Shanghai, China

Day 43 – Sunday, February 26, 2017

Due to some computer problems, it is doubtful if I will be posting again until we return home in a few days. In the meantime, I will share with you this one photo.

Nighttime skyline of Shanghai as seen from the ms Amsterdam – Absolutely Beautiful!

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Beijing, China Day 2

Day 40 – Thursday February 23, 2017

Beijing is the capital of the most populous country in the world, the People’s Republic of China. With a population of 21.5 million people (2013), it is the nation’s second-largest city after Shanghai. It was also the seat of the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors until the formation of a republic in 1911. Beijing is the political, educational and cultural center of the country and as such it is rich in historical sites and important government and cultural institutions.

The city is marked by its flatness and arid climate. There are only three hills to be found in the city limits (in Jingshan Park to the north of Forbidden City) and mountains surround the capital on three sides. Like the configuration of the Forbidden City, Beijing has concentric "ring roads", which are actually rectangular, that go around the metropolis and serve as good reference points as one attempts to move about the city. Beyond the ring roads are the most-visited portions of the Great Wall of China.

We were up early, had breakfast and were out of the hotel by 7:30 AM. It I difficult to imagine the size of the city, not just the population but the physical size. Our guide said to travel most places within the city to expect from 45 minutes to two hours, due to the combination of size and congestion. Below I include a few photos taken as we traveled through the city streets. These were taken through the bus windows, so please excuse the poor quality.

Traffic was actually not too bad this morning, but as usual there was an assortment of vehicles on the streets.

You could see avenue after avenue of high-rise apartments which stretched out of sight.

A typical congested street corner.

Our first stop this morning was the Temple of Heaven.

The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was extended and renamed Temple of Heaven during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century. Jiajing also built three other prominent temples in Beijing, the Temple of Sun in the east, the Temple of Earth in the north, and the Temple of Moon in the west. The Temple of Heaven was renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong Emperor. By then, the state budget was insufficient, so this was the last large-scale renovation of the temple complex in imperial times. The temple was occupied by the Anglo-French Alliance during the Second Opium War. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight Nation Alliance occupied the temple complex and turned it into the force’s temporary command in Beijing, which lasted for one year. The occupation desecrated the temple and resulted in serious damage to the building complex and the garden. With the downfall of the Qing, the temple complex was left un-managed. The neglect of the temple complex led to the collapse of several halls in the following years. In 1914, Yuan Shikai, then President of the Republic of China, performed a Ming prayer ceremony at the temple, as part of an effort to have himself declared Emperor of China. In 1918 the temple was turned into a park and for the first time open to the public. The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.

After the Temple was opened to the public in 1918, it has become a center of daily activity, especially for the retired. The retired, by the way make up a large part of the population. Each district has strict rules about retirement. Once a certain age is reached, you must retire. The age ranges from approximately 55 to 60. The mandatory retirement is necessary to make room for younger persons to have a job. Retirement comes with a government pension which in recent years has increased to a comfortable level for most people.

As we strolled through the temple complex, older people could be seen playing cards, dominoes and Chinese Chess.

Chinese Chess

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The actual Temple of Heaven

100,000’s of thousands of Dragons are in the Temple. EVERY roof tile has a dragon.

Despite the cold weather, there were still a lot of people in the park.

These gentlemen were playing what they called “badminton” with a birdie. The object was to keep the birdie in the air by kicking it or batting it with your body. There were many groups of adults playing games and exercising.

This sign was located above the urinal in the men’s toilet.

Note the blanket-coat designed for cycles. It is totally opened in the back and comes all the way up to the neck to keep the rider warm. This lady was taking her pooch for a morning ride in the brisk weather.

An interesting vehicle.

Finally we reach Tian’an men Square

Taking photos of the army or police is prohibited, but through the miracle of a good camera and telephoto lens I manages to capture this shot from about 75 yards away.

The main entrance from the Square into the Forbidden City.

Constructed from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,886 bays of rooms and covers over 180 acres. The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Construction lasted 14 years and required more than a million workers. After being the home of 24 emperors – 14 of the Ming dynasty and 10 of the Qing dynasty – the Forbidden City ceased being the political center of China in 1912 with the abdication of Puyi, the last Emperor of China.

