Let’s see, what have I learned in the last two weeks:
IT sure is fun to sail could get accustomed to this.
IF I open our front door and leave it open, we have internet connections in our room.
People are very friendly. Traveling companions add to your trip.
Coffee every morning in our stateroom and chopped salads every night even if not on the menu.
Bill brings cookies down from the coffee bar so he can still have his cookies whenever he wants and they keep us in bananas and apples in our fruit basket.
You can spot a lady from Boca a mile away. Just has that certain look.
We have met a extremely nice couple from Orlando, Brad and Gloria Elliott. Brad has taken me under his wing and mentoring me with the computer. If this blog is a success and you can read it, its because he has patience and is brilliant on the computer. Gloria is very sweet and inclusive. Quite talented in her own right with her hands. I always admire people that are creative and produce beautiful things to use. Brad is always smiling and happy to help me and anyone else. They are multi world cruisers and share knowledge willingly. We are going into Coquimbo tomorrow with them.
Lois and Jack have joined our dinner table. They were sitting with a table of French people and were never part of their conversations. Nice to have new conversation. They are from California and a second marriage. Jack is 74 and Lois 63. Keeps the average age pretty close to what we have been figuring. Jack is a 15 year liver transplant survivor. Seems to be doing very well. Lois is a nurse and maybe that has helped him. She has the demeanor of a head nurse like I read about in the books when I was young. I can just see her in her stiff white starched hat marching down the hospital hall ways. Jack plays in the poker tournaments, sure doesn’t seem the type. He also was stationed in Germany in the 50ies when in the Army and he and Bill share army stories. At our table we are now 8.
We hired our own driver and guide with Sandy and ----- Brad and Gloria , Bill and I. The cost was $50 dollars a couple. Again the guide was hard put to speak English. Best part of your own guide is you stay as long as you want in any given place and go back to the ship when you are ready. Worked very well today.
The port has a very large natural harbor with houses rising up the hills from the water. A very large cross can be seen from our ship. We toured the city and then took a short ride on the Pan-American highway to the suburb of Tongoy. Lots of new construction going on and seems like a wealthy area. The beach area looks like any American beach. Trampolines, bungee jumping and chairs for rent. Interesting restaurants. Stopped to see the 400 year old light house.
Stopped at the La Recova handcraft market and walked around. Full of native people shopping and eating. Lots of children buying toys and women buying meat and cheese. Went into a grocery store and walked up and down the Aisles. The displaying of food is similar to ours. The one most unusual packaging was the mayonnaise. Mayonnaise was in a large plastic bag with a hole so you can squeeze out the mayonnaise. Then walk over to a Wal-Mart type store. Very busy and shelves seemed full of merchandise. On our way back to the ship drove down Francisco de Aguirre Avenue with all its Roman Statues. Strange place for that kind of statuary. Our guide did not know why they were there. Very busy with cars. Lots of hussel and bustle around the city.
Tonight we are sailing to Valparaiso.
Valparaiso is Chile’s principal port and second-largest city. The picturesque port has colorful houses all up and down the hills surrounding the port. Lots of commerce going on here. Containers, large ships to carry them away, Navy ships and 2 other cruise ships. We boarded a bus for Casablanca Valley and to tour the Casas del Bosque Vineyards. H ad wonderful white wines including a award winning Sauviignon Blanc Reserve 2004. Not a conosour but thought it was really very good wine. 3 kinds of white, 3 kinds of red, crackers and cheese and only 11:00 in the morning. Our bus was all happy and giggling.
Next we stopped at the Puro Caballo equestrian center The owner greeted us with perfect English and served pisco sours with empanaditas Just what we needed after all that wine we just drank. Didn’t stop anyone from drinking. We had native dressed dancers performing and then he explained all about the Chilean rodeo horse. Then they performed a small rodeo show. Two of the performers were his granddaughters. They were adorable and of course he was beaming. Lunch was served in a lovely thatched roof, dirt floored restaurant. The service was first class, the food delicious. Mashed potatos, roasted short ribs, and a beautiful plate of cooked vegtables placed in the center of the table. Of course Bill’s plate was all the vetables presented in a beautiful design. Corn, peas, tomatoes, lima beans (tasted wonderful but look a little different could be fava ) and red leaf lettuce. Of course another round of all the wine you wanted red or white. Don’t know how they did it, but not one bug,fly or mesquito. Perfect lunch, no one was hot and not one person complained about anything. AMAZING. We all slept on the way back to the ship thanks to all that drinking and being outdoors.
