1996, January – London for Jennifer’s tenth birthday
As Jeremy was studying at London Bible College, he offered rooms there instead of a hotel. As well as Hamleys in Regent Street and a theatre, we visited Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Marylebon Road (the central figure in this picture is wax) and fed pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
1996, May – Bruges, Belgium
Train to Newcastle, bus to the Ferry Port, overnight sail to Zeebrugge, bus to Bruges for three nights. Sailed the canals, sampled the restaurants, then back home by the reverse route. Photos of Ian disembarking and two of Joyce with the canals (main image) in the background.
Thirteen night cruise on the Sun Viking. Flew from Heathrow into the old Hong Kong airport, coming down below the flats on either side of the runway. Owing to an industrial dispute at Heathrow, our cases had not been transferred, so the Representative told us to replenish our wardrobes in the Hong Kong shops and to send him the bill, which we did. The cases arrived two days later. Excellent table companions at a large table. Photo of us and the Captain at the Captain’s Dinner.
Five days at sea and shore excursions on eight days. The first three visits were to Vietnam, all with ‘promote Vietnam’ themes: (a) lavish and lengthy welcome parties on the quayside, as here at Ha Long Bay, (b) excursions to productive farms, factories and ‘our marvellous nursery schools’, as here at Chan May and ‘our recent military struggles’ – tank on the lawn in Ho Chi Minh City. At Bankok there were gold ornaments everywhere. One of the excursions included elephant rides; Ian’s mounting was not graceful, but eventually successful.
The last visit was to the island of Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand – palm-fringed beaches, coconut groves and dense, mountainous rainforest and a 12 metre (39 foot) golden Big Buddha. When we later told Sandy, who had been there, he asked what we thought of the spectacular staircase leading up to it, and we replied that our only thought was not to climb it.
When it rained unexpectedly, vendors produced stands of light plastic macs, to be used once and thrown away. Full day in Singapore, including a ride on the Skyride chairlift to Sentosa Island and a visit to Raffles Bar, home of the Singapore Sling. One of our best holidays ever.