October 2017
  • Day49

    Hello Lima, Goodbye Oceania Sirena

    December 11, 2017 in Peru ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    No matter how luxurious the cruise, when it is time to get off, it's hard not to feel like you are being thrown out with the trash! Generally, everyone has to be off no later than 9:00 a.m. Wendy and I were assigned to the first departure group as we had to meet our driver to the SkyKItchen cooking school at 8:00.

    The port was once again an indusstrial, commercial port. The area assigned to the Sirena was quite small and when Wendy and I walked off, it was full of luggage, buses and men waving their arms. We wormed our way through the crowds to the shuttle bus which takes us out of the port area, to a different part of the port where the taxis and tours awaited. When we got off the shuttle bus, we were swarmed by taxi drivers who were generally polite, if persistent. All under the eye of two very disinterested heavily armed police officers. Fortunately, our driver was waiting for us and whipped us off to meet, Diego, our cooking instructor.

    I found it interesting that the port and the airport are in a distinct district called Callao. It is surrounded by the city of Lima but is a separate district. This is the area of Lima that tourists are cautioned not to walk around in (even during the day) and it was easy to see why.

    We met up with Diego at the local Mercado which is a huge indoor market that sells pretty much everything needed to run a household. But we were there to see the wide variety of fruits and vegetables used in Peruvian cooking, many of them native to the area. After 40 min. in the market, we headed to the SkyKitchen cooking school which is, somewhat surprisingly, on the 3rd floor of a residential building in Miraflores (an affluent part of Lima). The owner lives on the first floor of this 2 story apartment and has converted the 3rd floor to one large kitchen/dining/patio area. About half of it was open to the sky, hence the name of the school. As it was another beautiful sunny day, it was a pleasure to be up there.

    Diego had us taste a variety of fruits, some of which we were familiar with and some which were new to us. Needless to say, some better than others. The most surprising was the cucumber melon (a green melon like honeydew that tasted like cucumber) and an apple banana that taste like, well an apple-flavoured banana.

    Wendy and I were joined by 2 hikers from the Netherlands and a man from Kansas City. The other half of the class were 3 Spanish speaking women with their own teacher. We learned to make Causa (a tower of mashed potatoes, avocado, and chicken salad; (way better than it sounds), ceviche (fish salad cooked in vinegar - a national obsession in Peru), Lomo Saltine (a beef stir fry) and Picorones ( a sweet donut dipped in a cane sugar syrup which tasted a lot like molasses).

    A couple of comments about the food. Everything had lime juice in it and so it all tasted fresh and tangy...really nice. A ubiquitous condiment is a paste made out of the Yellow Pepper (which is actually orange). Diego warned us that it is impossible to recreate with peppers available to us here and encouraged us to source it through a Peruvian grocery store when we got home. The beef stir fry seemed a little out of place until Diego explained that the influx of Chinese workers in the 1800's resulted in a Peuvian/Chinese fusion cuisine called Chifo; there are lots of Chifo restaurants in Lima.

    Menawhile, Brian, the Hadleys, Trodds and Bonnie were stuck on the ship till 10 a.m., as it was chaos where the shuttles were trying to unload the passengers. As we thought we couldn't check in to our hotel, the wait was not a hardship. Brian hired 2 taxis that were relics from the 2nd World War to take us to our hotel and by the grace of God we all made it shaken but not stirred. The hotel staff were great; no hassle having 2 families sharing each room. The concierge found us a tour of Lima that picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel. We had time for a nice lunch in the hotel then off to explore.

    We hit the main tourist spots: the view from the cliffs of the ocean and daring para-sailors; the main square, the 'mud made' pyramid; the Jiron De La Union & Museo Convento San Francisco y Catacumbas, (the latter, a monastery built in 1673, with a Spanish Baroque church and discovered in 1943, catacombs containing the bones of 25,000 bodies).

    The rest of the crew left for the airport that night and I was on my own so I went to Wendy's hotel to have dinner with Wendy and Christine. The food was surprisingly good for a hotel dining room (Christine had a terrific fish soup called Suda Suda; a fitting end to a cooking school day.)

