Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ilhabela, Brazil - March 3, 2014

Today is first tender port and we are sent a notice that tender operations for priority passengers (elite/suite) are to proceed to the Da Vinci dining room.  But we are in no real rush to head out and don’t go ashore until 9:30, we are in our bathing suits, sunscreen is on and oh bring bug spray (we forgot).

The tender ride is very short and it runs often so there was no wait when we went down.

The area is a tourist spot for many from the mainland.  There is a small community right at the pier with some shops, restaurants, boutiques and bars.  Our first stop is a little coffee shop to grab an espresso and we sit and relax.  We are both out of sorts and we needed this small break.

We decide to take the bus to the Southern part of the Island towards Curral Beach.  The bus stop is right across from the main church and we board the bus.  Fare during Carnival is 3.50 R each – make sure you have your money out and in Reals.  We soon find out this is not a direct bus and we travel into a small community before making our way back to the main road and heading South again.  We have to get off and transfer to another bus and it is packed!  Seems many locals are heading to Curral Beach too.  Many have their swimming gear, lunches, barbecues, beers etc etc.  Oh and it is HOT and humid so be prepared.

We stop at a beach and many get off and I look at Bernie and say lets get off.  I wish I could tell you which beach it was I believe it was Praia Grande but not 100% sure.  It was nice with what looked like some great snorkeling and a few restaurants right on the beach.  We started to walk further south thinking we would come upon Curral Beach but it was obviously farther than we thought and we decide to head back to the beach that we passed earlier closer to the pier (about a 40 min walk from the pier). 

So back on the bus and then the transfer to the other bus and we are heading back towards to the main town.  While at the transfer point two couples boarded, they were loud and well something I pray I never get to be like.

They were not speaking softly and their conversation was well how do I say it annoying.  They were making some distasteful comments about having to get Reals back when they paid in US dollar.   They argued about where to get off, and how hot it was, and that traffic was bad, and oh look at pharmacy and how poor looking and that is should be in a big store not a small store.  They commented how concerned they were about walking around and how far away the pier was and how come this bus wasn’t going the slow route thru the community (obviously they were on the non direct bus earlier).  All I keep thinking is if you want to have an experience like you have at home, then stay home. 
Both Bernie and I just say to each other, oh I hope we never get like this.  Sure our day didn’t turn out exactly how we expected, it is very hot and humid, and we are having a hard time with the language and finding the store we need to find to buy some things, but we say it is all part of the experience. 

Our motto is “it is the journey not the destination” and we realize this even more when we jump off the bus in the community of Perque and have a meal in an Italian restaurant that looks out over the beach. 

I have my Caipirinha and Bernie has a small beer (ha ha it is huge and served in it’s own cooler).  We order a few appetizers and salad and we are happy and comment this is what was meant to happen today.  I will point out that we have found Brazil to be quite expensive when it comes to food.  Our lunch was around $70 including drinks.  Note tip is usually added to all bills in Brazil so no need to add unless you want to. 

We decide to walk back to the pier and it is about a 40 minute walk, but make sure you are prepared for uneven sidewalks, washed out sidewalks and humidity. 

There are some cute shops all around the pier and I want to buy a bottle of the Cachaca which is the liquor that you make Caipirinha with so I can enjoy a taste of Brazil back home this summer.  There are of course many types of Cachaca and of different qualities and we get some advice from a store and buy a bottle.  We also stop in a small grocery store to buy a few sodas, some nuts and a bottle of wine.

We were prepared to check our bottle of liquor at the ship and our bottle of wine but the security didn’t not say anything and there was no table set up at the ship.  But we are saving the bottle for home anyways and the wine we may drink in our cabin but will probably take to dinner one night and then just pay the corkage then.

Once on board the ship I have another nap and I slept so soundly that when room service delivered a plate of canapes I didn’t even hear the knock or them come in (I should of put up the do not disturb).  After I wake I finally feel like I am back to normal.

We decide to head back to our table for dinner tonight.  We notice that it is Italian night again and they have started to repeat the menus but we love Italian night. 

Now you may recall that we had requested a set table and we were assigned a great table with great servers in Da Vinci – table 514.  But every night there is a large table of 10 beside us and usually a table for 6 on the other side of us and we are right in the corner and it can get very loud.  So loud that Bernie and I have to lean in to talk to each other. 

Now I don’t blame the tables they are just having conversation and a good time but we agree we need to change tables for future and ask the Head Waiter to arrange a new table and he said he will take care of it.  We also tipped him to thank him and we also informed our waiter we would be moving and tipped him extra.  He has been excellent. 

But truly this is why we love Anytime dining.  If we would have had fixed seating it would have been harder, but not impossible to move, since most table are occupied.

We check in with many of friends in the shops on board to see how they faired during Rio.  We had some fun catching up with them.  We loved hearing about Vicky’s stories and then Sanja’s stories.

Joey Van is performing in Explorer’s Lounge, he also performed last night in the Princess Theater but we were too tired to make it in there to see him.  We have seen Joey’s show many times and had the pleasure of getting to know him better last year when we met him thru Al Katz in Florida before boarding the Emerald.  We got a chance tonight to say hi to him and he remembered us and he says he is on till Montevideo so we will try and grab a coffee with him some time.

Miscellaneous Comments

We received a notification that due to environmental restrictions in the River Plate Channel (between Montevideo and Buenos Aries) the Main Laundry has to remain closed from the 5th of March at 2pm until March 9th at 9 am.  Although Passengers laundry on each floor is still open.  We didn’t have this on the last voyage we did here but have experienced it in Alaska too.  We just have to plan for this but should not be a problem.

There are a 1,000 people getting off in Buenos Aries.

We are still on Red Alert and found out there are many other Princess ships also experiencing Alerts of some kind – also many other cruise lines are experiencing it too.  The numbers are going down on board but the ship is taking precautions and keeping the level up to ensure that they keep it under control.  They are doing a great job and people seem to be adhering to the rules too.  I witness a lot of people washing their hands and using the sanitizers.  But boy I am ready for this to be over cause I want to start serving myself again.

I have had some tummy aches lately and of course I go – oh no -  but it doesn’t last long and has more to do with all the rich foods I am consuming and the drinks I am enjoying too.

Again I have to say how much I enjoy the Entertainment staff, Lisa and Dan make an amazing team and watching them on the Wake Show is a highlight of ours each day.

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