I believe a couple of days could be spent in the Forbidden City alone. The place is huge.

Tai He Hall

Architectural details of the Hall.

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Looking through the Gate of Devine Might (I believe). The tower seen in the background is outside the Forbidden City.

The Emperor’s chambers contained nice mythical animals in procession.

The Empress’s chambers only have seven animals.

This intricate construction with only five animals, I believe was for the Emperor’s concubines.

Northwest Corner Tower around The Forbidden City. Note the frozen moat.

All over the city could be seen workers sweeping the streets and sidewalks with these home-made brooms.

Stopping at a rest stop, I purchased this coffee. It was quite good and only cost about $1.40.

This photo is just to illustrate the density of apartment buildings. These were located miles from any apparent city. Please excuse the glare on the window.

We easily made it back to the ship with time to freshen up before dinner.

I haven’t spent a great deal of time in this blog talking about the ship and crew. That is partly because I have limited time to blog and partly because I have talked at length about the HAL ships and crew in my previous blogs. On Friday evening, we did have another “Gala” night. These have replaced the retired “Formal” nights. We currently have Orlando Ashford, the president of Holland America aboard ship. This evening he hosted an open bar cocktail party for everyone and the “Gala” theme was “Red Lanterns”.

This is our fantastic dinner stewards, Andy and Alex in their Oriental finery. These guys have taken care of our every need.

At the cocktail party, we were joined by Tom Mullins one of our Cruise Specialist Hosts. Tom has been sailing for 37 years. He lives in the U.K. and is absolutely fascinating to chat with.

Henk and Lucia Barnhoon, also Cruise Specialists Hosts who we have sailed with many times. Originally from the Nederland, they now make their home is Southern California.

I would like to thank Janet for the above three photos. I was too lazy to carry my camera…

So long until (probably) after Shanghai.

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Beijing China

Day 39 – Wednesday February 22, 2017

As previously posted, we arrived in Xinyang port last night but were unable to leave the ship until cleared by immigration officials this morning. It started snowing early yesterday evening and continued into the night. We didn’t know how this would affect our planned travels to Beijing and the Great Wall which is normally a three-plus hour trip.

View of the terminal from the ship as we were preparing to debark.

The terminal building was amazingly modern and beautiful. It certainly seemed under-utilized, we were the only ship in port. There was one other ship here when returned on Thursday.

We made it through immigration and eventually boarded our coach. It was very comfortable and there was plenty of room. This overnight trip was not with Holland America but with Cruise Specialist. It was a small group of 31 including our hosts Henk and Lucia Barnhoorn. Unfortunately, after only about 30 minutes of traveling, we found ourselves in a massive traffic backup trying to enter the toll road. Our driver and our guide exited the bus and found that these truck drivers had been stranded overnight. After a few calls, Eric, our guide said the road was expected to open in about 30 minutes (10:00 AM). It eventually did open at 11:00 and we were 1.5 hours behind schedule.

This is the convince center where we stopped for a bathroom break. Very modern, but by American standards the store was quite sparsely stocked with limited choices for purchase.

By unanimous consent, our group agreed that instead of stopping for lunch we would allow Eric to pick up some “snack” food to sustain us. We would certainly rather miss lunch than miss the Great Wall. This is one of the advantages of traveling with a private group, you have more flexibility. I believe everyone enjoyed the guilt foods – Snickers, Oreos, potato chips and a uniquely Chinese snack which Eric called a chicken sausage. It was more like a chicken flavored paste in a plastic tube. It was ok, but I think you would have to develop a taste for it. It did provide protein to get us through the day.

Lots of snow along the way.

One of our first views of the fabled Great Wall of China

There several section of the Great Wall which the government has opened for the public. We are visiting the Juyongguan Pass located in the 11 m long Guangou Valley. The pass is one of the three greatest mountain passes of the Great Wall of China. The other two are Jiayuguan and Shanhaiguan Passes.

This pass had many different names during former Chinese dynasties. However, the name "Juyongguan" was used by more than three dynasties. It was first used in the Qin Dynasty when Emperor Qinshihuang ordered the building of the Great Wall. Juyongguan pass was connected to the Great Wall in the Southern and Northern Dynasties era. The present pass route was built in the Ming Dynasty and received much renovation later. It was a very important strategic place connecting the inner land and the area near the northern border of China. It was also used to defend the ancient city of Beijing.

