So my morning started at 4:44 when I got a couple of smses from Optus welcoming me to Hong Kong. #grunt Of course there was no getting back to sleep after that, what with having to disembark and all. And at 5:30 I got hungry so it was all over. Saw us spinning around at Kai Tak, to have us facing the city. And then the sun rose. We didn't have a single good day of weather the entire trip, and we get a perfect one the day we go home. Doh!!
Got ready, and brought some breakfast down the room, but never did get around to download photos (which haven't been downloaded since before Shanghai).
Apparently they wanted us out of the room at 8:30 so we did that. But we had different pieces of conflicting information telling us the disembarkation procedure. One said just get off 40 minutes before our car was due (we decided to get a car back into Hong Kong so we didn't have to battle trains and taxis and get all sweaty). Another said wait with the rest of deck 5. I asked at the pursor's office and they said go with the rest of deck 5. But that made no sense because people with earlier cars would then be late. At around 9:20 we went and asked the lady in the theatre and she said we just needed to go get off in about twenty minutes. So that turned out to be quite simple and no queue. I just wish they could have been more organised in their literature. So that was the end of that. We left the ship. Sad times.
In the terminal we just walked out. Noone even looked at our passports (that we'd picked up yesterday afternoon). Then into the baggage hall to get our bags, which was all organised nicely and super simple. They called our car (we ended up being very early) and we did a survey by some local travel type people.
Our car came and we got driven across Hong Kong. And dumped at Kowloon station.
When I'd booked the car, I filled out "Hong Kong Station", and the guy who took my booking appended Central. So how they translated that to Kowloon I have no f#$%ing idea. So I was pretty pissed off about that. Thanks Cunard. How to leave a bad taste in our mouth as a parting gift.
Anyway Stu just said we would be ok, so we got out, and checked into our flight and checked our bags at the in-town checkin. We'd been planning to have Tim Ho Wan at Central, but we decided instead to go to the one in Sham Shui Po, and go to the Golden Computer Arcade to pick up a couple of little micro usb cables (I really love the 20cm cables you can get two for $5AUD, and only currently having one is a bit of a pain sometimes when there's multiple devices to charge).
So two trains later we got to Sham Shui Po and walked along Fuk Wing Street until we found Tim Ho Wan. It's a lot like the organised chaos we first experienced at Din Tai Fung in Taipei, so we didn't feel too threatened by the little crowd of people milling around and the procedure to get a seat and order food. We were there primarily for the crispy pork buns (which they call baked bun with bbq pork) and they were every bit as awesome as we were expecting. We also had a few other things which were nice too.
After lunch we walked back to the Golden Computer Arcade and got our cables.
It was such a beautiful day I couldn't stand the thought of just heading out to the airport - I felt liked we should be looking at the city or something. So I convinced the sweetie that we should get the train to Hong Kong station and just take the ferry over to Tsim Sha Tsui and back. Simple and cheap and we'd get a great view of the whole harbour (and the Queen Mary 2). So we did that. And it was awesome :)
Then back to the station, one station hop under the harbour to Kowloon, and onto the airport express train. Of course it would have been easier to go straight from Hong Kong since we were right there, but they charge your Octopus card when you go to check in to the flight, and we weren't sure what would happen if we then got on at a station further away.
Quick train trip out to the airport, through security and immigration, and into the Qantas club. I downloaded all my photos since Shanghai and the GPS, and we both had showers and felt much better. Then it was more catching up on the laptop.
We had the exact same seats on the 747 on the flight back as we did up. One of the two-seater seats right up the back, so the sweetie didn't have anyone next to him.
I was pretty tired so attempted to sleep. And failed. Just lay there with my eyes closed for three or four hours. I didn't have any dinner, just a couple of bread rolls which were a bit awful actually.
Gave up trying to sleep when my legs got restless, so watched Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Which I found to be extremelly confusing (maybe it was just that my brain was mush). The kid is asking questions and keeps getting told not to ask questions and it's like well how the heck are *we* meant to understand what's going on? Tried again to sleep after the movie but legs were still restless, so watched Bridget Jones' Baby, which was all a little silly, but that took us up til landing time in Sydney. Breakfast was this little pizza thing, but I'd been starving for a while so my stomach wasn't ready for food (don't ask). Just had the yoghurt and juice.
