We are onboard and underway, on our cruise to Iceland and Greenland. But we weren’t sure that this would happen. I had complications from surgery the week before we left for Amsterdam and I didn’t get clearance from the docs until Friday afternoon. We flew to Amsterdam on Sunday. While waiting I could not bring myself to do things that I normally do in preparation. … Continue reading Rising to Sea Level, the North Sea Canal.
March 16, 2015, Sitka, Alaska How could this be my 75th post for a 68 day cruise? OK, one post was anticipation and this one is a coda, written after we got home but still… I averaged more than one post a day. I’ve also posted more than 1700 pictures. It’s reasonable to ask; did he do anything but blog? Did he actually enjoy the … Continue reading Coda, Prinsendam Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage
February 28, Manaus, Brazil It’s a pleasant anachronism. The Manaus Opera House (Theater of the Amazon) was built by the Rubber Barons at the end of the 19th century. The house is decadent; angels, theatrical masks, a painted curtain and a ceiling mural with a Murano glass chandelier hanging from its center. It was designed for grand opera and grand drama. Enrico Caruso was scheduled … Continue reading A Pleasant Anachronism or Nintindo in the Jungle.
February 23, 2015 Sailing around the eastern hump of Brazil We are just coming off of 5 ports in 5 days. Everyone thinks this is too much. The ports tend to merge into one another. It’s easy to fall into the “Tuesday it must be (name a port.)” trap. One person who we met at breakfast said that it was like visiting Cleveland, Toledo, Dayton, … Continue reading Thoughts on a Sea Day
February 22, 2015 Natal, Brazil Poor Natal. This is the fifth port day in a row and we were low on energy. Natal has huge sand dunes. Some took dune buggy trips. We watched the dunes as we sailed by on the ship. Natal has a star shaped fort built by the Dutch. (Natal was New Amsterdam before New York was.) Some went to visit … Continue reading Missed the Giant Cashew Tree, Got the Chocolate Pizza
February 21, 2015 Recife Brazil What you notice first in sailing into Recife (which means “reef’ in Portuguese, it’s surrounded by them) is what looks like a giant asparagus. It sits there looking, I think, kind of silly. When I asked about it a local told me it was a sculpture that represents humanity. He paused, no he doesn’t get it either. We didn’t spend … Continue reading Asparagus and the Birth of New York’s Jewish Community
February 21, 2015 Olinda, Brazil Olinda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site six kilometers from Recife. It was on high ground and so would be easier to defend than Reciefe, so the Portuguese thought. They were wrong. The Dutch took it and stripped the churches of their fine baroque fittings and made them into proper plain Dutch Reformed Churches. Some two decades later the Portuguese … Continue reading Oh Linda! It’s Not a Doo Wop Song
February 22, 2015 Off the East Coast of Brazil. I have posted three pages with pictures of Salvador Bahia, Combat Dancing, one on churches and one on the extended carnival in Salvador. But there are pictures that I took and some random thoughts that do not fit into a topical post so here they are. The Afro-Brazilian museum has displays interpreting the slave trade and … Continue reading Loose Ends in Salvador
February 18, 2015 Ilheus, Brazil Ash Wednesday, the churches are open and workers are taking down the bleachers and stages from Carnival and sweeping up the streamers and confetti. The Prinsendam seems to be doing a little penance itself. The shore crew told us that the port was walking distance from downtown. The ship docked a little after 9, a little before 9:30 we got … Continue reading Chocolate Colonels
February 19, 2015, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil Carnival is over but in Salvador it ends later than in Rio, and Salvador claims it throws a bigger party than Rio, which bills its carnival as “The biggest party in the world.” In Salvador the carnival, according to the books I have read, revolves around blocos, or block parties, that have become movable feasts. Bands played on stages, … Continue reading Carnival Just Keeps on Coming, Salvador, Bahia
February 19, 2015 Salvador, Bahia, Brazil St. Francis would be appalled but would probably recognize it. I wonder what Pope Francis thinks. In an ironic statement the Franciscan church and monastery in Salvador, Bahia is laden with gold. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures … Continue reading What Would St. Francis Do?
