Pisco, Peru

Sunny 87

The Caviar Extravaganza was well attended, and again, no lines to speak of. Caviar, along with a dish of condiments, was distributed at each of the lounge entrances. Good stuff. The executive chef himself oversaw the preparations. He is everywhere; checking on the deck buffets, patrolling Compass Rose, and his attention to detail pays off. There is not a bump in the culinary road on Mariner.

I stopped by the Photoshop to ask about a camera they were selling. The announcement in Passages trumpeted “End of Season Special!!!”, “Digital Camera Blowout Sale”. The item for sale was a 10 mega-pixel Samsung camera. This camera’s only been out about six months, and it was sale priced at $349.95 “While Stocks Last”. Fortunately for me, they were sold out by the time I got there. Fortunately, because “Blowout” notwithstanding, the camera is available on the Internet for close to $100 less.

I ate with the “solos” last night; three men and five women. One woman, two seats to my left, looked familiar, but I just assumed I had bumped into her on the ship. Next to me, Sandy said the woman at the end is a former pro tennis player who played Wimbledon, her name is Babs. I was bowled over. Eleven years ago on The Royal Viking Sun’s world cruise, Michael and I were at her table, and last night we shared a few stories about that voyage which ended abruptly on a reef in the Gulf of Aqaba. (You can read all about that shipwreck in my book, which some day may find a publisher.) Not only did I reunite with Babs, I also finally found the Dr/Jazz pianist sitting with his wife in the Art Gallery buying a painting. It took him some effort to remember me, and then he said, “Bon Voyage”.

The bus trip from the ship to Pisco took about a half hour, and during that time hardly a speck of green could be seen. The only color came from the paint of some isolated beach houses.p1010062.JPG

I took the Ballestas Island boat tour.p1010114.JPG Ballestas and the surrounding islands are big hunks of rock poking out of the ocean, often described as Peru’s mini Galapagos. On the way to the boat we drove for 15 minutes without seeing a blade of grass or a spot of green in the barren surroundings. Once our boat with two 150 HP outboards and 25 passengers got to Ballestas, we saw Peruvian boobies, pelicans, cormorants, even penguins. I have never seen so many birds in my life.p1010129.JPG I stopped counting at 100,000. Sea lions and seals were in abundance, and where they were in concave depressions in the cliffs, their combined grunts and snorts echoing in amplification were eerie.p1010140.JPG

It was a worthwhile experience and actually more wildlife in one place than I saw in the Galapagos, although there you could walk among the animals.

We were welcomed back to the ship by our Peruvian players.p1010152.JPG

Tomorrow, it’s Callao, the port entrance to Lima, Peru. I’ll be heading to a hotel in Mira Flores to wait out Delta’s departure at 1:30 Monday morning. Will the taxi the hotel promised be at the pier? How will I know which one it is? Do they even allow taxis into the port area? If they don’t, how to get the bags to the taxi. All will be revealed.

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