Not much commentary with the following photos. Just enjoy.

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If Kay looks cold, it’s because she was!

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We decided to brave the steps. They were steep and many, but the biggest challenge was the snow which covered them…

View from near the top of the mountain.

Carl is obviously enjoying himself.

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Close-up of some of the 10’s of thousands of roof tiles.

I feel we were fortunate to be able to see the Great Wall with snow, despite the lowered “comfort” level.

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The Changling Mausoleum, one of the Ming Tombs.. The tomb assumes the shape of a flat-topped square cone, with a bottom girth of 600 meters and a height of 31.94 meters. East of the stone archways on both sides of the mausoleum there are 63 satellite tombs of famous officials and imperial relatives, including Xiao He, Cao Shen and Zhou Bo. In recent years, many burial pits were also discovered around Changling Mausoleum and the satellite tomb area.

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After a very long day, we were all excited to reach our Hotel.

The beautiful lobby.

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A bed never looked so good! The Four Seasons is a few steps above my usual lodgings allotment. Embarrassingly, while attempting to turn on the room light when I entered, I instead pressed the button (one of about six by the door) which summoned an attendant. A couple of minutes later our doorbell, yes doorbell, rang with a smiling young lady wishing to know what we required.

The accommodations were beyond great.

Shortly after check-in we were treated to fresh fruits and sweet treats.

Our room was on the 21st floor. This is the view down to the atrium. Eric, our guide told us that the Four Seasons was currently the highest rated Hotel in the City. Our tour arrangements were made by Abercrombie & Kent who we have used before. They are a first-class tour company.

We arrived in time to freshen up before dinner which was at 7:30 PM. We were given a private room for the meal with a private bar. Included in the meal was unlimited mixed drinks plus wine or beer for the first hour. For the second and third hour, only unlimited wine and beer were provided (in addition to tea, soft drinks, sparkling water, etc.).

The above menu does not do justice to the feast we were served. The “Selection of Appetizers” alone were a meal. There were at least 10 different selections in huge quantities.

My personal favorite menu items were the “Sweet and Sour Mandarin Fish”, the ”King Prawns with Wasabi” and the “Braised Pork Belly with Black Truffles”, but I loved everything. The only problem was eating entirely too much!

I will try to post our second day in Beijing tomorrow,

Until then….

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Xingang, People’s Republic of China

Day 38 – Tuesday February 21, 2017

Well… here we are in Zingang, the port city for Beijing. We arrived a day early, really half a day early (since we missed Jeju). We docked approximately 7:00 PM but we have a curfew until we can appear before immigration in the morning, so we are confined to the ship. We attended an excellent performance of the Amsterdam singers and dancers this evening and our cruise director mentioned that it was snowing. I went astern on deck 8 after the show and took the following photos. This was about an hour ago, and the snow is still coming down hard. The current temperature is 28 degrees and the predicted high tomorrow is 32 so it isn’t going anywhere folks.

Stern pool.

The terminal building

Taken with a flash to show the snow fall.

Snow covered stern Lido deck.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

We have an overnight trip to Beijing planned for tomorrow. Two full days visiting the Great Wall at Mutianyu, the Changling Mausoleum, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven among other sites. We are to overnight at the Four Seasons Beijing. I certainly hope we haven’t come half way around the world for one of our bucket list items to be thwarted by snow…

Oh well,

Wan an (Mandarin for Good Night)

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Incheon, South Korea

Day 35 & 36 – Saturday & Sunday February 18 & 19, 2017

We learned at dinner on Friday that our stop at Jeju City had been cancelled. This cancellation was unlike the cancellation of the port of Saipan. In Saipan there were high winds and waves which made the entry into the bay dangerous as well as a very difficult docking. In Jeju the best we could understand from the ambitious report given, was that our docking pier had been changed and the newly assigned pier would involve a single gangway at a steep angle and then some concrete steps to negotiate. Basically, it was too difficult for the passengers of the Amsterdam. I have absolutely no doubt that it was too difficult for many of the passengers, but those of us who were perfectly capable of negotiating the exit must suffer as well. We only have 10 ports of call on this segment outside of the originating and destination ports. Missing 2 ports means we lost 20% of our ports of call! The consolation was that we get to spend two full days in Incheon with 20 to 30 degree temperatures instead of the supposedly beautiful Jeju Island with its more temperate climate. I am not a happy cruiser.