In Sydney there was a bit of a queue at the e-tickets, and then a bit of chaos going through the gates due to people having issues getting in the way of people trying to get through. Then picked up our bags and off we went to the domestic terminal.
Flight to Canberra was in a dash 8. Could *almost* see mum's place but it was directly underneath us. Came in from the north into Canberra.
Chrissie very nicely picked us up from the airport and took us home. I went and got some supplies, then crashed for a couple of hours, at one point waking up and taking a minute to realise where I was. Stu slept most of the afternoon heh.
Have mostly unpacked and done a load of washing of all the fancy new clothes.
And I've also been fighting with our internet which is completely unusable at the moment, as well as downloading photos, gps etc.
So all in all a pretty good holiday. The cruise was pretty awesome for the most part, with just a few things that really pissed me off. The weather was crappy for almost the entire trip which was a bit sad. I think Nagasaki was the highlight of the ports for me. I loved the fine dining, and the buffets available pretty much all day. I dread to think how much weight I've put on! Cruising is something we'd definitely consider doing again.
6:00 wakeup. After not getting to bed til after midnight. This is why I keep telling people that staying up late to see shows or whatever is not a good idea - because I just lose sleep and get super tired.
Got ready early and finally got some photos of the Queens Room empty.
Got some breakfast and ate it in the room.
The sea was super calm in the morning.
Spent some time reading the Maritime Quest info boards around the ship.
At 10:15 I lined up with half the rest of the ship to see the Britannia galley. That was super awesome. It's *huge* !!
Before lunch we went up to the library and returned the two library books, then we went to Verandah for lunch.
Had a super nice lunch there. Stu had a pate dish, an onion tart tatin which he really liked, and a prune tart. I had quail which was very nice, a deconstructed beef bourgignon with a beautiful but *huge* steak, and strawberry delice which had a whole bunch of different strawberry elements. Lovely. I really good meal but quite large.
Went down and got a copy of our account to make sure we had some spare money for souvenirs, then got a tshirt, a whiskey glass and a die cast model of the ship.
Checked on the jigsaw and found that Gwen from Wales had finished it - yay! So I had time to read more info boards.
Back to the room and did some blogging and then started packing. The super annoying thing is they want bags put out the night before disembarkation. Which is a pain because then you have to cart around your pyjamas and toiletries until you see your bag next - which is some time after disembarkation. I should have taken up the self-checkout where you take your own bag off.
Went down to the pub for drinks and trivia. Another hard night - only 12/20. I think the winner got 15.
Everyone was at dinner for a change, which was nice.
Stu had chicken liver, vegetable wellington and ice cream. I had cream of chicken soup, lamb shanks, and ice cream. Yum. But I'm so fat right now.
Finished packing, put our bags outside, and went to sleep.
Woke up at 5:35. Blerf. Gave up and got up around 6:15. Looked out the balcony to no less than twelve ships in sight.
I had a bread roll that I'd picked up last night, and was all set to go photograph some more of the ship when I realised I couldn't find Stu's random camera. I knew we'd had it at dinner, but couldn't find it in the room. I was wondering if we'd put it down while picking up food last night and left it behind. I asked about it at the Pursor's office, but no sign of it. So I was pretty depressed about it. But then just like that, I found it - where it was supposed to be, just shoved a lot further back so I couldn't see it. Poor Stu - I'd woken him twice when he'd just wanted to have a sleep-in.
I'm sure we had breakfast at some point.
Spent a bit of time on a jigsaw, then went to see Pamela Chen Moore's talk on demystifying oriental cooking. She did two very simple dishes - egg, tomato and spring onion with rice; and garlic, beans and mushrooms. Will have to try them when we get home.
Spent pretty much the entire afternoon doing the jigsaw (started last night, did all but some of the water during the day).
