Partout in Overdrive

Day 129 – Cruising the South China Sea – Find Insignia on CruiseMapper

No, we haven’t fallen overboard since our 4-month update, but we were on land 20 of the 23 days from Dubai to Singapore. It’s a schedule that makes for great discovery and photography but leaves little time for much of anything else beyond eating and sleeping.

With more of the same to come! In the next 10 days, we will spend six days ashore in Vietnam and three in Thailand. Whenever Partout falls silent, rest assured we will return, eventually, with another episode from around the world in 180 days.

Meanwhile, here are a few of the highlights from the last breathless stretch of the adventure, squeezed out by your dedicated scribe as the sun rose today over the South China Sea.

Langkowi, Malaysia

This one of Malaysia’s 878 islands was a last-minute substitution for canceled Myanmar. All the substitutions traded off the cultural wonders of Yangon for beaches, which left Doris decidedly grumpy. She improvised on Langkowi by hunting down a superb local guide and recruiting a merry band of fellow travelers to cruise epic mangrove forests in a traditional long-tail boat, feed swimming monkeys, marvel at diving eagles, wander a cave filled with magical limestone formations and non-magical bats and take one of the highest cable cars in the world to a spectacular view.

Phuket, Thailand

An overnight and second day on the Thai resort island of Phuket, another Myanmar substitute, also ended up soothing disappointed Doris’s grumpiness.

Day One was spent with the merry band visiting a temple, wolfing down fabulous food in a Muslim fishing village on stilts (pictured with golden mosque) and cruising spectacular Phang Nga Bay.

Phang Nga Bay is where where the dramatic final minutes of the James Bond movie Man with the Golden Gun were filmed, effectively putting the island on the tourist map back in 1974. The waving figure in the picture is Partout’s own James Bond in the waters off James Bond Island.

On Day Two, our own James Bond experienced his best snorkeling of the entire cruise with another merry band of fellow travelers while his hottie spent Mother’s Day self-indulging in Thai spas and shops. It wasn’t Yangon, but it was another memorable day.

Penang, Malaysia

Buoyed by our unexpectedly wonderful experiences in Langkowi and Phuket, we hit the streets of Penang and walked for miles. Penang is a city where centuries of multicultural immigration and colonialism interweave into a rich urban texture. We could see why the city has become a siren call for expats. The pictured gentleman was not one of them, but Louis can’t resist capturing glimmers of the Asia he lived in so many years ago.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia’s capital city was still another pleasant surprise. Fueled by oil revenues, the city has sprouted arresting skyscrapers, made progress on rehabilitating its old town and done a good job of preserving its colonial eye candy. The process made for some eye-catching views.


And then there was Singapore, which instantly soared into the top tier of our favorite city stops of the circumnavigation.

Everything we’d ever heard about the half-century-old city-nation proved true. It is probably the most modern, clean, safe, livable and tasty city we have visited since leaving home, and that includes San Francisco. It is also sweltering, expensive and without basic civil liberties North Americans take for granted. We hit the ground hard and walked 15 miles in two days and managed to spend several hours meeting up with old and new friends there. The city easily tops on the list of places where we want to revisit with more time.

Another Question Answered

Olivier asked, “How many photos has Louis taken? And where may I view them on the web?”

We have met fellow passengers who have taken tens of thousands of photos – already! This would not be Louis.

On a typical day, Louis shoots a total of 20-100 photos on three cameras: his iPhone and his two Sony 6600s, one with a 28mm-80mm lens and the other with a telephoto lens (625mm at full frame). On exceptionally hot and humid days, he leaves the heavier equipment behind and supplements the iPhone with his lightweight point-and-shoot Leica. (Underwater, he shoots with a Fujifilm.)

Back on the ship, he tries to make time every day to winnow the day’s collection into a select set of favorites. In the end, depending on how many days we have spent there, he ends up with about 10-50 keepers, per country. These are the shots that make the cut for Partout and will go into the photo book we make of the trip. (The time-consuming process also explains why there are sometimes gaps in publishing Partout; it’s complicated)

This all leaves no time for posting anything on the web other than the occasional winner on Facebook so you’ll just have to stay tuned for the next Partout.

Where’s Snowy?

Besides touring Cheong Fatt Tze (the Blue Mansion) in old Penang?

Coming Soon!

Fellow Travelers

Feeding the Multitude

5 thoughts on “Partout in Overdrive

  1. Great to see you both still enjoying the adventure, but I am curious if you don’t have moments where you feel homesick? You are coming up to the time of the year where you would be at your beautiful home by the lake.


  2. Great to “hear” from you and catch up on your travels!

    Q for the blog: Now that you have spent 4+ months on a cruise, have you changed your mind about shorter-trip cruise travel and would you recommend it to others? I have always been wary of cruises, especially with a partner that doesn’t like the beach, but in following along your trip it seems it might be an interesting way to travel with young children? The predictability of port and sea days and ability to experience multiple locations without changing rooms seems like it would work well for a toddler!

    Love and hugs!!


  3. Now your talkin! Wow! Grumpiest dissolve and writing is so so enticing. How do your feet manage with all the miles. Not just the mikes your walking each day the miles you walked for fifty years prior? Your footage is quite remarkable. Looking forward to my continued walk with you two! Thank you thank you!


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