Friday, April 8, 2016

Day 3 -- Valparaiso & Norwegian Sun

Valparaiso is an 80 minute drive northwest of Santiago, and is its port city.  The drive is along a toll road mostly 120kph, through the coastal mountains (tunnels) down to the Pacific.  Chile Travel Service sent me a people-mover for the transfer: an unforgettable experience.  Once we hit the freeway, the driver attached flashing lights to his windscreen: and whenever a driver ahead was too slow, on went the lights and a siren.  People moved out of the way quickly!  "Weekend drivers" was his only explanation to me in his limited English.

Checkin at the port reminded me of Brisbane at Fisherman's Island.  We started in a huge barn-like shed where our luggage was tagged and trucked away.  Then we had to fill out a health report and line up to have our papers checked.  Given a bus number, it was then a sit and wait for about half an hour until my number came up.  The ship was berthed at the container wharf, and we drove between mountains of shipping containers lined up on the wharf awaiting removal.  Once on board, another queue to hand over our passports and credit cards for a ship card that acts as door key, ID and credit card for the journey.  

The stateroom (not called cabins here) is very comfortable. I have a Filipino steward who is anxious to please.  All unpacked and did a quick reconnoiter of the ship.  Has a full passenger list this trip, nearly 2000 with 900 crew.  I reckon I am about median age.  Lots of walking sticks and crutches and even a couple of those scooters.  A few young families with little kids, and a sprinkling of teenagers.  I never cease to marvel at the perversity of people.  During the emergency drill a half hour before sailing it was noticeable just how many people object to following instructions and hold everyone else up while they do their own thing.  I congratulated our lifeboat supervisor on her patience.  My own patience wears thin with the public announcements which are given in five languages -- there is no way to switch the speaker system off!

We were about half an hour late in sailing due to delays in getting all the food supplies etc aboard.  Tonight I settled for the Garden Cafe on the aft upper deck for dinner:  it is buffet style.  Very nice meat loaf with veg and side salad.  (Of course that was just my choice -- there was rib roast, cold meats, stir fries, crepes and various other offerings, not to mention the dessert bar and ice cream parlour. )

Had a restless night last night - not got my body clock back into sync yet.  Hopefully tonight will see that all put right.  Tomorrow is all day at sea, so will fit in a couple of brisk walks around the walking track for exercise.

Again a very smoggy day, but not much to photograph in any case.  Just a few pics  Here

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