Had to take a brief break from journaling yesterday, while I recovered from too much ceviche. Well, actually an overload of too many days of uncooked fish.
I last left us finishing our first day in Lima. I had manfully finished off four kinds of ceviche at the “traditional” Peruvian restaurant that we enjoyed with Jose, our taxi driver.
It was a lot of raw fish – very tasty, but I had also had a large plate the day before in Pisco, and we had eaten Sushi the evening before that. If I had been thinking about food balance, it might have come to me that this was probably pushing the limits of my stomach’s digestive system. But “When in Rome….” Or rather, “When in Lima…”
We were all tired, and George was exhausted, so we didn’t hit the nightlife of Lima, and headed back at dinnertime to the ship. To be honest, I was a bit worried about safety, and waiting in the middle of a dark park for the shuttle bus to take us back to the ship, didn’t make any of us feel very safe.
During dinner on the ship, I started feeling a bit queasy. Not sick, but my stomach was making some unnatural sounds and motions. It was as if the fish had come back to life and were swimming around, not happy they were confined in a small, acidic aquarium.
I won’t go into detail, but I spent the entire night in a small, confined space, with seating for one. On the upside, I definitely did not gain weight in Lima.
By morning, the aquarium was empty and my stomach was beginning to settle. But I was totally exhausted because I hadn’t slept all night. We were supposed to meet Jose at the bus shuttle park at 10 a.m. I was terrified that I would need a bathroom and trying to explain to Jose wouldn’t work very well. When I had tried to get him to stop at one yesterday, he had made his usual reply:
“Traffic is crazy in Lima” and shook his head mournfully.
George was pooped from walking the day before, and leaped at the chance not to leave the ship. Emma finds life more exciting after noon, and wasn’t eager to get up. We had Jose’s cell phone number, and George sent him a text that we wouldn’t make it. He typed and typed and he explained I had eaten too much ceviche, had been up all night in the bathroom and wouldn’t be able to make the three hour trip to the Incan ruins without a bathroom. Jeez – tell the man everything, talk about TMI! Fortunately, as he doesn’t speak English, he probably didn’t understand it anyway. He has a friend who speaks English (he had put him on the phone with me a couple of times during the day), so I am hoping that he translated to let him know that we wouldn’t be there.
I felt terrible about making us miss a day in Lima, but my fellow travelers weren’t in the least upset. I’m not good at sitting still for long, but I was so tired. it was a pleasure to lay on a comfy couch on the top deck and watch a movie on the large outdoor screen.
George loves nothing better than watching a movie. Doesn’t matter what kind, he loves the big screen. Every day they have a new movie, and today’s selection was Thor. There are huge couches and soft sofa-type beds scattered around the big screen. Oh yes, it is lovely. Especially if you haven’t slept all night.
The temperature was in the upper 70’s, without a wind. And the sun was very intense. Within a few minutes I could feel my skin starting to burn. Sunscreen is not optional! Emma was sleeping in her bed on Deck 3, and we were on Deck 11.
Even though I was up all night, I stayed true to my vow of taking the stairs. It is 157 stairs to the theatre. I didn’t bounce up the stairs, but to my surprise, I went up them more easily than I supposed after a night worshipping the Porcelain God all night. But I was darned happy to see the cushy couch.
Abut 20 minutes into the movie, I was dozing off, really loving the moment. Suddenly, an incredibly loud siren goes off – the alarm that the ship is sinking. Seven long blasts. Okay, that woke me up! We are tied to the dock, and it would be difficult to go down with the ship, but it still was alarming! Then a voice comes on that this is a drill for the crew members, we weren’t sinking – please stay out of their way. I did remember that there had been an announcement in the daily paper in our room that they would be having a drill – but we had planned to be in Lima, and it had not registered in my brain that now we would be present for it.
Suddenly, I realize that Emma is sleeping in our room and wouldn’t know this was a test – and she might be really frightened. I leapt up and told George I had to get to Emma. I figured the crew would tell her, but I didn’t want her scared.
The elevators were there, but frankly, by the time it gets there and gets to the ultimate destination, I can take the stairs faster. So down the 157 stairs I go. But at least it was down and not up! And I still kept my stair only promise. In short time, I made it to our room, passing literally hundreds of life-jacketed crew members.
Emma was fully dressed, sitting on her bed with a blanket wrapped around her, looking a bit anxious. I told her it was a drill, but she had figured it out. Trooper that she is, she heard the alarm, tossed on her clothes and rushed out into the hall. Anthony, our room attendant, was there and told her it was a drill. She was sitting kind of stunned on the bed. Talk about a rude way to wake up!
We had a bit of a laugh, and a talk about what to do in a real emergency. After a bit, I climbed back up to Deck 11 and took a nap.