February 16, 2015 Sailing out of Rio “The Chrysler Building Gets Religion.” At least that what the statue of Christ the Redeemer on the top of Corcovado reminds me of, although I think this art deco “wonder of the modern world” predates the Chrysler Building. On Monday morning we wanted to sleep in after our evening at the Sambodormo. Holland America had other ideas. Some … Continue reading The Chrysler Building Gets Religion
February 15, 2015 Rio Dear Friends, Anyone who has traveled in India, North Africa or the Middle East knows the ritual of a visit to Uncle Tonoose’s carpet shop. In South America there is a VERY upscale version of that trip. H. Stern Jewelers is based in Rio with stores internationally. In Latin America a favorite of many tourists is the H Stern Shuttle. It … Continue reading The Girl in Ipanema
February 15, 2015 Rio I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. Therefore I was rewarded as we sailed past sugar loaf just before sunrise watching the pilot boat drop off the harbor pilot on Prinsendam. We watched the sun behind us reflect on the water and mountains. The statue of Christ the Redeemer’s lights went out when the light reached a certain level. Then we … Continue reading Manha de Carnaval
February 14, 2015 Santos Brazil I knew three things about Santos, Brazil, they have a beach, Santos FC was the home club of Pele, arguably the greatest football player, and they “got a lot of coffee.” I know the last because Frank Sinatra, in a 1946 recording that he covered again and again sang; “No tea, or tomato juice, you’ll see no potato juice Cause … Continue reading The Planters down in Santos all say…
February 11, 2015 Punta del Este, Uruguay Dear Friends, It was going to be a beach day. I had gone through my guide books and decided the highest and best use of this day would be sitting on the beach with a book and some swimming. With us it’s not always that easy. We got off the boat and there were some fishing boats. Since … Continue reading Just a Beach Day, With a Giant Hand and a Totem Pole
February 9, 2015 Buenos Aires, Argentina, Suzi and I decided to look at the lights of Buenos Aries. We arrived at the Obelisk in the Plaza of the Republic, which sits in the middle of July 9 Avenue, the widest avenue in BA just before 7 PM and were greeted by a garish advertising sign advertising Coke FM, an on line radio station. We walked … Continue reading Steak, Hold the Salt
February 9, 2015 Buenos Aires, Argentina Today seemed to be a battle of icons and it fought itself out in many different visual images and in discussions. There are four icons in Buenos Aires, two are almost universally loved, and two are passionately loved and hated. The four are Eva Peron, Che, Diego Maradona and Pope Francis. Maradona and the Pope are loved, Eva and … Continue reading Four Icons in Buenos Aires
February 8, 2015 Montevideo, Uruguay A week from tonight we plan to be at the Sunday night carnival parade in Rio. Today we are in Montevideo, Uruguay. Montevideo’s carnival lasts for 40 days, starting the 40 days before Ash Wednesday. Instead of parades stages are set up in neighborhoods with performances rotating around the city. I wish the ship were not sailing at 5 PM … Continue reading Recycled Carnival
February 2, 2008 Andvord Bay, Paradise Harbor and Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctica, During the Alaska summer I get little sleep. I don’t sleep with curtains drawn so generally wake up early and go to bed late. I figure I will make it up in the winter when I sleep a lot more. This trip is messing with my annual sleep cycle, because the sun is up … Continue reading Paradise to a Whaling Captain
January 12, 2015 Salaverry, Peru Tourism doesn’t wear well on me. I mean that literally. In Sitka I am used to seeing people off of Holland America ships wearing day glow dots with the line’s logo and a big number, indicating the bus they assign you to. I am not normally a tour type of guy but when you’re in a place for only a … Continue reading Cities that Melt Away in the Rain
January 10, 2015 Montecristi, Ecuador. Montecristi was founded as an inland and upland town close to Manta that was more protected than Manta from English sea dog pirates and privateers. Today most tourists come to Montecristi to see how Panama Hats are made and to buy one. That’s what was on my mind when we hopped a cab from Manta. Hats from Montecristi became popular … Continue reading Politics and Panama Hats, (Montecristi, Ecuador)
January 10, 2015 Manta, Ecuador Manta, Ecuador is a Tuna and Gringo town. Its main business is tuna fishing but it is also interested in attracting American retirees. We saw ads for retirement services, American clinics and of course shopping malls. There are also nice beaches. It’s also convenient for American retirees that the US dollar is the legal currency in Ecuador. I didn’t know … Continue reading Tuna and Tourists (Manta, Ecuador)
On the way out of the Panama Canal Prinsendam passes the huge container port of Balboa with the skyline of Panama City beyond. Panama City is a shock. It has a skyline that looks like Dubai or Doha. One skyscraper has an outline similar to the “sail” motif of Burj al Arab in Dubai. On the breakwater separating the canal from the city the new … Continue reading Dubai on the Isthmus