our part too when she screamed something in Cantonese and waved her hands wildly, it meant we had to move someone from the left side of the boat to the right. This was particularly useful to stop the boat tipping over and so we duly obliged. I did contemplate the temperature and depth of the water a couple of times, it actually looked surprisingly clean and clear considering the traffic, but we thankfully arrived back at the small dock completely dry.

After such excitement, lunch was a welcome sight. It was arranged as part of our tour which took the thinking and deciding out of the equation, as we were led to the Marina Yacht Club, and a huge, very elegant ballroom with chandeliers the size of our dining room table hanging from the high ceilings. It had obviously been set aside for P&O as part of several tours where lunch was included, and was busy with other passengers, all of us feeling extremely under dressed. You may have already seen the pictures that Katie posted while we were actually there. If not, scroll down or look up the post titled "Typical Chinese Lunch at Marina Club Hong Kong". The food was lovely, and as a bonus, the place had free and fast wifi.

After a stop at a Jewelry factory which made us think that Stanley and indeed P&O were on commission, we headed to Victoria Peak. Pretty much the highest place overlooking much of Hong Kong Island and the bay, we took pictures and marveled at the views. Skyscraper upon skyscraper stood in the haze and we amazed ourselves with the thought of the number of people who lived down there. About 7.5 million, the majority of whom live in an area not much bigger than Reading.

From the peak of the city, we took a funicular railway back down into the city. Now this particular funicular also claims to be the steepest in the world and for those of you who read my Sydney post (if not, why not?), you will remember that I doubted similar claims made by the railway at the Blue Mountains. However, now that we are experienced funicular riders, and without knowing the exact statistics, I would give credit to the Blue Mountain's claims. If anyone knows of any other renowned funiculars, please let us know, we'd be more than happy to sample their steepness. I feel a book coming on.

We were dropped back at the ferry terminal where most people headed back to the tender and hence the ship. It was about 5pm by this time, and despite having had a full day out we decided that the 40 minute one way ride back to the ship meant that we wouldn't be back on shore before 8. So we decided to stay out and catch the ferry to Kowloon. Hong Kong is essentially an island, and Kowloon is back on the mainland. If you were to continue north by land for another 25 miles, you'd reach the border with China proper. The ferry ride is only 7 minutes, costs about 15 pence each but it may have well been another world away. We thought Hong Kong Island was busy, but Kowloon was the bustling, colourful maze that made us think we had really arrived. Walking along the street up from the ferry terminal, we saw only locals, and with the 4 of us in our best tourist day wear, I was quite aware of how much we stood out. Nevertheless, apart from the first 5 minutes when Trevor was pursued relentlessly by a tailor who made custom suits to order, we were not bothered by anyone. Our walk took us over a mile north up the main road, through some gardens, and towards the night market on Temple Street which was just getting started when we arrived. If we thought that Stanley market was big, varied and well attended, then the Temple Street night market was something else. The stalls were set up down the middle of the street, with local food "outlets" on each side of the road serving everything you would expect from a Chinese street cafe. The relatively normal stuff like fish, shell fish, snails and eels, and then the weird things like chickens feet, fried insects and things we could not readily identify let alone allow into our mouths. Goods being offered on the stalls were far more varied than in Stanley. More electronics, and electrical "bits and pieces" which I took great delight in perusing, leather bags of all different brands, shapes and sizes, computer games and consoles, clothing, decorations, and a multitude of different types of crap - from Nail Clippers to Pens and Pencils and back to glue and headphones. There wasn't much you couldn't have found, and at a price that made you want to buy a lot of it. Every time we thought we had come to the end, it continued over the road. Once again, haggling over the price, or at least getting a discount, was the norm, and a lot of people were taking advantage of that. While the pace of movement was relatively slow, the generally accepted way of moving around, seemed to be just to ignore people in front, behind or to the side of you and bump and jostle your way through, it was a pick pockets' dream. Needless to say, we kept a tight grip on our belongings and each other! We spent a good couple of hours there, and as the evening progressed, the items on sale progressed too. Several more stalls selling fake watches appeared, mostly Rolex, but after examining a few I decided that despite their price (about £30 after discount) the quality wasn't as good as I had been hoping for and so we passed.

When our stomachs finally won over we decided to give the street food a miss, and headed back to the main road to find a normal looking restaurant. We found one just off the main road and had a nice meal consisting of a starter, main course with rice and a large beers for about £10 per head. We were the only non locals in there.

We walked back down the main street towards the ferry terminus. It was about 11pm by this time but the streets were still full of people and colourful neon signs, advertising even the smallest hotel or restaurant. I think we caught the last ferry to run that night and then jumped on a tender boat to take us back to the ship. The tenders were running all night, but this one was fairly busy, we even bumped into Dave and Ann, our other table mates, and one of Arcadia's doctors with whom we've become friendly. As Katie sat inside, I ventured out onto a dark deck to watch the Hong Kong skyline. It was surely impressive, and we were to get an even better view of it the next night.

25.- 26. unora 2011 – Hong Kong, spravni uzemi Hong Kong, China

25. unora 2011 – den 1 – Velky Okruh Hong Kongem - Nocni Trh - Mistni Speciality

Co si predstavite pod tim, kdyz nekdo rekne, ze byl v Hong Kongu? Je to neco velmi vzdaleneho a exotickeho? Mnoho barevnych svetel a vysokych budov? Samostatne uzemi pod spravou Ciny? Kosmopolitni mesto plne bank a davu lidi? Trhy a markety plne veci ktere chcete a take tech co vubec nepotrebujete? Levna elektronika ci falesne Rolexky, ktere od tech pravych vypadaji zcela k nerozeznani? Hmmm, tak mate skoro pravdu, Hong Kong je tak vsechno dohromady a jeste mnohem vice, je tezke ho popsat jednou vetou ci jednim odstavcem. Jak se tak nekdy rika: To si musite zazit!! K tomu co jsme napsala z otaznikem jen pridejte oznamovaci vetu a pak jeste dodam toto: Hong Kong ma 7.5 milionu obyvatel, tedy skoro stejny pocet obyvatel jako nase republika, asi jen o 2.5 milionu mene. Krome modernich vysokych budov tam najdete take ruzne historicke budovy vcetne budhistickych chramu, dale pak zelene parky, zelene pahorky a subtropicke lesy a bile piscite plaze s pruznacnou modrou vodou, moderni ulice plne znacnovych obchodu a o blok dale pak hned zase typicke uzke ulicky s trhy, ktere se linou stanek za stankem a u kazdeho najdete neco trochu jineho a vetsinou je to neco, co by se vam zrovna mohlo hodit.

V Hong Kongu je velmi snadne vyuzit mistni autobusy, dvoupatrove tramvaje a pak take vodni taxiky, ktere vas zavezou temer kamkoliv. Je to mesto, nebo-li vlastne stat, kde muzete koupit temer cokoliv, potkat kohokoliv a vetsina mistnich lidi je velmi pratelska a ochotna pomoci, i kdyz treba zrovna nevladnou zcela dobre anglickym jazykem. Dokonce tu maji i svuj Disneyland, takze nemusi do Parize ani na Floridu a nemusi je mrzet, pokud je tam nepusti. Hong Kong byl od 1. cervence 1898 “pronajat” ci prenechan na 99 let Velke Britanii a tedy byl samostany ale pod britskou spravou , 1. cervence 1997 byl pak navracen Cine, ktere pry slibila zachovat vsechny prava, ktere zde po 99 let platila. Hong Kong je velmi hrdy na svou nezavislost, i kdyz z toho co jsme slyseli mame trochu pocit, ze nejaka kontrola ze strany Ciny jiste byt musi, ale na druhou stranu, je to uzemi, kde jsou nizke dane a bohate banky, takze mozna je duvod, proc si politicke spicky tuto malinkou cast tak hyckaji a ponechali ji samostatny status.

Hongkongsti lide pry strazi sve hranice velmi tvrde, protoze uz tak je tam velmi tesno, takze kazdy novy imigrant z Ciny s sebou muze prinest pripadne problemy a opravdu neni moc kam se rozrustat, uz i tak kdybyste porovnali mistni panelaky, tak se ty nase 15 patrove, muzou jit zahrabat. Myslim, ze tak 40-50 pater je takovy standard. Pro vetsinu lidi i koupe bytu je celkem nakladna zalezitost a koupit dum si opravdu mohou dovolit jen velmi bohati lide. Prumerny dvouloznicovy byt, po prepoctu na koruny zacina nekde na 4 milionech korun. Od 11. kvetna 2011 je vyzadovana minimalni hodinova mzda 28 HKD (Hong Kongsky Dolar) coz je momentalne 2.25 libry a zhruba 64 korun na hodinu. Jiste jsou lide, co si vydelaji i mnohem vice, ale zase na druhou stranu mnoho zamestnavatelu tuto hranici nedorzuje a take jsme treba videli na autobusove zastavce plakat: “ Zamestnavateli, plat svym zamestnancum vcas a dodrzuj minimalni mzdu!” “ Za nedodrzeni pokute 35.000 HKD”, takze je to asi opravdu mistni problem a to prevazne v oblasti vyroby, kde se cenu pracovni sily snazi stlacit na minimum, aby dokazali konkurovat levnymi vyrobky.

Pro nas tu nas prvni den zacal hned v patek rano po 8.hodine, 25. unora, kdy jsme meli zarezervovany vylet “Velky Okruh Hong Kongem”. Chteli jsme ten den vyuzit teto exkurze a pak mit moznost vratit se tak, kde se nam bude libit. Arcadia dnes kotvila asi 10km od brehu v tak zvanem “Junk Bay” a proto jsme si myseli, ze prvne se budeme muset na breh dostat opet pomoci tendru. Vse bylo jinak a nase vyletni lod tak zvana “Junk Boat” pro nas prijela primo k nasi Arcadii, takze jsme pres takove male zelene molo nastoupili primo primo na nas Junk, ktery nas vzal na plavbu mezi Hong Kong Island – coz je jizni strana a samostatny ostrov - a Kowloon – ktery je na severni casti a je spojeny dale s uzemim nazvanem Nova Teritoria – Stale soucast Hong Kongu – a pak uz navazeje Cina. Pro uplnou predstavu, z jihu na sever je delka celeho Hong Kongu vcetne vsech ostrovu, ostruvku i pevniny asi 40-45 kilometru a ze zapadu na vychod asi take tak podobne. Takze je to asi stejne velkem uzemi jako mezi Nachodem a Hradcem Kralove, jen si mezi tim jeste predstavete ruzne velka jezera a jezirka J. Samotne hlavni mesto Hong Kongu, coz je Hong Kong, je asi tak velky jako Praha mozna spis Brno, opravdu o moc vetsi nebude, urcite nekolikrat mensi nez Londyn, a muzete ho celkem lehce prochodit jen pesky ci pouzit autobusy. Po asi hodinove malebne vyletni vyjizdce na teto lodi, kdy jsme se mohli kochot pobrezim na obou stranach a pozorovat zmet a ruznorodost budov i ostatnich plavidel kolem nas, jsme pristali v lodnim terminalu v Pristavu Victoria ( Victoria Harbour). Nase skupinka asi 30 lidi mela zlutou nalepku s cislem 5 a tedy jsme nyni zamirili do autobusu cislo 5. Nas mistni pruvodce, ktery se jmenoval Stanley a do Hong Kongu prisel s rodici s Ciny kdyz mu byly 2 roky v roce 1950, uz od zacatku vypadal, ze bude clovek na svem mistne. Velmi vystizne nas informoval o tom, co nas ten den ceka a jak to bude probihat a mluvil vzdy k veci a byl to konecne jeden z pruvodcu, ktery nas jen neterorizoval naprosto podivnymi informacemi, jako to napriklad predvedla nemecka panicka kdyz jsme byli na nasi posledni zastavce v Australii.

