Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Touristing in Macau

Yesterday was the first day we've really spent as tourists. We blundered about quite a bit but had a good day visiting a couple of museums and a temple.

Macau was developed by the Portuguese as its base for China trade. Its status is now similar to Hong Kong as being part of China but fairly autonomous ("One Country - Two Systems").

We found it a confusing town to navigate through and became confused often as to where we were and what direction in which to travel to get to our desired destination. Most streets are narrow and winding. There are several steep hills and bodies of water surrounding the city. These prevent the streets from having a grid like structure. The sky didn't give us any clues either as it was a uniform gray from a combination of clouds, mist and pollution.

The streets are well signed but the languages used are Chinese and Portuguese. At least we could recognize the names in Portuguese.

We weren't able to have dinner last night in the teaching restaurant because they were hosting a special event (a sold out $160/person wine tasting dinner). We ended up going to a restaurant that probably doesn't get a lot of non-locals. We ordered what I will call the foreigner special ("I'll have what they are having") by using the phrase book that Marcia bought before we left.

We hope to do a little more touristing before catching our 6:30 PM flight to Clark Field in the Philippines but unfortunately it is raining right now. To save on weight on this jaunt, we stashed our rain jackets in the bag we left back in Doumen.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Miscellaneous Musings

Currently, we are in Macau staying at the Pousada de Mong-Ha, a hotel run by the tourism ministry as a teaching establishment for students training in the hospitality industry. It is small (20+ rooms) and quite lovely. It books up quickly and I understand why. Totally charming.

I thought I'd post some of my musings on miscellaneous topics so far.

Weather - The weather has been generally warm, low to mid 80's. The humidity is probably 50% to 70% so it isn't unbearable. A cool front has moved in and it is in the 70's. However, it has showered as well so the humidity is higher. Fortunately, all of our hotels have been air conditioned so no problem sleeping at night.

Food - We only ate one meal, breakfast, in Hong Kong and that was at the hotel buffet so no comments on HK. In Doumen, we've been pretty tame in what we've done because english is not commonly spoken by the wait staff. We've been having a breakfast buffet at the hotel (a traditional style Chinese) and been eating noodles, vegetable greens and steamed bread items (e.g., hum bow's). Lunch we eat at the boat yard and it is quite good. For dinner, got KFC (yes, the Colonel is here) to go twice and ate in a westernized restaurant once.

The best meal so far was dinner at the teaching restaurant associated with the hotel. It was excellent and the service outstanding (assuming you aren't intimidated at 4 or 5 students watching another student refill your water glass). We'll have dinner here again tonight.

Pollution - Really bad. The sky is perpetually gray. When you rinse your clothing out at the end of the day, the water is dingy.

Hotel Accommodations - The one hotel night in HK was your typical big city business style hotel. Its price was Western as well at about $150/night and that was a good value. The Doumen hotel was perfectly acceptable and even had an Internet connection in the room. It was also inexpensive at about $20/night. As mentioned at the beginning, where we are now is extremely pleasant.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Change in Plans

After spending the last few days at the boat yard, we decided that rather than going on a tour to Yunnan province after returning from the Philippines, that we will instead come back to the boat yard. We want to make sure we are able to get everything accomplished on this trip related to the boat construction that we can.

Today (10/30) we go to Macau. Two nights here with some touristing of local sites.

On Thursday we will head to the Philippines to meet the folks who have their boats moored in Subic Bay. At the boat yard, we met Andrew Chan whose boat is being finished at Seahorse. He is also going to the Philippines on the same flight as we are to visit the other folks. It sounds like we may do a short cruise.

We return to Macau on November 5 and will head back here to spend the necessary time working boat issues. We may try to squeeze a short trip (2-4 days) in while we are based here if we get our "work" done.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Few Photos


This is a morning view of the cityscape of Hong Kong from our hotel room on the Kowloon Peninsula.



Next year's Olympics in Beijing are big everywhere.




Here is Marcia entering the salon on our boat. The interior is still a little "rough."



This is another of the sedans being built and in the jig next to ours. We are pretty much at the same state as this boat.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Day at the Yard

We arrived yesterday (10/26) afternoon in Doumen. That involves taking a 1-1/4 hour ferry ride across the nearly 40 mile mouth of the Pearl River to Zhuhai followed by an hour long taxi ride from to Doumen.

Marcia visited Seahorse Marine last year prior to our ordering the boat. She did the trip under the wings of Ruth and Randall, a retired couple from Virginia, who were there to monitor the final stages of their new boat. This year, Marcia retraced those steps flawlessly.

We visited the yard after we settled in at the hotel, then went out to dinner with Bill & Stella Kimley, Seahorse owners, several others of the key Seahorse people we'll be working with and Don McIntyre, another Seahorse customer (Diesel Duck - "Ice").

Today, we did a tour of the different shops at the boatyard (new to Kurt since he wasn't here last year), visited our boat (pictures to follow), toured Don's boat and spent a couple hours working with the Seahorse designers over the current layout for the Duck sedans (Our boat).

After walking back to our hotel (about 15-20 minutes), we got takeout from the local KFC. It was packed, mostly with families.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hong Kong, a L-O-O-O-N-N-N-G Flight

We made it to Hong Kong find but it sure is a long flight from San Franciso. Time in the air was 14 hours. It may be better to split it up more evenly like transferring in Narita. There are no non-stops from Seattle to HK so its a matter of picking your transfer point.

Today is running around HK running errands (cell phone, tour arrangements), then we catch a ferry to Zhuhai this afternoon. Hopefully dinner with Bill & Stella Kimley who own Seahorse Marine.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

China Visit - Schedule

We leave on Wednesday, October 24 for 3-1/2 weeks in Asia. The primary purpose is to visit Seahorse Marine, the boatyard where our new boat is being built. Below is the current schedule for the trip.

Wednesday, 10/24 Depart on Alaska Airlines 236 to San Francisco. Connect on Cathay Pacific CX879 to Hong Kong
Thursday, 10/25 Arrive Hong Kong
Friday, 10/26 Travel to boatyard in Doumen, Zhuhai
10/26-29 Visit Seahorse Marine
Tuesday, 10/30 Travel from Doumen to Macau
10/30-11/1 Touristing in Macau
Thursday, 11/1 Fly on Tiger Airways from Macau to Clark Field in the Philippines
11/1-5 Visit with friends at Subic Bay who have boats built by Seahorse Marine
Monday, 11/5 Return to Macau
11/6-13 Tour in Yunnan Province
11/14-15 Visit Seahorse Marine
Friday, 11/16 Depart from Hong Kong on CX872 to San Francisco. Connect on AS333 to Seattle. Scheduled arrival of 8:43 PM

We hope to be able to make periodic postings to this blog site when Internet connectivity is available.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Catching Up

In anticipation of doing some posts when we visit China next week, I finally got around to catching up on our trip to Europe in July.

Rather than really confusing things by posting 3 month old events with today's date, I back-dated them with appropriate dates. The bad thing about doing it that way is that the entries are buried a little deeper in this reverse chronological style that blogging forces you into.

I did categorize them as "Europe 2007" so selecting that category (Europe 2007) should show only those entries.