    The next morning while Christine waited in Bogata, I had a lovely, leisurely stroll of the area, got a haircut in a shop about the size of our bathroom and had some delicious empanadas at a local cafe. My ride to the airport was a pleasant one (a new car, thank God) as my driver wanted to be an English teacher and used the opportunity to practice. Once checked in, I had a great cup of coffee and a pleasant conversation with 2 missionaries on their way to a new posting
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  • Day39

    Paracas, Peru

    December 1, 2017 in Peru ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Another beautiful sunny day. We are docked across a bay from Paracas. This is the stop for excursions to the Nazca lines, Ises des Balladaras or the desert for dune buggy rides. Once again, we are docked in a commercial, industrial port, albeit much smaller than most of the others. Flatbed trucks are lined up waiting to get into the dockyards for their loads of iron bars.

    Wendy elects go for a boat tour of Iles des Balladaras which she later tells us was an excellent excursion. We are glad as we had done this the last time we were in this area and so had pushed the group to consider this excursion.

    The rest of the group take the shuttle into town and then engage a taxi driver to take them into the Paracas National Reserve outside Paracas.. This is a large protected area of the Peruvian desert. They found the landscape fascinating and saw some wild life.

    Brian and I decide to take the shuttle into the village of Paracas and walk the boardwalk. As soon as we got there, we remembered coming there on our previous visit to Peru. I had bought some earrings from a vendor (which I still have and wear a lot in the summer) and we had lunch at one of the open air restaurants. This time, we just walked the boardwalk which was surprisingly busy for an early Friday afternoon. We later found out that this was the first day of winter holidays for the kids; the beach was full of families playing in the sand, with some swimming.

    One of the attractions was a man and his trained pelican (who knew you could train a pelican). The pelican patiently stood and waited for a tourist to pose with him (her?) for a picture. The man would count to three and throw a piece of fish to the pelican, so the shot was of the tourist next to a pelican reaching for the fish. The woman we watched got a face full of pelican feathers when the bird spread it's wings succenly (for balance?) and wapped her in the face! Ugh, no thanks!

    Tonight is our last night on the ship so we need to pack before bed. Suitcases outside our cabin doors by 10:00 p.m.
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  • Day37

    Arica, Chile

    November 29, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Arica, like many of the ports at which we have stopped in Chile, is an industrial container port. Here, we are told that the port was established by the Spanish in 1530 for imports and exports from Bolivia;it continues today as a freeport for Bolivia. We are only 18 km south of Peru .

    Arica has mild weather, year round so in the summer, it is a popular resort for Bolivians. There are palm trees, jacaranda, bougainvillea and oleander, as one might expect in a mild climate but everything depends on constant irrigation.

    Arica's main employers are Coca-Cola, mining, fishing and argriculture and many of its workers come from Peru and Bolivia on 7-day work visas. Each weekend they go home, re-apply for a 7-day visa and come back for the work week.

    Arica is a fairly non-descript town in a valley between the sea and the desert. Normally, 'valley' suggests a river and although Arica technically has a river, it only has water a few days a year. The town has 3 buildings designed by Gustave Eiffel and a pleasant square with a few craft vendors. The most memorable feature however, is a large sand and rock cliff with a massive Chilean flag on the top. The driest desert in the world surrounds Arica on 3 sides but there is surprisingly little dust or sand in the air.

    I took a tour to the archeological museum and an olive farm; the others went to the desert to see giant sculptures; they also visited the museum.

    My tour started at a small replica village with a church and a group of small houses which now serve as artisanal workshops. Unfortunately, it was a bit early for the artists but we wondered around in the sunshine and visited a lovely small Catholic church. A notable feature of the church is the hand-painted stations of the cross, done by indigenous artists.

    Second stop was the Museo Arqueologico San Miguel de Azapa (archeological museum) with its display of mummies. These mummies include 2 of the oldest mummies in the world. They are from the Chinchorro Indian civilization. These 8,000 year old mummies continue to be found around Arica as the community spreads. The display was very well done, if a bit unsettling.

    Our last stop was an olive farm to learn about agriculture in the valley. The first 30 olive vines were sent by the King of Spain to the rulers of Peru (who controlled this area at that time). Only one plant survived to be planted. From that single vine has grown a robust olive industry, totally dependent on drip irrigation and water from deep wells. The water for irrigation comes from a canal originating in the Andes. The farmers join co-operatives and 'buy' access to the water which is monitored and restricted to a few hours on specific days. Olive trees send deep roots (as deep as they are tall) which presumably helps them find sources of deep ground water to supplement the irrigation. The farm we visited grew three types of olives (green, black and mullato) which are brined in large vats for 1-2 years. The pickers are 7-day visa workers from Peru and Bolivia; a good worker can pick 400 kilograms a day and earn $40-50 USD per day.

