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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

Aloha Everyone,

The two of us will be celebrating the New Year at my Mother’s home in California. Our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter will be visiting us this weekend. What a wonderful way to begin a New Year and a new decade.

Life is a journey and each of us chooses our own road to travel. Whether one’s path is smooth or bumpy, we move forward with patience, gratitude and compassion.

For those of you who personally know us, we would like to express our thanks for coming into our life and giving us a spiritual lift. May the new year bring you and your love ones peace, health and happiness. May you live your life simply and joyfully.

Happy 2020!

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Reflections From Our Trip to Southeast Asia

Aloha Everyone,

Compared to our recent visit to Spain and Portugal, this part of the world was less familiar. J.J. and I therefore had a much more eye-opening, thought provoking experiences.

US education about world history and geography is concentrated on Western civilization. Hearing and seeing not-so familiar names and places motivates me to study.

I made a list of topics to Google about the early history of Indo-China, about Muslims settlements from throughout Southeast Asia and how their presence impacted the host countries.

Equally interesting is the historical and present political and economic influence of contemporary China, and the effects of the ongoing conflict between India-Pakistan on their neighbors.

“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.” - Lawrence Durrell

“Certainly, travel is much more than the seeing of sights; it is a chance that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” - Mary Ritter Beard

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Changi Airport, Singapore

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I can understand why Changi Airport has been selected as the World’s Best Airport since 2013. It is one of the busiest and most beautiful airports. Using Sky Trains, a monorail system, one can easily access four separate terminals and enjoy amazing unique themed gardens.

Shopping centers and restaurants attract both foreign travelers and local residents. Highlights include a vortex waterfall, butterfly enclosure, movie theaters and swimming pool.

J.J. and I quickly learned that restaurants prices vary based on floor level. For example, we spent nearly US$40 for a four dishes lunch while a similar meal is available at 50% discount at the basement level. The prices are double when dining at a higher floor.

Crown Plaza Hotel is conveniently located at Terminal 3. Due to our early morning departure, this was a perfect place to stay after our month-long travels through Southeast Asia. Our walk to the check in counter took less than ten minutes.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, December 27, 2019

Kuala Lumpur Highlights

Aloha Everyone,

There were 7 large bus loads of Sapphire Princess cruise passengers who joined the Kuala Lumpur Highlights tour.  

National Mosque, National Museum, Merdeka Square (where on August 31, 1957 a proclamation declaring independence from Britain took place) gave us a glimpse of Malaysia’s turbulent and not too distance past history. We also visited the National Monument commemorating Malaysia’s heroes of World War II. Designed by the same sculptor of the Iwo Jima Monument in Washington DC, the close up view of the sculpture was seen during noontime prayer call from a nearby mosque making it especially spiritual and memorable.

Petronas Twin Tower, at present, the tallest twin towers in the world glittering in the tropical sun, is no doubt a shining example of how far the country has come. Malaysia, one of the most liberal Muslim country, is making progress to catch up with its successful neighbor, Singapore.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Annular Solar Eclipse in Singapore

Aloha Everyone,

Watching the rare Annular Solar eclipse on board the Sapphire Princess with 3000 plus fellow passengers was an unique and unforgettable experience. We had an astronomer, physicist who gave on-going commentary with spectators responding with appropriate oohs and wows. This was truly one of the highlights of our cruise.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas on Sapphire Princess

Aloha Everyone,

Our first Christmas spent at sea. I enjoyed my early morning walk during sunrise, followed by numerous on-board activities. 

Christmas wreath displays created by ship’s crew members using recycle materials were imaginative and ingenious.

Santa Claus visit in the Piazza located on the Deck 5 Mid Ship was well attended by children and their parents. He arrived by helicopter.

Mid-afternoon holiday entertainment included beautiful, traditional Christmas was dampened by one of the ship’s passengers medical evacuation by helicopter.

Aloha -- Cathi