Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Reality Tours - Dharavi Slum Tour, Mumbai.

While in Mumbai earlier this month we decided to see the 'real' India as opposed to the more normal tourist sights. We chose a slum tour on offer by a local company, Reality Tours. This company operates slum tours as a business, but puts back up to 80% of the revenue gained after taxes, into community projects within the slums. It was an experience not to be missed, and highly recommended.

13th compound in Dharavi - the re-cycling area
Boy in a narrow street in Dharavi
Cardboard re-cycling
Dharavi kids
Embroidery factory
A goat with admirers
Machine manufacturing
A migrant worker in a factory
Mum and kids in Dharavi
Oil can re-cycling in Dharavi
Paint re-cycling factory
Plastic re-cycling factory
Plastic re-cycling on a Dharavi rooftop
Rag picker carrying re-cycled bags
Reality gives youth empowerment programme
Pottery in Kumbharwada, the potteries village within Dharavi.
The Indians are a resourceful lot and operate re-cycling businesses here that we would not even contemplate. This tour is highly recommended if you are ever in Mumbai.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The First Weekend of 2013.

This weekend has been the first one at the boat for us after our winter tour of India. As I no longer have the inclination to crawl around in the depths of the engine room, I again arranged for a pre-season check and service by Mark at He reliably serviced K-L last year after the unhelpful cock-ups that had been made by others during the previous year. His brief was to investigate why our 'V' alternator belt (on a Barrus Shire 2002), had shredded for no apparent reason last September, (after a new alternator had been fitted earlier in the year), and also to service the engine and gearbox. Everything seemed to be lined up with the alternators, so hopefully the self-destruction of the belt was down to just old age.

Swanley Marina Entrance.
Swanley Marina Canal-side service bay.
On Saturday, prior to our usual walk around town, we took her down to Swanley Marina for an empty and fill up of the usual tanks, before bringing her back to her mooring heading the right way for our first planned cruise in a couple of weeks time.

Air balloon passes over mooring.
The sun certainly put his hat on for the occasion, and we had the best time ever, waking on Saturday morning to a lovely still early morning, and an air balloon passing over the mooring. (It took a few minutes to get the camera)!

Swanley Number 2 Lock.
We are still missing all our new friends in Abu Dhabi though. It would be great to be able to show them around our home territory. You know who you are - how about it?

This is getting worrying!
Nantwich Town Centre.
Nantwich Town Crier
In two weeks, after a much looked forward to week in Central London visiting our daughter, we will take friends for our 'speciality' cruise down the Llangollen Canal, the first of the year for us. Lets hope the weather holds out!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Wonders of Abu Dhabi

Here we are on our final full day in Abu Dhabi. We have had a fantastic stay here thanks to the hospitality of our hosts - Margaret's cousin and his wife, Ron and Beo. The place is unbelievably wealthy to our eyes, and a complete contrast to our stay in India. I would even go as far to say that India is to the UK, what the UK is to Abu Dhabi! We have followed a full itinerary which started with a fitness walk around the famous Yas Marina Racing Circuit, home to the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix.

Yas Viceroy Hotel

Then, at Margaret's request we visited the only hospital for falcons in the world. This has received many awards and worldwide recognition for both tourism and the work it does for the care of the birds. Have a look here: A D Falcon Hospital

Introduction to the Falcon Hospital

One of the residents

Then, whilst Beo prepared for a Songkran party during the evening, (Thai New Year), we were taken into the desert to a Passage Control Point of the final stages of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Rally. Up until about 5 years ago Ron was the Chief Marshal at this event. A very exciting morning was spent here.

PC 2 refuel on the Abu Dhabi Challenge

It ain't arf hot!

Getting the card stamped

The only way to travel to these desert events!

During the evening it was on to The Sheraton Hotel for the Songkran party. What an experience! We were introduced to the Thai Ambassador to Abu Dhabi, and the author Seumas Gallacher. The outfits were just amazing!

Meen, The Thai Ambassador and Beo

Dancing to the Songkran Song

The day after - it was off to the British Club, (these days just ''The Club"), for some R and R around the pool there. They actually have water chillers in the outdoor pools here, where we would have heaters!

Followed by an evening cruise along the Corniche in the club's Dhow, refreshments included.

.....And today we visited the Emirates Palace Hotel for Morning coffee. You just wouldn't believe the opulence in there. They even have a cash to gold dispensing machine!

Entrance to the Emirates Palace Hotel

The lobby

Morning Coffee

The temperature was 40 degrees by this time

We have had a wonderful time both in India with our daughter Jill, and in Abu Dhabi with Ron and Beo. Tomorrow - it is back to reality.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Yas Marina F1 Circuit.

During the early evening of our first day in Abu Dhabi, we visited the fabulous Yas Marina Circuit which opens it's gates weekly to walkers, joggers and cyclists to offer free use of the track for fitness. I managed a full 5.5km lap within the alloted time, which also allowed me to take photos of the interior of this world famous venue. Today we visit the falconry hospital, followed by kart racing this afternoon, participating not watching, using fast, 70kph karts.

Abu Dhabi

After an uneventful flight at a killer time, 4.20am, the only time available for this flight, we are now in Abu Dhabi with Margaret's cousin. We spent our first day sightseeing, with a few stops around town, followed by a trip into the desert to view the amazing sand sculptures created by the winds. Early evening saw us at the Yas Marina F1 circuit where a weekly fitness event is held when you are able to walk or cycle the track. To finish the day we visited a town centre restaurant for dinner. A huge contrast to the general surroundings of the last two weeks.