Stanley nam oznamil, ze nase prvni zastavka povede do jeho oblibeneho mista, ktere se jmenuje Stanley market a nachazi se na samem jihu Hong Kong islandu ve vesnicce Stanley. Trochu jsme se tomu podivili a v koutku duse pomysleli, ze snad to nebude trh, ktery ma Stanleyho rodinka na dvorku, ale to uz jsme z okna mohli pozorovat rozmanite budovy a pak jsme najednou prejeli pres kopec a budovy zmizeli a my jsme videli zelene kopecky a modre more, projeli jsme kolem jedineho golfoveho hriste - stat se celenem stoji 10 milionu HKD a cekaci listina je asi 5 let – a pak dale kolem Ocean Park, kde je jedno z nejvetsich akvarii v Asii a take tam ziji Pandy. Dale jsme projeli kolem dvou zcela uzasnych plazi: Deep Water Bay a Repulse Bay ( kteremu pry take rikaji Excuse me Bay), obe plaze asi tak 50 metru od brehu maji spustne ocelove site a to pry proto, aby pripadne zabranili zralokum dostat se az ke brehum. Trochu strasidelne to teda priznam, ale na druhou stranu aspon se tam clovek muze citit bezpecne, i kdyz by mne tedy nenapadlo, ze do tech zalivu by zraloci vubec mohli chtit zavitat. Asi po 40 minutach jizdy a totalnim kochani se okolim jsme pristali na autobusovem nadrazi ve Stanley ( zapomnela jsem jeste zminit, ze ve Stanley je take Stanley Plaz J ). Zde nam nas pruvodce Stanley rekl, ze mame presne hodinu na to, abychom se podivali po mistnim trhu, ktery tedy opravdu nevlastnila jeho rodina, a my jsme nevahali a pustili jsme se do objevovani. Byla to celkem nova zkusenost a mohli jsme tam najit spoustu hezky veci, od suvenyru, fotaku, hodinek, povleceni, obrazu, pres boty, kabelky vsech druhu a typy, ruzne druhy obleceni vetsina znackoveho, ktere byla jako druha jakost a neprosla testem a mozna i nejake padelky, ale na tom opravdu nesejde. Vsechno jsme si prosli, Chris si konecne nasel svuj vysneny anorak, ale byl to nakonec Trepass, ktery mimo jine vyrabi velmi drahe lyzarske obleceni, jeho bunda byla 100 HKD coz je si 8 liber takze asi 230 ceskych korun, a v techto cenach se pohybovalo skoro vsechno. Tricka od 50-100 HKD, boty trochu vice asi 100-300 HKD, Kabelky od 100-400HKD a tak podobne. Mozna podobne ceny jako v Cechach na vietnamske trznici, ale kvalita i vyber o nekolik trid vyse. A vsude se dalo docela dobre smlouvat, takze celkem to byla dobra zabava. Celkem tam mohlo byt pres 100 samostatnych stanku, takze hodina opravdu nebyla moc casu. Ja jsem koupila jen jedny nausnice a pro Vikcu Hongongke saticky – made in Hong Kong huraaa. Rekli jsme si, ze se tam jeste musime vratit, pokud se nam to podari druhy den. Kdyz jsme se vratili do autobusu a Stanley nas vsechny prepocital a rekl, aby ten jeden clovek co chybi se ihned prihlasil, tak jsme si zase vydali stejnou cestou zpatky ale opet bylo co objevovat. Upozornil nas na jeden asi 15-ti patrovy dum, kde vsichni obyvatele susili sve pradlo v oknech – maloktere byty maji balkony, byl to celkem zajimavy pohled. Pry tak pomahaji od globalniho oteplovani, protoze tim svym pradlem ochlazuji atmosferu J!

Nase dalsi zastavka byla v pristavu, kde se nase skupinka rozdelili do 3 lodek, kterym se rika Sampan Boat –Sampanska lodka – a ktere mistni lide vyuzivaji jako taxiky, aby se dostali do ruznych casti meste. My jsme byli na lodce s Trevorem a Jean (oni take meli zarezervovany tento vylet jako my) a take se Suzie a Ianem ( ty jsme predtim potkali na nekolika nasich vyletech ale hlavne v Baru u Bose Tisy na Pago Pago) a dalsi 2 pary ktere jsme neznali jmenem. Nasi lodku ridila takove postarsi pani, myslim, ze ji bylo tak pres 75 a umela jen cinsky, takze jen vydavala takove divne zvuky, ale vsichni jsme pochopili, ze na kazde strane muze sedet jen 5 lidi, abychom Sampan dobre vyvazili. Provezla nas kolem lodi, lodek, modernich jacht, plovouci cinske restaurace a opet jsme mohli pozorovat rozmanite pobrezi. Asi po pul hodine teto jizdy jsme byli zpet u brehu, kazdy jsme dali pani do jejich plastove nadobky disko a sli jsme se potkat zpet se Stanleym, abychom zjistili co pro nas ma dale pripraveneho. Bylo kolem jedne hodiny, takze pry byl cas na obed. Ten se podaval v Marina Jacht Clubu, coz byl asi i hotel a misto obedu na drevenych lavickach nekde venku, jak jsem si to predstavovala ja, tak jsme jedli ve 2. patre v mistnosti, ktera se spise hodila pro svatebni hostinu, nez pro turisty v kratasech, dzinach a trikach. Obrazky z naseho obeda jste uz videli, protoze jsem hned vyuzila volneho Internetu, coz byla jedinecna moznost hned dat par obrazku na blog. Obed byl opravdu vyborny a je to bajecny napad udelat takovy kruhovy podnos, ktery muzete otacet a vse tam na talirich naservirovat a pak se vsech 10 hostu u stolu muze delit o vsechny dobroty jen otocenim.

Po obede jsme se vsichni citili tak, ze se musime nekde natahnout a na 2 hodinky si zdrimnout, ale na tohle vubec nebyl cas. Nase dalsi zastavka byla ve vyrobne sperku, kde nam v 10-ti minutach popsali, jak co vyrabeji. Te pani co mluvila k nam jsme teda moc nerozumneli, protoze mluvila spise cinsky nez anglicky, ale to nevadilo. Meli jsme se podivat do vyrobny, jak tedy ty sperky delaji, ale asi jsme meli smulu, protoze vsichni pracovnici zrovna v zakulisi bastili sve obedy, takze jsme je v akci opravdu moc nevideli. Po te co jsme prosli vyrobnou se otevreli dvere do vystavni casti, coz byl hlavni duvod, proc nas tam zavlekli. Vsude byli skrine a regaly plne ruznuch sperku a drahych kamenu vsech druhy, barev a velikosti a za pultiky stali holky s kalkulckama, aby vam hned mohli prepocitat kolik co stoji na vase penize a neco vam vyhodne prodat. Tak jsme si to prosli, ockem mrkli na jejich mistni diamanty a rubiny, ktere opravdu byli moc pekne a cena je jiste vyhodnejsi nez v Evrope, ale zadny kamen za 100 HKD nam prodat zrovna nechteli, spis tak za 10.000, takze jsme se svorne s Chrisem i s Trevorem a Jean rozhodli, ze tohle trziste teda neni pro nas a pomalu ale jiste jsme se vytratili smer autobus. Kdyz se vsichni nabazili vsech sperku a obavam se, ze asi jen jeden clovek z tech nasich 30 si neco koupil, byli jsme pripraveni na nasi dalsi zastavku. Prvne nas musel autobus vyvezt do vysky asi 552 metru nad morem, kde je vrcholek zvany Peak Tower – take nejvyssi bod Hong Kongu - prevyseni je zruba 500 metru. Tam jsme meli opravdu krasny vyhled na cele mesto a okoli, takze jsme meli cas se podivat, udelat par fotek a take nakouknout do mistnich obchodu, ktere ale ani zdaleka nemeli to same kouzlo jako ty ze Stanley Marketu! Jednu dobrou vec jsme si tam ale preci jen koupila a to Flexi Mapu Hong Kongu, ktera byla zcela nepostradatelnym pomocnikem po cely zbytek nasi navstevy. Asi kolem 16. hodiny jsme od Stanleyho dostali listky na Tramvaj, ktera prvne pripominala zubatku na Petrin, ale pak byla malicko vice strmejsi, no vlastne docela hodne strma, ze opravdu musela jet jen velmi pomalinku, aby si nekdo nevykloubil krk, sedeli jsme totiz jeste navic vsichni pozpatku. Byl to zase dalsi uplne jiny zazitek a kdyz jsme prijeli dolu, byla tam obrovska fronta na cestu nahoru, takze jsme byli celkem radi, ze jsme se celkem bez problemu dostali dolu. Tato tramvaj je jednou z nejvetsich atrakci v Hong Kongu, takze si dovedete predstavit, ze je celkem popularni, jednosmerna jizdenka je 5 HKD, coz je asi 11.50 ceskych korun, takze pro srovnani o trochu mene nez jizdenka na Petrin, ta je dnes kolem 26 korun.

