Soon to head to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos
It doesn't seem easy for us to create blog entries when we are stationary…but….finally, we have something to report so that spurs me to hit the keyboard.
First of all, we fly to Penang, Malaysia on Tuesday, Oct 22nd and will spend 4 nights exploring Georgetown and other parts of Penang. We really enjoyed our time on that Malaysian Island when we sailed up from Singapore last December and we had planned/wanted to return for some more "tourist time". Penang also offers excellent medical facilities and some of the hospitals actually cater to the developing phenomenom of medical vacations….fly somewhere away from your home country to have surgeries or other treatments performed….part of the whole baby boomer aging reality. Well, we are booked for Golden Age Wellness Check-ups there next Wednesday at Loh Guan Lye Hospital; their program includes a very comprehensive series of tests and consultations as well as handling of minor procedures if necessary at the same time. We will have the next couple of days to be tourists and then fly back to home base here at Langkawi late on Saturday afternoon for about 3 days before heading off on our next major adventure.
We have been busy planning our next land excursion. It was a toss up as to whether we would now go back to China for a 2nd time….OR…venture into new countries. As we explored both possibilities in parrallel, we ended up agreeing to make the latter the basis for this trip…..and so we are off at the end of the month to Myanmar, followed by a few days in Northern Thailand and then finishing up in Laos. It was a very complex planning effort for Cheryl and me; we did all of the research/background work and the selection/booking of hotels and flights on our own. Below you will see our itinerary - now fully booked/paid complete with necessary travel visas as required. We had to have an agent arrange the Visas to Myanmar while we found a way to manage "Visa on Arrival" for Laos. Thailand entries (and there are a couple) are handled by automatic 30 day tourist visas as we land at Bangkok each time……and we always get another 90 day tourist visa each time we enter Malaysia, which is great!
You may have heard of some recent negative news at our destinations; we are trusting that all will go well for us …we will be extra vigilant in Myanmar. There have been a few "homemade" bombs/devices set off in Myanmar recently ….the last being today. And then yesterday, a Lao Air flight crashed enroute from Vientiane to another city…bad gust of window reportedly hit the aircraft as it was about to land and it was thrown into the Mekong River with quite a number of fatalities…..they say "lightning doesn't strike twice" so we will expect our Lao Air flights to be just fine (although in our cruising community, that saying proves to be a falsehood of a statement given the reality we know of wherein a number of friends have had more than one damaging lightning strike in the last couple of years).
We are very much enjoying our home base (thanks in a large part to good air-conditioning running all the time on Sea Mist)…particularly the gorgeous swimming pool here at Rebak Island Resort. SInce our arrival back "home" from Canada on Sept 6th, the weeks have just flown by. There is always a lot to do with the boat as well as our enjoyment of pure relaxation.
Today we did a quick haulout of Sea Mist to check out the bottom condition in planning/preparation for the main haulout mid-December to do the anti-foul painting and other underwater maintenance. I was very pleased today to see the condition of the anti-fouling that was applied in April of 2011 at Norsand Boatyard in Whangarei, NZ…..2 and 1/2 years later and all is good!!!….but I do need to to now thoroughly clean up and repaint that submerged area of Sea Mist. Hopefully we will be able to limit the time on the hardstand to a week….as long as the weather cooperates and I have all required materials in hand before the haulout scheduled for Dec 14.
That's it for now. Cheers from the crew of Sea Mist