Onboard and first port...
Santiago Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
On Sunday morning, we took a taxi down to Valparaiso. It's a two hour drive when you go the scenic route which is via wineries on the way and Vina Del Mar. Vina Del Mare is World Heritage protected and it's easy to see why. It's a big town set on a hill, the buildings and houses have a really unique style of architecture with many standard buildings being the same as back home until you get to the top floors and then there is a swiss chalet type effect on the top level and roof. It's different to anything I,ve seen before. The town is speckled in pastel colours of the varying houses and there are parks, fountains and bridges scattered around. It's really pretty! As you approach the waterfront of this old port (now replaced by Valparasio, it's neighbour) it's fun and everything is happening down here. It feels a bit like Monaco - even has a swank casino.
So, driving through here was both gut wrenching and loud. Billy and I had discussed staying down here for the night before the cruise but said no for a few reasons. We couldnt find anything cheap and available, thought it wouldn't be that special and thought moving us all with our 8 pieces of luggage would be a fag. So that was our gut wrenching moment of regret which was set to the loud and annoying soundtrack of both the kids winging "why didnt we stay here, this looks really nice". So if you're ever in this part of the world - stay in Vina Del Mare!
Onboard the Radiance of the Seas, it was everything we thought it would be. Big, loud and impressive. Everything was polished and shiny, music playing in the foyer, glass lifts yo-yo'ing up and down the Centrum. Mostly Americans onboard. It's not a full cruise - about 3/4 I'd say. The amount of food consumed is astounding! My "I'm not taking the lifts at all" plan was pretty much ruined when I found out we we're on level 3 and everything fun was on level 11/12.
Last night was fun!! It was 70's night. Billy and I did the "name that 70's tune" game and won. The kids had a party in the kids club so Billy and I hit the Starquest lounge for some serious 70's dancing. It wouldn't be a true 70's night without the appearance of the Village People. The We want you, we want you, we want you as a new recruit belted out on the dance floor as the guys did their stuff to In the navy. Always a fan of the construction worker, the cowboy, the indian....ok, all of them - I loved the whole flashback. The guys were really good and the crowd loved them!
Today was our first day in port after two days at sea. We went to Puerto Montt. It was nothing spectacular (as we'd been told it wouldnt be) and so we took the local bus to Puerto Varas. Billy foolishly took the advise of the captain by wearing only a light jumper and no jacket at all after we were told there would be just a chance of light showers.
It was very much a moment of "are we having fun yet?" and with the exception of watching Billy get thoroughly soaked and scurrying like a rat from tree cover to bus shelter seeking a dry spot - it wasnt great fun. All in all though, we soldiered on through the weather. Bought Billy a jacket, Lauren some gum boots and we explored Puerto Varas in the rain. You could really see how pretty this town would be if it wasn't the worst weather ever. There's a strong German heritage in this town and you can see hints of it from the souerkraut on the menu to the chalet type housing.
Thanks for the emails!!! Received way too many asking who Billy is. Dim and I met Billy at a beach bar in Goa in '06. We were debating a Bob Dylan clip when Billy (from Belfast) jumped in and clarified. He hung with us in Goa for a few days and tolerated our constant banter, aided our bartering and drank with us in the evening. Emails passed and last year all three of us caught up again in Prague for 3 days of pretty much the same. Apart from his appauling palm reading skills :) he's good craic and way too easy to travel with.
Consider getting a T-shirt printed with: ``I’m single. The weird Irishman just keeps following me around. Please call the police. He frightens me.’’.
Pretend he is your oldest son, but that he has that weird disease that makes kids age prematurely.
Make him wear black pants, a white shirt and fetch things for you all day and tell everyone he is your personal waiter. Then offer his services out to others on board. Tell everyone he works for pretzels.
Make him wear a dress and wig and say he is your au pair.
Pretend he doesn’t exist. If anyone mentions him to you, just look puzzled, shake you head slowly, say ``who?’’ and then change the subject.
Start passing out his mobile number to desperate women you see on board.
Get him drunk, shave his eyebrows and chain him naked to the ships staircase. It won’t help with your problem – but how much fun would that be!!!
Tell him you stashed beer in the toilet cistern to keep it cold and when he goes in search, lock him in there for the rest of the trip. It’s not cruel He’ll have water and a place to sit down.
If it gets too much, just get him drunk and push him overboard.