The first day we already had a trip planned to the DMZ to go into the 3rd tunnel beneath the zone which the North Koreans made in an attempt to invade South Korea. This was a 7+ hour tour with lunch. With nothing planned for the second day, we very briefly thought about making the one hour train trip into Seoul. This was quickly decided against. We learned from one of our dinning stewards who had made the trip on Saturday, that there were massive protests in the streets against the Prime Minister. Instead we took the provided shuttle into Incheon to the Senpo International Market (which we briefly visited on the first day). I have included a lot of photos but not much commentary.

Incheon was home to just 4,700 people when it became an international port in 1883. Today, about 3 million people live in the city, making it Korea’s third most populous city after Seoul and Busan. The city’s growth has been assured in modern times with the development of its port due to its natural advantages as a coastal city and its proximity to the South Korean capital. It is part of the Seoul Capital Area, along with Seoul itself and Gyeonggi Province, forming the world’s second largest metropolitan area by population.

Daybreak as we arrived in Incheon port.

Military checkpoint as we entered the DMZ. We had to show passports both on entry and exit.

We could not forget the dangers the people of South Korea live under.

An interesting exhibit at the area where we were to enter the tunnel.

The following description of the 3rd Tunnel is from Wikipedia.

Only 44 km (27 miles) from Seoul, the incomplete tunnel was discovered in October 1978 following the detection of an underground explosion in June 1978, apparently caused by the tunnellers who had progressed 435 meters (1,427 feet) under the south side of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It took four months to locate the tunnel precisely and dig an intercept tunnel.

The incomplete tunnel is 1,635 meters (1.0 mile) long, of 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in) maximum high and 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in) wide. It runs through bedrock at a depth of about 73 m (240 ft) below ground. It was apparently designed for a surprise attack on Seoul from North Korea, and could accommodate 30,000 men per hour along with light weaponry. Upon discovery of the third tunnel, the United Nations Command accused North Korea of threatening the 1953 armistice agreement signed at the end of the Korean War. Its description as a "tunnel of aggression" was given by the South, who considered it an act of aggression on the part of the North.

Initially, North Korea denied building the tunnel. North Korea then declared it part of a coal mine, the tunnel having been blackened by construction explosions.[2] Signs in the tunnel claim that there is no geological likelihood of coal being in the area. The walls of the tunnel where tourists are taken are observably granite, a stone of igneous origin, whereas coal would be found in stone of sedimentary origin.

A total of four tunnels have been discovered so far, but there are believed to be up to twenty more. The South Korean military still devotes specialist resources to finding infiltration tunnels, though tunnels are much less significant now that North Korean long-range artillery and missiles have become more effective.

Entrance to the visitor access tunnel

The tunnel, generally called the Third Infiltration Tunnel or 3rd Tunnel, is now a tourist site, though still well guarded. Visitors enter either by walking down a long steep incline that starts in a lobby with a gift shop or via a sled on rails that contains a driver at the front or the back (depending on the direction as there is only one set of rails) and padded seats facing forward and backwards for passengers in up to groups of three. Photos are forbidden within the tunnel. The South Koreans have blocked the actual Military Demarcation Line in the tunnel with three concrete barricades. Tourists can walk as far as the third barricade, and the second barricade is visible through a small window in the third.

We had to don hard hats to make the 300 meter ride to 75 meters underground through the access tunnel to reach Tunnel #3 of the Demilitarized Zone. Unfortunately, the army does not allow any photography inside the tunnel.

A view of North Korea from an observation point on the edge of the DMZ. Our guide noted that there were not any trees in North Korea because they had been cut for fire wood.

The start of the DMZ can easily be seen looking from the observation point.

Observation guard post were located all along the DMZ.

We had a “typical” Korean meal. Personally I preferred the Japanese food, but many liked the Korean better.

The middle dish is kimchi. The Korean people absolutely love this dish of fermented cabbage. I found it ok, but I really believe this is something you have to develop a taste for.