And we did have lunch - at nearly 15:00. Whoops. But they did have pork at the carvery. And for some reason all the offcut bits had been cast aside, so I grabbed a whole heap of them - cause they're the best bits!! And I asked for crackling and got some yayyyyy :)
I ran into Pamela at one point while watching the rehearsals for the night's show, and chatted about a few things. She was a bit disappointed that she couldn't visit her parents for a few hours due to Taipei being cancelled.
Got back to the room and we watched the talk from earlier in the day by a historical consultant.
Pub trivia - only got 6/20 this time :( The winner only got something like eight.
Dinner was the last formal night - Roaring 20s. I didn't really have anything appropriate to wear, so fudged it a bit. Plenty of people had some wonderful outfits. And quite a few probably should have stopped wearing their outfits a good twenty or thirty years ago.....
Kay and Norman were back, the South African ladies were gone, and Bruce and Maria were there as well. But still no David and Licia.
Stu had mackeral, guinea fowl and ice cream. I had consomme madrilene which was nice but too salty for me, Pamela Chen Moore's salmon for mains (I think I preferred Stu's guinea fowl), and lemon meringue pie which was very nice.
After dinner we *finally* made it to the late night show - Broadway Rocks, which was really good. And went into the Queens Room to get some photos of the ball. Pretty much everyone dancing had obviously had ballroom dancing training. We would have looked a bit dumb if we'd had a go. And also finally got into G32. Turns out G32 is the job number of the ship at the shipyard, so all the bits of the ship had G32 scrawled all over it during construction. Apparently the QE2 had a bar named after the ship's job number as well, so they followed tradition. Just took a few photos then left.
But it meant a very late night - in bed after midnight :(
Had a broken night's sleep - a lot of coughing :( Our neighbour was also coughing a lot of the night. I was even awake for our arrival in Shanghai at 01:00. Then I turned the GPS off.
It was a lot better organised getting off this time - our guide waited at each stage for the group to catch up so we all just went through as a group.
On the coach at 9:15, set the cameras to China time (need to remember that the ones taken on the ship will be an hour different).
So our first stop of the day was the Shanghai Maglev station. We caught the Maglev out to the airport, and then stayed on the train for the trip back in. It's something like thirty kilometres, and the trip takes seven minutes with a top speed of 431 km/h. It was pretty awesome!!
Then we went into town and went up the Jin Mao tower. But it was super rushed, only giving us about ten minutes at the top, and of course we had to fit a bathroom stop in there too (and the associated queuing). It was a bit of a murky day, but at least it wasn't raining.
Next was a quick photo stop of the Oriental Pearl tv tower.
And finally we went to the Bund to drop off some people that wanted to do their own thing for the afternoon, and they would catch a shuttle bus back to the ship. So as soon as I found out we were doing that I asked if we could have a few minutes to go to the river and get some photos of the skyline. Because the other day it was rainy and horrible. But she said we wouldn't have time. Grunt. I even asked the Cunard guy if he could ask for a few minutes, but when I said I'd already asked, he just said oh well too bad. I was very stabby at this point. So we get to the Bund, and a whole bunch of people slowly get off and mill around talking to her. Several minutes passed. In the end I said stuff this, jumped off the bus and said, can I run up and take a photo. One minute. She wasn't too happy, but let me, so I *ran* up the stairs, got a couple of photos, then ran back. *sigh*
Back at the ship we had a very late lunch, then did some washing, caught up on blogging etc. Did some work on a jigsaw for a while. Read for a while.
Went to the pub for pre-dinner drinks and trivia. Bad night though - only 12/20! I think the winner got 17.
At dinner Kay and Norman and Licia and David weren't there, but Bruce and Maria were. Then we were joined by two ladies from South Africa. It was all very odd.
Stu had tuna sashimi, haddock, and chocolate fondant. I had mushroom feuillete, lamb, and lemon and blackberry tart.
Woke up at 6:35 with a coughing fit. But given that we'd put our clocks back an hour overnight, it was actually 5:35. Hurrah. I put my watch back, but again they haven't changed the mobile tower, so the phone and all the cameras are still on Korean time.
