This week’s email is just a free-form group of notes.
Incidentally, due to 35 knot headwinds, our stop at Curacao has been cancelled, adding to the long list of itinerary hacks.
As of March 1st, anti-COVID masking is optional aboard the ship. Some continue to wear them and many have completely abandoned them. March 4th will see a complete testing of all passengers for COVID because of a requirement by St. Lucia.
Just for fun, I thought you would enjoy a more detailed version of our breakfast in Acapulco:
We decided to grab an early Mexican breakfast at Lonchería La Amiga (Av 5 de Mayo 22, Barrio de Petaquillas), a small restaurant near the port. They only accept Mexican pesos as payment (there is an ATM at a bank a couple of blocks away) and only speak Spanish. We had huevos rancheros and quesadillas (here, resembling empanadas).
I had ordered a coffee, the waitress had asked me “con leche?” (with milk?) to which I said “si” (yes). The waitress came back with a mug of hot milk, a bottle of Nescafe instant coffee, a large soup spoon and a sugar pourer. Not having made an instant coffee since I was a kid, I was clueless about how much I should stir into the milk, so I wiggled the spoon and asked the waitress “quanto?” (how much) to which she answered “veinticinco” (twenty-five), thinking I was asking the price of the coffee (in pesos). I replied “no, quanto”. Thinking I was hopefully dumb, she wrote the number “25” on a paper napkin. I finally made her understand what I was asking by shoveling gestures with the spoon and she answered “Tan fuerte como te gusta“ (as strong as you like it) and walked away.
So one of our tablemates (another engineer) and I put a “sufficient” amount of coffee into the mug along with a “sufficient” quantity of sugar and stirred. And no one was more surprised that I was to find it was a great cup of coffee. I said to my wife that we have to pick up a bottle of Nescafe before we leave Mexico (figuring that the company modifies the taste to suite different country’s preference.
The restaurant specializes in a vast variety of freshly blended fruit juices and smoothies, but prudence had us avoid them despite their appeal. We were made to feel welcome and like we were celebrities. For those who like to try to “go native”, this one is worth a try.
Aruba was fun – visited a butterfly farm, rode a free tram, wandered through a better than expected free archeological museum and got some swimming in.
From there it was on to St. Vincent which, unexpectedly only allowed ship sponsored tours to leave the port – effectively stranding us aboard the ship with the explanation that the island is only 25% vaccinated. The passengers of our small ship are effectively smothered by a huge P&O ship also docked at the port.
We are spending an overnight in Barbados where some passengers will disembark and new ones will join. It will be interesting to see if we net a gain or loss.
In the meantime, the cruise company has announced that we will no longer be spending three days at St. Petersburg Russia because of the Russian attack on Ukraine. There is a lot of speculation about what will replace either the three days or the entire Baltic portion of the cruise if the conflict spreads. Talk about flexible itineraries ?
The Barbados cruise terminal has free Wi-Fi (sometimes shared between the passengers of multiple ships – so can be a bit slow). During CIVID, every shop sprayed our hands with disinfectant, many took our temperature, most people were masked and the vaccination rate is about 70%. Ended up walking over eight miles here – fish market, veggie market, various sights in town, a beach, a rum distillery and a planned trip to a botanic garden.
After a couple of weeks of being aboard a “clean” ship, on March 1st masking became optional - and one port stop since then, after yesterday’s testing, the lady from the medical office in the spacesuit has returned and at least on trivia team is short a player.
We have another 10 days in ports before the next sea day.