For miles and miles the razor wire fence could be seen. The river flows from South Korea into North Korea and then back into South Korea. The river is fenced and has guard houses every few hundred meters to ensure that no one uses the river. It is quite odd, anywhere else in the world a river this large would be alive with activity.

After lunch we returned to Incheon and visited the Sanpon International Market. It was quite fascinating. Here the locals come to pick up their dinner, purchase fresh fruits and fresh and dried fish as well as clothing.

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Here you could purchase live eels, fish and even turtles for you evening meal.

Spice anyone?

Beautiful flowers were also available. These were grown in local greenhouses.

More dried fish.

… or how about some candy.

A nice arrangement of fish.

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Fresh vegetables…

We found this 3-pak of soft drinks. I am not sure what a Pocari Sweat is.

A typical view down a street in Incheon.

We met this young man out for a Sunday stroll with his dog. When I asked if I could take his photo, he struck this very solemn pose.

We came back to the Sanpon Market on Sunday Morning and it was much quieter.

I can’t imagen a much worse job than cleaning fish in 35 degree weather, all day long…

At the local MacDonald’s, these Mac Delivery scooters were parked to distribute Big Mac’s all over the city.

We had to take a bathroom break and went into the subway to use the facilities. To our surprise the restrooms were spotless. Even a larger surprise was the underground mall which stretched for about a mile with booth which sold everything, but cell phone booths were about every 20 feet.

Need a pair of shoes?

Janet tried on a pair of “fashion” glasses. An entire store was full of these glasses which had clear lenses. Carl said Janet looked like Mrs. McGoo. Janet told me it was ok to post this on the blog…

We are leaving at midnight, sailing for China.

Until then,

Jal-jumuseo (good-night)

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Nagasaki

Day 33 – Thursday February 16, 2017

Nagasaki is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan. It became a center of Portuguese and Dutch influence in the 16th through 19th centuries, and the Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki have been proposed for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Part of Nagasaki was home to a major Imperial Japanese Navy base during the First Sino-Japanese War and Russo-Japanese War. Its name means "long cape". During World War II, the American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Nagasaki the second and, to date, last city in the world to experience a nuclear attack.

Our tour today was with Cruise Specialists Group.

Our first stop was the Peace Park, very near the bomb hypercenter. This is a beautiful open area park with many monuments contributed by various entities.

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The remaining foundations of a prison which was located in what is now the park.

“The Seven Continents”, donated by Nagasaki’s sister city St. Paul Minneapolis.

A full scale model of “Fat Man” the A-bomb drop on Nagasaki which effectively ended WWII.

Nagasaki “Rope Way” incline to the top of Mt. Inasa for a view of Nagasaki and the bay.

We wanted to take the incline, but were too cheap so this was the best we could do…

(just kidding, admission included in tour price)

Nagasaki is known by the locals as the town of “slopes”. Many communities are built on the side of the mountains.

I never realized just how mountainous Nagasaki was.

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Henk, our Cruise Specialist Host at our restrurant.

Most traditional Japanese restaurants require you remove your street shoes and wear provided slippers to enter the restaurant proper.

Our restrurant was over 150 years old and consisted of many interconnected small rooms with open areas such as this inbetween.

One of the interconnecting hallways in the restaurant.

Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Like yesterday, the meal consisted of at least 10 courses. Unlike yesterday they were served individually. Since no one spoke English the exciting thing was you had no idea when the meal was over! You thought you were finished and suddenly someone appeared with another course. Soups, shichimi, pickled vegetables, sweet black beans and a delicious fatty pork were some of the treats.

Oura Catholic Church, over 150 years old, was establish immediately after the end of percussion of Christians in Japan. The first members were Christians who had maintained their faith in secret for centuries.

In Grover Park you would see couples like these dressed in traditional costume. The best we could tell, they just rented or purchased this dress for an outing. They were always gracious in allowing you to take photos.

A small fall in Grover Park.

Another beautiful scene in the park.

I know, I have an obsession with the vending machines. It just amazes me by both the number of machines and the variety of products offered.

I believe I may have prematurely stated in yesterday’s post that we were heading for South Korea and the DMZ. Since I am usually writing a couple of days after the events take place, you must excuse my sometime lapses of time sequence! At this moment, we are in Incheon, South Korea waiting for immigration and custom clearance to leave the ship. It is 9:30 AM Saturday, Feb. 18at this moment, but It might be the afternoon before I can get internet to upload the post.