I got up and got ready, figuring the ship would be pretty quiet. Wandered around all over the place, but at 7:40 there was already a group in the Queens Room! Still have to find a free time to photograph it.
Went and got some breakfast, but then ate it back in the room.
Then went down to do a jigsaw for a while.
At 9:00 I went round the corner to pick up a planetarium show ticket. And found a queue all the way around to the other games corridor. But didn't stress too much as there weren't 450 people there. The queue moved pretty slowly though, and when there was about ten people in front of me the dude's like "that's it, all gone". And I'm going WTF ??? Damned greedy people taking huge batches of tickets. I heard someone saying they used to have a two ticket per person limit. They totally need to do that again. So now I have to queue yet again outside the planetarium later to try and get a seat from someone who's too lazy to turn up to the show. Hate people. HATE.
Got the sweetie some breakfast, then headed back to the room to catch up on blogging etc.
At 12:15 we went to Dr Ingrid Vissor's second talk - Slippery When Wet - mostly about her rescue work trying to save stranded whales.
When it finished we considered seeing if we could wait around and get into the 13:30 planetarium show, but we were bit over people so went and got some lunch (more people though.. urghh). I didn't eat a whole lot, so when we were done it was nearly 13:30, so went back after everyone had gone in. We were lucky enough to be able to get in. Pretty crappy seats down the front, but hey, we didn't have to queue.
Came back to the room to continue sorting photos.
At 16:00 we tried to watch The Last Samurai on the ship tv, because it was advertised as starting at 16:00. But it actually started at 15:00 so that was a bust.
So I went down to work on a jigsaw. And ended up finishing it. Whoops.
At 18:40 we went up to the Carinthia Lounge for a pre dinner drink, and at 19:00 went into Kings Court "Smokehouse" for dinner. Kings Court (aft end) does different themed nights as an "alternative" dining with a $17.95USD cover charge. We chose to go on the smokehouse night - American bbq. Stu had Maryland crab cake for starter, blackened salmon (nice) and a beef dish (a bit dry) (you got to choose two dishes for mains), and vanilla cheesecake. I had buffalo chicken wings (quite nice), coconut crusted shrimp (pretty good), bbq ribs (fall off the bone goodness - the way ribs should be done!) and salted caramel and popcorn pudding (ok, but I was quite full and wasn't even really wanting dessert so gave a lot of it to Stu). Quite a decent meal, and we could say we did it.
We finished a bit late for pub trivia, and had been thinking about seeing the early show, but Stu didn't feel very well (possibly something he ate at lunch), so we just had an early night.
Had a bit of a broken night's sleep on account of not being able to breathe.
At 6:20 the alarm went off to wake up.
Arrival in Incheon was pretty boring. I missed coming under the bridge, but then we docked at a new terminal area in the middle of nowhere (they haven't even built the terminal yet). Downloaded the GPS log since Busan.
Had some breakfast at Kings Court around 8:00.
At 8:45 we went into the Royal Court Theatre to check in to our tour. Where we then had to wait and wait and wait. This time the Korean immigrations had setup laptops in the Queens Room to process everyone. So we had to collect our passports, walk past the temperature sensor, then get our passports stamped. Then we dropped off our passports and got a shore card. They had a truck setup outside with a portable gangway, but it was *very* steep getting up it. We could have really just gone straight off the ship onto the wharf, rather than up and over, but apparently the tides change quite a lot and they were going to have to rearrange things during the day. It was after 10:00 before our coach left the wharf.
So then it was the really long drive into Seoul.
Our first stop was the National Museum. We lasted about five minutes with the crowds and our tour guide before we went off and wandered the place on our own. Sure we probably missed out on hearing about some things in more detail, but we did get a nice long look at all the celadon (a green glazed ceramic), and an amazing exhibition of items recovered in 1975 from a shipwreck.
