Day 66, July 15: Hiroshima Tour

Tom, Jaysen, and Warren took Bullet train 1 hr. 45 min. (230 miles) to view Hiroshima.

Central Dome
Hiroshima Prefectural Industrual Promotional Hall–One surviver in basement. The dome was 160 meters from hypocenter of the atomic blast. Temperatures reached 4,000 degrees C and everyone inside the building was killed instantly.
History of Aioi Bridge.
From the Hiroshima Castle…a Samauri Warrior
Tom taking a moment for his prayer for peace.
Paddle boarding on the Motoyasu-gawa River
View of Dome from Hiroshima Memorial Museum
“Memorial Momument for Hiroshima City”
Hiromi Kurihama (most excellent tour guide) with Warren.
Burial mound for unknown victims
Red circle represents the atomic bomb detonating 1,800 feet over city.
Kimono pattern burned into victim’s body.
Human shadow etched in stone.
Victim with burns over whole body.
Let there be PEACE.

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Day 65, July 14: Tour Kyoto’s Temples; Geisha girls with a traditional Japanese dinner.

The Arnolds love Kyoto.

Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion)/ Rokuon-ji Temple, Ryoanji Temple (Zen rock garden), Arashiyama district, and Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Golden Pavilion: Kinkaku is a shariden, a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha. Rokuon-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple, in the Shokokuji School of the Rinzai Sect.  The area was originally the site of a villa called Kitayama-dai and owned by a statesman, Saionji Kinttsune Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 3rd shotgun of the Muromachi period.

After Yoshimitsu died, in keeping with his will, the villa was converted into a temple by the priest Muso-kokushi, who became the first abbot.  The gardens and buildings, certered on the Golden Pavilion, were said to represent the Pure Land of Buddha in this world.

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Gold foil on lacquer covers the upper two levels of Kinkaku, a shining phoenix stands on top of the shingled roof.


Photo proof…we were there at the Golden Temple
Heron cooling itself across the pond.


Part of our group…
Temple…incense and worshop Buddha.
Large lily ponds.
Tom’s “prayer” followed with ringing the bell twice.
Long stairway to upper level of grounds–wonderful shade on a very hot day!

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Ryoanji Temple: highlights include: the large main building of the temple, Kyoyochi Pond and the simple Rock Garden.  The Rock Garden is a simple and remarkable garden measuring only twenty-five meters from east to west and ten meters south to north. The rectangular Aen garden is completely diferent from the gorgeous gardens of court nobles constructed in the Middle Ages. No trees are to be seen; only fifteen rocks and white gravel are used in the garden.

This internationally famous rock garden was said to be created at the end of the Muromachi Period (around 1500), by a highly respected Zen monk, Tokuho Zenketsu.

View of Temple grounds.
The Rock Garden


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Lunch stop…very good!
Lunch at a small local restaurant. First time removal of shoes was no option. Rack your shoes, sit , order and eat!

Afternoon tour of Arashiyama district with amazing bamboo trees.

Tom, Warren, Georgia & friends!

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Fushimi Inari Shrine: the shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto. This shrine sits at the base of a mountain names Inari which is 233 meters above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometers and takes approximately 2 hours to walk up.  (We did not go to the top.)

Inari is seen as the patron of business, merchants and manutacturers. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha is donated by a Japanese business.  First, and foremost, Inari is the god of rice. This popular shrine is said to have as many as 32,000 sub-shrines (bunsha) throughout Japan.

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Multiple red-orange frame-archways the long path toward the top.
The many torii donated by diffeerent business men.
Camie and Alex are always ready to smile.

Our evening at the Mishimatei Honten was a special Japanese meal enjoying the company of lovely Geisha girls’ music, dance and game. Removing our shoes at the entrance as routine.

Our Air Journey travelers with Geisha girls.
Dinner bibs on: Diann and Orlie with our geisha.

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Day 64, July 13: Taipei, Taiwan to Nagoya, Japan (1050 NM). Transfer via Bullet train (90 NM) to Kyoto

On our flight at 31,000 ft. we encountered some serious cloud build-ups (we were tracking between two dissipating typhoons). Diverting around build-ups is part of the “game”.

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Our flight plan.
The arrival which soon became vector to the approach.
Nagoya’s main airport- (on small island) is not where we landed.


Golf course near Nagoya.
Finding the airfield.

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Our flight crew awaiting the Bullet train.


The Bullet Train travels at 185 miles/hour and was wonderful way to reach our tranquil zen-like hotel. The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto sits serenely on the banks of the Kamogawa River and offers expansive views of the famous Higashiyama Sanju-Roppo (36 mountain range).   Our room has a great view of the Komogawa River.