Kdyz jsme dole nastoupili do autobusu, citili jsme se, ze ten nabity den, nam dava celkem zabrat, ale nezapomneli jsme se kazdou minutu kochat. Stanley nam rekl, ze nas jeste nechce zavezt zpet do pristavu, protoze jsme na tom s casem velmi dobre a ze nas vezme jeste na jedno misto, ale ze o tom nesmime nikomu rict, protoze to neni v planu cesty a ostatni by si mohli stezovat, ze tam nebyli. Tak jsme mu vsichni svorne slibili, ze to nikomu nerekneme a on nas vzal k Hong Kongskemu vystavnimu centru, kde je pamatnik – Zlaty tulipan – ktery zde byl umisten v roce 1997 a symbolizuje znovuspojeni Hong Kongu s Cinou a take zarucuje Hong Kongu svobodu a samostatnost, takze jiste pochopite, ze to ma pro mistni obyvatele velky vyznam a je to take popularni zastavka pro cinske turisky. Zde jsme meli hezky vyhled na druhou stranu Vicroria Harbour na cast ktera jak uz jsme zminila se jmenuje Kowloon. Takze jsme si vyfotili tulipan a take protejsi stranu a divali se, jak se vsichni mistni foti s tim tulipanem. Dokonce tam bylo asi 6 stanku, ktere pouze meli fotografove, kteri vas vyfotili a hned na tiskarne vam udelali fotku, abyste mohli odjet domu ze suvenyrem. Nas tedy nikdo moc neotravoval, protoze asi vedeli, ze Evropani opravdu nemuseji mit fotky z Tulipanem, kdyz si muzou zajet do Holandska. Pak uz byl cas vydat se zpet do pristavu – Government Piers – kde nase dnesni exkurze mela skoncit a my mohli nasednout zpet na lodku, ktera nas mela dovezt zpet na Arkadii.

Kdyz jsme dorazili do Pier 4, ktery byl na celou dobu rezervovan pro nase transportni lode, fronta lidi co chteli jet zpet byla celkem dlouha a my jsme vedeli, ze cesta bude trvat asi 45 minut. Meli jsme v planu se vecer vydat zpet do ulic a zacit objevovat mesto tak trochu po svem. Rozhodli jsme se tedy zustat na brehu a pokracovat dale. Presli jsme o 3 mola dale, kde byla stanice pro Star Ferry, coz je lodka, ktera spojuje Hong Kong Island a Kowloon. Jedna cesta je 2 HKD a je to prejezd asi 10 minut. Jelikoz stranu Hong Kong Islandu jsme jiz meli tak trochu prozkoumanou, rozhodli jsme se prejet lodi do casti Kowloon. Plne vybaveni Flexi mapou jsme si byli celkem jisti, ze se nemuzeme ztratit. Kdyz jsme na druhe strane, po odmitnuti nekolika prodejcu, kteri nabizeli velmi vyhodne Rolexky a pak tech co nam zase chteli usit obleky na miru, tak jsme si vydali pesky zkrs Kowloon Park Drive, kde jsme asi po 250 metrech objevili Kowloon Park, ktery byl velmi pekny a delil se na nekolik casti. V jedne casti byli stromy a fontana, v dalsi byli ruzne sochy, pak tam byla Cinska cast a pak zase jezirko s zivyma zelvickama a na konci bylo bludiste z zivych plotu. Tak jsme si to vsechno hezky prosli a prohledli a slunce zatim pomalu zapadalo. Dale jsme pokracovali po Nathan Road dale na sever. Nathan ulice byla lemovana barvamy a obchody a tak jsme se propletali mezi tim vsim. Cil nasi cesty byl asi 2 kilometry od pristavu na ulici Temple, kde mel byt nocni trh a my jsme si to chteli prohlednout. Kdyz jsem z Nathan ulice zasli do bocnich ulicek, tak jsme mohli videt, citit a zazit skutecny zivot mistnich lidi, videli jsme nescetne mnozstvi malych restauraci ci spise takovych rychlych obcerstveni a vsude bylo plno lidi, mozna to bylo i tim, ze byl patek vecer. Takze to opet byl celkem nepopsatelny zazitek.

Kolem sedme hodiny jsme konecne dorazili do Temple street, coz je ulice na ktere probiha nocni trh. Stanky uz se zacali pomalu otvirat a tak jsme nelenili a sli jsme se podivat, co to vlastne nabizeji a opet tu bylo vsechno mozne od “znackoveho” obleceni pres hodinky, ruznou elektroniku, mistni oblecky a suvenyry, kabelky, slunecni bryle, ruzne sperky a ozdoby, hracky, proste cokoliv. Prosli jsme celou Temple street a pak jsme se druhou stranou vraceli, kdyz jsme ale dosli tam, kde jsme zacali, najedou tam pokracovali dalsi stanky a tak jsme sli dal a objevovali jsme nove a nove veci. Nic moc jsme nenakoupili, Chris objevil hezkou kozenou brasnu, kterou nakonec usmlouval na 320 HKD a tu si i koupil, Jean si koupila za 160 HKD polarizovane slunecni bryle “Okley”, jsou to sice padelky ale vypadaji uplne stejne, takze o co go J a jeste jsme koupili par drobnosti. Asi kolem pul devate uz jsme stanku a nakupovani meli celkem plne zuby a rozhodli jsme se, ze najdeme nejake misto na mistni veceri. Netrvalo dlouho a objevili jsme Malajsko-Cinsko restauraci, kde jsme i zakotvili a dali jsou si veceri. Chris mel Kureci Kari a Trevor mel Kari z hovezich prsou – nikdy jsem teda asi nejedla hovezi prsa, zda se to vubec da jist – a Jean a ja jsme si dali Malajske Kure, co bylo uplne super, v takove pomerancove omacce s vajickem, parkem a hraskem. K tomu vsemu jsme meli cinske pivo a hezky jsme si tu mistni specialitu spolecne vychutnali. Restaurace to byla takova spise jak rychla jidelna, takze jsme tam byli take jedini turisti jinak sami mistni lide a to bylo to spravne, co melo atmosferu a co jsme si prali. Kdyz jsme asi o dve hodiny dele vysli ven, byl tam najednou zase Hong Kong plny svetel svetel a nocniho zivota a my ctyri totalne unaveni, ale nadseni a plni dojmu z toho celeho dlouheho dne. Byl cas se vydat zpet do pristavu a chytit Star Ferry, protoze posledni lod odjizdela ve 23:30, my jsme stihli tu co jela ve 23:10, opet jsme si museli koupit kazdy jeden zeton, kazdy za 2 HKD a hodit jej do turniketu, aby nas pustil dale na lod, kde jsme obsadili jednu z drevenych lavic a vsichni vypadali totalne znicene, ale i tak jsme jeste meli dost energie udelat par fotek z cesty. Pak jsme presedli na nas lodni tendr, tedy dalsi lod a cekala nas jeste 40 minutova cesta zpet na Arcadii, kam jsme konecne kolem pulnoci prijeli. Zcela vycerpani a plni pocitu, ze jsme z toho dne opravdu meli co nejvic,jsme jeste rychle museli udelat plan pro nas druhy den v Hong Kong, protoze tentokrat jsme meli v planu HK OYO – Hong Kong On Your Own – Hong Kong bez pruvodce. Chris, Jean ani Trevor nemeli zadny extra napad a hlavne chteli jit uz spat, tak jsme navrhla, at vyuzijeme toho, ze mame cely den,ale jeste se musime dostat na breh, takze at se sejdeme v 7:30 a vyrazime tenderem na breh v 7:45. Musim rict, ze nikdo si nemyslel v tu chvili, ze je to dobry napad, ale rozhodli se mi neodporovat a bylo dohodnuto. Dosli jsme do nasi kabiny a velmi rychle ulehli a sli spat, protoze nas cekalo asi jen 5 hodin spanku a vedeli jsme, ze budeme potrebovat sily na sobotni den.

26. unora 2011 – den 2 – Hong Kong OYO (On Your Own) nebo-li bez pruvodce – Ztraceny hlas – Lov za Laptopem

Pokracovani bude zitra,dneska uz jdeme spinkat, tak dobrou noc a sladke sny!

Saturday 26 February 2011

Hong Kong at Night

Just a few pictures from last night, so hope you will enjoy! XxX
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Friday 25 February 2011

Typical Chinese Lunch at Marina Club Hong Kong

This lunch was rather unexpected but rather very delicious, so good way to come all thee way here to be able to compare it with your local take away, just a few pics for small demonstration! xx
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Hong Kong highlights

Textile&Clothes industry is #1, Electronics&Watches #2, Turism #3, there is no heavy industry or any natural resoures industry present in Hong Kong. Population of HK is 7,5 million people, density is 6500 ppl on squere km. Please enjoy a few pictures from our Friday Morning! Hong Kong is rather spectucular and completely different from what we have seen so far! So much to see, taste, buy, experience! Wow wow wow!
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Found: One stowaway Hobbit

All the way from New Zealand, Trevor and Jean found this Hobbit going for a short stroll out on deck. And before anyone comments, the Hobbit is the one in the front, and yes we do have too much time on our hands.

Thursday 24 February 2011

And few more from the ship..

Ceiling above reception, staircase near reception, corridor towards Merridian restaurant and its entrance
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Par obrazku - A few pictures

Sun set at Philipines, Chris&Katie, Chris in our room just before dinner:-)
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Wednesday 23 February 2011

Where are we?

You might have noticed that our location hasn't been updated for a while, it's because of a technical fault with Blogger that won't let us edit it. I hope to resolve it when we get more reliable wifi in Hong Kong. For now, "hello" from a windy Sulu Sea, just west of the Philippines. We should get to Hong Kong on Friday.

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Yorkeys Knobs / Cairns

For the first time since joining the cruise, we had 2 port calls on consecutive days. Yesterday Great Barrier Reef and today, Yorkeys Knob, about 20 minutes outside Cairns. The port wasn't big enough to accommodate Arcadia, so we were anchored off the coast and had to get tendered to shore. The process involves obtaining a ticket and waiting for your letter to be called before boarding the tender ship. Even though we were super organised this morning, Katie still had to queue for 30 minutes to get a ticket on the first tender out. Actually our friends Dave and Ann who were further up the queue managed to get us some, saving us some time. I was in charge of getting us breakfast and bringing it down to the bar where we were waiting to be called. It all worked quite well, and we were ashore by 10. You now understand why ports that require tenders, are not as popular with some people.

We'd decided to make the most of the day by getting into Cairns for a couple of hours before heading back to port to join our excursion. Cairns itself (from what we saw of it) was a really nice tropical city with palm tree lined roads, cute shopping streets and a big open air beach pool, not dissimilar to Brisbane, which was already being well appreciated when we got there. We walked around and found somewhere to have food (ok, it was a McDonalds but I'll justify this decision to you by saying that it was the first one in 6 weeks, and it had free Wifi). In the city centre we saw several big trees full of fruit bats (flying foxes) hanging around. It was quite a strange sight to see them on one side of the road, with the city skyline of Cairns on the other, I imagine even more so when they woke up and all flew off later.