Then it was off to lunch at a place in the city. There was about fifteen different courses!! It was pretty insane. And I was having fun until I was eating all the green vegetables in a cold "porridge" when I got a huge slice of raw green chili. My mouth exploded. I should have spat it out, but I was on a table full of strangers. So that was super painful (I was in tears) and kinda ruined the rest of the meal. And our tour guide didn't seem to understand that people need to use the bathroom, and so we had to try and find it ourselves when we should have been going out to get back on the coach.
After lunch it started raining. Yay. We went to Bukchon village next, a line of houses built in the 1930s by a dude who wanted to preserve houses built in traditional Korean style. But it's a residential street and I think the people that live there hate the fact that it's a huge tourist destination.
Still raining. We drove past the presidential "blue house" and got one or two photos through foggy and rain-smeared windows.
Then into the royal palace next door. Still raining on and off. Had a decent wander around there which was pretty cool.
So a reasonably decent tour. Shame about the weather.
Finally a very long drive back to the ship.
19:30 the usual pub for drinks/music/trivia (we got 16/20 this time - would have gotten a couple more if we'd joined with the table that marked ours - they knew two that we didn't heh). Really must join ranks with some English people as the questions do tend to be a bit British-centric.
When we got to dinner we found two new people on our table (Bruce and Maria from Sydney). They'd been on board since Sydney and were going all the way to Southampton. But they kept on being at a table by themselves and asked to join someone else. We'd had two seats free since Virginia and Bob got off in Shanghai so that was quite nice. Stu had chicken consomme, Korean chicken and chocolate volcano cake. I had smoked duck, penne, and wasn't going to have dessert because I was so full, but got tempted by the key lime pie heh.
I really feel like we don't belong on this cruise. Bruce and David spent most of the evening talking about travelling business class and comparing airlines, and the sizes of their apartments. Bruce and Maria live in one of the toasters in Circular Quay, and at one point I think I overheard it was 192 square metres (although only heard a snatch of that conversation I could be wrong). Various British couples we've met have summer homes in Europe. We're too young and not rich enough to belong on this cruise...
Slept in til 06:48 hurrah.
I'd gotten a bread roll from King's Court last night, so had that as an early breakfast to keep me going.
After a couple of tries to find a washing machine free I got our washing started. But when I came back near the end to put it in a drier, a little old guy came in from another laundry with a bag of wet washing and put it in the drier I was just about to use. And I'm like DUDE, I was literally about to use that. Buttplug. He didn't care. So I'm standing there feeling completely screwed over with nowhere to do my drying. But someone took their drying out a bit early, and the washing machine beneath it still had a way to go, so I put my drying in there. And then I came back with a book to sit in the corridor outside the laundry so *my* drying wouldn't get stolen. So much drama, so much rage. HATE.
I've been drinking the water out of the taps with no issues (they desalinate most of their water, but also get supplies of fresh water when in port). But this morning the water *stank* of chlorine. urgh.
Did some catching up with the blogging, and then it was about 11:15. I hadn't eaten anything else, and Stu hadn't eaten at all. So we were about to go to the buffet when I said we should go have lunch in Britannia, because we hadn't done that on accounting of always having breakfast so late. So we did that. We got put on a table with a couple from the UK (who owned a summer home in Spain or Portugal) and a couple from Darwin (the dude had grown up in Rhodesia and gotten out before it got really bad there). I was feeling sick and anti social though, so it was a bit of an odd lunch. And Stu's random camera, which I thought I'd charged the battery for, was completely flat. So I must have gotten mixed up and only charged the other battery. Stu had mackeral, a fisherman's pie and rice pudding. I had cream of parsnip soup which was quite nice, some lasagna which was also nice but didn't have any salad so I was feeling like I should have some fibre, so had some tinned fruit.
After lunch I went up to have a look at the bridge viewing area, just behind the bridge on deck 12. While I was looking, the Chief Officer came out and had a sign in Cunard font that said no photos, and if it was placed between the two windows would I have read it. And I'm like, no, you really need the graphic of a camera with a red line through it. They do have one, but it's on the furthest window, so it'd be pretty easy to not even realise you can't take photos there. Then he very sweetly let me take a photo there!! I was so excited :)
Read for a little while in the afternoon and did some more catching up on blogging. The GPS was being a bit bumheadful today and kept losing signal.
