The Philippines

After the best part of 6 days at sea, I was mightily happy to set foot on solid ground.

The cook that we had, Loli, in Borneo is from Manila in the Philippines; so I was happy to visit this place that is her home. Especially since I had no idea I would be here 2 months ago.

Our welcome into the harbour area could be heard a mile away. A marching band on the seafront playing a variety of modern tunes and wearing brightly coloured clothing. As our ship navigated its way through the incredibly still waters of the Manila bay; a sea-fog slowly started to rise, giving way to an eery and yet beautiful first view of the city of Manila. Fishing boats had been surrounding us since sometime the day before we arrived. This morning they were so close to the ship! Some shouting for money, or offering to sell things to us! How on earth that would have worked I don’t know. The captain of our ship frequently sounded the ships horn through this whole period of time. I couldn’t believe how many small boats there were.

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Cruising again

I left Auckland – New Zealand on February the 11th on a voyage across 10 seas, 6 time zones, stopping at 8 ports of call over 26 days and sailing approximately 7376 nautical miles ending up in Hong Kong.

The ship: P & O’s – Aurora.

The average age of life Onboard the ship: probably 60.

The amount of passengers Onboard: 1800 (approx)

Launched in the year 2000 this world cruise is Auroras 15th year of cruising itself. At the end of this year it goes into dry dock for a whole new refurb. In fact the whole P&O fleet will be having a whole new look.

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The end of America trip

So I’ve been meaning to finish off writing about my time in America on here for quite sometime!

 

After Los Angeles I made my way back to New York, via Chicago. Back in New York I had one night before getting on the ship back to the UK. This time without mum was a very different experience. I had my own room with balcony (I got upgraded!) and I was sat at dinner time on a table of six. A gentleman called Steve from Texas, an older widowed lady from Florida. A young lad called Christian from Switzerland who had been working on a ranch in south Dakota for 13 months and a mother and daughter from Louisiana. Dinner time held some interesting conversations. A lot about American politics. There were opposing views on a lot of ideas and government policies. Most if which I knew not a lot about. But it was interesting never the less. 

 

In the evenings after dinner we accompanied each other to shows, to the casino etc and during the day I spent most my time reflecting on my incredible trip and also walking around the ship and reading. 

The crossing was incredibly smooth, and again, like before I felt like I wasn’t even on a ship. I kept having to remind myself I was by disappearing out on deck!! 

 

My trip to America was really rather incredible. To have travelled in a circle all the way around the states and get back to the UK without stepping foot onto a plane was pretty remarkable. Most people think I’m bonkers. Especially when I told them upon my return to the UK. 

 

I particularly loved the fact I didn’t get on a plane. Getting to see all the various terrains and cities and environments of the states. From hot to hotter and then to cooler. I do love that country. Seeing close friends and family is obviously a highlight as seeing each other again will always be perhaps years ahead of time.

 

I was there for 2 and a half months. This time whizzed by. Particularly when I arrived home it felt like no time at all. When I go to Borneo it’s for 13 weeks. I’m pretty sure once I’m in the swing of things there it will all go rather fast! 

 

Top places I think people should go to in the states that I visited: 

 

Seattle ( particularly the Olympic peninsula)

Boston- tea party tour

Chicago – go to the old town fair or blues festival 

Niagara Falls – only need to go once, and regardless off the commercial side of it it’s still spectacular.

San Francisco- walk or cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge

Rhode Island – anywhere coastal, has a beautiful maritime feel to it.

 

There we go!! Those were my fave things. Other than that I loved doing America by train. You get to meet some really weird and wonderful people. The views, particularly on the west coast are spectacular to witness. And like I have now mentioned probably too much; you really feel like you have journeyed to get to where you are going and in a way it makes you appreciate distance and time a lot more. And bizarrely feels more like getting back to basics. Back to older times in history where planes did not exist. It helps you to understand and appreciate the evolution of humanity so much better and in particular the evolution of transport. 7 days on a ship back to the UK as opposed to 7 hours by flight. Back over 100 years ago it took a ship 27 days!! The difference is phenomenal. 

 

Anyways back in England now for 4 weeks before leaving on my next adventure to Borneo. Plenty of fundraising and work and prep to do before I leave. I will keep you posted on my antics at home before continuing this blog in Borneo 🙂