Manilla – Off to the Museum for a bit of culture. – Photos

I loved the colourful busses! The guy pedalling us around in the sultry heat was very fit and appeared to be in his thirties. He told us he had eleven children.

I thought that explained the massive overcrowding and poverty that bedevilled the city. I talked it through with him but he did not seem to make the connection.

Our pedalo guy took us along a row of what seemed to be past Presidents.

He was very happy to take us to the museum. He was being paid by the hour. It was an easy hour for him.

Inside we were confronted with the past – real spears and shields, musical instruments and various strange effigies and gods.

Then it was off to the park before heading back to the ship.

Borneo – volcanoes and sunsets. Photos.

Sailing along the coast of Borneo in the evening as majestic volcanoes poke through the cloud layer. The sun slowly sets to bathe sea and land with orange, purple and yellow.

I stared at the landscape as we sailed by and imagined all the creatures living in those rainforests, creatures now under great threat. Within the beauty is a great sadness.

Borneo – Kota Kinabalu – The stilted water village

Many people live in stilted houses out in a village in the river. I find these places fascinating. There are shops and even mosques. The houses look a bit ramshackle – like corrugated shacks on stilts. But I’ve seen far worse slums than these. The mode of transport is canoeing with outboard motors or motorboats.

Borneo – Kota Kinabalu – Into the rainforest

As soon as we landed we took ourselves off into the rainforest. I never get fed up with the lianas, huge fronds, stilted trees and scent of a rainforest. It is so rich and overpowering – though the heat can get a bit oppressive. It fills me with delight.

Some more photos and thoughts from Java.

These shots were mainly taken through the window of a moving coach So I apologise for the quality but they do seem to me to give an impression of various aspects of the country.

Paddy fields were evident throughout the country. The volcanic soil was very rich.

The country is quite poor with a large agricultural population. It was common to see families on scooters, sometimes with as many as three kids perched among the adults. This seems very dangerous and precarious to us but is just part of the way of life in many eastern countries.

The natural world is in retreat but it is still there.

There is evidence of past civilisations who have fallen into decay.

Poverty is prevalent. Whenever they see foreigners, with our huge wealth, they are desperate to sell us their tourist trivia and trinkets. You can see the desperation on their faces.

The locals are friendly.

Islam has largely replaced Buddhism.

Is there anything we can learn from the rise and fall of civilisations and religions??