I also had a look at some of the "Maritime Quest" info boards.
At 17:00 we put on the talk that we missed in the morning on account of buttplugs being buttplugs in the laundry - What eats sharks for breakfast - by marine biologist Ingrid Vissor. That was very interesting.
Went to the pub around 19:30 for drinks, music and trivia. Only got 15/20 this time.
For dinner Stu had pate de Campagne, vegetable tartlet and bread and butter pudding. I had strawberry and champagne soup, pork loin and cheesecake.
My cold changed from being mostly a cough to being a stuffed up nose. Hurrah.
Slept in til 06:38!
Got ready and watched our arrival into Nagasaki from the top deck. We passed under the Megami Ohashi bridge on the way in, which apparently was built around the same time as the Queen Mary 2, and was built high enough to allow tall ships such as the Queen Mary 2 to pass underneath. Apparently there's only a six metre clearance! Lots of people were on the bridge, and we honked at them a few times :)
As we were pulling up to the dock on our port side, a little troupe of dancers and a full brass band came out to welcome us. They went for quite a while, it was pretty awesome.
Breakfast was a little more relaxed as we didn't have to rush for any tours. As it was a cruise terminal, they have it setup inside to deal with the cruise ships. There was quite a lot of people, but it all flowed fairly quickly. In the terminal they were also setup with an information stand giving out maps, a place selling the all day tram tickets (500 yen), and an ATM. So we were all set for the day really quickly. We didn't go on a tour in Nagasaki. We'd originally tried to get on one, but it was booked out and we were put on a wait list. So I did a bunch of my own research and decided we could have a better day doing things ourselves. So when a spot came up on the tour I didn't bother to accept it.
So after getting off the ship we headed for the nearest station on the blue line and took a tram up to Hamaguchi-Machi station to look at the peace memorial hall.
Then next door to the Atomic Bomb museum. Not a very big museum but problematic with flow because there's tv screens with lots of information but take quite a while to cycle through so people bunch up watching them and don't keep moving. And of course there were several Cunard tour groups passing through, so the place was quite cramped. But very interesting and focussing on the effects of the bomb in Nagasaki followed by a hall on the current state of nuclear weapons in the world.
Our legs were hurting quite a bit at this point so we stopped in the cafe for a bit.
Then we headed down the hill to the hypocentre. I've now been to both hypocentres for both nuclear blasts.
And then up the hill to the peace park, which is in the location of a former prison that was reduced to its foundations in the blast.
Took a red line tram back into town (Kokaido-Mae) to have a look at the Megane-bashi "spectacles" bridge. And we continued to wander down the channel looking at all the stone bridges across it.
Then at random we wandered into this covered-street shopping area. We were just looking at the map when some locals asked if we needed help. We didn't really as we were just looking at it, but then we asked if there was any local Nagasaki dishes that they could recommend. She said we should try the "turkish rice" at a famous nearby cafe - the Olympic Cafe. So she took us there to show us where it was. Turns out it's just a pork katsudon on flavoured rice, with spaghetti and a bit of cabbage on the side. We also ordered a "cheeseburger" which was just a hamburger patty topped with cheese, also on the same rice and spaghetti. Quite an odd meal, but quite nice. It seems the cafe is quite famous for its 120cm high dessert towers. Amazing to see. But we were too full from lunch to attempt to eat one (and it was 15:00 by this point). We never would have even gone in there if it hadn't been for the local telling us where to go. As is the case in Japan, many restaurants are hidden away at the top of tiny little staircases, so if you didn't know they were there, you'd never think to go.
After lunch we continued walking south and went and had a good long wander around Dejima, which for a couple of hundred years was the only place which could do any western trade with Japan. Interesting stuff, and lots and lots of buildings with different things in them.
Next we took a blue line tram to Takara-machi and hiked the kilometre to the base of the Inasa ropeway. I'd have done this earlier in the day if the weather had been better, but since it was grey all day I decided we could do this is as the last thing while it was still daylight, then hang around and wait til it got dark. Because apparently this was once voted the third best night view after Hong Kong and Monaco.
