Monday, December 24, 2012


I didn't realize that among the few visitors/friends of my blog, there are some who wonder how I look. Well....wonder no more and be disappointed LOL. My wife and I wish all of you A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!

Both photos were taken during our recent riverboat cruise. My receding white hair is a dead giveaway of my age LOL. I'm the oldest in our group, kasama daw ako ni Bonifacio ng sumigaw and pinunit ang kanyang cedula sa Balintawak LOL.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I didn't realize it's been more than a month since my last posting! I do not know what's wrong with's probably the burden of advancing age LOL. Anyway, the program for the day is an excursion to The Hague, a visit to Madurodam and lunch at a fancy, beachside restaurant. Easy enough for oldies like us.

The Hague

As we walked to the entrance to Madurodam, we saw a visual representation of the boy who plugged a hole in the dam with his hand and saved the town. Unfortunately this is just a product of imagination gone wild.

 Madurodam is a place to see if you have the time to kill.

 What the hell, I might as well take a pic!
Wooden shoes galore

This is the place for our lunch break and it is free. I'm not complaining.

Our group of traveling oldies. I was the self-appointed photographer.

Beach! No offense, but I still prefer the beaches of Southern California.


Sunday, October 28, 2012


The program for the day was to motor to the center of Haarlem, take a leisurely walk to the market square then visit the Frans Hal Museum and return to the boat for a late lunch. The boat will then depart for Rotterdam. A "rough" schedule for old foggies like us LOL.

There are always bikes to remind us that this is a great bike country.

A mother shopping with her daughter in tow.

Love those bread!

This local biker signaled our group to give him room to pass through and we gladly obliged. A truly civilized interaction. This is not going to happen in the inner cities of LA and Orange counties. If you see a group standing on the street, better find another way to your destination or you will find your bike wrap around your neck...if you are lucky LOL.

Naughty! I don't think you'll find a pic like this one hanging in a museum anywhere in Pinas LOL.

The oldies taking another break LOL. Not really...they were waiting for the group they were following to finish their guide's talk.

I'm always fascinated with narrow, traffic-less and peaceful street

A passing view from our cabin

On our way to Rotterdam

A pleasant weather for topdeck viewing

Another narrow bridge to clear! This is getting to be a habit.

This is THE entire onboard entertainment. You can listen to him sing, dance to his music or sit in the bar and get drunk every night.

Monday, September 24, 2012

More of Amsterdam

We were not scheduled to leave Amsterdam for Haarlem until later in the day. The plan for the morning was to tour the city and visit the Van Gough museum. There were a total of 133 cruisers  divided into three groups under three program managers; I guessed, for easy handling. I think they know from experience that old travelers like us, complain and belly-ache a lot LOL.
While waiting for the rest of our group to come out, I struck a conversation with this guy fishing just a few feet away from our riverboat. I told my wife I'll just hang out with him and help him get his fish limit with his spare pole and do a solo walking tour of the city later. My wife said it is not going to happen. She is such a visionary LOL.

This is the glass boat we toured the canals of Amsterdam. There's not a young soul in our group except for our program manager (the brunette with dark glasses).


I wonder how much it costs to stay in that hostel? In all my years of travel, I still have to stay in one. I always thought they are only for young travelers.

Bikes have their own separate lane unlike at home where bike riders have to share the road with cars and other motorized vehicles.

This pic was taken from inside our cabin while we were on our way to Haarlem.

Some cruisers were taking advantage of the fine weather by sitting on topdeck and enjoying the view.

I hope we clear that bridge!

By the narrowest of clearance!

This bridge went up to let our boat through.

Cocktail party given by the Captain to welcome us and to introduce the crew members.

The wait staff being introduced

 Our first formal dinner

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Holland & Belgium and the Floriade, August 2012

My wife and I have done many ocean cruises but not a river cruise till now. She wanted to see the Floriade (a once a decade horticultural Expo in the Netherlands), so I decided we might as well go on a river cruise which covered this expectacle. Guess why she wanted to see the Expo...because her sisters gave her a glowing account of the one they saw ten years prior! Talaga naman!!
I asked her to make all the travel arrangements and I just reluctantly loosen my wallet when the bills came. Story of my life!
I had no idea what a river cruise boat looks like but I was relieved our floating mobile home was not this one LOL. 

The Royal Navigator is astronomically different from the cruise ships I am familiar with but it floats and looks good!

 Corridor leading to our cabin

 The bar and lounge area

 Our cabin with the beds folded up

 Beds ready for the night

 The dining area

When we arrived at Schiphol airport from the long flight from LA, we were met by a representative of Vantage and bussed to a hotel within eyesight of this view.

...and this one.

This was a bike country when I first visited in the late 70's and I can see, it still is. I hope it stays that way. I hate to see the two-wheeled motorized transports that dominate Saigon's chaotic traffic replace the noise-free and pollution-free pedal-powered bikes in Holland.

The hotel where we were assembled prior to being transferred to our riverboat is just a few minutes walk to the world famous Red Light District. At the instigation of our female companions (yeah, right!), we explored the area with the free time we had.

These guys were taking pictures of something so I walked in closer to find out the object of their interest.

Kaya pala! Condoms of all size, shape and color are boldly displayed.

Sex shop! I was tempted to walk in to find out what they sell LOL.

When my buddy and I found out that our riverboat was berth just a 15 minutes walk to the fame district, we sneaked out and checked the place again that night. We were strongly forwarned by the locals that taking pictures of the "working girls" in the "eskaparate" is banned. My point and shoot camera is not up to the challenge of surreptitious night shots anyway. This was the best I could do.

Some forbidden drugs in the US and other countries are openly advertised and legally sold here...and so is sex. What a country!! As old as I am now, I do not think my wife will let me take a vacation here by myself LOL.