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Our first authentic Japanese dinner was in the hotel’s Muziki restaurant transitioning us to Japanese cuisine.

Day 63, July 12: Flight from Macau to Taipei, Taiwan (510 NM); Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

After late-afternoon arrival in Macau (3 hour 15 minute flight) and one night rest, we started early: wheels up at 0841.

Departure track out of Macau….note red background showing terrain is over water, sea level.
Route to Macau—track up (northeast).


Tom and I selected the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall to witness the impressive 15 minute changing of the guards.  The visit included a museum showing the history of Taiwan.

Huge statue of Chiang Kai-Shek.
Ceiling in room honoring Chiang Kai-Shek.
Huge gardens on grounds of Monument Park

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Day 62, July 11: Fly Dragonair back to Hanoi, Pre-flight our airplanes and fly to Macau. (865 NM)

Our aircraft remained free from any typhoon damage—-as a precautionary measure we left them in Hanoi rather than risk damage in Hong Kong. Actually, despite all warnings and preparations (store closings, sand bags ready) the typhoon ended up a non-event in Hong Kong.  Loved our stay in Hong Kong...we had a great suite and great views at the Peninsula Hotel.

From our corner window: the UBS building. We enjoyed a fun dinner celebrating Georgia and Diann’s birthday–top floor restaurant.

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Sunrising…0530 alarm to start our journey back to Hanoi. View out our window.


The Peninsula Hotel surprise: birthday greetings and cake.

Macau...we had just visited yesterday! One large part of Macau I left unmentioned: it is very much like Las Vegas–casinos, huge hotels and entertainment.

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Today was a very full travel day, an interesting way to spend my birthday.  Up early for commercial flight to Hanoi. Our Hanoi stop ended up being a hassle getting back to our airplanes across on the other side of the airport. Once permission to start up, clearance received, take-off roll progressed we had a very smooth departure procedure.

Military aircraft in rounded hangers.
Departure procedure out of Hanoi.
Farm land landscape of Vietnam.
Flight plan out of Hanoi: route is over Gulf of Tonkin, southeast to Da Nang, left turn northeast to circumnavigate Hainan Island. MUST stay out China’s airspace. (General aviation not allowed.)
Parallel track off-set enroute to Macau. First time use for us—Garmin 1000 made new method easy.
Macau airport environment–created on a peninsula/island and taxiway connect with a bridge-like structure.
Taxiway with water on right and left.
Three “follow-me” cars seem to get the job done!
Hot and tired after a long day!
Another birthday cake for Diann!! Actual date.


Day 61, July 10: Ferry ride to explore Historic Centre of Macau

Cotai Water Jet from Hong Kong to Macau: three hours to see Macau. Michelle and George were excellent tour guides and focused on the Historic Centre of Macau. This Historic Centre is inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2005.

A-Ma Temple: The variety of pavilions dedicated to worship of different deities in a single complex make A-Ma Temple an exemplary representation of Chinese culture inspired by Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and multiple folk beliefs

A-Ma Temple already existed before the city of Macau came into being. It consists of the Gate Pravilion, the Memorial Arch, the Prayer Hall, the Hall of Beneveolence, the Hall of Guanyin, and Zhengjiao Chanlin (a Buddhist pavilion).
St Dominic’s Church founded in 1587 by three Spanish Dominican priests who originally came from Acapulco in Mexico. The first Portuguese newspaper was published here on Chinese soil.
We appreciated the Portugese style tiles throughout the Historic Centre.
Holy House of Mercy. Established by the first Bishop of Macau in 1569. First western-style medical clinic and several other social welfare structures that still function today.
St. Augustine’s Church was established by Spanish Augustinians in 1591.


St. Lawrence’s Church, built by the Jesuits in the mid-16th century, is one of the three oldest churches in Macau. Situated on the southern coastoine of Macau overlooking the sea, families of Portuguese sailors used to gather here on the front steps to pray and wait for their return.

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St. Josehp’s Seminary and Church, established in 1728, was the principle base for the missionary work implemented in China, Japan and around the region.
Senado Square has been Macau’s urban centre for centuries, and is still the most popular venue for public events and celebrations today. The square is surrounded by pastel colored neoclassical buildings.
Our time was limited so we were unable to visit the museum of the Macau Holy House of Mercy. As a former Sister of Mercy—Diann wished there had been more time!
Dom Pedro V Theater, built in 1860 as the first western-style theater in China with a seating capacity of 300..
Moorish Barracks, built in 1874, this neo-classical building was constructed to accommodate an Indian regiment from Goa appointed to reinforce Macau’s police force. Now it serves as headquarters of the Marine and Water Bureau.
Lilau Square: The ground water of Lilau used to be the main source of natural spring water in Macau. The Portuguese popular phrase: “One who drinks from Lilau never forgers Macau” expresses the locals’ nostalgic attachment to Lilau Square.

