CT-85 Trip to China, Tibet and Hong Kong
Date of travel: Oct 24 – Nov 16, 1985
On Oct 24 I took a plane from Los Angeles to Tokyo, JAPAN, but stayed only overnight from Oct 25 to 26. Then Oct 26 I flew to CHINA visiting Beijing (with its Forbidden Palace and other historical places), then flight to Chengdu (they raise pandas there). The time from Oct 31 to Nov 6 our group spent in TIBET flying to Lhasa and taking a bus to Xigaze, where we met the panchen lama, and returning by bus back to Lhasa (we saw many Buddhist temples in Tibet). On Nov 6 we flew back to Chengdu and took an overnight train to Xian (to see the clay solders). Next flight to Shanghai, followed by Guilin and Canton (Guangzhou), where on Nov 14. Last 2.5 days were in HONG KONG which was that time still a British Crown Colony. On Nov 16 we departed Hong Kong on a plane and via Tokyo reached LAX still the same day.
Travel office: Hemphill Harris (through a local US travel office). Accommodation in mostly very good hotels.
Who took part: I traveled with about 15 American tourists. Our leader came from Philippines. We also had 2 Chinese guides and sometimes also local guides.
J-98 Japan trip
Date of travel: Sep 26 – Oct 7, 1998
Early on Sep 26 I drive in a rented car to San Diego airport. From there I fly via San Francisco to Tokyo, JAPAN where on Sep 27. Here I join a TBI Tours group.
The following day there is sightseeing of the Japanese capital (visiting among others the Meiji Shrine and the Asakusa Kannon Temple). Day after an optional trip to Nikko north of Tokyo (to see the Toshogu Shrine, Lake Chuzenji-ko and waterfalls). On Sep 30 we drove by bus to Mt. Fuji getting to about its mid section, we sailed on Lake Hakone and had an overnight in City of Hakone. From there we continued by bus to Mishima to board a Bullet Train bound for Kyoto. Next morning we took a sightseeing tour of this former Japanese capital (visiting the Imperial Palace, the Golden Pavilion, the beautiful gardens and the major temples; by myself I saw the steal and glass 1997 futuristic railway station worth noticing). In the afternoon an optional tour to Nara, another former capital.
On Oct 3 from Kyoto by Bullet Train to Hiroshima known as the place, where the first atomic bomb was exploded in ager. While sightseeing the city we spent time in the Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park built on the explosion site. In its museum the Japanese question the need for this act saying that Japan was on verge of surrender. The following day by train and ferry to Miyajima Island to visit the attractive Itsukushima Jingu Shrine and the Torii Gate rising from the sea. Next morning by coach to see the Okayama Castle and Korakuen Garden while driving to Kurashiki for overnight. On Oct 6 by bus and Bullet Train to Osaka (here I visited its Castle by myself).
On Oct 7 in the morning I went to Osaka zoo. In the afternoon I took a bus to the new Osaka airport built on an artificial island in the ocean. From there I flew via San Francisco to San Diego and in a rented car drove home to Vista.
Travel office: TBI Tours part of General Tours
Who took part: There were 34 participants, Japanese group leader from TBI, bus drivers and a Japanese hostess on the bus
WP-08 West Pacific 2008 – a cruise NEW ZEALAND, New Caledonia, SOLOMON ISLANDS, PNG, FSM, Guam, Mariana Islands, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, JAPAN
Date of travel: Feb 25 – Mar 29, 2008
On Feb 25 in the afternoon I drive in rented car from Vista to Los Angeles airport. In the evening I board a Qantas plane for Auckland, NEW ZEALAND. I land there in the early hours Feb 27. I am taken to my hotel. Today there is a sightseeing trip of the city arranged by Vantage Company for all who take the cruise. The following 2 days I see Auckland by myself visiting the 328 m high Sky Tower, take a tourist bus and a boat ride through the harbor. On Mar 1 we visit the Museum and in the afternoon we board the Holland America ship Statendam. The ship leaves Auckland in the evening.
During next 2 days the ship stops in Tauranga and Bay of Islands still in New Zealand. That is followed by 2 full days on the Pacific Ocean before we dock at the town of Noumea on the island of NEW CALEDONIA which is a French possession. In the morning I walk the city on foot and in the afternoon there is a bus tour of the island.
Next 2 days the ship sails on the Coral Sea and on Mar 9 we dock in Honiera on the Guadalcanal Island in SOLOMON ISLANDS. During the trip through the island we visit Bloody Ridge and the airport Henderson Field both famous from the battles between Americans and Japanese in WWII.
After another day on the sea Statendam moors at Rabaul on the Island of New Britten of PAPUA NEW GUINEA (PNG) on Mar 11. This is my second visit of this place. During the trip through the island we visit a WWII cemetery where some 1000 Allied soldiers are interred. We also see Japanese fortifications, WWII museum and the town Rabaul. One of the local volcanoes is spilling smoke and volcanic dust. Soon our ship is covered by few inches of this stuff.
Three days on the Pacific Ocean and then landing on the Yap Island which is part of a country called FEDERATED STATES of MICRONESIA (FSM). I explore its town Colonia on foot. A specialty of this island are so call “stone money.” They look like large mill stones. They are leaning against the walls of a hotel. Each has certain value and belongs to various people on the island.
Another day on the ocean and the next stop is island of GUAM on Mar 17. I have visited Guam before so I do the sightseeing by myself. The following day we dock at the Saipan Island in the NORTHERN MARIANA ISLAND group. There I take a bus tour which shows us among other where the American soldiers stormed the beaches in WWII.
After another day on the ocean Statendam anchors at Iwo Jima on Mar 20. Since Solomon Islands we have been visiting the battlegrounds of WWII. There is a number of participants of those battles on board. At Iwo Jima is a ceremony of remembrance.
Two days later on Mar 22 we are at city of Naha on Okinawa, JAPAN. Here I take part in a bus tour. The following day we sail past many Japanese islands and on Mar 24 we reach Nagasaki on island of Kyushu. There is also a bus tour. Another day among the Japanese islands and on Mar 26 our ship docks in Osaka. From there by bus past Kobe to Kyoto. Next 2 days I am sightseeing the historical city by bus and also on foot.
On Mar 29 I leave Japan from Kansai Airport in Osaka for San Francisco. From there by another plane to Los Angeles. Here I take a car from AVIS and drive home to Vista.
Travel office: Vantage and Holland America
Who took part: a ship full travelers