A quick coach back to Yorkeys Knob and we joined our trip to the rainforest park. They had Koalas, Kangeroos, Crocodiles, and an assortment of wildlife which wasn't always intentionally part of the experience. Large spiders hung on their webs from the roof of some of the outdoor buildings, and one of the rangers captured a snake to show us that he said would have clotted your blood after a single bite. He found it in the staff changing rooms. Nice. It was another timely reminder that there are a lot of things that can do you some damage in Australia. All this was just before we disappeared into the rainforest on the back of a big amphibious "army duck". We were driven around, into and out of the water, saw big blue butterflies, lots of flowers and more spiders hanging in the webs as we passed, far too slowly, beneath them.

Next stop was a very quaint village called Kuranda where we would pick up a scenic railway to take us for 2 hours, along the valley ridge. It certainly lived up to its name. You can see a photo that I took of the Barron Falls in Katie's post below. Much of the journey was just as impressive but capturing it from a moving train, albeit an slow one, was the job of the video camera alone.

Once again, we caught the last tender back to the ship. They wouldn't go without us because we were on an official tour. The journey back to the ship was the roughest we've had so far. The tenders are relatively small and although they double as lifeboats, the windows and roof still received a thorough sea water wash. Arcadia had to turn to face the shore so that she provided protection for the tenders to dock and be brought back onboard in calmer waters.

Tuesday 22 February 2011

22.unor 2011 - Postrehy a myslenky co pripluly kolem nas

Po nasem tydnu stravenem v Australii ted mame odpocinkove obdobi, kdy se celych 6 dni plavime na more kolem Papui Nove Guinei, zkrs Indonesii, okolo Bali a take Filipin a dalsich mnoha exotickych ostrovu a destinaci, ktere ted z hlavy ani neumim vyjmenovat. Rikame si, ze je to trochu skoda, ze jsme u nich tak blizko a nemuzeme se alespon na jednom ci dvou mistech zastavit, ale na druhou stranu to neni az tak velky problem. Kdyz jsme odplouvali z nasi posledni zastavky v Australii, tak jsme si trochu prali zustat tam jeste o par dni dele a pak se zase letadlem vydat chytit nasi lod. Vzdalenost mezi severnim brehem Australie a Hong Kongem, kde je nase pristi zastavka, je asi 3750 namornich mil, coz je zhruba 6115 kilometru, skoro stejna vzdalenost jako mezi Anglii a New Yorkem. Takze kdyz si toto predstavite a porovnate, tak zjistite, ze je to opravdu celkem radna streka a ze tedy na druhou stranu uplout to za sest dni a sest noci zase neni tak strasne dlouha doba.

Tento tyden tak nejak vyuzivame k relaxovani a k straveni vsech tech mist, ktera jsme za posledni tydny navstivili. Take mame ruzne napady a myslenky, co bychom chteli a mohli delat, az se vratime zpatky domu. Napady s cim bychom mohli obchodovat ci jaky business bychom mohli zalozit. Napadu a myslenek zacina pomalu ale jiste pribyvat a tak jsem je zacala vsechny zapisovat, abychom na nektere treba nezapomneli. Pak uz bude stacit jen vybrat ty spravne moznosti a premenit je v realitu. Snad se nam ten navrat do reality podari bez vetsich problemu. Trochu se mi zastesklo nad tim, ze jsme tak daleko, a ze by bylo skvele mit jeste zpet v Anglii trochu vice casu delat to, co jsme si ted naplanovali. Trochu se bojim toho, ze navrat zpet do normalniho kolobehu, muze nase nadseni ohrozit, protoze nebudeme mit dost sil a inspirace. Takze asi je normalni si najednou uprostred more a tak trochu niceho sip rat byt zpatky doma. Nase cesta vsak jeste neni u konce, takze chceme pokracovat v tom, uzivat si kazdy den a vyuzit ty volne dny k vytvareni nejakych hodnotnych myslenek a napadu. A navic Trevor uz nekolikrat rekl, ze si s nami velice rad sedne a probere nase napady a myslenky, a jelikoz to je vec, kterou se v normalnim svete zivi, tak jsme jiste potkali toho spravneho cloveka, pokud nejaky business plan chceme vytvorit. Nemusi to byt nic velikeho, aspon pro zacatek ne, jak jsem rekla, par napadu mame, ale radeji si to necham ted pro sebe, protoze se nechci vratit domu a pak poslouchat “Uz jste na tom zacali pracovat?” “Uz s tim zacnete?” “Kdyz to bude fungovat?” Nekdy sice trochu postouchavani a inspirativniho buseni do hlavy neskodi, ale radeji to neprehanejte a mejte s nami trpelivost 

Jak uz jsme Chris i Ja drive zminili, Arcadia je takove male mesto, kde ziji ruzni pratele, znami a take lide vam naprosto cizi ci ti co nikdy ani nepotkate. Nekteri lide mne opravdu trochu stvou, protoze napriklad nekdo mi tuhle rekl: “Brisbane bylo celkem nudne, nic moc tam nebylo. Aucklad byl nejak spinavy a vubec se mi tam nelibilo, na Pago Pago nebyli zadne obchody….” A mohla bych pokracovat dale. Kdyz tohle od nekoho z nasi spolupasazeru slysim, tak vzdy jen pokrcim rameny a myslim si sve. Pro me a i pro Chrise je kazde misto nove, krasne a nam se vzdy podari najit si neco, z ceho jsme opravdu zcela nadseni. At uz je to navsteva tucnaku, ci vyslap na krater, botanicka zahrada ci treba opustena plaz. Kazde misto ma svou urcitou jinou krasu a to je to co nas na kazde zastavce a navsteve zcela fascinuje a proc jsme se na tuto cestu vydali. Je smutne, ze se tu najdou takovi lide, kteri se opravdu chovaji jak totalni debilci a treba tak i kazi cestu veselym lidem, kteri jsou stastni z toho co vidi a maji. Misti salon, kam se muzete zajit ostrihat, na pedikuru ci manikuru, masaz, zabal a nescetny pocet dalsich procedur, obcas dela takovou predvadecku, ktera se jmenuje “ Vypadej o 10 let mladeji”. Dnes me tak napadlo, ze mozna by pro nektere bylo spis prihodnejsi jit na lekce “Jak se chovat o deset let mladeji” nebo “ Tve telo starne, zustan mlady aspon mozkem”. Ted to mozna zni, ze tu s nami jsou jen sami mizerove, coz tedy neni pravda. Vetsina lidi je naprosto super a v pohode a mozkem jsou opravdu mladi, takze to jsou lide, kteri nam pomahaji vytvaret nase zazitky a diky nim je tento vylet plnejsi, krasnejsi a stale necim novy.

Potkali jsem Austalana Iana a jeho manzelka je Zorka, holka z Petrina, jeji maminka a tatinek a dalsi 3 sourozenci Emigrovali kdyz ji bylo 13 let do Australie, v roce 1968. Ziji v hlavnim meste Australie jmenem Canberra a znaji se od roku 2001, kdy se seznamili pred seznamovaci agenturu a o rok pozdeji se vzali. Kdyz jsme cekali na nas lodni tendr v Cairns, tak jsme si s nimi pres pul hodiny povidali a bylo to opravdu fascinujici, poslouchat jejich pribeh a hlavne historii pani Zory, jejich deti jsou vlastne Australane, ale oba pry mluvi plynule cesky, protoze na ne ona celou dobu jen cesky mluvila, az teprve kdyz jim bylo asi deset let, tak pry obe deti byli prekvapene, ze mluvi i anglicky. Oba maji moc radi Prahu a snazi se tam aspon kazde 4 roky zavitat. Po revoluci okolo roku 1990, kdyz pani Zora byla poprve zpet v Praze a navstivila svou tetu a sestrenice a bratrance, dala jim vedet jen hodinu predem, ze jsou v Praze a presto se behem hodiny vsichni sesli, tak to muselo byt uzasne setkani, na ktere vsichni cekali pres 20 let. Jsou s nami na lodi az do Singapuru, tak se jiste jeste setkame. Oba jsou moc prima lide, a dobrych lidi se mate drzet, alespon tak nejak to maminka rikala 

Trevora a Jean uz znate z naseho povidani, jsou to urcite oba lide nasi krevni skupiny a spolecne s nimi a nekdy mozna i trochu diky nim, zazivame a prozivame nase dny a navstevy ruznych zemi. Maji dve dcery Jenny a Vicky na ktere jsou velmi pysne a tak nam o nich take spoustu ruznych pribehu vypravuji. Mam pocit jako bych je uz znala a az se s nimi potkame, tak to bude takovy pocit, ze jsme se prece uz nekdy museli videt. Vicky jim dala nez odjeli seznam veci, ktere musi najit, zaznamenat a privezt zpatky. Jen pro ilustraci je to napriklad fotka z hobitem, takze je stale na lovu za hobitem a momentalne vyrabi jeho nohy. Dalsi vec bylo najit rybicku Nemo a protoze se nam ho sice v Koralovem mori podarilo najit, ale nezvladli jsme ho vyfotit, tak Jean vystrihla Nema z pohledu a zabalila ho do igelitu. Pak se v bazenu Aquarius se snorchlem ponorila a Trevor ji vyfotil z podvodnim fotakem. Ted nezbyva nez doufat, ze fotky se povedou, protoze je to klasicky film, takze bude treba jej nechat nekde vyvolat. Asi chapete, ze se s nimi opravdu nenudime, takze jejich spolecnost je pro nas velmi vitana.

Ollie a Philomena jsou dalsi dva lide, kteri jsme tu potkali a maji svuj pribeh. Dokonce bydli jen asi 5 kilometru od Sunbury, kde je kancelar moji firmy, mesto ktere se jmenuje Kingston-On-Thames. Vzdycky jsem slysela, ze je to tam moc hezke, ale nikdy nebyla ta spravna prilezitost se tam podivat, tak mozna ted bude vetsi duvod. Ollie pracovat skoro cely zivot pro britske aerolinky jako technik, takze videl velkou cast sveta a jeste i ted, kdyz uz je v duchodu, muze stale letat skoro kam se mu zachce. Jeho velka vasen jsou auta vsech druhu a typu a zjistili jsme, ze nejlepsi misto na koupi aut je jisty trh s auty, ktery je jen asi 10 kilometru,kde my bydlime. Kdyz tohle Chris slysel, tak tomu ani nemohl verit, ze je neco takoveho nedaleko nas a on o tom nikdy neslysel. Ollie pry nekolik aut vyhodne koupil, pak je dal zcela doporadku a zase prodal. Takze takove hobby, ale zaroven i maly business. Phil pochazi z Irska a maji tam take domek, kam obcas jezdi na dovolenou. Oba jsou plni humoru a je s nimi dobra zabava.

