Sunday, 26 February 2012

Last Day At Sea And Penang

Friday And Saturday February 24th & 25th - Day 51 & 52

Friday - Our third day at sea and for some reason everybody is talking about going home except for Vance who keeps changing the've guessed it...he wants to stay on for another month!!
Our clocks went forward thirty minutes this afternoon which means we are now eight hours ahead of UK time and it will stay this way all the way to Singapore.

At 6:30pm tonight it was the captain's farewell cocktails and the final of the 'Quest Factor' where the final five of the crew talent competition performed in front of the guests who will decide who wins the grand prize of $1000. We didn't quite make the live final but watched it in our suite on the tv as Vance wanted to watch the Cycling Championships on ESPN so we had to keep switching channels.
After the formal dinner in The Restaurant where we managed to get one of our favourite tables - thank you Andre - we went upstairs to the Grand Salon for the variety show.

Tonight there were three artists - Siobhan Phillips - singer and comedienne, cellist - Mariusz and comedian Jeff Stevenson. All three were fantastic and Siobhan dedicated 'Hallelujah' to Vance as she knows he's a great fan of Leonard Cohen. At the end of the show the talent show winner was was...(drum roll)...Jerry the singer and our onboard tailor...well done Jerry.
Drinks and dancing again in The Club then to bed...zzzzzzzz

Saturday - Couldn't get Vance out of bed this morning - it must have been a really late night last breakfast he was half asleep and I thought he was going to ask for vodka with his orange juice as a pick me up...but he didn't.
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It is so hot now and the humidity is eighty-five percent and it's only 11:30am and I'm really melting.
We docked in Penang at 1pm and everyone is rushing to get ashore for private and Seabourn tours.

Penang comes from the Malay words for the betel nut - Palau Pinang and is an island state in Malaysia. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite. Established in 1786 as a trading post by the British today Penang is favoured by travellers for both its scenic beauty and its places of ethnic and historic charm.
Our tour today was the north island tour, We left the waterfront and journeyed to a beautiful Thai Buddhist temple which houses the fourth largest reclining Buddha in the world - one hundred and eight foot long. The smiling Buddha is made of gilded cement and has eyes and toenails made of pearl. The outside of the temple is guarded by impressive dragons.

While wandering around the temple we found the statues that represented the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac. Vance and I are both dragons and 2012 is also the year of the dragon.....could be a lucky omen!!
Afterwards we crossed the road to another Buddhist temple where I was blessed by a monk and sprinkled with holy water and had a yellow cotton bracelet tied around my wrist for good luck.

A leisurely drive towards the northerly tip of the island took us past the beautiful coves, beaches and hotels on Ferringhi Beach. We then visited the craft batik workshop where we were shown the intricate art of printing cloth with wax and dyes.
From here we went to the Butterfly Farm with its walk-in aviary providing sanctuary for over one thousand live butterflies, as well as tropical insects lizards and frogs. Vance took a fabulous photo of the Iguana feeding.

It was an amazing place but as they spray steam into the aviary every few minutes for the insects and butterflies it was even more humid inside than it was outside.
It was such a hot day that we were all looking forward to getting back to the ship and jumping into the pool but unfortunately as we drove back to the harbour a tropical storm blew in and the rain hammered down.

However that evening we were determined to eat under the stars so we waited until the rain stopped at 8:30pm and the patio grill staff laid us up a table and our wish came true.

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