    From 1500-1700s, Africans were brought to Chile by the Spaniards as slave labour and to replace the declining native population disseminated by disease, natural events (like tsunamis) and pirates. At one point, 90% of the population of the valley was of African descent so many of the current citizens trace their lineage back to Africa.

    The farm we visited also grew mangoes, guavas, papaya and limes. The trees were full of hummingbirds which made for a lovely stop. But the main crop in this area is the hard, pink tomato genetically modified for long-distance shipping. Perhaps some of tasteless winter tomatoes come from this valley!

    On our trip back to the ship, we saw some geoglyphs on the side of the hills which were surprisingly clear and easy to see.

    While some of our group really liked the strange, moon-like look and feel of the desert, I found the monochromatic landscape and the lack of green unsettling. To me the surrounding desert and the degree of effort required to keep it at bay, seemed unnatural. Our guide (whose other job is as a clinical psychologist) tells us that anxiety and depression are the main emotional complaints in the adult population; that did not surprise me.
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  • Day34

    Santiago, Chile

    November 26, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Today started on a rough note.We docked in San Antonio, a rough looking industrial port. Barb Trodd has a bad case of the cold and elected to see the ship's doctor. The rest of us headed out to meet our Tours by Locals guide on a misty, overcast and cool day. Victor Hugo (the guide) was late due to traffic problems and when he arrived, advised that we should change our plans and go to Santiago, rather than Valparaiso. His reasoning was that Valparaiso was due to have foggy and rainy weather all day so the touring would be pour. Santiago, the capital city, was forecast to have sunny and hot weather. So, despite our disappointment, we decided to take his recommendation.

    In the end, this turned out to be a good choice. Wendy and I, in particular liked Santiago and felt that it would warrant a return, multi-day trip.

    Santiago is the capital of Chile and is a very attractive city. It's 49 public parks (which are watered year round) have a wide variety of tress and flowers. As we were visiting on a beautiful Sunday, they were well used by the city's 8 million people. The people we saw appeared prosperous. Lots of families and very few street people. During the day, this is a safe city to walk in as there is a heavy presence of Carbineros (armed police officers), who, according to our guide, did not accept bribes. Noteworthy in South America, I guess. Definitely noteworthy is that over 50% of the Carbineros are women.

    Santiago was founded in 1541 by the Spanish and built following a street grid model. A river ran through the centre of the city was eventually re-routed and the river bed was used to create a wide boulevard that crosses the whole city. In addition to at least 2 lanes of traffic in each direction, it has a park-like boulevard for it's entire length. 47 districts have developed within the city, each with its own mayor! Hard to believe, but the mayors must work together to address common needs. It seems to be working as the streets, sidewalks, parks, monuments etc all seem to be in good condition and well maintained. Web saw very little litter or graffiti.

    Many of the neighborhoods have specialties such as specific products (for example shoes or women's clothing), restaurants and nightclubs, upper class housing and so on. Of course, ground zero is the Playa de Armas where the Spanish founded the city. Here, as in much of the downtown core, there is a mix of ultra modern buildings and Colonial structures (with a distinct Spanish look). Some of the modern buildings have unique facades. This mix makes for a visually interesting city.

    Behind the Presidential palace, now an administrative building, we watched the changing of the guard. It was a ceremony with soldiers, horses, and a band and very reminiscent of the ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

    But it was the flowers everywhere that I will remember the most. We finished our tour in the lovely Estacia Santa Lucia which is a part at the highest city point. The profusion of trees and flowers, and the care taken with the gardens was unlike any we had seen elsewhere in South America. When we climbed to the highest point and looked out over the city with the Andes in the distance, Wendy commented that it reminded her of Vancouver. I had to agree.
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  • Day32

    Puerto Montt, chile

    November 24, 2017, South Pacific Ocean ⋅ 🌧 0 °C

    Puerto Montt is a relatively young city, founded in 1853 after immigration sponsored by Germany. The German influence is still strong with a significant percentage of the population identifying with a German heritage and it supports a German school.

    Puerto Montt has gained renown as the second largest salmon producer in the world (after Norway). The economy is strong and unemployment at 3%. It is the capital of the region (Chile has regions rather than states or provinces). It is also home to 4 universities and 5 technical schools and has a stong public and private education system.

