Day 49, June 28: Singapore to Siem Reap, Cambodia (720 NM)

Another flight day, up early…bags ready and off to the airport. 3 hours flight time today.

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Another over water leg today…heading 358 degrees.
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Muddy looking river…with little villages along side.
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Holding pattern X 3 for traffic management in Cambodia.
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Finally after an extra 25 minutes, we are on short final.
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Rice fields..

The holding was necessary because of ground work (closed taxiway & section of apron).  Airplanes landing needed a long taxi to position and take-off traffic required a long back taxi on the runway to take-off.  The four Air Journey planes were part of stack up…..and only one runway.

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Cleared for the approach! We were # 4….

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Day 48, June 27: Touring Singapore

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One day tour for the highlights of Singapore: tour guide transported us to the largest display of orchards in the world! Then an hour floating boat tour.

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Singapore Marina Bay water front offered a unique view of the city.  We boarded the Bumboat (battery operated) which decreases polution of motor boats on the Singapore river. In 2008 the government created a new method of providing drinking water: a “Marina Barrage” to hold the conservation of recycled rainwater.  Currently, Singapore has a water supply agreement with Malaysia which ends 2060. Fresh water is a valued and limited commodity which drives the government research for plausable solutions.

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Esplanade—interesting armadillo-like structure—huge concert hall for the arts.
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Singapore’s national icon, the mythical Merlion with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. This is miniature, the large stature is closed off for cleaning.
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Fish trading buildings reflective of older times of fishing village.
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Marina Hotel building—with boat shaped top section.
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Not a UFO….rather, this modern structure court building.
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Singapore Flyer, 165 meters high (answer to the London Eye).

Singapore Flyer: each capsule holds 28 people with full capacity of 784 total. A full circuit is completed in 32 minutes and gives amazing views of the city.

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Victorian Library
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Each bridge over the Singapore river has a history…the Cavanagh Bridge (only suspension) bridge opened 1870. It was build in crates in Glasgow, Scotland and reassembled by convicts in Singapore. It is a national monument and now open only to pedestrians.


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IMG_2243Our Buddhist Temple visit in China Town…was most colorful and a peaceful conclusion of touring on this very hot and humid day.

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Day 47, June 26: Bali to Singapore (920 NM)

Much of our flight took us over water…the Java Sea.  Flying over the equator…we attempted to photograph it on the middle portion of the display…almost!!  We did get the South indication….then the North.

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Busy bay with boating activity.
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More volcano tops seen above the clouds.

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High  cranes to left of our approach…

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Tall cranes on the Malaysain side of the waterway.
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Johor Strait divides the Malaysia side…from Singapore.
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Atrium in the Raffles Hotel..
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Raffels Hotel, Singapore
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BEST steak all trip!
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Unusual floral arrangement in lobby of Raffles….warm greetings.

Day 45, June 24: Trekking in Bali

Early rise, breakfast and off for a 5K trekking experience. This was a very beautiful trek which involved several hills, rice fields and a rocket-river bed. We visited an isolated and “time forgotten” village,  the village of Tengarian where we had the opportunity to bargain for exquisite basketry and prized Geringing ikat cloth.

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School is on holiday until late July. Boys on their way to fly their home -made kites.
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Initial crossing bridge over rocky stream.
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Family and workers stopping for lunch after a morning of rice planting.
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Simple method: man pokes holes for planting corn.
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Our trail took us past homes with little store fronts to sale their hand made creations.
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One most diversified farmer: PIGS! Water buffulo, chickens, and crowing roosters.
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A Hindu temple….seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It is used once a year. Other Hindu prayers are routinely said before their three house shrines.
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Distant view of ocean.
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Bamboo is used in building….scaffolding is all tied bamboo.

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Painted mask, anyone?
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Blooming cactus? Nop, someone is drying drained egg shells and will paint them!
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We wonder which Cock will be fighting next??!!
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Content grazing in the village.
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Banyon tree

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After the trek we were ready for lunch and resting near the beach side pool…

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Day 44, June 23: Borobudur Indonesia to Bali, Indonesia (300 NM)

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When arriving at Amanjiwa we could faintly see the Borobudur Temple through the opening window. Too hazy to see on this photo.
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View of Borobudur Temple from our patio.
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Manager chatting with Captain Tom.

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Saying goodbye to this peaceful place, one recognizes how the building designer (Edward Tuttle, California) incorporated Borobudur Temple aspects to be reflected in the resort structure.

Travel Day: Yogyakarta airport to Bali, Indonesia 1 hr. 20 minutes.  Crossing the equator…moving south….when it is less humid and a little cooler (winter). Photo just before (N) and just after (S) crossing equator.

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A short flight brought us to Bali and a long transfer 1 hour + to our hotel the Amankila, a magical Oasis.  Amankila (which means peaceful hill) opened in 1992 set on a cliffside overlooking the Lombok Strait in East Bali. Below the resort is its private stretch of sand and beach club. The sand is black (volcanic) sand.

Day 43, June 22 Sunrise at Borobudur Temple

0415 wake-up call to transfer to the world’s largest Buddhist Temple: Borobudur.  Awaiting sunrise, taking photos of the multiple reliefs which tell the story of Buddhist philosophy and principles, and the amazing engineering of this 9th century temple. This is considered one of the world’s seven wonders! The Temple was built during the 9th century during the reign of Sailendra Dynasty. This is a monument (not a temple you go inside). 504 Buddha statues are part of the Temple. A shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. This is Indonesia’s single most tourist attraction.

Evidence suggests that Borobudur was abandoned following the 14th-century decline of Hindu kingdoms in Java and the Javanese conversion to Islam.

