Monday, January 23, 2012 – Coquimbo, Chile –
Started off the day with my client’s having to do a medical disembark via ambulance to the nearest hospital. Not a good way to begin the day. They were our tablemates and we have shared 3 cruises together. I wish them best and we pray they can rejoin us along the trip.
Musicians and loud music greeted us on the gangway. This harbor made it a target of desire for the Spanish, along with the gold and copper in the area. By the 1840s, many Europeans, especially from England, settled in Coquimbo. It is an industrial and shipping center, growing rapidly. Wine grapes are also grown in the region and Chilean wines are world-renowned for their flavor. The city is located on the Pan-American highway, which is 29,800 miles long.
We could walk to the cute town – typically Spanish style with a main plaza, singer, people on the benches, and the main street lined with all kinds of shops. Busy, busy little town. Very steep stairs led up to a very large millennium cross overlooking the town. We tried several places for WIFI and they just did not exist. Finally, someone suggested the mall in the next town, La Serena, where we wanted to go anyway, so we took the public colectivo bus and made our way there. McDonald’s is usually a safe bet for free WIFI but it was down. The other places had no access either. By this time, it was close to 4+ HOURS of searching and I had a list of work to be done that was 1.5 pages long!! If I could only get online and get the work done, I could get out and sightsee. Oh, the frustrations. And then the phone did not work. I was in tears; a real meltdown. Then, miraculously, the phone worked. The cell phone -- not Skype (calling through the computer for approx. $0.02 per minute) so you can imagine the cost of those calls. But at that point, it was just GET IT DONE.
So we worked feverishly, found the coletivo bus to the center of La Serena, a small Spanish-replica town with 29 churches. Lovely main square and simple cathedral. I enjoyed a flavored frozen ice on a stick as we wandered around, we took the bus back to the ship and I was feeling quite ill by this time. Tired, achy, depressed…oh dear. Getting sick. Chills and kept feeling worse. Slept in J’s room that night as she was not well either and
worried about her. No shows or fun stuff. Mark Donoghue was the entertainer.
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 – Valparaiso, Chile
Lovely, lovely day. Valparaiso, one of Chile’s most important seaports, is fast becoming one of the most visited cities in Chile. Built upon dozens of hillsides, the city has cobblestone paths in a newly developed artists’ district overlooking the sea. Is it the site of the Latin America’s oldest stock exchange, the continent’s first volunteer fire department, Chile’s first public library and the oldest Spanish language newspaper in continuous publication in the world. Perfect skies, warm temperatures and met from AFS friends from 35 years ago!!
Maria, from Ecuador, and Vivian, from Bolivia, were with me during my AFS exchange year in Denmark from 1977-1978. What a thrill to be with them - and to meet Maria’s husband, Gonzalo, their son, Juan Diego and their friend, Antony, and Maria’s mother, Rosario. The family is musically gifted and Juan Diego, although confined to a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, has a phenomenal voice, has recorded two CDs, been on TV many times and sung for the Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Ecuador pageants!!
And now he has taken up painting. Very talented young man. Gene and I met Vivian in La Paz, Bolivia, about 20 years ago and since then she has moved to Chile, where her two brothers live. She does translating and used to be a travel agent! They loved exploring the ship and we enjoyed the buffet for lunch. We toured the old section of Valparaiso, high up on the hill, and then to Vina, where the high rises and fancy hotels are along the coast. Very nice day!
Still feeling pretty miserable so I am trying to get to bed tonight early and do as little as possible tomorrow, a sea day.
Our daily paper, sent in via email, told us that a British woman, Felicity Aston, 34, became the first woman to ski alone across Antarctica on Monday, after hauling two sledges around crevasses and over mountains into endless headwinds, past the South Pole and to the coastal ice shelf, persevering for 59 days in near-total solitude. She covered 1084 miles to arrive Monday at Hercules Inlet. CONGRATULATIONS!!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain
Wednesday, January 25 – at sea – formal night / Black and White Officer’s Ball
Met with Medical, worked, Watched the movie, Courageous, and find it quite different and inspirational as compared to other movies in the market. Felt miserable.
Tara Whittaker, a flutist from Oregon, was the entertainer.
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” - Paul Theroux