Got to go.

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Kagoshima

Day 32 – Wednesday, February 15, 2017

After a day at sea traveling from Kyoto (and celebrating Valentine’s Day aboard ship), we arrived in Kagoshima.

Kagoshima is the capital city of Kagoshima Prefecture at the south-western tip of the island of Kyushu in Japan, and the largest city in the prefecture by some margin. It has been nicknamed the "Naples of the Eastern world" for its bay location, hot climate, and emblematic stratovolcano, Sakurajima. For some reason, I have never pictured Japan as having palm trees. It just never occurred to me that the southern parts of the country were tropical.

The city was covered deep in ash after the 1914 eruption of the Sakurajima volcano. Even today the active volcano periodically spews ash over the city. Although I failed to get a photograph, cemeteries on Sakurajima island have individual small roofs over the graves to protect them from ash.

My very first impressions of Kagoshima were positive. I immediately knew this would, for me, be a more enjoyable port than our previous stops in Japan. The weather was beautiful, the temperature in the 50’s. The pier where we docked was lined with palm trees and as most places in Japan immaculately clean. Our tour today was with our travel service, Cruise Specialists. We quickly loaded the coaches and made about a 30 minute drive to the ferry for our trip to the volcanic island of Sakurajima.

Kay on the ferry.

I’m not sure if you would classify it as a sense of humor or a better way to get your attention, but public safety uses cute signs compared to what we normally see in the states.

Another example.

The Sakurajima radish holds the Guinness Book for the world record largest radish. Some are larger than basketballs!

Mount Sakurajima

Bay view from the observation platform on the volcano.

My bride and me.

This is one of several “volcano shelters” we saw along the highway.

Masako, our guide. She was born on Sakurajima island. The current population of the island is under 5000. It is very sparsely populated in relation to most of Japan.

We visited a volcano heated thermal foot bath. It was amazingly refreshing. Not only were there tourists, but locals could be seen getting a reviving foot soak.

One of the most amazing and admirable traits of the Japanese culture is their honesty. A speaker on the ship who has lived in Japan for several years and is married to a Japanese, said that if you lost anything it would eventually be returned to you if in any way it was possible to track you down. This is an example of the honesty. You would see these items for sale left unattended. You simply placed the money in the container and took your purchase. Sadly, in the States the entire basket with the money would not last long.

Looking back to Kagoshima from Sakurajima Island.

Three lovely ladies, Lucia (our Cruise Specialists Host), Kay and Janet.

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We had what Kay and I thought was a fabulous lunch of traditional Japanese fare. It consisted of soup and rice, fried fish, fish patties, an assortment of sashimi, a vegetable and pork soup which was individually cooked at your plate and an assortment of other delicious items. Dessert was also served along with Japanese beer.

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Kay not only ate her snail, but Janet’s as well.

For those of you who have visited Japan, you are familiar with the toilets. Like most things in Japan, they are hi-tech.

The control panel looks like something from Mission Control at NASA. If you don’t read Japanese, you better study the illustrations closely!

I was absolutely fascinated by the quantity and variety of vending machines. They are everywhere. One of our speakers said there is one vending machine for every 20 persons in Japan. In the US the ratio is about 1 for every 200 persons.

Something else surprising was the cost. Although most things in Japan are very expensive, the items available in vending machines were very reasonably priced. Here you can get a canned coffee (either hot or cold) for less than a dollar. Try that in the states. Notice the “Georgia” coffee. I had to try some (twice). It was amazingly good and is made by Coca-Cola, Atlanta GA. Thus, the name.

You will find vending machines everywhere. In remote places and even along the side of the road.

I speculate that one reason the costs are low is the lack of vandalism. Using a machine requires no expensive attendant and the vending companies do not have to worry about damage or stolen goods. It just doesn’t happen in Japan.

As we sailed away from Kagoshima, many citizens showed up to wish us farewell. The Fire department band performed and played a number of very American tunes.

This gentleman walked up and down the pier waving flags of several countries and continually wished us a good and safe trip. Kay made the statement that it was sad to leave, and she didn’t even know any of these people! I felt the same way. The friendliness was very genuine.

We will be in Nagasaki tomorrow.

Until then,

Sayonara

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