So after getting our daytime photos, we sat in the foyer for a bit and had a drink and waited an hour or so for it to get dark. The problem with this place is it's tiny. And lots of people want to come and see the third best night view in the world. And most people that go there aren't satisfied with having a look and taking a few photos and then moving on. No, most of them are setup with with tripods and are there for the long haul and will. not. budge. I was getting so pissed off that I couldn't get anywhere near the fence to take a few photos. I actually leaned on a few of them at one point. Eventually after ages I was able to get some photos but it was a very frustrating experience. I think a bunch of them were waiting for the Queen Mary 2 to depart, but that was two and a half hours away.
So about 19:15 we headed back. We were able to get on a cable car fairly quickly which was good. Walked back to the tram, then two trams back to the ship (blue line to Tsuki-Machi, and a green line to Ouratenshudoshita, although it took so long to arrive we could have walked the two stops quicker heh).
So it was a pretty full-on day (over 20000 steps!), but we got to do the things that we wanted to do, and at our own pace.
Stu went aboard first so I could get a definitive location on our room. Then I went on board. Getting through the terminal was super easy - just handed in my photocopied passport with the entry card stuck on it, and through I went. Slight queue at ship-board security.
Even though we'd (just) made it back to the ship by 20:30, we really didn't feel like dressing up for dinner, so we just grabbed a light dinner in the Kings Court. I wasn't going to have any dessert but they had a white chocolate fountain! So dipped a chocolate cake ball in that. Also took a bread roll and some butter for breakfast.
I went up to deck 13 to watch the departure. Nagasaki's big suspension bridge is not lit up like Busan's, so it was a little boring heh.
Back in the room I heard something loud outside so went to see what it was. It was the pilot's boat, so watched it come alongside, and watched two guys jump off the Queen Mary 2 onto it. That was pretty cool.
Then it was wash hair and go to bed, after setting *everything* up to charge.
Some time overnight the phone moved forward an hour. Possibly late yesterday afternoon when we got in mobile range of Korea. Moved the Canon forward an hour. But turns out Stu's random camera had been an hour out for the Hong Kong and Shanghai part of the trip. Because it automatically changed itself in Busan to be another hour forward. Had to turn summertime off, but need to remember that the times on it may need adjusting.
We arrived in Busan at a container terminal out of town, and it was on our port side, so I was able to watch the arrival from our balcony.
Finally got eggs benedict for breakfast, but felt too stressed to enjoy it (we had to get ready for our tour shortly afterwards).
Due to arriving at a container terminal, there's nothing setup for customs and immigration, so officials came onto the ship and setup in the Queens Room. But after queuing for ages, all we did was walk from one side of the room to the other and get a port card on the way out. All very odd, don't know what that was about. Unless they had temperature sensors setup that I didn't notice (I was trying to catch up with our group, as we'd got from second last to last when another couple pushed in to go in front of us, and another group merged with us and also had people get in front of us. I really really didn't want the last seats in the coach as they're a lot harder to see out of). Then it was down to deck 1 and we walked straight off the ship onto the wharf. Pretty cool. They had a small welcoming troupe there which was also pretty cool. We managed to catch up with the group and even get ahead, as some others delayed in figuring out where to go to get to deck 1, and some then had to wander all the way up the wharf to go to the bathroom, so we actually got reasonable seats on the coach.
The coach ride for the morning was a one and a half hour drive to the Gyeongju area.
Our first stop was the Bulguksa Temple complex which was quite a nice place. The structure on the 10 won coin is at this temple which is cool. I was worried leaving this place that we'd be last back to the bus but we were actually first back on the bus. (I had to find a bathroom - this one had toilet paper on a roll as you go in, but I had to use half of it to wipe down the seat :( Seriously, what is it with Asian women who feel the need to pee all over the seats?? If you're going to piss all over the seat, why don't you lift the damned lid and piss all over the rim, and not where I have to sit next?!?! It was like that in Shanghai the other day too. I did have an extra roll of toilet paper with me, but was able to make do, but was very unimpressed).