    This area is known as the Lakes District and has 2,000 islands, only half of which are inhabited. The houses are typically clad in wooden shakes, in a scalloped pattern which gives the houses a European flavor. The houses built by the early German immigrants are large, 2 stories houses with turrets and lots of windows. They would not look out of place in downtown Toronto.

    The houses built by the Chilean people tend to be single-story and much simpler. They are heated by wood, although Chile is making efforts to develop renewable energy. Stores and industries tend to be in steel clad buildings, all of which look very similar so it is difficult to know who is making or selling, what. Neighborhoods are doted with small mini-marts, often built into the ground floor of the family home.

    The main employers in this area are the salmon fishery, farming (dairy, pork and potatoes) and tourism; fly fishing is a big draw to this area.

    From Puerto Montt, we drove to Frutillar, a charming Bavarian-style village on the edge of Lago Llanquihue.. It was a beautiful drive along a winding road and we kept catching glimpses of Volcan Osorno which gradually emerged as morning mist burned off. (It bears a strong resemblance to Mount Fuji.) Frutillar is reminiscent of the tourist areas like Niagara on the Lake or Lake Louise. Fortunately it is the start of the summer so the crowds were minimal. There is clearly a pride of property here and the gardens were gorgeous with rhododendrons, roses, lilies, lilacs, wisteria and others in full bloom.

    We finished our day with lunch and craft shopping in Puerto Vares before hitting one more craft market just outside the pier gates. The weather improved steadily all day and by the time we returned to the ship, our jackets were off!

    Thank you to the Hadleys for arranging this tour with ViaTours.

    ,
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  • Day31

    Puerto Chacabuco, Chile

    November 23, 2017 in Chile ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    I am officially calling this the “All Seasons Cruise"! Buenos Aires was summer, Montevideo was fall, Port Stanley to Laguna San Rafael was winter and today in Puerto Chacabucco, we found spring.

    It is a lovely day here, mid-60's (or about 16 C) with brilliant sunshine. Brian and I were off on a private tour with 2 other couples to the Simpson Valley and Coyhaique; the others are doing the same route with a ship excursion. Lautaro is our Tours by Locals guide. There have been lectures on board about the history and culture of this area so we know he was named for a famous Maputo indian who led his nation at the time of the Spanish invasion. The Maputo are the only indigenous tribe to defeat the Spanish and hold on to their land. Lautaro tells us that the Maputo have intermarried for generations with the Europeans and other South Americans but there still is a note of pride as he speaks of his heritage.

    Our trip today included a trip up the Simpson Valley to Coyhaique, the regional capital. Puerto Chacabuco originally was the capital but Pinochet decided to move it to Coyhaique, a more central location. To entice skilled workers, he offered a guaranteed job and tax free cars. Given that this is a remote city with access only by one road and air, this is a strong incentive but the purchaser has to live in Coyhaique. Pinochet threw money and manpower at completion of a paved road up the valley and built a modern road in record time. This is a region where 70% of roads are gravel. Close to Coyhaique, the road changes from asphalt to brick. Why? Because due to the heavy rain fall, the ground shifts, making it very difficult to maintain an asphalt surface. (It rains in Puerto Chacabuco 280 days a year!).

    Coyhaique means ‘between waters’. It is where the Simpson and Coyhaique rivers meet. The Simpson Valley and river were named for the European explorer who was searching for a route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Now it is a popular fly fishing destination for trout and salmon. We stumbled on a school projects display in the Placa des Armes and had fun talking to the kids.

    Halfway between Coyhaique and Puerto Chacabuco is Puerto Aysen, a small town of 22,000. The main employers are the forestry and the fishing industries. Puerto Chacabuco is an industrial port and while it has invested in a lovely cruise terminal, it does not have much to offer a tourist.

    This was a very successful day. We finally saw the Andes, saw more of the land and enjoyed beautiful sunshine.

    Next stop is Puerto Montt.
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  • Day30

    Laguna San Rafael, Chile

    November 22, 2017 in Chile ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

    Cruise time-zombie-ism has set in so I am starting to mix up my days. Sometime between the Chilean Fjords and Laguna San Rafael (also a fjord), Brian and I caught a cold. After getting norovirus (a particularly nasty intestinal bug) a few cruises ago, I am compulsive about not touching common surfaces. I punch elevator buttons, use stair rails, and open doors with a scarf or the edge of my shirt between my hand and the surface. So I am particularly unhappy that I caught this cold.