It turned out to be a lovely day, even if I didn’t get to see the Incan ruins that I wanted to view. Outside the ship, there were Peruvian vendors selling Alpaca clothing and tourist goodies. Emma and I shopped ourselves stupid, and now I know I’m going to have to buy another suitcase to get home. In an adorable little girl moment, she bought a alpaca fur bunny rabbit, and fell asleep with it beside her last night. One moment she is a young lady and the next moment the little girl comes out and melts our hearts.
She is feeling very grown up, because she keeps getting offered alcoholic beverages at all of the restaurants. I don’t know if they would actually serve her, and we aren’t going to find out! She googled it and found that the drinking age is 18 in most South American countries. When you are 14, this feels very mature, and a bit heady. Also a bit scary, and it is funny to watch her face.
We sat on the deck and watched people come back from their adventures, and it made me sad to have missed it. Seven different Peruvian ladies suddenly appeared out of their vendor booths, all wearing traditional dance costumes. Oh, so colorful! Bright reds and patterns on their skirts, with fancy hats on their heads. They giggled like school girls and their men all lined up with their phone cameras. A scratchy tape of Peruvian music started playing on a boom box and giggling madly, they started dancing. They were all shapes and ages and this was obviously not very organized. They were embarrassed and excited at the same time. A younger woman, not dressed in costume, was their choreographer and kept shoving them in place and waving her arms madly to get them going. They would take about six steps and then clamp their hands over their mouths and bend over laughing. It was so much fun to watch them. Their men would wave their phones and try to get them to dance.
Finally, they started dancing with a more serious attitude. A couple of them really had intricate footwork, and their skirts spun as they twirled around. They threw their heads back and shrieked with pleasure as they spun and danced.
Their choreographer girl was a hoot. She would physically grab a dancer and shove her next to a partner and then another, until they were in pairs. Unfortunately, they had an odd number, so someone was always left out. That would confuse them and they would dissolve, wondering whether someone should march alone, or go in a team of three. This was a real professional group! And because of it, they were so much more fun.
Then they had a dance-off. Two at a time would duel it out for the fanciest footwork. By this time, there were a number of us at the rails, and we all cheered and applauded. They were so excited by the attention, and really started working at their footwork.
Our ship was supposed to take off, and you could see the dancing ladies getting more and more tired. These same ladies had been selling goods for the last two days in the hot sun, and had to be pooped. They kept dancing and laughing, but looking sideways at each other. Was this ship ever going to leave?
The men suddenly rolled out a huge sign that said “THANK YOU FOR VISITING PERU”
with a giant picture of an alpaca’s head. We all applauded more wildly and yelled Thank You!
And the ship still didn’t take off. The ladies, seriously wilting now, kept dancing. We were frankly getting pretty tired of clapping, but now we were all committed.
After about another 15 minutes, an announcement came on that we were waiting for the local authorities to clear us to sail away. The ladies heaved a sigh of relief that they could stop and still save face, and we all felt relief that we could stop shouting encouragement and quit clapping.
They staggered off and so did we. But what a lovely way to leave Lima!
Finally, our ship set sail, and the local ship pilot guided us out of this very busy port. Literally dozens of ships, including most of the Peruvian Navy, were anchored all around us. Tiny fishing craft to giant cargo vessels. It actually seemed like quite a feat to navigate our giant ship among them all to the open sea. A small pilot boat was following along side. We knew the harbor pilot would jump over into the pilot boat and drive back to shore. We walked Emma so we were right over top of the small boat and watched the pilot emerge from a hatch and jump over to the waiting boat. That is one step that you would not want to miss!
Finally, we were off in the open sea and headed towards Ecuador. Emma asked if we could have sushi for dinner and I said that I’m taking a break from raw fish for a few days. We went to dinner in the dining room, and in honor of Peru, the official starter food of the evening was – of course – ceviche. I passed on it.
The evening show was an older jazz pianist who had played with such greats as Englebert Humperdink (Who? Emma said?) and David Cassidy (Never heard of him, she muttered), and a few other notables that I hadn’t heard of either. But even though she had never heard of the stars, or his genre of music, she enjoyed it. Enough that she wanted his CD and had her picture taken with him after the show. I asked her if she ever intended on listening to it, and she looked shocked and swore she would. I’m still a bit skeptical, but it is nice to see having so much fun.
Still short on sleep, I retired early to bed, right after the evening show and slept ten hours, which is about 5-6 more hours than I generally sleep. Woo hoo, luxury on the seas – and no ceviche!
I need lessons on embedding photos in the email. I’m just going to try to attach some and see if this works. I’m adding names so you know what they are about. If you could let me know if you get them (or don’t get them) – I would appreciate it!