We arrived back in time for Friday night services. Twenty-Five attended. One couple is from Denver, on their 7th round the world. They attend the Alliance in Denver.. Will have to ask the Rabbi their name so I can tell David. I think they have married children living in Denver. We are really the newbees. Everyone in the room has been around the world multiple times. Then on the way out we met Jorge Tredler , works for H.Stern, lives in Rio de Janeiro. His parents are from Warsaw and when I told him I was in Poland last summer and visited Wlodova he turned white. That is his family name and they never told him there was a city by that name. He is planning a visit to Poland this summer. Interesting things happen when Js get together.
A SMILE IS THE LIGHT IN THE WINDOW OF YOUR FACE THAT TELLS PEOPLE YOU’RE AT HOME………….
ISLA ROBINSON CRUSOE
Last night was quite a rocky sail. If that is the worse I will be alright. When we dropped anchor at the Island the Mountains and parts of the port city had fog hanging over it. Made it look very mysterious. We had to tender in and that is always interested. Very windy on the island but warm. Lucky, the weather has been warm not hot. Easy to move around and not to many layers of clothes. We have left Llama land and now are in Penguin territory.
Daniel Defoe was inspired by explorers journals that told of their South Seas Adventures to write the book Robinson Crusoe.. The small bay town has about 600 residents. The island is especially know for its spiney lobster pots. They keep their lobster pots in the water anchored to their row boats. That way they keep the lobsters alive and waiting for market.
Two young morman misinaries were in the little gift shop translating for everyone. I talked to them and they told me that they will be on the island for 4 months. Mormans have been here 40 years. You would think everyone has been converted by now but Catholicism still prevales. They were young, cute and eager.
There is only one main paved street and the rest are dirt. One long road straight up the side of the mountain for a escape route in case of earthquake or tsunami. I walked up the side of the mountain to the caves. The caves seemed to be lava rock. Disintegrated in your hand Steep walk up, well worth the view when I arrived at the caves
Also talked to a scuba diver. Spoke very good English. Makes one feel guilty when everyone speaks English and I can‘t speak a word of spanish. He and his wife own the bed and breakfast in the town.. To fly here from Santiago is 700 dollars. Really remote, however if you are into scuba diving, hiking and canoeing in remote places this is it.
I didn’t know what to expect on the island but it turned out to be very fun and easy to explore on my own. Bought a postcard and had it stamped at the local post office. No place is remote anymore, the first thing to greet us was a giant satellite. They also have internet but no cell phones. Coming soon. Only a few cars, I saw a police car and a really old truck along side a newer jeep…………they have to sail in all there supplies. Gas,food and sand. Wonderful day.
Slept in today. I am getting much better . From waking up at 6 every morning I now have to set the alarm. Coffee in the room at 8 and then off to my first lecture. Today I learned how to “burn fat fast”. Wrong time to tell me to drink lots of water, exercise and take pills to cleanse your body. Must not have seen the same bathrooms I have had to use. Can’t believe how many people are signing up. One women said she lost 140 on the last world cruise. Now she needs to lose it again. We all tell the same story. Really sounds funny on a cruise.
Next the opera lecture. Rabbi Mintz explains the scene and then plays the music. Very nice listening for a hour.
To finish off the afternoon going to the movie to see Like Water for Chocolate. Nice catching up on the movies I missed.
Tonight was dress up night. Dinner was called the Orange Ball. The staff wore orange knit hats and orange life jackets. Everyone at our table was dressed and that makes it nice. Some of the men wore all white suites, many different colors of shirts and ties and generally everyone seemed to be into it. Every thing goes as far as the women. From very fancy to almost casual. Saw one women in a very heavy crested beaded dress, almost Russian looking, open front and back but the icing was her beaded hat. Fun to watch her strut.