    Bonnie, Wendy and I went on the catamaran trip to the face of the San Rafael glacier. The fjord was discovered by Diaz-Gallarde in 1575. It is 10 miles long by 7 miles wide. It is part of a national park (a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve), much loved by hikers and adventure travelers.

    It is described by tourist information as a place of "stunning natural beauty" which may be true but on the day we were there, the clouds were low, the wind was cold and mostly we looked at mist. It was an hour down the laguna to see the face of the glacier and we were not hopeful. But, as luck would have it, the sky cleared when we arrived and we were able to see the glacier covering the hillside. There was not enough contrast for my camera but I did get some ok pictures of small ice bergs (which the tour operator calls 'burgy-bytes')

    The ice bergs varied from quite black to white to a very intense blue and in size from a loaf of bread to a bus. The catamaran captain threaded his way through the ice bergs, in a calm sea and got us fairly close to the glacier itself.

    I was dressed for a bad Canadian winter day and glad of it when the mist came in off of the glacier itself.

    Seeing the sun made us hopeful for the next couple of days as we continue to head north.
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  • Day29

    Chilean fjords

    November 21, 2017 in Chile ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Sailing through the Chilean fjords yesterday on a rainy, misty day reminds us of scenes from Lord of the Rings. The Alps are obscured by low cloud but the hills on the edge of the fjord was have a strangely compelling look. The rolling foothills are covered with shrubby trees and little else. Rock faces rise straight from the water or form small islands dotted along the way.

    The Captain informs us that this is a tricky transit. In spots the channel is not deep, in other parts not wide. We have two pilots on board to assist the captain. (The pilots are local experts who know the fjords and their tricky parts, well).

    We entered the fjords from the Straits of Magellen. The Andes are to our right (as we go north) and extend well into Columbia. This far south, there are two spines of mountains formed eons ago through volcanic activity (the Andes and Nazca plates) and glaciation. The professor on board tells us that the Andes rise 2000 ft. above the water line and 2000 ft. below the water line. They are considered immature mountains which mean they are still adding about 100 ft. each year. Between the spines is a broad plain. In Peru, this is where Machu Pichu and Lake Titicaca are situated. Brian and I had the adventure of visiting them both a few years ago and it is interesting now to learn their geologic history. (Lake Titicaca is the highest lake in the world at 12,000 ft. above sea level).

    We sail through the Shoal Narrows and see the Leonore shipwreck and then sail through the Grey Narrows. Other than a few birds and a small pod of dolphins, we do not see any wildlife in this bleak environment. The ultimate destination today is the Skua glacier (sometimes called the Amalia glacier). Unfortunately there is a light (cold) rain when we get to the glacier face so the view and our pictures are disappointing. Even Kathleen's good camera found the low grey skies, grey rain, grey water and white glacier a challenge to figure out.

    One of our Canadian in-jokes is the people who expected the cruse to get warmer as we headed south. We see people every day in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops as we walk by in our toques and gloves. Who knows what they are thinking now that we are headed north! It continues to be in the mid-40s F. or 9 C. and is very windy.

    Today is a sea day getting us in position to visit the glacier at Laguna San Rafael on Wednesday. More bridge time (Trodds), walking (Bonnie and Kathleen), gym time (Peter, Brian and I) and of course, eating...the main cruise activity Bonnie added line dancing today and we will all show up for our daily humiliation at Team Trivial Pursuit.
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  • Day26

    Punta Arenas

    November 18, 2017 in Chile ⋅ 🌬 4 °C

    Punta Arenas is on the Straits of Magallan and in the 1900's was a wealthy maritime port. Originally established in 1848 as a penal colony and the remains of the original fort and colony can be found north of town.

    In its hay-day, wealthy citizens from Europe, escaping WW I, came to make their fortunes in sheep framing, coal, gold and shipping. The wealthiest families built mansions around the central square, Plaza Munoz Gamero. The most opulent of these was built for Sara Braun by her husband, Fernando Menendez. It is not open to the public as it has been taken over for use by an exclusive club.

    The Braun-Menendez family were the Vanderbilts of their time and place. Having made a huge fortune, she sponsored the town cemetery (amongst other civic projects). The cemetery is ranked as one of the Top Ten in the world by CNN, so of course, we had to go see it. I do not know if it deserves to be in the top ten but it was a lovely cemetery with some pretty impressive tombs.