Dnes jsme hned po ranu slyseli o zemetreseni na Novem Zelande, tak se divame na zpravy a je to opravdu hrozne nestesti. Mame momentalne satelitni signal, takze sledujeme BBC a je to opravdu silene sledovat vsechny spadle budovy a jak to postihlo tisice lidi v samotnem srdci mesta Christchurch. Jeden pan co jsme dneska potkali, ze to mesto opustil pred 4 tydny a ze byl v tom kostele, co je ponicny! Hruza, co se na tom svete deje, tak jen doufam, ze se z toho brzy vzpamatuji a podari se jim zachranit vsechny uveznene lidi, co tam jsou pod troskamy. Tak snad nas na ceste opatruje nas andel stranicek a proplujeme zbytek sveta bez dalsich tragedii a nestesti, i kdyz jak vidite bez nich se nas dnesni svet bohuzel jiz uz neobejde a priroda ta mocna carodejka dokaze uderit, kdy to lide zcela nejmene cekaji.

Tak jeste neco na veselou notu, at neukoncim me dnesni zapisky naladene na smutnou. Zbyvaji nam jeste dva dny na mori a v patek rano pristaneme v Hong Kongu, tedy asi 8 km od pristavu, protoze opet budeme muset vyuzit tendr lode, abychom se dostali na breh. Tentokrat budeme vyuzivat mistni lode, takze by cela operace mela byt mnohem rychlejsi. V Hong Kongu jsme dva cele dny, takze muzeme opet stravit vecer na brehu a vychutnat si toto mesto ve vsech barevnych svetlech a barvach, jak ho vsichni zname z televize. Prvni den nasi navstevy mame zarezervovany organizovany vylet na cely den, takze budeme spolecne s objevovat cele mesto a nejen po svych ci z autobusu, ale take na lodkach a na mistni tramvaji, takze se urcite mame na co tesit. Druhy den vyuzijeme k objevovani na vlastni pest a muzeme se vratit tam, kde se nam libilo. Nedari se nam zmenit , nasi soucasnou a posledni zastavku, neco se rozbylo, takze verim, ze vite, ze uz davno nejsme v Sydney, proste je to rozbite, takze musite cist nase clanky, aby jste vedeli, kde jsme. Momentalne se loucime z Celebeskeho more nedaleko brehu Filipin, kde je hlavnim mestem Manila a prejeme klidny den a tyden vsem zpet domu 

Friday 18 February 2011

18. unora 2011 – Yorkey’s Knob, Cairns, Australia – Jizda pralesem na obojzivelnicich, blizka setkani s koalou Pavlova a jizda scenickym vlakem

Hned po dni plnem zazitku nas cekal dalsi opet naplneny Australskym tropickym podnebim, novym mistem i mestem a tentokrat jsme meli moznost objevit a prales. Nezapomente, ze jsme ted od Sydney jiz nejakych 2500km vice na sever ale take blize k rovniku, takze podnebi se stava teplejsim s vetsi vlhknosti a ne jako v Evrope, kdy vice na sever znamena vetsi zima, v Australii je vzdy vice na sever vetsi teplo. Chapu, ze to neni zcela logicke, ale nezapominejte, ze jsme stale u protinozcu, kde vse funguje tak trochu opacne!

Dnes jsme opet kotvili asi 5 kilometru od brehu, takze jsme se rozhodli vstat brzy a snazit se dostat na breh co nejdrive, abychom si rana mohli co nejvice uzit. Meli jsme na odpoledne objednany hromadny vylet, takze nas plan byl vydat se do mesta Cairns, ktere bylo asi 20minut cesty autobusem od pristavu, ktery se jmenuje Yorkey’s Knob. Mozna jsem jeste dostatecne nevysvetlila, ze kdyz kotvime mimo pristav, jsme v takzvanem Tendru. Nase lod ma 4 lodky, kterym se rika tendr boats, a ty dopravuji vsechny pasazery na breh. Asi si dovedete predstavit, ze to neni tak snadna operace dostat 2000 lidi co nejrychleji na breh, kdyz jeden tendr uveze asi 120 lidi a cesta tam a zpet trva zhruba 20-30 minut. My jsme jiz byli pouceni z naseho tenderu na Fiji a tak jsme chteli mit jistotu, ze listky, ktere meli byt pridelovany v Piano Baru od 8:45, dostaneme na tendr co nejdrive. Vydala jsem se do Piano Baru uz kolem 8:15, kdyz jsem tam prisla, byla tam jiz fronta asi 90 lidi, vsichni celkem pokojne cekali a dalsi se radili za ne. Blazinec, proste jak za sociku fronta na banany a nova auta! Takze jsem se sla take slusne zaradit a pockat a na nas dojde rada a dostaneme listky s pismenem na nas lodni tender. Cestou jsem videla temer ve predu fronky Dejva a Annu, tak jsme jim jen poseptala, ze pokud budou moc vzit o dva listky navic, ze jim budu moc vdecna a sla jsem se postavit na konec fronty. Nez vubec nekdo prisel, aby listky zacal rozdelovat, rada se prodlouzila o zhruba dalsi 100 lidi a vsichni se poctive radili do rady. Je to jedna z veci, co na Anglicanech muzete obdivovat, stani ve fronte maji temer v genech a tak nejak jim to vyhovuje. Nasli se panackove, co se snazili predbihat, mozna pry ve predu padlo i par stouchancu a pesti! Podarilo se nam dostat 2 listky od Dejva a tak jsme se s pismenkem “B” usadili a cekali, az nase lod bude pripravena. I tak to jeste radnou chvili trvalo a musim rict, ze jsme se na breh dostali a skoro v 9:45! Takze asi rozumite, ze tendy nejsou na Arcadii zrovna popularni, protoze vsichni jsou nazaveni jit ven a misto toho musi svorne cekat, az na ne prijde rada.

Rozhodli jsme se vyuzit opet satl busu a nechat se dovezt do mesta Cairns, ktere bylo asi 20 minut cesty. Cains mi velmi pripominalo Floridu, ci mozna i trochu Hawai a nebo nejake jine tropicke primorske mesto s velmi tropickym podnebim. Melo celkem dlouhou hlavni tridu se spoustou malych obchudku, kavaren a restauraci. Hned na pobrezi byl take umele vytvoreni bazen ve tvaru obrovske skeble, ve kterem byl na dnes pisek. Ten mel tak nejak simulovat plaz, protoze Cairns bylo hezke mesto, ale plaz jako takovou tam zadnou nemaji. My jsme meli jen asi 2 hodiny trochu se projit a nadychat mistni atmosfery, coz jsme velmi dobre udelali. Zasli jsme do obchodu jmenem Doo-Did-Loo, kde byl spravny Australan, ktery prodaval obleceni a ruzne klobouky, pouzdra a kabelky z prirodnich materialu. Chrisovi se tam libila kosile, ktere byla z 50% z bavlny a z 50% z bambusu a mela prijemne chladit, nakonec jsme ji ale zapomneli koupit. Pan Doo-Did-Loo nam rekl, ze ma i Internetovy Obchod a jen v Evrope mel obrat za minuly rok pres pul milionu dolaru. Tak jsme si vzali vizitku, pro pripad, ze nekdy budeme chtit Australske vyrobky nabizet v Anglii a treba i v Cechach, jeden nikdy nevi, treba se takovy kontakt jednoho dne muze hodit. A nebo az priste budeme v Cairns, tak si se Chris bude muset vratit pro tu skvelou kosili.

Kolem poledne jsme se museli vratit zpet do Yorkey’s Knobu, protoze ve 13:00 odjizdel autobus s nasim vyletem smer destny prales. Jelikoz Jean a Trevor meli stejny vylet jako my, sesli jsme se s nimi u autobusu, kde nam bylo prideleno zelene cislo 12, abychom se vsechni poznali a neztratili. Autobus se vydal hned smer do kopcu a nase mistni pruvodnkyne s velmi vyraznym nemeckym prizvukem a velmi podivnym pristupem nam popisovala cestu a historii, tak nejak splacana dohromady. Trochu jsme si prali, tedy aspon nekteri z nas, mit sluchatka ci spunty do usi a mit tak moznost se jen kochat krajinou, to se nam bohuzel moc nedarilo. Kdyz jsme asi po 30 minutach jizdy dorazili do takoveho parku, byl cas vystoupit a jit se potkat z klokanky, krokodyly a s medvidky koala. Park byl celkem maly ve srovnani s tim, co jsme navstivili v Sydney, ale i tak bylo prima se kochat zviratky a tropickym prostredim kolem nas. Krokodyly tentokrat byly opravdu masivni! Dva vypadali opravdu tak, ze by mohli sezrat celeho cloveka, takze jsme se od nich radeji drzeli dale. Tento park byl take posledni moznosti pochovat si medvidka Koalu a tak jsem se rozhodla, ze nemuzu odolat. Dostala jsem do naruce koali holcicka, ktere bylo asi 8 mesicu a jmenovala se Pavlova, jako ten dezert. Bylo heboucka a hezky se mne drzela, takze to byl fajn zazitek. Mam s ni i fotku, ji to tam moc slusi, ale mne moc ne, takze se obavam, ze fotka skonci nekde schovana a ze ji nikdo neuvidi.

Po zazitku ze zviratky nas cekala vyjizdka po destnem pralese na obojzivelnikovi. V prekladu se tyto vozy, ktere byly pouzivany behem druhe svetove valky jmenuni Army Duck – ci-li armadni kaceny, ktere byly vsechny na plyn a tak meli co nejmensi dopad na zivotni prostredi. Jeste nez jsme vyjeli jeden ochranar nam prinesl ukazat asi metr dlouheho hada, pry ho nasel na zachodech, tak ho vraci do volne prirody. Tak jsme si tak rekli, ze vazne nevime, zda bychom se ted chteli jit do toho pralesa prochazet. Kacena projizdela pralesem a pak vjela i do jezera a behem nasi vypravy jsme mohli sledovat asi 25 ruznych druhu orchideji, ktere jako parazit rostly na ruznych dalsich stromech, palmy a liajny, velke modre australske motyly a obri jesterky. Opravdu jsme si tuto vypravu uzivali a mozna si v duchu prali si jedno s techto vozitek pujcit a vyjet s nim na poradnou projizdku, to by bylo teprve toco! 

