Saturday, April 21, 2018

Day 106 Saturday April 20, 2018. AT SEA

Today, is our first sea day of five, to reach Puerto Rico  πŸ‡΅πŸ‡· and all kinds of things are happening on the ship. We both skipped our class in the morning, I skipping watercolor class, because I wanted to catch up the blog, and Ed skipped Tai Chi, because the ship was rocking and rolling so much he was worried he would fall. 
So at 10, Ed went to the lecture about the natural history of the Cape Verde islands, and learned some amazing facts. Then at 11, he attended a talk with Captain Jonathan, and he found that interesting, like a couple years ago, this ship evaded some pirates in the Yemen area speeding up to 29 knots!  So the Amsterdam can really move out when needed. 
Right after that they announced that they had copies of the itinerary for the 2020 World Cruise, it’s 128 days for the full World Cruise, and very heavy in Antarctica. Needless to say this was the talk of the day. 

Other then that not a lot going on, except we got our luggage tags for shipping our bags home, so I guess we need to start packing, and see if we are going to need to buy another bag, to get all the goodies home. LOL

quote:  “if at some point you don’t ask yourself, WHAT HAVE I GOOTEN MYSELF INTO? then your not doing it right.”   -Roland Gau 


Friday, April 20, 2018

Day 105, Thursday, April 19, 2018 Praia, Ilha De Santiago, Cape Verde

We arrived in Praia, before the eight AM arrival time, they were ready for us to go ashore, at eight, but I wasn’t ready. So we caught the shuttle about ten, and that was fine as there wasn’t a lot to see or do on this Cape Verde island. There was supposed to be a craft market, but we didn’t find it. We did find a food market that was interesting and a couple of cute stores. 

 
 
Looking at the Amsterdam from the island, and a church by the drop off for the shuttle. 
 
The food market

Back on the ship, they were having our last complimentary sail away party, free drinks from 5 to 6:30. 

 

 

Kass, our in house computer wizard. She is from Australia, has worked on HAL for four years and what a wonderful person she is. 

Lots of fun was had by all. 

Quote: “ The most dangerous risk of all - The risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself freedom later.”
 - unknown 











Part 2 of Dakar & the pink lake

Ok so part 2, I forgot to tell you all about that Monument, it was the Renaissance Monument it is 160 ft tall monolith weighing 190 tons, it celebrates Senegal’s 50 years of independence from France, this to me says be carful what you wish for. The only nice structures I saw were originally built by the French, and they are now deteriorating. 

Now on to the lake was not pink, and actually that was a good thing, as that only happened in the rainy season, (we were in the middle of the dry season) and then they have a real malaria problem. We traveled about 50 minutes by a new highway, very new, not sure who built this. Now we arrived and were suppose to have lunch here, at the hote, but no we are going directly to the lake, but befor that there was a big hassle over how we were to get in the 4 wheel and 6 wheel drive vehicles. Seems they had not planed this out for all the busses that came, so this took another 45 minuets. We finely get in and, now we have a guy driving that really enjoys popping the dunes, and this will get worse! 
 
This was our friends in their  4 wheel.   And this was as pink as the lake Retba, was for us, it is caused by a type alge in this shallow lake, and it is so high in salt everything floats. 

 
We get out to the lake, and they are mining the salt that forms there, which was very interesting, what looks like sand is salt. 

 
This was a visit to a stop for a brief encounter with the chief of Fulani Village, where we thought we would get more then a pitch fo money, but that was what we got. The hut is the old and the cement block is the new housing. We spent more then an hour trudging through the sand, before we coul finely climb back in our four by. Then we went out to the ocean beach, where lunch awaits us. 

 
By the time we got there it was almos over, and seeing Ed and I trying to get down and up from this seating was laughable! There was a show but we didn’t get to see it well enough to ge a picture of the dancers, and they came around for money too!

Then there was again, a big delay with getting us back to the big busses, so we all had to spend another 50 minuets with the halkers trying to sell us more stuff!  This was most unpleasant, until we started the drive back to the busses, as the guy driving this time made us airborne more then once, we almost fell off!

Finally back on the bus, now we were going to be late for sure, with traffic and when we got to the port,,,,, there were 6 big gas trucks blocking the way to the ship, I thought for a while, we would have to walk the mile in, but through some hair raising maneuvering they made it, in 30 minuets, now the tour and 4 busses were only an hour late, glad they couldn’t leave without us.  

Quote:  “No matter WHERE YOU GO, there you are.”  -Buckaroo Banzai 






(Backup) Day 103, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Dakar, Senegal

Once again I sound like a broken record,,, but this place was not what I expected! It was not as nice as I thought it would be. It reminded us of Casablanca, and that is not a compliment. Seems that the government doesn’t care much for its people. There was trash all over, there was lots of building going on, but no one cares enough to pick up the trash, more do they care, not to throw it out on the streets, or any other place for that matter. It’s a prodomintly Muslim nation, and most men have three or more wives! As Ed says he does well keeping up with ONE!