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Our return to Hong Kong via ferry boat left us with time for George and Michelle’s stop at the tailor’s shop for last fitting and pick up of new suit and the 6:30 dinner at Jimmy’s Kitchen to celebrate Diann’s birthday.  A very full day!!

Dinner at Jimmy’s Kitchen. A celebration with Michelle & Geordy.
Flaming baked Alaska…Yum, yum.


Days 59, Day 60, July 8 & 9: Three Typhoons in South China Sea—Commercial flight from Hanoi to Hong Kong on Dragonair

Getting up early for a commercial flight is very different for this crew….but, all went well and Hong Kong is a totally different city from Hanoi.  Hong Kong is an Asian banking center. Tall buildings…building cranes are everywhere!

July 9: Our tour guide took us to Victoria Peak for an amazing city view.  These photos are a mere sampling….

Space is a premium…even for graveyards.
Overlooking city from Victoria Peak….Hong Kong is hazy today.

Our little boat tour of the fishing village showed how many people live on their boats and make their living fishing. A huge number of boats were moored this afternoon because of the expected typhoon.

Large boats moored in the bay…away from the storm.
Sampan boat — just like the one we rode touring the Hong Kong Bay.
“Fancy” painted boat restaurant in the bay. Our director noted that the back side is not so nice. Clearly a common tourist appeal!
Example of floating village and fishing boat.

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Colorful, delicious Chinese food at the Mask.
Bruce Lee
Jackie Chan
Great fun With Michelle & Geordy.

Time for ethnic lunch at “Mask” and enjoy the waterfront walk noting stars to honor heros.

Day 58, July 7: Last evening (July 6) and leaving Halong Bay for Hanoi, July 7

0600 Tai Chi session on sundeck, coffee and off to the lagoon at Luon Cave on a tradidtional rowing boat.  Rumor has it there might be monkeys in this wild area—but, we did not observe any.  Once back on the main Paradise cruise boat we enjoyed another breakfast and the last hours on this beautiful bay. Soon we returned to Tuan Chau Island, disembarked and were on our way back to Hanoi. Once again we enjoyed seeing the countryside, the little towns and the rice farming.

Rock formations on the ceiling of cove cave.
There were several boat women out to sell their concessions to tourists arriving and leaving the cruise boats.
Rice fields…there were several grave yards tucked in the corners of some of the fields. Very different.
The early morning explorers.
More cave views.

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Once settled back at the Sofitel Metropole we had a 1 1/2 hour pilot briefing reviewing the weather (three hurricanes in the Pacific) and considered options. Conclusion: if and when the  typhoon hits Hong Kong, we prefer to avoid our aircraft run the risk of damage by tropical storm.  Agreed to fly commercial, Dragonair, to Hong Kong in the morning then return to Hanoi for next part of the journey.

Day 57, July 6: Second day of Halong Bay cruise

0600 Tai Chi session with Michelle and George, morning coffee and off to a bamboo rowing boat visit to the Vung Vieng Floating Village with its school, museum, tiny floating houses and the kind villagers.

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Floating village, school and Pearl farm.
Look, a pearl!!
Natural arch…a cool breeze made this a pleasant experience to explore.


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After lunch onboard our day-boat, Paradise Explorer, we explored Vung Ha area where we dropped anchor for kayaking, swimming and just enjoying the amazing scenery with its charming serenity.  This serenity was disturbed by adults making several HUGE waves in the water—wet towels and wet deck resulted from the fun jumping and diving expedition!

Michelle & George
Our fearless leader, Thierry, in his new outfit.

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Day 56, July 5: Bus transfer to Halong Bay for our Cruise on Paradise Luxury

Our morning departure to Halong Bay took us on a journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta. We had the opportunity to observe everyday life of Vietnam’s villages as we saw villagers work the local rice fields. We arrived in Halong and boarded the Paradise Luxury for our 2 nights cruise on Halong Bay. Cruising this delightful Bay we reveled in its tranquility as we escaped the bustling tourist sights.

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Michelle, George and Tom took the afternoon option for a small  boat ride to an island, hike up about 700 stairs to enjoy both the view of the Bay and the limestone formations in the Sung Sot Cave.

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Cocktail hour was a beautiful time.

Chief Nam gave a wonderful cooking class: Vietnamese Spring Rolls!
Diann’s effort at spring rolls.
George and Warren met the spring roll challenge!

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Cocktail hour and sunset — enjoyed!