Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cruise part 7

Someone told me that taking a cruise is really the worst way to travel. I don’t know about that. It’s not a great way to experience a different city. You only spend about 8 or 10 hours in each city, so you’re never going to learn very much about the people and their culture. Most passengers on cruises just go to the main tourist sites and do a lot of shopping. I agree that’s not any kind of meaningful travel.

Our cruise started in Shanghai, stopped in Xiamen, Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh and ended in Bangkok. I went straight from Shanghai Airport to the ship, so I didn’t see any of Shanghai. We were in Xiamen for 9 hours, so obviously I didn’t learn everything there is to know about Xiamen. In fact, I still don’t really know anything about it. I know it’s crowded & dirty and it gets pretty hot in June. We were in Hong Kong for 10 hours, but I live there, so that wasn’t the highlight of the trip for me. We were in Ho Chi Minh for 8 hours, but I didn’t get off the ship, so I learned almost nothing about it.

We spent the most time in Bangkok because that’s where the cruise ended. After the cruise, we stayed there for another 2 days. That’s not a long time, but it’s better than 8 hours. So I know a lot more about Bangkok than any of the other cities, but obviously I’m no expert.

If you want to know everything there is to know about wherever you’re going, don’t take a cruise. Then again, a 2 week vacation in a western hotel isn’t going to tell you everything there is to know about the place either. I’ve met a lot of people who went somewhere for a week or 2 and think they’re experts. I’ve lived in Hong Kong for over 2 years and I’m not even close to being an expert.

Seeing other places isn’t the main point of a cruise. When you fly somewhere, the destination is the journey. When you take a cruise, the journey is the destination. Or something like that. The main point of a cruise is what you see & do on the ship. The stops in exotic cities are a bonus.

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