Monthly Archives: November 2013

Home from the Zaandam

The HAL transfer from Valparaiso to Santiago went smoothly, the bus trip taking about 2 and a half hours. We were transported to a day room at the Sheraton. After dropping all of my carry-on’s, I purchased a 3 hour wifi card from the Sheraton for 3,000 pesos, about $6 US. Early in the afternoon, Keith arrived at the hotel. We decided to have lunch on the patio overlooking the pool. The weather was gorgeous. A lovely lunch consisting of splitting a sandwich and fries, 1 coke, and 1 coffee came to $30 US plus tip. Outrageous… but worth it for a lovely afternoon.

We were transferred to the airport at Santiago. A nice touch… our luggage was placed on carts for us before we arrived. After checking in, I went through security…. and had forgotten scissors in my carryon. They were taken from me. This might sound like nothing… but the scissors had been my mother-in-law’s and had been mine since the ’70’s. I almost cried.

I flew from Santiago to Miami, 9:35 pm to 4:25 am. Thru customs, claiming luggage, and rechecking took some time. Then on to Jacksonville. I was outside the Jacksonville airport waiting for my sister to pick me up at 9:35 am on Tuesday, November 5.

Home with a cold. And finally feeling the sleep deprivation.

The total distance of the voyage was 4,646, with Captain P. J. van Maurik, Hotel Director Rene Tuinman, and Cruse Director Kelsey Adami. I can’t say that I enjoyed the voyage nearly as much as I usually do. The Zaandam is not up to HAL standards as far as service and ambience.

However, I am now planning the 2014 Grand World Voyage segment on the Amsterdam from Hong Kong to Ft. Lauderdale. The ship will be filled with friends which I have learned is a big component of the enjoyment of the cruise.

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VALPARAISO, CHILE

After disembarking in Valparaiso, I took a Holland American Line transfer to Santiago. We were taken to the Sheraton Hotel to a hospitality room and from there to the airport later in the day. The bus trip from Valparaiso to Santiago was about 2 and a half hours.

There are two women, Evelyn and Michelle, who are vying for the presidency of Chile.

We drove through the longest tunnel in South America, about 3 km. We crossed Route 5, the Pan American Highway which runs from Alaska to Puerto Montt.

On Columbus Day, the Mapuche people held an anti-Columbus Day rally. These indigenous people are still “at war” with the state, wishing to reclaim their lands.

The Zaandam sailed 4,646 miles from Ft. Lauderdale to Valparaiso.

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COQUIMBO, CHILE

From the Explorer: Europeans first experienced this region in 1535 after an expedition crossing 15,580 foot high Paso de San Francisco. Coquimbo was founded several years later, its name meaning “place of calm waters.” In pre-Columbian times the indigenous people, Diaguita, produced maize, potatoes, and other crops. They were also one of the first civilizations to herd and domesticate llamas.

From the “card on the bed”: Sum ikita is good night. Aymaran is one of the two dominant language families of the central Andes. The Aymara are a native ethic group in the Andes and Altiplano regions of South Anerica, predating the Incas.

Joe and I walked around the town, but since it was Sunday, most everything was closed.

Shipboard Life
Two films which had been panned by most critics were shown on the last couple days of the voyage. I attended both.

The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton. I was not expecting to care for this production, but the costuming and the sets were magnificent. And I liked the film also.

The Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, Tom Wilkinson. I had wanted to see this; then the reviews came out, and I decided to save my money. Well, I loved it! And the other Lone Ranger fans in the movie theater loved it also. Clapping all around when the William Tell overture began!

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ARICA, CHILE

Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th Century, the Inca ruled northern Chile while the Mapuche inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared its independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern regions. Today, Chile is a stable democratic nation.

The New York Times reported that a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit north-central Chile on October 31. This is near Coquimbo, our next port of call.

Keith, Joe, and I hired a taxi and driver to drive us to Putre, about 90 miles into the Andes Mountains from Arica. The farms in the low valleys were growing primarily corn, with some covered lots of tomatoes. There were also quite a few long chicken sheds. As we began to climb, the landscape was completely barren, a high desert. We were taking the highway to Bolivia; it was two years old and in excellent condition. We drove through nothing but sand and rock and eventually passed a borax plant, but nothing else. In the high Andes, suddenly candelabra cactus (which look just like large candelabras) began to appear, and when we reached about 10,044 ft., vegetation began appearing. We made a bathroom stop at about this elevation; I was a little dizzy from the altitude. Perhaps my biggest surprise and most exciting moment was we we came upon a wild vicuna herd. I took photos as quickly as possible. After climbing to 11,500 ft, we descended slightly into the charming and small town of Putre. The cost of this six hour adventure was $100 pp. plus tip. It was worth every penny!

Looking into the harbor near the ship found plenty of wildlife again… birds, sea lions, and jellyfish.

Shipboard Life

Halloween was celebrated on the ship. I wore the mask I had brought from home; it was originally from the Carnival celebration on the Prinsendam on 2012 Grand South America voyage. The staff constructed a large cardboard ship in which they walked dressed as zombies. It was named the ms Zombiedam…. so creative and hilarious.

The Captain gave a talk on the 14 day refit which was immediately prior to the sailing of this voyage. The refit took place at a shipyard owned jointly by Carnival Corp and Royal Caribbean in Freeport, Bahamas. The most interesting tidbit was that if the doors were too small or poorly located for the work, the contractors would cut a hole in the steel hull and use it.

Patrick Muir, the port guide and lecturer, was seated at our table during the Mystery Dinner in the Pinnacle. Patrick was playing the role of Edward in the mystery. He is a personable man from Alaska with entertaining travel stories. His lecture in the showroom was entitled Fire and Ice, a look at the geographical features from volcanoes to glaciers which have formed South America. He began his presentation with the concept of Pangea. For you trivia buffs, the Andes is the longest mountain range, from Venezuela to Cape Horn, 4,400 miles.

Andy Abraham, a soul singer from the UK, entertained in the Mondriaan Lounge.

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