This picture is carried over from Christmas Day, as even I thought it might not be appropriate then:
The Pot Shop was open, too, and that plant on the left was alive and growing, in its window.
Thursday, December 27, was a sea day, and I had a good few people at the desk. I was glad to see Daniela and Ventura del Rio, as they are part of the group of 28, within our group, and were very helpful in sorting out the names. Spanish names can be very long, as they give great reverence to their ancestors. It’s a lovely custom, but it makes keeping a manifest a lot harder.
Six cabins needed duplicate folders. I swear they throw them out and then claim they never saw them. Some of them admit that when they get the second one. I always have one handicap problem, too. This time it is the matriarch of a group of eighteen. The ship had refused to take her on the tender in Punta del Este. She is in a wheelchair, but can climb stairs, etc. Her kids, of which there are five, were worried that she would not be able to do our shore excursion because Puerto Montt is a tender port, too. This isn’t over.
Jorge, our friend from the helipad, had called back and we six were going to dinner in Luminae, with him, Javier and Julius. We had to eat early, though, which was fine with us, as we wanted to see the show. Dinner was excellent, both food and conversation. Luminae, the Suites’ dining room, is a little more soignée than the main Dining Room, and they have the best staff on the ship. The sommelier stopped the “who gets to pay for the champers” fight, that I was having with Jorge, by faking me into thinking that I had. She took my card and gave me a receipt, but a couple of nights later, there was a bottle left in our 7-bottle package, when it should have been done.
Then the whole staff outdid itself when a family with about eight unruly kids came in and they fed them and got them out in twenty minutes flat. They were a long twenty minutes, mind you. You don’t see such badly behaved kids in the main dining room, either. I’m guessing the parents don’t feel quite as entitled, there.
The show was called “Topper” and it was very clever. Too bad I fell asleep during the acrobats, as they are my favorite part.
Finally, it was Friday, December 28, time for our penguin tour in Puerto Madryn. We were all keen on walking among the Magellan penguins of Punta Tombo, so I had booked a private tour with Edgardo of “Tour Guide Ushiaia”. It got off 45 minutes late, when Andrea went ahead to find the Guide, while I waited for the last couple. She managed to walk past four people she knew well, and a guy with a large sign saying “Helen Megan Group”, to get all the way to the port entrance. When she didn’t come back to me to say she had found the guy with the sign, and I had waited long enough, I went back on board to verify that she was still off. Then I went up to where the sign was, and we all waited again. We only found her, at the port entrance, when we had decided to give up and go without her.
As we were leaving town, I noted the housing was pretty bleak, but there were a number of people walking good purebred dogs. That sort of thing always interests me. I guess they are a minor status symbol. We skirted a town called “Trelew”, which is a Welsh name. Imagine them being the first settlers. They arrived in 1865.
We made up some of the lost time by buying a sandwich lunch at a gas station, and eating it on the bus. It was actually pretty good, Sorrento ham and cheese. The scenery on the long bus ride was pretty bleak, punctuated by guanaco, a type of llama. There are also rodent deer, called caviamara, but we never saw any.
We sure saw a lot of penguins, though. They’re very lovable, but quite scrappy. The males spend a lot of time standing erect and screaming “This land is MY Land”. We saw a very nasty fight over a great nesting spot, under the footbridge. I was mystified, because the chicks were born over a month ago, and the penguins would migrate to Brazil in April, to return again next year. They would doubtless have to fight for it all over again.
This little guy thought Patrick’s shoes were other penguins and he came in to challenge them. Patrick got a very lucky shot that looks like he is holding the screaming penguin. He wasn’t:
The weather was wonderful, in the high seventies. I wondered why it wasn’t much colder, like Alaska is in summer. Our guide had the explanation. It has to do with the shape of the continents. South America tapers to a point, so the oceans keep it a lot warmer than North America, where the land mass at Alaska’s level is about five thousand miles wide.
It was the kind of day to toast, and we have a new one. It’s “Pura Vida” and Central and South Americans use it for everything.
We were back at sea on Saturday, December 29. Our desk hours competed with the ship’s Bridge and Kitchen tours and not a soul came. Finally, I got around to logging and blogging. With any luck I won’t still be doing it two weeks after the cruise, which happens. The six of us had another very nice dinner in the dining room and went to another production show, called “Amade”. We couldn’t figure out the connection to Mozart, mind you.