Thursday, May 08, 2008

Star Cruise Aquarius - Part 1

Went on a 5D4N Star Cruise :) Very enjoyable experience, much better than my original expectation of merely looking at sea and having short island trips. Boarded the ship on Sunday before noon. Shortly after boarding, there was an emergency drill, where all passengers have to take a life-vest and assembled at a destined area. Comical experience, but good that everyone knows where to go during emergencies.

I took a pic of the sea during a ship tour (after the drill), and here's a pic. The spotlights on the ship are quite string, and hence there are some 'stars' in the pic.

There are quite a lot of things to do onboard, including casino (no I didn't play at the tables) and cruise organised games. There are also sections for children. We also watched a show about Zheng Ho (not much historical stuff) that include Brazilian dancers wearing traditional chinese costumes (looked quite weird) and interesting chinese acrobats. Interestingly, this few days there are also documentaries on National Geographic channel about Zheng Ho. After the dinner and the live show, we continued the tour of the ship on our own. Saw this GPS map at the reception. Guess it's interesting to know where exactly is the ship.

The fun part began in Day 2, when we visited the Penang Island. Among the different options, the two of us opted for the round island tour. Guess it's supposed to be a leisure trip so we didn't get too adventurous. We visited a snake temple. It's supposed to be the Azure Cloud Temple, but seems like snakes are the main attraction. The snakes are poisonous. We took pictures with the non-poisonous python, and (de-fanged I hoped) vipers.

These are the snakes we took pics with (below).

Along the way, we also visited a traditional Malay house on stilts. The residents were making satay while we were there.

Then we visited some fruit stalls. They were selling a variety of fruits, including the nutmeg which Penang is quite famous for. There were also some cocoa tree nearby (orange arrow pointing to the fruit). Perhaps the fruit stall owner got visited by monkeys, and that's why he caught (and kept) this monkey. Quite sad actually.

After the fruit stalls, we visited a demo workshop on how batik is made. Hmm seems more like a place for tourist money. After the batik workshop, we went back to the ship. Got to wait for quite a while as we were being ferried to the ship. Had dinner on board around 8plus pm before signing up for the next day event at Phuket. All in all didn't really get to spend much at Penang (approx RM$50).

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