Important information,,,,our table has the sunset every night so far. Last night sunset was 9;15. We keep going south.
After dinner went to listen to the pianist. He was very good. The programs last about an hour. I find I need that time to rest my tummy before bed. Late seating is great until bedtime.
PUERTO MONTT, CHILE
Woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise. Have been lucky so far, sunset around 9:15 on our side of the dinning room, sunrise in our cabin in the morning around 7:15. Easy living.
What a day………we met Bill’s cousin Jimmy Langman at the pier.. Jimmy is AnnaLee Rapport Langmans son. He is 42, freelance journalist and living in Chile for about the last 10 years. Looks a lot like Don and Bill thought had eyes just like our David. Remember those Rapport genes. He is adorable and knows a lot about the area. Took our friends Brad and gloria along for the sight seeing. We hired a van and we were off.
Drove through the Puerto Montt neighborhoods on our way to Puerto Varas. We drove on a highway that required a toll at the end. Jimmy lives here. Very pretty city with a craft market and a park square. “Ciudad de las Rosas” city of Roses. Well named. Lots of huge roses and lots of blue hydranges and just flowers everywhere. First city with lots of flowers. The city sits on a huge lake,LAGO Llanquihue. One of the largest lakes of chile. It is morning and the sun is shinning on the lake and the snow covered volcano mountain in the back, really a very breathtaking moment. Bills favorite place so far.
We left the city and drove out toward the Parque national alerce Andino. Lots of indigenous trees. Most I had never seen before. Stopped along the way and looked at Llamas up close and personal.
Don’t worry Staci we took lots of pictures. They should only come out the same way we saw then. On to Parque Nacional Vicente Perez Rosales. This is Chiles oldest national park. It is the home of the giant mosquitoes, and thanks to my birthday present we were prepared. Thanks ladies. They were ugly but never bothered us. Look like giant black flies . People walk with branches and switch then away. There are waterfalls and several towering volcanoes. One of the most majestic is the Volcan Osorno towering 8,500 feet above sea level.. Covered in snow and the sun shinning on it. This has been a exceptional high rain period so the waterfalls were rushing. To me they were more rapid size tucked into volcano rocks and crevices.
Next , tired and hungry we stopped for lunch. Jimmy took us to his favorite restaurant, La Olla. Started with pisco sours and three kinds of empanattas. Bill had a vegetarian crepe and I had merluza fish. Eveyone else had wonderful looking sea food. We were the only Americans. Love being off the beaten track, The children have big black eyes along with straight black hair. The restarant lived up to Jimmys recommendation. We ate for over a hour. Left full and feeling no pain.
Back to the ship. A outstanding day thanks to Jimmy.
THE CHILEAN FJORDS
Up early this morning to listen to Barbara as we travel the beautiful Darwin Channel.. A narrow channel surrounded by high mountains. Started through at sunrise, cold and windy. Drank lots of coffee on the deck bundled up in blankets. For as far as you can see mountain peeks rise up out of the water. Very dramatic. The captain already warned about rough seas ahead.
This morning I am going to a lecture on Ushuaia, then to a cooking demonstration by Chef Mark Bittman. He is a regular guest on the Today show and Martha Stewart. Going to cook vegetarian..
Today ends 3 weeks of cruising. I have not been bored yet. The days just seem to fly bye and I am learning new things about cruising everyday. The people you meet are very interesting and have lived very different lives. I never left Akron, and most have moved from city to city. Most have interesting stories to tell, jobs they have done and how many trips around thre world they have been on. My clothes have worked out well. The fashion police did not come aboard in Ft. Lauderdale, and that is a good thing. Really don’t need a lot of clothes. it’s the other things that are important to make you more comfortable and feel like home. We have managed very well so far. Nice to walk around and see familiar faces.
We took Brad and Gloria along yesterday touring with Jimmy. He made us a DVD of the day. Music, stills and movies included. Very beautiful and much appreciated. He has all his photo and computer equipment with him and Gloria does lots of crafts. They have taken us under their wings and I will be forever grateful.
The sun has come out and I am going whale watching. Wish me luck.