Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lima or I Think It Is Lima

We wake around 6:30 after a difficult night as the fog horn sounded all night and we are confused, I know this may sound normal but today it is extra odd.  We are not moving, I state “we must be docked but have the pier on the other side”  Bernie laughs no we are still in the harbor.  Fog surrounds the ship, we can barely see the bridge from our just past midship cabin.

Hmmm something is not right with this picture.  We have a tour booked with Taxilima.com with Renato, we are really looking forward to it too.  Renato was very professional with me and answered emails very quickly and even phoned me at home twice to discuss our plans.  We had agreed that he would take the six of us out at a rate of $55 an hour for six hours, the van he had could accommodate more but we just wanted the six of us.

The Captain comes on in all the cabins around 7 to announce that the port is closed currently because of heavy fog, no ships are going in or out and even when it opens we don’t know if we will have priority or not.  It is a waiting game.  I fire an email off to Taxilima stating what we have just found out.  I feel really bad but there is no way to know when we will get into port or even if we will and I know he needs to try and make a wage today.

We take our time getting ready, Bernie is getting my cold so he is relaxing and resting and I dress and head down for a latte and the atrium is packed, the dining rooms are packed with people waiting to go ashore.  The Machu Picchu trip excursion has a group of people waiting to get off, lots of tours are waiting too, and lots of people on private tours are waiting.  I chat with a few of our friends and then decide to head to quieter areas, like my balcony.

Captain Perrin comes on frequently with updates, we still are waiting for the fog to lift but we do have comfirmation that when it does lift we will be the first to come in but even when we get the word to come in it will take an hour to dock and get clearance.  He also lets us know that we need to get in port so we can get fuel.

We hang out, and relax and have some good laughs and over the side we can see huge jelly fish in the water.  We jokingly say that the last time we missed a port Captain Perrin came thru with a great day checking out glaciers, we wonder if he can make it up to us by finding more glaciers. 

Bernie heads to trivia and I head to get a bite to eat with Craig and Barb in Horizon Court.  It is going to be busy here, it is only 11 am but there are no other venues open for lunch except horizon court and International Café and room service. 

Sammi comes on to announce a few new events for the day to occupy our day until we know more.  The movie The Artist is being shown at 11:15 and 1:15 in the Vista Lounge. 

We glance to the right and we see land, actual land and we can’t believe what we see, mountains!  We had no idea it was even there.  Oh maybe the fog is lifting. 

We grab something really quick and as we are eating the Captain comes on to announce the port has just opened, the time is currently 11:15 and should be alongside the dock around 12:30.  The Captain also announced that we all have to be back on board at 6:30, originally we were to be on board at 3:30.  So we have been able to extend our stay by three hours.

When I am back in the cabin Bernie is sleeping and I decide to head to the Vista Lounge to watch the movie The Artist.  There is no one in the theatre and I get a seat right in the centre in the front row and just as the lights dim this couple comes in and sit right beside me!  For goodness sake could they have found a different seat!  Then they proceed to chat for the 15 minutes until I just can’t take it anymore, and stand up and say “really” and leave.

I grab my camera and head out to take some pictures around the ship, the Atrium is busy the tours are coordinating and the shore desk is announcing the buses and groups to get off so they can coordinate things.  From what I have heard people were able to opt out of the tours and get their money back.

I am at the Outrigger Bar at the aft of the ship and run into Ernest/Bill, Dow/Nancy and Robert/Gary I sit with them for awhile and have a drink and we have a good laugh. 

Ernest shocked by the non view

Sammi the cruise director comes by and surprises me by telling me that guess what I have been chosen for the crossing the Equator Ceremony.  Now to back track a few days ago they put in the Patter that anyone that wanted to enter the draw to be part of the ceremony could get a ballot and enter the draw.  They would pick four people, two men and two women.  Both Bernie and I entered and I am glad I got picked but I am a little nervous.  We are to meet at 1pm tomorrow for the ceremony.  I will let you know what happens.

Around 4 pm Bernie and I along with Craig and Barb head ashore as there are a few vendors right at the gangway.  We head down and we are saddened to know this is all we are going to get to see of Lima but we know we will be back.

Some information about Callao (the port for Lima), the city is about a 30 minute drive from the pier.  Once you get off the ship you have to take one of the vans to the gate, note there are not a lot of these vans so this can be a slow process.  There are taxis there too that can take you to the gate for a small fee.  Princess tour buses pick you up right at the gangway, but private tours may not be able to get onto the pier so check with your guide.  It is easy to hire a taxi right at the gate to give you a tour of the city, but not many taxi drivers speak English.  Also note Peru like many other cities we have visited on this cruise have a high rate of petty theft so don’t wear any jewelry, fancy watches.  Make sure you carry little money and don’t bring all your id and credit cards.  We only bring one credit card and our driver’s license and cruise card.  A small amount of cash just to take care of the day (most stores will take US currency) and we travel around with our PacSafe bag www.packsafe.com that is theft resistant. 

Tonight we are having dinner with Tony and Sui, Alice and Bonnie in Portofino dining room.  Normally this is not a dining room I like since I know more of the staff in Capri.  We are sat at a table near the back right beside a waiter’s station, and I am the one sitting right beside it.  Unfortunately the doors of the station are opened and closed, drawers are slammed and when they clear the plates they bang them in the drawers and it is about three feet from my head.  At one point the assistant waiter brings a full cutlery tray and is sorting the items and the clang is so much I have to cover my ear.  I think the head waiter noticed this and asked him to stop.

The menu is French/Mediterranean and the food was very good.  I especially loved the fruit skewer but had a piece of plastic in my yoghurt dip.  I did point it out to the waiter but he really didn’t seem to care or offer to bring me a new one.  Both the escargot and the veal scaloppini were fabulous and the Crème Brule on this ship is top notch.

Bernie is tired after dinner and heads back to the cabin, I put $20 into the slot machines and then walk away I wander down the Promenade deck and chat with a few friends, crew and passengers and head back to the cabin.

I go thru my clothes trying to figure out what to wear for the Crossing the Equator Ceremony, they say whatever I wear is going to get ruined so I decide to wear one of the Princess T shirts I bought for $10 – if I have to I can buy a new one.

Well I am off to bed as I hear the fog horn in the background