Dale jsme pokracovali kousek autobusem pres romanitou vesnicku Kuranda, ktere vypadala velmi hezky a clovek by se tam rad zastavil, ale nam o pul ctvrte odjizdel vlak, takze jsme si jen prohledli mistni historicke nadrazi a koupili limonadu a uz byl cas nasednou na historicky vlak, ktery nas z hor a vrcholku mel scenickou cestou dovezt zpet do udoli. Jizda to byla opravdu rozmanita s vyhledy do udoli a zastavkou u obrich vodopadu, spojena nekolika tunely a zdobena stromy, palmamy a ruznorodou zeleni. Asi po hodine a pul jsme dorazili zpet do udoli a meli jsme cas akorat stinout posledni lodni tender, ktery nas dovezl zpet na nasi lod. Cesta na tendru byla celkem dobrodruzna, protoze more zrovna pekne houpalo, tak to bylo trochu jak na horske draze, ale nastesti se nikomi neudelalo spatne i kdyz sacky na morskou nemoc tam byly ;-)

Po dni stravenem v tropech jsme potrebovali poradnou sprchu a pak take neco dobreho k jidlu, protoze jsme ten den skoro nic poradneho nejedli. Po veceri v restauraci Meridian se Chris sel podivat na tanecni show a ja jsem na nej cekala venku, kde byla tropicka party. Powerhouse hral zivou hudbu, lide se dobre bavili a jelikoz bylo krasne teplo, byl to prijemny vecer. Rob DJ se pak ujal zezla a vyzval ty, co jim je teplo, aby si skocili do bazenu. Asi 7 lidi moc dlouho nevahalo a jemne do bazenu skocili a byla z toho bazenova party, nic hrozneho, proste mladi lidi se konecne trochu bavili. To vsak bylo trnem v oku nejakemu blbeckovi a sel si stezovat na recepci, ze lide skaci do bazenu, a ze teda tohle by preci neslo.....po teto stiznosti prilo 5 chlapku a ti umistili pres bazen velkou sit, aby jej nikdo nemohl pouzivat!!! Proste neni to snadne, kdyz clovek starne nejen telem, ale i mozkem a pak dela veci, co se preci neslusi. I tak jsme meli prijemny vecer, v dobre spolecnosti a za zvuku prijemne muziky a cely den a vlastne posledni dva dny a vecery byli zcela paradni. Dale pokracuje 6 dni na mori a pak bychom konecne 25.unora meli dorazit na dalny Vychod, kdy budeme mimo jine slavit nase vyroci 5 mesicu!! A stale spolu, hahaha! Byli jsme jiz varovani, ze mezi 25.unorem az 6. breznem, kdy se budeme pohybovat v Cinskem mori, nas lodni Internet a pripadne telefonaty mohou byt narusovany a cenzurovany Cinany, takze vas budeme informovat o co se to ti lotri vlastne pokouseji. Je to silene, proste pro nas nepredstavitelny svet, kde se toto deje. Navic ted mi Chris ze zprav precetl, ze nekde u Omany byli 4 Americane uneseni Somalskymi Piraty....... no vypada to,ze dobrodruzna cast nasi cesty teprve zacina!

Thursday 17 February 2011

17. unora 2011 – Whitsunday Islands, Australia - Great Barrier Reef

Ctvrtek pro nas zacal velmi brzy, protoze jsme meli naplanovany vylet, jednu z vyprav na kterou jsme se opravdu tesili a meli jsme celkem velka ocekavani. Sesli jsme se v Palladiu uz v 7:45 a jelikoz dnes Arcadia nejela do pristavu, ale byla zakotvena asi 5km od brehu - to se stava, kdyz pristav neni dostatecne hluboky a tedy neni prizpusoveny pro velke lode – tak ani my jsme nemeli v planu se na breh vydat. Nase cesta byla primo na mensi lod, nebo-li Katamaran, ktery pristal hned vedle Arcadie. Nalodili jsme se tedy primo z lode na lodku a vyrazili hloubeji do more. Cil nasi cesty byl nejvetsi stavba na svete vytvorena zivymi organismy – The Great Barrier Reef – Velky Barieruv Utes. Cesta na nasi lodi trvala temer dve hodiny, protoze cast utesu, tak jsme smerovali byla asi 75km od pevniny.

Pokud vas to zajima, tak zde je nekolik udaju o tomto utesu, protoze ja sama jsem tyto informace neznala a prijdou mi celkem fascinujici, takze bych se o ne rada podelila a mela je zaznamenane:
The Great Barrier Reef – Velky Batieruv Utes ( pokud nekdo vi, jak se to uplne spravne cesky jmenuje, prosim napiste mi to, diky) – nejvetsi utes na svete slozeny z 2900 jednotlivych utesu a 900 ostrovu rozkladajici se na uzemi pres 2600 kilometru podel brehu Australie. Je to nejvetsi stavba na svete, ktera postavena zivimy organismy a muze byt pozorovana z vesmiru. V roce 1981 byla zahrnuta pod ochranny pakt svetoveho bohatstvi a je chranena Great Barrier Reef Parkem, a to proto aby mohli byt limitovany a regulovany dopady zpusovene rybarenim a turismem. Koralove utesy rostou pouze ve vodach, ktere jsou mene nez 150 metru hluboke a vyzaduji slunecni paprsky, aby mohli existovat. I presto ze potrebuji slunce na druhou stranu nedokazou rust z vody ven. Koraly mohou rust do vysky 1-25 centimetru za rok a pouze 1-3 centimetry do sirky. Great Barrier Reef se vyznacuje ruznorodym zivotem a rovnez zahrnuje ohrozene druhy a druhy ktere ziji pouze v teto oblasti a jsou zavisle na koralovem systemu. Mimo jine se jedna o 30 druhu velryb, delfinu a zelv, kteri byli pouze spatreny na tomto utesu.

Asi kolem pul jedenacte jsme konecne dorazili k plovoucimu pontonu, kde nas katamaran zakotvil. Ponton byl postaven pred 25 lety a je to urcita zakladna na teto casti utesu, odkud navstevnici mohou objevovat tento uzasny podvodni svet. My jsme byli velmi nateseni, takze jsme se hned vydali vyzvenout si vybaveni pro nase snorchlovani, abychom si toho mohli uzit co nejvice. Jelikoz je momentalne obdobi zahavych meduz, vsichni jsme si museli obleknout takove neoprenove oblecky, ktere zahalovali temer cele telo. Byla to uzasna legrace pozorovat, jak se lide ruznych tvaru a velkosti pomalu ale jiste, premenuji v Teletabbiky. Ja jsem se stala Teletabikem ruzovym, Chris zlutym, Jean bilym a Trevor zase modrym, takze jsme byli krasne barevne rozsliseni. Oblecky meli i kapuce, aby ochranili oblicej a na nohy jsme si museli vzit ploutve. Plne vybaveni a pouceni o tom odkuk kam smeruji dnes proudy jsme se vrhli do more. Nezapomente, ze jsme 75km od brehu uprosted koraloveho more! Pomalu jsme se seznamili s mistnimi podminkami a zjistili, ze je dobre mit bryle na ocich celou dobu a snorchl take z pusy nevyndavat. Na utesy, ktery opravdu byl misty velmi melky, se tvorili vlny, ktere mne I Chrisovi strikly pekne do oci a opravdu neni moc snad otevrit oci po te, co je mate plne slane vody. Pak uz jsme si jen mohli uzivat lehke plavani po hladine a divat se na uzasne mnozstvi ryb vsech druhy, barev a velikosti a rozpoznavat rozmanite koraly. Podarilo se nam najit rybicku Nemo - Clawn fish - ktera se presne jako v tom filmu Hledani Nema, schovavala v koralu jmenem Anenomy, a byli jsme moc radi, ze jsme ji nasli! Utes je vlastne takovy ostrov, ktery nebyl dostatecne vyvrhnut na povrch, takze jak jsem uz rekla, cast byla opravdu velmi melka a behem dne se hloubka podle prilivu a odlivu take menila. Co vsak bylo uzasne, kdyz jste najednou z utesu vpluli na prevys, kde utes koncil. Najednou pod vami byla velika hloubka a jak Chris naproste bajecne rekl, je to asi nejblizsi pocit k letani, protoze vite, ze pod vami je obrovska hloubka a vy se jen tak pohupujete po hladine a jemne padlujete rukama a opravdu si pripadate jako vodni ptak! Celkove to byl skvely pocit letani a plavani v obrovske akvariu, kde nektere rybky jsou velmi zvedave a pripluji az temer k vam, ze se jich muzete skoro dotknout. Nektere jsou zase celkem velike, ze jsme celkem radi, ze zustavaji tam,kde jsou. Jedna byla opravdu obr ryba, az jsem ruku Chrise musela zmacnout, jak jsem se ji lekla. Zajimalo by mne taky, co si asi mysli ryby o nas, kdyz vidi teletabiky s legracnima ploutvema, brylema a trubickou jak se pohupuji po hladine a civi na ne, asi to musi byt celkem zajimave pribehy, co si mezi sebou o nas vypravuji.

Opet jsme byli opravdu nadseni z celeho dne, jen jsme chteli zustat jeste o malinko dele, kdyby to slo. Ponton ma dokonce dva pokoje, takze tam muzete stravit noc a divat se na zapad slunce a pak naprosto nerusene pozorovat hvezdy, takze to je neco, co bychom urcite chteli jednou zazit. Jak uz se rekla drive tento utes je 2500 km dlouhy, takze ma mnoho useku, kam se muzete podivat. Jen doufam, ze opravdu budou vsichni navstevnici davat dobry pozor, aby tato podvodni krasa zustala zachovana jeste pro mnoho generaci. Pokud je clovek na vychodnim pobrezi Australie, tak Great Barrier Reef, je urcite jedna z kras, ktera rozhodne stoji za navstevu, takze nevahejte a aspon jednou za zivot se tam jedte podivat, protoze my se tam take chceme jednou vratit a pozorovat rybky a hvezdy.

Jak to tak uz byva asi po 3 hodinach byl uz cas se vydat zpet k nasi lodi. Cesta na katamaranu zpet byla celkem houpava a take nas zastihly asi dve tropicke sprsky, takze jsme si uzivali prijemneho osvezeni a take pozorovali ostruvky, ktere jsme cestou mijeli. Kdyz jsme se vratili na Arcadii, chteli jsme se osvezit v bazenu a tak jsme ani nesli do nasi kajuty, ale vyrazili jsme hned do bazenu Aquarius, kde uz take hral Rob DJ a slunce pomalu zapadalo. Bazen prijemne ozvezil nase vysolena tela a koktejl dne zase prijemne osvezil. S par lidmi, co jsme potkali jsme si vymenily zazitky z celeho dne a pozorovali krasny zapad slunce, ktery jsme samozrejme nezapomneli vyfotit.

Fotek i vzpominek je na tento den hodne a doufam, ze se mi ho podarilo vam alespon trochu priblizit a popsat ve vsech barvach, krasach a vunich.

Whitsunday Islands and The Great Barrier Reef

Only 1 day at sea and we had arrived and dropped anchor off the coast of these beautiful islands. There are several places along this part of the coast where the great barrier reef is accessible by boat of helicopter, and we'd booked an excursion on a catamaran to take us to a floating pontoon about 50 miles off shore. The catamaran picked us up off Arcadia, coming alongside to dock in the same place as the normal ships tenders do. It was about a 90 minute ride at full speed of 21 knots to reach the pontoon so we took up a position at the back under some cover from the sun, and watched Arcadia disappear into the distance. It got a bit choppy as we ventured further from the protection of the islands and the shore and you could see a few people looking a bit green, we were both OK though, I had the kwells with me, but didn't need them.