    Just south of the cemetery, is the statue to the sheep herders who helped to settle the land, driving out the indigenous people as they went. The native people were nomadic so the Europeans saw huge swaths of land that looked unclaimed, only to have the native peoples wonder back in after they had established ranches and herds. The Catholic church contributed to the decline of the native people by placing the children into schools and spreading contagious diseases. A "plus ca change..."

    A eye-opening stop for our group was the Nao Magellan, an open air museum of famous ships. The park has a full scale replica of The Beagle (Charles Darwin's ship), the cutter used by Ernest Shackleton when he fled the Endurance on the arctic ice, and Ferdinand's ship. Our unanimous conclusion was that we could not be paid enough to sail these ships away from Europe and into the unknown. Truly awe-inspiring!

    We also went to two museums: 1) Museo Regional Salesiano Maggiorino Borgatello (established by the Silesian missionaries as a record of the flora, fauna and cultural history of the Magellans) and the Museo Regional Braun Menendez (a Braun-Menendez house converted to a museum of how the family lived - think gold gilt, silk, and crystal chandaliers).

    We will also remember the weather. The wind was pretty relentless and the temperature hovered around 46 F or 6 C. But in the 5 hours we were in town (mostly walking), the sun came out 2-3 times, it snowed twice, it hailed once or twice, it rained once and it snowed. Thanks heavens for down jackets and toques!

    As we gained a day bypassing Ushuaia, we have another day in Ponte Arenas tomorrow.
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  • Day25

    Ushuaia...not

    November 17, 2017 in Argentina ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    On our last sea day, before the Falklands, we had a rough sea day. The swells were in the 25 ft. range, with winds close to 50 kms per hour. All the outside decks were closed and walking on the upper decks was very tricky. I (Christine) had a mild case of sea sickness and did not eat until the seas calmed down, around dinner time.

    So imagine the fear and trepidation felt by all when the captain announced that there was a significant storm around Ushuaia and we would be bypassing that port. Winds of 50 kms and swells twice as high as the last time were predicated. So we are bypassing the Beagle Channel and heading straight to Ponte Arenas.

    Imagine our relief to wake up this morning to relatively calm seas. So the captain's plan is working, so far.

    I thought this might be a good time to describe the ship and a typical day. All cruise ships have their own personalities and rhythms. Sirena is a smallish ship with 600 passengers and about 400 crew. The cabins are a typical size but the public areas are all, as you might expect, just a bit smaller. There are only 2 dance floors (one in the forward bar on the top deck) and one in the theatre, where the evening shows are staged. We feel the absence of the dedicated dance floor that we are used to on the 1,000+ ships.

    The music/entertainment is provided by a string quartette which plays in the main foyer and in the forward bar, once per day. The stage band is 6 pieces; with a woman who plays saxophone. Almost no one dances. As a result, as soon as the band sees us, they play a chacha in the hope that we will get up and encourage others to join us. So far, we pretty much dance alone! We expected lots of tango music but so far, it has been limited to the formal shows.

    As expected, this is an older crowd so given that (and the weather), there are no pool games, pool dance band, late night dance parties etc. Pretty much everything stops at mid-night..

    But during the day, there are bridge lessons, a needlepoint group, lectures from a visiting professor, trivia games, shuffleboard , and indoor bean bag toss and putting contests. One of the much appreciated innovations, is a subscription for a daily newspaper. The ship receives the news by internet, prints it and delivers to our cabin. We are getting USA Today (daily) for Brian and The New York Times (3 times per week) for me. Unlike other ships, there are no dance lessons, which we miss.

    So, on a typical day, we all get up and go to breakfast independently and then go off to different activities. Wendy joins the needlepoint group, the Trodds do the bridge lessons. Brian hits the gym. Kathleen and Bonnie walk the deck before breakfast. I usually go to the library to read (and listen to people snore!) Peter and Kathleen love the afternoon high tea. We all meet for team trivia at 4:30 p.m. We are not dong very well but it is fun. Then drinks in the forward bar before dinner at 6:30 p.m.

    The food is fabulous and it is a real challenge to keep from overeating. Ralph has gotten special consideration for his dietary needs. He is given a special menu to choose from and then he is reassured each time he is served that the dish is gluten free. Very impressive.

    Next port, Puerto Arenas.
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