Puerto Montt, Chile

Cloudy 63

Maybe it’s ego, maybe it’s to prove I’ve been places the other people coming out of the airport have not, but I want to arrive home with a tan. So far that’s not happening. It has been cloudy with not a speck of sun since we rounded the Horn, and that day it was cold. The weather after Puerto Montt looks promising, but you know the phrase; promises, promises.

There are four hooks outside my bathroom door. One holds my robe, one a beach bag (like I’ve used that), one the privacy/service door tags, and one, two pair of sunglasses. Yesterday the hook held one pair of sunglasses. Yes, I’ve looked everywhere. For me, sunglasses are like socks in the dryer, they simply disappear. For years, I have lost sunglasses. My wife, Michael, hardly comments any more. We have a deal. She doesn’t point a finger at my unshaded eyes, and I handle the TV remote. The question second in priority to “What is the meaning of life?” is “Why do I only lose the expensive sunglasses?”

When I showed up at Compass Rose last night, the headwaiter saw I was alone, and guided me to a table for six. One couple was from Stratford-On-Avon, one from San Antonio, and a lady from Singapore. For me, this is a great way to meet people and share stories. And because I meet a different group each night, I can tell the same stories over and over.

We were scheduled to arrive in Puerto Montt at 1 PM. Instead we dropped anchor at 11 AM. Puerto Montt, 130,000 people, is in Chile’s Lake District, and is the capital of Los Lagos, so named because of its 12 glacially carved lakes. Six volcanoes, the highest 9000 feet, line the center of this province.

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According to Passages, the daily schedule, the ship offers a free shuttle into Plaza de Armas the main square of PUNTA ARENAS. That will be a long drive. Passages also had a section called “Dining Out”, which warned, and I quote, “the food and beverage department would like to remind guests that it is not advisable” It ends there. And I was worried about the hand sanitizers.

After dinner, I stopped by the production show. The special effects were impressive, the dancing and singing professional, but it never merged into a cohesive whole. I didn’t stay. Leaving the theater, I passed the Stars Lounge. An unannounced mini jazz concert was in full swing (no pun intended), and the entire room was jammed (again no pun intended, but not bad actually). No worries here about things coming together.

We shared the harbor with Holland America’s Rotterdam. Michael and I took that ship around the world in 1999. The Rotterdam production shows were choreographed and produced by Anita Mann, and every performance received standing ovations. The Mariner shows are produced by Peter Grey Terhune. Maybe it’s not fair to judge, but to me it’s the difference between art and just a painting.

I took a tender into the rustic port, turned left, and, as Terry Breen promised, lining one side of the street were about a quarter mile of vendor’s booths I missed Michael’s unerring eye for gifts for the grandchildren, but found some presents that seemed to represent Chile. It wasn’t until I was on the tender back to the ship that I remembered we had also bought caps for the two oldest boys in St. Petersburg. Oops, maybe they won’t remember.

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La Veranda had a lunch spread of sushi and tuna sashimi. I over indulged, and when the doorbell rang this afternoon, I more or less skipped the chips and dip. Thankfully, it wasn’t King Crab legs again. I had a dream last night about a bunch of crabs in wheelchairs.

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