From Cambodia, the next leg of our journey was to visit family and friends in California and then on to New Zealand for Christmas.
By booking a series of flights on cheap airlines, we end up taking a very long and circuitous route to reach our final destination. However, Lane and I just switch into travel mode, armed with a good book plus a few puzzles for me.
We could have flown from Phnom Penh straight to Xiamen to pick up our flight to LA from there. But before we decided to add Cambodia to our itinerary, we had already booked non-refundable tickets out of Singapore to LAX on Xiamen Airlines. So off we go to Singapore, spend a night there, then begin our 8hr flight to Xiamen in China. After a 4 hr lay- over there, we begin our 14hr flight to LAX, only to arrive in the evening on the same day we left!!!
As I write this blog, there was no Coronavirus back in November.
Candy and Kevin, (Lane’s “oldest” friend from school days) had very kindly offered us their spare room to stay in. It was so much fun spending time with these wonderful friends. We caught up with other friends as well, which is always a treat, but this year we had a very special celebration planned. Lane’s mum’s 100th birthday. Helen lives in an assisted living “hotel”, as she calls it, and is doing remarkably well. She looked great and seemed to really enjoy her birthday party.
In 1958, a song by the Four Preps “26 Miles across the Sea, Santa Catalina is awaitin’ for me, ……. the Island of Romance” helped put this rocky island on the map for many people. Owned by the Wrigley family of chewing gum fame, the jet set from Hollywood would come over from Los Angeles to party up large on their mega yachts. Also, many movies were made here because of the rugged terrain and very few people. From the early 1950’s, Lane’s family would sail to Catalina Island on their beautiful family yacht during the summer seasons. When Lane turned 18, he got a job driving the shore boats at Catalina and worked there on and off for many years earning money for his university studies.
Our friends Kevin and Candy met at Catalina too, back in the 70s, so they offered to take us over on their 58ft motor launch, to spend 3 days reminiscing, and showing me a part of Lane’s history.
Avalon, the biggest town with a population of 4000, has many hotels and casinos, but we headed instead further north to a more remote area called the Isthmus, and where surprisingly little has changed in the past 50 years.
Thousands of moorings line the bays to accommodate the pleasure boats that now visit on weekends and holidays.
Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand via Singapore, Kuala Lumpur!!!!!!!
We eventually touch down in NZ.
Haere Mai. Welcome to our Shores. Thank you, it is so good to be here.
Continuing on from the US we delighted in eating all our favourite foods that we don’t find in Asia. Beautiful lamb, beef steaks, huge variety of green veges and especially cheeses. We each put on about 2 kilos, and most of that would have been cheese.
The 3 weeks spent around Auckland we spent catching up with dear friends, and reminding ourselves what a beautiful part of the world we can call home.
Bulls is town known as the pun capital of NZ and where Loic has a lovely rural property. Francoise joined us here so we could enjoy Christmas together.
Lane and I, of course, took the long way around, through New Plymouth, then taking the little used road around the back of Mt Taranaki.
We will be heading back to Malaysia and Mai Tai (in Pangkor Boat Yard) for the New Year celebrations. Then we will be working hard to get our maintenance jobs complete so we can get back out on the water in February, ready for another year of cruising adventures.