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The central dome is surrounded by 72 “stupa” (bell shaped forms) each contain a statue of Buda inside.
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Sets of 4 relief panels tell a story. 2,672 panels.

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Two amazing facts: This Buddhist Monument/Temple was overgrown with vegetation significantly damaged with sunken portions when re-discovered.  Sir Thomas Raffles 1814 — first sparked world wild knowledge of its existence. It took years to discover and reconstruct this Temple…no blue prints were available– a huge puzzle to put together.  The largest restoration was done between 1975 -1982.

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People come to pray here….

Second amazing fact: Diann made it up the 99 steps!  The beginning step is taller in each section (one must work harder in beginning of controlling desires) — gradually the step is less steep.

Day 42, June 2: Fly Langkawi, Malysia to Kuala Lampur (225 NM) ; Kuala Lampur to Yogyakarta, Indonesia (Borobudur Temple) (895 NM)

With head winds and over water route to Bali — we opted for a technical, fuel stop in           Kuala Lumpur, capital of Maylasia.  First leg: Langkawi to Kaula Lumpur 225 NM

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First leg: Langkawi to Kaula Lumpur 225 NM — one hour.

IMG_1880 IMG_1887      Many building projects seen as we made our approach …looked for, but missed seeing the second tallest building in the world:  the Petronas Twin Towers (1483 feet).  (We did see the highest in the Burj Khalifa in Dubai…earlier on the journey.)

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We had to “hold” on taxiway for both a 152 and a 172 to taxi!
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Good final approach.

Second leg: Yogyakarta, Indonesia  895 NM  3 hr. 48 minutes.

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Smoke from top of volcano
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Tracking route up.
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? Puff the Magic dragon?
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Multiple volcanos.
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Tug boat cloud?

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Military/security attention for checking into Indonesia.

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One + hour tranfer to hotel Amanjiwo (Peaceful Soul).  Greeted by two young girls sprinkling rose petals in our path we were amazed at the beauty of this place. IMG_1914

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Entrance into villa.
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Separation wall between terraced sections — 36 units/villas at Amanjiwo
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How quickly Tom positioned the Arnolds on bed! Crazy?
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Our own little patio and pool. So very relaxing!

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Days 40 & 41, June 19 & 20: Beach villa in Langkawi and the Mangrove Safari

June 19, day’s plan: total relaxation.  No re-packing, no flight briefing, no scheduled event–it was great to linger our wonderful villa hearing the birds, roosters, monkeys and variety of animals.  Our long beach walk was exhilarating and we started lunch with our new favorite refreshing drink: cold coconut milk right from the nut itself!

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Rustic wooden ceiling was easy to stare at and imagine we were in some type of barn….
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To the right is a small portion of the white flowing draperies … the mirrored wall extended the large room further.
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Restaurants are down at the end of the beach…
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Cart paths (miles ?) were walled with natural stones.
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Lotus pond…provides a zen-like space for 0730 Yoga class. Did not make these early sessions! Mostly think of our Caddy Shack fans — “a pond is good for you” (Carl Spackler)
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Naturally semi-polished stones…from sea and/or river beds.

Next destination/relaxation — the adult infinity pool (55 meters long), complete with tasty “adult” beverages.

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Day 41…June 20th we were awakened by a blowing stormy rain. Our 0900 Mangrove boat tour delayed!

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Finally, quieter skies and calmer seas allowed us to launch about 3 pm to the Kilim Geoforest Park.

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Amazing mangroves with their adaptation to the salt water sea setting…actually excreting the salt through the top portion of leaves….the film protects the plant….and we are grateful for the oozing of solution which creates an amazing hazy “goop” on surface of water (no mosquito is able to break through surface tension to lay eggs).  No need for bug spray on our 2.5 hour discovery cruise!

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Low tide exposes dark part of tree which is actually root system….goes deep down to the muck/soil below.
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Cave we were able to peak into…if very low tide & low boat one could cruise through to other opening.

Did I mention the monkeys?  The snake.  Kite eagles and brown eagles….

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Need to have a keen eye to see snake on branch!

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IMG_1784Last evening walk to dinner…..a large group of wild monkeys climg up tree next to walkway. IMG_0691 IMG_0695 IMG_0697

Day 35, June 14: Flight Agra, India to Kolkata, India (630 NM) and Flight Kolkata, India to Chiang Mai, Thailand (635 NM)

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Most gracious staff, time to say good bye.
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Our drivers…tranfer to airport.

0730 morning pick up and transfer to the Agra airport took us through the city streets with less hectic traffic but busy industrious Indian people with trading in the streets.

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Agra Airport serves as the Indian Airforce Training Base and appropriately requires a security check in for our driver. We noticed the armed guard on duty.

The Baumann’s TBM N850TD was airbourne at 0851 anticipating ATC challenges as we had on our arrival. It was a relief to experience a smooth transition with ATC. One variation which is important: you must report back to Agra departure confirming that you have made contact with Dehli control. To omit this would leave our commrades grounded, not released to depart.  This is an example of kind of details important for each pilot to know and comply which are part of the pre-flight briefing the evening before each flight. Two hours and 20 minutes over India to Kolkata.

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First let to Kolkata. Course up (traveling east)
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Interesting cloud formations.

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Second leg: Flight over Bangladesh we talked with Daaka Control (VERY challenging to understand)….where we think the spoke into a tin can! There was a true IFR meterological flight with rain and clouds.  We flew over the Bay of Bengal and experienced major deviations around storm cloud build ups.  The lush green fields along the lower mountainous terrain was a welcoming sight as we approached (right on the glide-slope) for a challenging cross-wind landing.

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Golf course — left of final approach.
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Control Tower — Chiang Mai
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Perfectly on the glide slope.