Sadly we're a little too early for all the cherry blossoms in this part of the world, but the magnolias are in full bloom at the moment and they're very pretty.
We stopped for lunch at the nearby Commodore Hotel. Three coachfulls of people in one of their function rooms. So was a little chaotic. Meal was decent enough though. And it wasn't seated on the floor like it said it would be in the guide heh. After lunch there was a performance by local Korean girls - with fans, drums etc. That was quite nice. The table we sat at was pretty odd though. There was a single guy, a couple from possibly Germany, a single lady, and two Japanese ladies. And noone talked to each other. Very odd.
It was around this point that I knew I was getting sick. That telltale throat feeling and start of a cough. This made me very grunty with all the hundreds of other sick people on this cruise.
After lunch we went to Cheonmachong tomb (the flying horse tomb), in a park containing many royal tombs from the Silla dynasty. That was quite cool (although the artifacts are all replicas as the originals are kept in storage). What's amazing is that they've found any in tact tombs in recent times at all. I'd have thought they'd have all long been raided over the last millennium.
Finally we went to the Gyeongju National Museum to see the Divine Bell of King Songdok and quite a few "national treasures" including some of the artefacts found in the royal tombs.
And then the hour and a half long trip back to the container terminal.
Overall quite a good tour, and we quite enjoyed the day. Except for getting sick of course.
I went up to the top deck for a bit, but then watched the departure from our balcony (18:44 pushback from the wharf). The lights of Busan were all on by this point and the Busan Harbor Bridge is lit up with multi-coloured LEDs which cycle through the rainbow which made the bridge look amazing.
Before dinner we ordered a copy of one of the photos we'd had taken before the previous night's formal dinner. For dinner we both had deep fried brie for entree. Stu had a seafood spaghetti and rum cake, and I had chicken cordon bleu (a tad dry) and a white chocolate panna cotta (a repeat! gasp!).
Then collapsed into bed.
06:11 wakeup. They put the ships clocks forward an hour overnight, but not the internal mobile tower's time, so it was still on the old time. I changed my watch, but not the cameras.
Put some washing on just before 09:00, then went down to ConneXions to get tickets for the Planetarium show (got there right on nine and just walked up to the desk where a dude had just setup and got a ticket). Went and got some breakfast. Save some space for eggs benedict but Stu took the last one of the batch - doh!
Went back to get the washing but I was a few minutes late (on account of being at breakfast). Someone had taken our washing out to put theirs in, but when I went through everything there was an unpaired sock. Great. So that meant we missed a talk on China because I had to wait around for *their* cycle to finish so I could retrieve the sock. But as he was taking stuff out there were *three* socks and a tshirt in with his load!! What a retard. One sock I could *maybe* understand but *three* ??? And a tshirt??? Buttplug.
At 11:00 we went and saw the third talk by Pamela Chen Moore - in the theatre for once heh.
Had a small plate of fries for lunch. As you do. Hrmm.
Went and worked on one of the jigsaws for a while before going to a Planetarium show - Cosmic Collisions, narrated by Robert Redford.
Then had some afternoon tea. Well Stu had afternoon tea, I had a late lunch of lamb (it was 15:00). My eating patterns are all over the place on this trip.
At 15:30 we went to the port talk on Hong Kong. Even though we'll be off the cruise it was interesting to see the sorts of tours they have and what sort of destinations they go to, versus what we've done ourselves.
Afterwards spent a couple of hours with a jigsaw, finishing it a bit before 18:00.
Saw the sun for the second time this holiday, so got some photos of it setting.
In the evening we had the "meet the captain" welcome drinks party in the Queens Room all in our formal gear. I wore Chrissie's dress to this one. We didn't end up meeting the captain because half the ship was there and the line to meet him they reckoned was about half an hour long. So we didn't bother with that. Had a couple of glasses of bubbly though, but didn't end up talking to anyone else.
For dinner Stu had chicken liver pate, lamb curry and ice cream. I had pumpkin soup which was very nice, a chicken dish which wasn't too bad, and a small creme brulee.