We arrived at the pontoon as the second and last boat to dock alongside. There were already another 150 or so people from Arcadia who had caught the first catamaran but it wasn't as crowded as we had been expecting, it was quite a big pontoon on 2 levels. Although there was a semi-submersible boat ride on offer for those who wanted to see the reef from dry air conditioned comfort, we were really only interested in getting into the water with our snorkels. But it wasn't quite as simple as that. The time of year meant that we would be sharing the water with jellyfish, some of the potentially nasty types. A sting from one particular type would mean a fairly prompt trip to hospital, so we were advised to wear "stinger suits". These were like all in one wet suits, brightly coloured, and skin tight. They covered you from head to toe, including gloves and a hood and once fitted, made you look like a telly tubby. Still, everyone else looked equally fetching, so we grabbed some fins too and stepped into the water. The only part of your body that wasn't covered was the part of your face below the mask, and I hoped that I would see any jellyfish that ventured that close. The water was warm, but choppy with a bit of a current which pulled you away from the pontoon so it required some effort to stay in the same place. Nevertheless we felt quite safe. There was a lifeguard looking out over the entire area, and 2 small boats in the water zipping around making sure everyone was ok. The universal signal of waving ones hands above ones head whilst shouting, had been drilled into us in case of problems. Unfortunately the same signal was often used to draw the attention to something interesting below the surface!

And there was plenty of interesting stuff below the surface. Each time we have been snorkeling, it has provided a very different experience. Sometimes the water is shallow and the fish are very close, sometimes, the water is deep and you might see a turtle or bigger fish. Snorkeling off the beach is always good because you can usually go in when you're tired, but in the open water it can be more tiring, especially with waves bobbing you up and down. This time, there was so much to see that everything else became irrelevant. The fish were everywhere, some tiny, the biggest we saw were the size of a decent flat screen tv. The coral itself was diverse but not as plentiful as we had seen previously. It was shallow for the most part, then dropped off a shelf into deeper water. Seeing the fish was one thing, but with your head in the water, the feeling of propelling oneself over the edge of the coral and looking down into the deeper water, is as close to flying as I can imagine. It put a smile on my face every time.

There were indeed plenty of jellyfish in the water, only the size of your fist, and opaque, so spotting them wasn't easy, but the confidence of wearing the LaLa suit meant that it didn't concern is too much. We stayed in the water for over an hour before hunger got the better of us and we got out to eat back on the catamaran. We managed to get another 30 minutes of time in the water (which felt like 10) before having to get ready to leave again.

As it turns out, the outbound sea journey was plain sailing compared to the return journey. The wind and the swell had increased and combined with another good tropical downpour, we were truly rocking and rolling! Twice I stuck my head out along the side to see what was happening up front, and timed it perfectly to coincide with a good spray from the bow. Refreshing.

Eventually we arrived back at Arcadia, and decided we hadn't had enough time in the water already and headed straight to the pool. For the first time since we've been aboard we just lounged around the side of the pool, chatting and relaxing in the late afternoon sun. Quite a few other younger types (there are quite a few now) joined in, and we monopolised one corner of the pool. A great way to finish up the day before getting ready for dinner.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

16. unora 2011 - Cesta ke Koralovemu mori - temer odpocinkovy den na mori

Dnes jsme ze vstavanim nemuseli moc spechat, protoze nas cekal den na mori a tak jsme si po dvou dnech v Sydney a dni v Brisbane chteli trochu odpocinout a to byl take nas plan pro tento den.

Ve dve hodiny byla schuzka naseho hereckeho spolku, takze ja jsem tam take vyrazila. Chris sel do Paladia poslechout si povidani od pani, ktera byla valecnou korespondentkou pro BBC a rozprava byla zamerena na terorismus, takze si dovedete predstavit, ze proste nemohl odolat a muset dramatickou seslost pro dnesek ozelet. Mickey nam oznamil, ze se uvidime jen 3x nez pristaneme v Hong Kongu, takze nebude cas na zadne velke vystoupeni a ze se jen rozdelime na dve skupiny a kazda si pro tu druhou pripravi nejaky pribeh, ktery pak sehrajeme a opet se bude jednat o nejakou vrazdu a budeme se pak navzajem vysetrovat, kdo ma jaky motiv. Neznelo to uplne jako ten nejlepsi plan, ale da se rict, ze je to urcity zpusob, jak popustit uzdy fantazii, protoze musime cely pribeh sami vytvorit. Chris i kdyz tam nebyl, byl hnedle pridelen do druhe skupiny nez ja a moje skupina zacala pracovat na tom, kdo jsme, kde jsme, kdo je obet a co se vlastne stalo.

Nedostali jsme se moc daleko a priste na tom budeme vice pracovat. Pro tuto chvili jen vime, ze jsme nas pribeh zasadili do Mafianske narozeninove oslavy, ktera se odehrava na jachte ve vodach kolem Sicilie. Tony Maccaroni, ktery slavil sve 60. narozeniny, byl nalezen mrtev pravdepodobne hozen pres palubu jachty. Takze ted je nasim ukolem vymyslet, kdo je kdo a jak je pribuzny Tonymu a jaky byl jejich motiv ho zavrazdit a jake maji alibi. Tak snad ten pribeh nabere ty spravne a obratky a bude to dobra zabava pro vsechny zucastnene. Musim rict, ze temer vsichni, co se ucastnili nasich dvou predchozich vystoupeni se vratili zpet. Jen jeden pan a jedna pani vystoupili v Sydney, takze zase misto nich prisel nekdo novy a to je taky super.

Nejak jsem mela tento den hodne energie, takze jsem si sla zacvicit aerobik, ktery konecne zaradili do programu v posilovne. Bylo to celkem dobre, ale nejak jsem se moc nezapotila, takze jsem jeste zustala na dalsi pulhodinu, coz byl BootCamp, to je takove posilovani v seriich a musite nahlas pocitat a instructori pri tom na vas krici, jak zaber, pridej, makej, jeste jednou....proste to ma simulovat jak synchronizovane cviceni v armade. Takze jsem te konecne trochu zapotila a svaly jsem jeste pak dva dny velmi dobre citila. Jean take prisla na Aerobik, ale bootcamp uz na ni byl pry moc, tak jsem zustala jen ja.

Dnesni vecer byl open formalni, to znamena, ze panove musi mit frak s motylkem a damy elegatni dlouhe ci kratke saty. Take byla kolem Bazenu Neptun kapitanska party, kde sampanske teklo proudem. Teplota venku byla kolem 28 stupnu, takze jsme se rozhodli, ze se teda do niceho nobl strojit nebudeme a ze kapitan nas teda tentokrat neuvidi a udelali jsme si svoji party, kterou Chris nazval “Formal Rebelious Party” – Formalni party rebelu, udelali jsme pozvanku pro Trevora a Jean, a oba prisli k nam do kabiny, kde jsme si otevreli vlastni vino, ktere jsme koupili v Kalifornii pri ochutnavce vin. A myslim, ze to tak bylo mnohem lepsi, mohli jsme si hrat vlastni hudbu a Chris ani Trevor se nemuseli parit v kvadrech. Na veceri jsme sli do Belvederu, kde tento oblekaci kod neplati a muzete tam jist obleceni celkem normalne. Tedy stale plati dlouhe kalhoty pro pany, ale aspon muzou mit kosily s kratkym rukavem, takze nam to tak velmi dobre tento den vyhovovalo. Ono je hezke mit prilezitost se hezky obleknout, ale kdyz tech formalnich veceru je nejak moc. Jeden jsme meli 14.unora a hned dalsi 16. unora a pak dalsi 20. unora, takze jiste uznate, ze je nekdy potreba si od tech nobl obleku dat trochu pohov. No a navic, pomalu ale jiste zjistuji, ze mych 9 satu, co jsme si vzala a 1 tropicke jsem si koupila na Barbadosu, pomalu ale jiste nestaci, protoze jsem jiz vetsinu z nich otocila 2x a nektere i 3x. Takze doufam, ze Hong Kong je opravdu tak skvely a vyhodny na nakupovani, a ze se nam tam ty tak vyhodna mista podari za ty dva dny co tam mame najit.

Jelikoz nas cekalo brzke vstavani, rozhodli jsme se jit hned po veceri spat a pripravit se na vylet pro zitrejsi den. Nas den na mori, ktery byl urceny temer k nic nedelani, zase tak prazdny nebyl, myslim, ze i tak jsme ho celkme naplnili a jak je tu temer stale co delat, obcas i na okamzik zapomenete, ze jste vlastne na lodi, coz opravdu tak spatne neni.


It was only a a few weeks ago that the floods in Queensland meant that the port of Brisbane was closed to all but emergency traffic, but we arrived without a problem on Tuesday 15th. As with Sydney, the Australian authorities are strict with people bringing any food or plant matter ashore, so every passenger had their hand baggage searched when we disembarked. In Brisbane we'd berthed in a basic container port, so we had to take shuttle buses into Brisbane, about 40 minutes away.

Brisbane is not a big place and the streets are all laid out in a grid pattern, not at all like Milton Keynes. All the North-South streets are female names, all the East-West ones are male, mostly kings and queens. It makes navigating the city quite easy, and together with Trevor and Jean, we decided to try to hire some bikes and cycle the path around the city centre and along the river. From the tourist information on the main shopping street we'd been told of a place to rent them just inside the gates of the botanical gardens, so we headed down there. While Sydney was a bit wet and cloudy, the weather in Brisbane was very warm and sunny so we walked slowly and took in the sights. The botanical gardens were lovely but there was no sign of anyone offering bikes for hire. A local volunteer guide stopped to chat to us, and we discovered that the bike hire didn't run on a Tuesday. Of course. He advised us to come back tomorrow, but that was a little impractical. So instead I broke out my shorts and we decided to walk instead.

Some of the park was closed off to the public still as the clean up from the floods continued, but we were very impressed by the speed at which things were getting back to normal, especially considering the extent of the damage. The gardens ran down to the river itself, so a large proportion of the site had been under water only weeks earlier.
It was a nice stroll through the trees, down to the riverside and then along a boardwalk through the only "innercity" mangrove swamps in Australia. We emerged close to a foot bridge which took us across the river and onto the south bank. This is where a lot of the damage to businesses was done, and there was a real major cleanup operation underway. Signs and posters announced that the south bank was open for business but the city beach (a huge man made area of pools and parks along the river) had been washed away, and reconstruction was underway. It looked like it was, and will again be, a really attractive area. We ate in a scruffy looking fish and chips cafe which actually served the biggest and tastiest fish burgers any of us had tried, we could easily have eaten one between two but it would have been rude to leave any! We sat outside on benches covered in newspaper because it had been raining a few minutes earlier, and watched the big Ibis birds search for scraps left behind by fellow dinners.

