Monday, December 19, 2011

Micronesia - Chuuk

OK, we didn't really visit Chuuk, but we stopped here twice (getting to and from Pohnpei) so I thought I would include a couple of photos.

The plane does the all stops route a couple of times a week. 
Guam - Chuuk - Pohnpei - Kosrae - Majuro - Hawaii

The view from the plane.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Micronesia - Pohnpei

Where does the time go? - Only a week until Christmas.  We have our tree up and decorated, and for the first time we have put fairy lights outside.  If you celebrate Christmas, how are your preparations going? 

It feels so long ago now, but here is the next instalment of our holiday photos...

One of my readers has kindly pointed out that there is indeed a Lonely Planet guide to Micronesia.  Strangely, two of our local book shops have an official list of available Lonely Planet guides and neither listed the Micronesia book.  It is an older publication (2000), but I'm sure would give any potential visitors some good ideas (and in the meantime, the photos here might get you dreaming!).

We stayed at The Village

The Village restaurant (wait for the view...!)

The view from The Village restaurant - the view we saw every morning while eating breakfast.

Our bungalow.

Only half walls!  But it was lovely and even during the stormy nights we were safe and dry.  The windows all have fly screens and the mosquito nets are put down at night.  We loved all the geckos who shared the bungalow with us.

The view from our room.

A room in the jungle.

A couple of parrots we saw from our room.

The path from the bungalows to the (very!) little beach.

A black tipped reef shark that we saw from the beach.

There were lots of beautiful flowers.

The path to one of the island's waterfalls.

The old Spanish Wall, it is now part of the local baseball field.

Fabulous metallic lizard.
German bell tower. 

I've been doing a lot of sewing and gardening lately, which I will post about soon! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Part 3 - Federated States of Micronesia

We loved the FSM, the people, the scenery, the history, we loved everything!  (Well, I complained a bit about the humidity...!).  We loved it so much there are lots of photos!  So I'm going to break the FSM post into several posts.  Here is the first - the mysterious ruins of Nan Madol...

I first heard of Nan Madol a couple of years ago and it sounded really intriguing.  Considered by some as the Venice of the Pacific, Nan Madol is a ruined city on the island of Pohnpei.  At its peak around the 12th-15th centuries Nan Madol was built on a series of islands that are connected by canals.  Each island is believed to have had its own specific purpose (eg religious, food store, etc). 

We arrived at Nan Madol by boat and walked around some of the ruins, then we kayaked through the old canals to view more.

I know how hard it is to find out anything about the FSM (there's no Lonely Planet guide to the FSM!), so if anyone would like to know anything about visiting there, please leave me your question and I will try to help.  And stay tuned - there will be more FSM posts soon!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday Part 2 - The USA

I can hardly believe we've been back from holiday for 2.5 weeks already, where has the time gone?!  It is taking me longer to post our holiday adventures than I thought - we've had a couple of personal things happen, as well as trying to catch up on our garden that went WHOOSH! in the spring rains that came while we were away (our tomato plants grew about 40cm in the three weeks we were away!).

But here it is, country 2 - the USA, specifically Guam.  We weren't expecting much from Guam, and really only stopped there on our way to the rest of our holiday, but it turned out to be quite interesting.  There is a lot packed into a small space with Chamorro, Spanish, Japanese and American stories merged into a modern island.  Lots of people from Asia, especially Japan, go to Guam for short break holidays (mostly to go shopping in the many boutiques).

The view looking down from Two Lovers Point.

View of a forested part of the island.

Fort Nuestra De La Soledad - a Spanish fort from 1810

View from one of the guard towers at the fort.

Japanese sniper cave from World War 2.

Latte Stones - thought to be used as building supports by the Chamorro people.

Apparently this is the world's largest K-Mart.  It is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.  That's a lot of shopping time!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A holiday in four parts. Part One - Manila

My husband and I used Manila, Philippines, as the stopover city for our recent holiday.  We were only there for one night on our way to our main destination, but then we went back for another four nights on our way home. 

Before we went on holiday I asked around my friends and work mates for recommendations of things my husband and I could do while we were in Manila - but no-one had ever been there.  The Philippines is only a 9 hour flight from Sydney, but we don't hear much about it so we weren't sure what to expect.  But we loved it! 

It has a rich history, interesting sights and wonderfully friendly people.  Based on the number and size of the shopping centres we saw, shopping appears to be a major past time for many Filipinos.  But there is a big disparity between the poor and middle class and wealthy, which is sadly too common in many places. 

The reception lobby of the Manila Hotel (amazing chandeliers).  USA General Douglas MacArthur lived here from 1935 to 1941.  We stayed here for one night.

WOW!  Fantastical Christmas light show in the Makati district.  It is set to music and is much loved by children and adults alike!

The two main streets in the Makati business district used to be the airport runways.  This building was the air traffic control room and used to be the tallest building in Makati - now it is probably the smallest!

The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial - contains the largest number of graves of USA military dead from World War Two and is also the largest USA war cemetery outside of the USA.

Intramuros - part of the Spanish history of Manila.  Jose Rizal, a national hero in the Philippines, was held here before his execution by the Spanish.

A street scene in Manila.

Some of the treasures in the National Museum.

If you have the opportunity to visit Manila, don't hesitate.  We really enjoyed our stopovers here.  Wear some comfortable shoes for the endless shopping malls and be prepared for the heat and humidity when you step outside!