Our day was going to be long, we had an eight and a half hour tour, I’m not sure what they were thinking when they scheduled this one, as there was no way we were going to get back in time, and sure enough we didn’t. 
First stop we drove around the town of Dakar, 
 
Not sure what this was, but it was interesting. This goat, broke away and ran down the street!

 
This is an example of the trash.  This lighthouse was why Ed wanted to do the tour, but we never got closer. 

  
Then we saw this HUGE copper statue to the uniting of Africa, built by North Korea!  Meanwhile the woman live like this. 

 
Then it was on to see the sand painting, this circle of sand turned into this. 

 
Then it was on to see the outside of a mosque and the inside of a church. 
And then they took us to a market, where we were again almost attract to try to make us buy things, these people acted desperate so you don’t show your Iphone to tak a picture.
Then it was a long ride out of town to get to the Pink Lake, which wasn’t pink.  And since that is a story in itself I will do part 2


Quote: “The eye never forgets what the heart has seen”. - African proverb 








Monday, April 16, 2018

Day 102, Monday, April 16, 2018 Banjul, Gambia πŸ‡¬πŸ‡²

Today we were in Banjul, Gambia it again was not what, I was expecting, but then I didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t have a tour here, just planned to go to the market, and that is just what we did.

Founded as Bathurst by the British, Banjul was originally a fort positioned in The Gambia River designed to stop the exportation of slaves out of Africa. It is now the capital, and is one of Africa’s smallest capitals. The country’s biggest market is here, Albert Market, it is possible to spend hours haggling with merchants over merchandise and taking in the local color. We took the shuttle provided to the market, that was an experience in itself. But we found the market not very inviting, we were dropped off, and found a nice stall right away, but when we moved on we were picked up by a guy, who it seems was a finder. He would guide you through the market and you would pay him and so would the people selling. Well we didn’t like that much, so we soon sent him away, and decided to go back to the ship. And at port side there were many venders that had set up while we were in town, and they had better prices. 

 

 
 
Street dancers. 

Then we showered and got ready to go to sail a way and met John and Marget. 

Tomorrow is a long day, we have an 8 half hour tour, with an early morning weak up. 

Quote : “I travel because LIFE IS SHORT and the world is HUGE.”  - Stephanie B.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Day 96-100 At Sea

We are on our fifth sea day heading for Gambia with calm seas and bright sun.  Our on-board activities continue pace our days with early get-ups and even later evenings. Cyndi is filling the cabin with paintings and the cubbies with necklaces, bracelets, earrings and various other crafts as she completes her semester at the World Cruise Academy of Arts and Culture at Sea.  These classes and related homework assignments keep her going, as well as happy hour, lunch meetings, late dinners, & America’s Test Kitchen.  

For my part, I’ve been attending Qi Gong & Tai Chi each morning beginning at 0800 and finishing at 1000.  Then it’s been Port City and county lectures that fill out each sea day morning.   No shortage of activities on this cruise.


Next will be our preparations for visits to Gambia & Senegal πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡³.


At the end of our second day, Friday the 13th, the Captain altered course ever so slightly such that we might cross the Prime Meridian and the Equator at their point of intersection:  00.00.00N, 000.00.00W, 00.00.00S, 000.00.00E.  This placed the bow of the ship in the Northern and Western hemispheres and spring while leaving the ship’s stern in the Southern and Eastern hemispheres and the autumn of the year! The Captain stated that this was his first opportunity in over 50 years at sea.  We had a great crossing party at 11:24pm in the ship’s Crows nest bar. 

 
The next day we had the official crossing of the equator, the king neptune initiation party, and it was a good one, better then any I have seen. 
 


Day 100 was a Galla night, based on a Las Vegas theme, “what happens on the Amsterdam stays on the Amsterdam” so we dressed in a Las Vegas theame too, me in my flapper dress and Ed in his white Dinner jacket with black shirt.  My dress was too big! I’ve lost so much weight on this cruise, I needed a size smaller, so the planed outfit didn’t quite work, but we had fun anyway. And when we arrived in our cabin later we had new pillow gifts, of luggage tags and luggage straps that have a combination! I’ve never seen those before. 
On another sea day many of the women, wore there African head dress, to crafts class this is a picture of us. 

We arrive in Gambia tomorrow morning at 0800.  We just received word our internet service has been somewhat restored, not fully, but we have some. 

Ed wrote all the above in the large print, and I sure appreciate his help. We hope to have the satilight collector fixed completely tomorrow, for now we'll take what we can get, it seem it was so hot in Lunda that it milted some of the wires, yeeks, I knew it was hot, but not that hot. 