I know I said earlier that it was hot and sunny but as with quite a few places recently, that doesn't preclude the odd, sudden downpour. This one was no different, and had caught us just as we found some shelter. You don't get much warning any more, just a few big drops, then it really starts, they know how to do rain here!

Continuing our walk along the south bank of the river we found the Brisbane version of the London Eye. It wasn't as big, but there was no queue and pretty much all the carriages were empty. We could have had one each. It was a pleasant enough ride with good views over the city had it not been for the rain which started again just before we boarded and continued for another 20 minutes after we got to off. Luckily there was more shelter which we took advantage of before heading back across the river and back to the central shopping area.

We split from Trevor and Jean and managed to look around a few real shops, me on the lookout for a lightweight rain jacket for less than $100 and Katie on the perpetual hunt for postcards! We stopped at Starbucks in the hope of leaching some free Wifi but drew a blank there. The hunt for a reliable, cheap connection continues, it doesn't even have to be fast, I'm willing to take anything!

Back in the port and back on board, we were readying ourselves for sail away when the captain announced that the ship was also ready to go. It was only a couple of minutes later that he came back on to say that 2 last people had arrived and we had to "open the door" and drop the gangway again to let them on. It was obvious that he had already made the decision to leave without them, they were lucky to have made it.

Overall, we liked Brisbane. Aside from the weather, the city felt like it had a real heart, and the city beach area is quite unique, it really helps to give the place a feeling of outdoor living which is very attractive.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

15. unora 2011 – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

V utery jsme zakotvili jiz kolem 7.hodiny rano, takze kdyz jsme se hned po sedme probudili, tak uz jsme stali v pristavu a mohli jsme pozorovat dalsi nakladi lod, ktera se chystala zastavit hned vedle nas. Nemeli jsme zarezervovany zadny hromadny vylet – diky bohu, protoze jsme zjistili, ze je mnohem lepsi objevovat na vlastni pest nez organizovane - , takze plan byl sejit se s Jean a Trevorem a spolecne jit na breh a vyrazit do mesta. Pristali jsme asi 45 minut od centra Brisbane, takze P&O zaridilo satl autobusy, ktere vsechny ty, co nejeli na zadnou exkurzy, dopravili primo do centra mesta. Prosli jsme budovou terminalu, kde nebylo vubec nic, protoze prevazne slouzil pouze pro dopravni lode a nastoupili jsme hnedle na autobus.

Za necelych 50 minut jsme opravdu pristali v centru velkomesta na ulici Queen Street, kde je mimo jine take asi 600 obchodu! Celkem rychle jsme se zorientovali v mape a rozhodli jsme se, ze neni problem Brisbane projit pesky za jeden den. Pokusli jsme se prvne zapujcit si kola, abychom stihli objevit trochu vice a mit take moznost projet se na kole, ale bohuzel pan co pujcoval kola zrovna v utery nepracoval, takze jsme museli po svych, to vsak vubec nevadilo. Prvne jsme objevili park ci spise otevrenou botanickou zahradu, ktera byla asi 150 let stara a nachazela se na severnim brehu reky Brisbane ( ano, reka ktera proteka mestem Brisbane se opravu take jmenuje Brisbane, alespon je lehci si to zapamatovat!). Byla to vskutku tropicka zahrada plna palem a preruznych tropickych stromu, keru a kvetin a take plna ruznorodych ptaku a velikych barevnych motylu, takze bylo opravdu na co koukat. Navic jsme se take mohli projit po drevene lavce zkrs baziny, ktere jsou soucasti teto zahrady, kde jsme take natocili kratke video, protoze to opravdu bylo moc zajimave. Bohuzel cast zahrady byla jeste uzavrena, protoze se opravovala po povodnich, ktere pouze asi pred 3mi tydny odeznely. Brisbane bylo na jizni strane celkem hodne postizeno, coz jiste i castecne mozna odradilo turisty od navstevy, mesto bylo velmi klidne a bylo videt, ze se vse pomalu ale jiste vraci do normalu. Kavarny a restaurace podel reky, teprve tento tyden poprve otevreli, takze jsme vlastne meli velke stesti, ze jsme Brisbane nemuseli minout.

Po prohlidne zahrady jsme presli pres most na jizni stranu reky, kdyz zacal celkem vytrvaly dest. Bylo uz kolem jedne hodiny, takze nastesti byl cas na obed a take duvod se pred destem schovat. Spojili jsme prijemne s uzitecnym a stravilli obed v rybi restauraci ci spis takove rybi kavarne, kde porce byly opravdu skoro jak pro spravne Americany, proste obrovske! Na plotu sedelo nekolik krasnych bylich Australskych Volavek s velkymi cernymi zobaky, a kdyz neco nekomu spadlo na zem, tak volavky hned prispechaly hned to”uklizeli”. Tentokrat jsme se snazili je nekrmit, jelikoz hranolky asi pro Volavky moc dobre byt nemuzou, ze ano? Kdyz dest konecne trochu ustal, prochazeli jsme si mezi stromy po brehu reky Brisbane a sledovali krasy kolem, nas ale take naznaky po povodnich, ktere byly jste stale velmi znatelne. Mistni velka plaz s velikansky prirodnim bazenem, byla mimo provoz, protoze byla pri povodnich ponicena, ale uz ji pomalu a jiste opet pripravovali k otevreni. Protoze opet zacinalo prset, rozhodli jsme se podivat se na mesto z ptaci perspektivy a sli jsme se projet na mistnim velikem horskem kole, ktere melo i namluveny komentar, kdyz jsme se pohybovali v kabinkach kolem dokola zacal zacalo prset jeste husteji, takze po navratu na zem jsme stravili asi 30 minut pozorovanim velike jesterky ci mensiho jestera a cekali jsme az dest opet ustane. Nejak jsme se zapomneli vybavit plastenkama ci destnikem a od teto chvili zacal nas lov za koupi Anoraku, abychom byli pripraveni pro priste. Musim rict, ze nikde v Australii se nam najit nepodaril. Chteli jsme takove ty lehke sustakovky, jak muzete sbalit do kapsy te bundy. Kdysi jsme je privezla z Old Navy z Chicaga, takze ted si jen tak bezprizorne lezi v Nachode a nam by se v Australii tak hodili 

Po navratu zpet do sameho nitra Brisbane jsme se divali trochu po obchodech, abychom zjistili, co ze se to v tech 600 obchodech vlastne skryva. Celkem vsude byli prijemne obchody, my jsme vsak nakonec nic moc nekoupili, Chis jen 3 prani, 2 lahve vody a 2 balicky zvykacek, to bylo vse, co nas zaujalo. Pak jeste par pohledu a odpoledni kavu, a nakupni horecka nas nejak presla. Chrise jeste zaujal obchod z elekronikou, protoze si chtel koupit klavesnici k jeho laptopu, protoze ta na laptopu se mu rozbila. Nakonec ani hon za klavesnici uspesni nebyl, proste nebyla ta spravna konstalace na nakupovani, Chris se tesi do Hong Kongu, protoze tam je pry raj pro vsechny milovniky elektroniky, nebo-li “Gadzits”.

Po 16. hodine uz byl cas vydat se zpatky na autobus a jet zpet do pristavu, kde cekala Arcadia, ktera tento den odjizdela jiz kolem 18. hodiny, takze jsme chteli na palube vcas aby nam neujela, skoro jako vsichni ostatni pasazeri. Ja rikam, ze jako ostani, ale abyste vedeli dva nasi polupasazeri byli nechani v tomto pristavu. Dobehli k lodi, az kdyz uz mustek byl nahore, ale nastesti opravdu bylo za minutu dvatanct a kapitan je videl, takze naridil aby znovu dali dolu mustek a titi opozdilci mohli nastopi. Dovedete si asi predstavit, ze od ostatnich pazareru byli radne privatani ci vypiskani. Pozdeji jsem jednoho z nich potkala, jmenuje se Ian a rekl mi, ze mel malem panicky zachvat z toho, ze jim ujedeme. Pujcili si z kamaradem auto a kdyz jeli zpet do pristavu, tak odbocku prejeli a byli nejakych 60km dal, kdyz se konecne otocili. Pak se dostali do dopravni zacpy a mysleli si, ze je to jejich konec. Snazili se na Arcadii dovolat, aby rekli, co se jim prihodilo, nikdo pry ale telefon nezvedl, takze jejich panika pokracovala. Meli opravdu velike stesti, protoze uz jsme opravdu skoro odjizdeli. Takze vidite, ze lod opravdu na nikoho neceka, pokud se nekdo zdrzi, tak ma smulu a musi si lod najit v dalsi pristavu sam. Nezapomente, ze na vetsine zastavek s sebou nenosime pas, protoze to neni pry treba. Takze zustat treba v Australii bez pasu a muset se dostat do Hong Kongu, to zadna velka legrace byt nemuze, protoze bez pasu ani nemuzete nikam letet.

Po veceri, kterou jsme po 3 dnech meli opet v nasi restauraci Meridian, jsme se sli podivat na vystoupeni mistniho tanecniho soubortu, ktere se jmenovalo : Vsude kolem sveta” a tanecni skupina Headlines, ktera ma 13 celnu – 8 tanecnic a 5 tanecniku, byla naprosto uzasna. Vsech 13 ma smlouvu na 11 mesicu a celou tuto dobu ziji na lodi a nedostanou se domu, jsou to prima lidi a velmi nadani tanecnici i zpevaci, rekla bych, ze jsou mozna lepsi nez nekteri cleni z muzikalu z londynskeho West Endu. Byl to dalsi skvely den na brehu Australie a Brisbane jsme si opravdu radne uzili. Bylo by fajn mit tam preci jen jeste par dni, ale jak uz jsme rekla drive, urcite bude moznost se kamkoliv vratit a znovu nektera mista zase navstivit. Cestovani lodi vam dava moznost vsechny tyto destinace navstivit, aniz byste nekam museli letet, takze za pomerne kratkou dobu clovek vidi velkou cast sveta. Je to takova ochutnavka a mate pak predstavu, kam se urcite musite vratit. Pro nas Australie je opravdu nadherna, uz nam i blesklo hlavou, ze by bylo bajecne mit tak dva mesice a obytne auto a pekne celou tuto obrovskou a uzasnou zemi procestovat krizem krazem... kdo vi, treba se nam tu rodi plan na pristi obdobi zimy!