End of part 2 – now to part 3on December 1st, 2012
26.27th This was an overnight inDubai. The sail in was quite spectacular as the sun rose behind the city as the famous towers and spikes were highlighted through the haze and smog. The sun glinting off the glass of the tower and it’s surrounding buildings that it dwarves, but it remains a tinsel town in our eyes. Fantastic to look at, built on the revenues of oil with nothing but a limited culture of goats and camels to back it up. Only 17% of the population are ‘local’ the rest being the imported work-force necessary to keep the place going. But this urban magnificence is what it is, like it or not, and it reflects the other times in history when cultures have been able to express their wealth and power through the creation of structures almost irrelevant to their day to day lives.Dubai, is a place to look at, and we took the shuttle into town for a 20 minute foray into the biggest Mall in the world(?), to visit Waitrose for some blackcurrant cordial to go with our rum! How sad is that?
28/29th Both sea days as we left the ‘Gulf’ and headed for Mumbai. This meant lectures and card classes, dinner with guests, an Officer’s Trivia challenge (yes, I was an officer for the day!), and a brief couple of songs at the dinner party of the ‘grand-passage’ guests….The sun shone on us all, and the booze and food flowed as it can here on this lovely ship. Dinner with a lovely lady called Guna, was one of the highlights and having the two ‘Diva’s’ on board, Sinead and Agata, gave us some entertainment….as they did with their singing. Sinead is a good friend, having met her in the Amazon, and Agata is a frequentOceania performer….
30th And so are in Mumbai…the usual process of visa checking complete, we went to the Elephanta Island, complete with its wonderful carving of the great god Shiwa and his family. A boat trip a rickety train ride and a climb up 120 steps through the ubiquitous souvenir stalls and a tour of the caves and niches where these great statues had been created well before the year 0!
The atmosphere of this city is as impressive as the first time we came here. The words hustle and bustle do it no justice. This is a human ant-hill, with the semblance of a modicum of order (some drivers observe the red lights!), but it has a vibrancy of colour and real humanity that is a somewhat exciting…more than frightening!
1st December, and we begin the final leg of this 3 part cruise – Mumbai to Singapore.