Quotes: “To travel is to AWAKEN.”  - Lily Tsay

              “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”   - St. Augustin 
     
              “ Work, TRAVEL, Save, REPEAT.”  - A adventure

             “No matter WHERE YOU GO, there you are.”   - Buckaroo Banzai

Day 96, Tuesday, April 10, 2018 Luanda, Angola πŸ‡¦πŸ‡΄

Today our port was Day was Luanda and Barbara our shore guide scared about the area, they were so worried that they even sent a note to our cabins, telling us that, we shouldn’t even wash our hands on land as the water is soooooo bad, you don’t want to touch anything that had been touched by water! 
So, with trepidation we decided to go ashor and see what was at the market. Before we got off we went down to deck three, the promenade deck and see what the dock looked like. And all the tour buses were out there, and they had a police escort, in the front and back. Well that was a bet worrysome, so now we’re talking about staying on the ship, when they announced that there was going to be a shuttle to the market, and that it was right by the port, so we said we would go and check it out. And we were glad we did. 

We were stuffed into a small bus, but it was air conditioned and that was wonderful, as it was really hot and humid. It was about a 10 minute drive to the market, and the market was small but interesting. There were crafts, and from what Barbara said, anything we would buy, would really help these people, as they had been at war for so long, and were just getting back on there feet. Did I need an excuse to go shopping, naaaaa so off we went looking for treasures. And we found a few, not a lot, and we didn’t bring much money, and then when the money we had was all but gone, Ed found something he thought we needed to buy,,,,, and we didn’t have enough!  So off we went back to the ship, to think it over,,,, and we did, and got more money! 
And this was what we bought!  And that’s the artist that painted the picture. 

 

 
The market, the fabrics were wonderful, and many people bought head wraps, more about that later. 

Just to let you know we had no WiFi for the last five days, so I am playing catch-up. 

Quote: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”   - Oscar Wilde 







Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Day 94, 95, Sunday, and Monday, April 8, 9, 2018 AT SEA

Today and tomorrow were sea days, Sunday ed doesn’t have thi Chi, but I had watercolor, and I didn’t go, and of coarse they had a difficult painting, giraffes!  I’m still working on them, I’m almost as behind on watercolor as I am on this blog! But we did go to Barbara’s presentation on what to do in Luanda. It was presented at two, instead of the normal time of 10, I’m not sure why, maybe to try to get the most people there, as what she had to tell us was not very encouraging. So we all came away a bit frightened. 

On day 95, it was a Galla Night, and the theme was “ Out of Africa” ala Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. And we both went to our classes and of coarse arts and crafts, to make the last necklace of this cruise. Then it was time to get gussied up for happy hour and dinner, we were ready!


Dinner was great, but not quiteAfrican. 

 
Dinner was lobster tales and Bobby and I had a good talk! 

Quotes: “ To travel is to live.” - Hans Christian Anderson 

                 “I read, I travel, I become.” - Derek Walcott 

 

(Backup) Day 93, Saturday, April 7, 2018- Walvis Bay, Namibia

We had a sea day between Cape Town and Walvis Bay, and its a good thing as most people were exhausted from there time in Cape Town, or many had been on overland to Safari excursions. 

We arrived in Walvis Bay as scheduled, and immigration was very efficient, this time, no waiting. We did have to wait until our # was called, and then we headed down to get our passport stamped and receive our immigration card, for our return process. We used to call this getting chopped in and then out, I guess that terminology is no longer used, I guess for obvious reasons.LOL We then went to join our tour group to be called for the tour. 

Walvis Bay means “whale Bay” in Afrikaans for this deep water harbor, and it was long known as a stopover for whaling vessels along the Southern Atlantic coast between Cape Town to the south and ,Whindhoek to the north. The town became part of the English Cape Colony after WWI and when Namibia gained it’s independence, remained in limbo until it was given back to Namibia by South Africa in 1994. 


We started out at the Walvis Bay Lagoon known as a birders paradise, the lagoon on the south side of the city is a stopover for thousands of migratory birds and Flamingos, are there year round. It is a very important wetlands in South Africa.  Further down the coast at Sandwich  Harbor, the dramatic dunes of the Namib desert meet the sea. Which was our next stop. 
 
The picture on the right is me collecting  sand from the dune, and there is a man on top!  Dune #7 a very important sand dune as it is the most photographed sand dune, and people climb it and surf or they call in sandboarding down it!  Not us for sure. It is a 426 foot high sand dune, but it was an amazing sight for sure. 


Then it was on to Swakopmund a charming nineteenth century village founded by the Germans which still has some of it’s colonial character, but not much. First stop was the crystal museum, it’s flame to fame is the largest crystal that they have harvested in the world. 
 
Then it was time for lunch at the Breu House and it was very good, but you don’t want to know what we ate. 


 
Zebra

Back to the ship and get ready for dinner.  And that night we saw a wonderful after dinner we saw a Great African show. 

Quote:  “There is still SO MUCH to see.”  - Anonymous 1