Easter Island, Chile Thursday January 19, 2017

Good morning from Easter Island!

Before we eat anything, let’s take a look at the kitchen. Here is the display of all the fresh juices and fruits available at breakfast.

There are many seats to choose from. We will have our dinners and lunches here also.

Steve appears to look a little worried. I would be also if I was married to myself!

Ah, nothing to worry about, his beautiful omelette has arrived!

The red marker shows you where our hotel is located. Orongo is the crater and the little island south west of it is Moto Nui, where part of the Bird Man ceremony occurred. Ahu Tahai is the restored ceremonial site. The quarry or Rano Raraku is located in the eastern part of the island. Near there is Ahu Tongariki, where the 15 Moai are located.

Here is a topographic map. The green areas are all National Parks.

I have left off at the three stages of of cultural development of Easter Island. Most scientists think that the first peoples arrived in the eastern Polynesian triangle from some point west of here around 800-1100. The eastern Polynesian triangle consists of Easter Island, Hawaii and New Zealand. The first people to settle Polynesia left 3000 years ago from Taiwan, then spread to the Philippines, then Micronesia then East to Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and other islands. Oral history tell us that a group of seven explorers were the first to arrive to Rapa Nui.

The men saw the land was a good place to live and returned with women. Great stone Moai were carved which transferred mana, the spiritual power of their ancestors. Below the Moai, the bones of revered ancestors were buried. Moai were erected facing the town, and eyes were installed last, to guide and protect the people. Only when the eyes were inserted could the Moai’s mana protect the people.

Later when the European sailors arrived they spread disease. The first European on Easter Island landed on Easter Sunday in 1722, hence the name Easter Island. Europeans all wanted to see the Moai. Then slavers from Peru carried off a large portion of the population. The Rapa Nui people felt that they were no longer being protected by the ancestors. So the Moai were destroyed.

Our first stop of the day was the Hana Roa lookout. We had a great view of town and the freighters carrying cargo that were out at sea.

Our next stop was Orongo, the ceremonial village for the Bird Man challenges.

A yearly bird migration flew to a small rocky island off the south eastern tip of Rapa Nui. During the 16th and 17th centuries the carving of the Moai was abandoned and the Bird-man competition began. Thus began the second stage of development on the Island.

A competition was held to be the first man to return with an egg from the island. The very first competition elected the king, we have heard from our different guides that there was a new king every year or that the subsequent completions were for pride. Notice on the head of the warrior an egg holder. These guys look like our modern day hipsters with man buns.

Here is a picture of the island, Moto Nui, that the participants from all over the island would swim to. It was believed that the ancestors chose who would win the contest by giving that warrior extra strength and the Manutara (Sooty Tern) would lay an egg nearest the divine choice. The participants would stay for days or weeks waiting for the first egg. The last competition was in 1867.

Here is Lilli, our guide for the morning. She was the female winner of the Koro Nui Tupena festival in 2012. This sporting and cultural event was introduced to establish a bond between the young and the ancestral traditions, It gives tourists a chance to witness what Rapa Nui rituals and competitions were like before the colonization period. We will have to comeback another year for that! We saw many young people out running in preparation for the coming festival in February.

We walked to the ceremonial village. There was a gigantic Moai here that was removed and presented to Queen Victoria and is in the British Museum.

This house is opened to show tourists what the homes looked like inside. Very dark and confined inside, but the people only slept in their houses.

Over time the petroglyphs in the homes have been damaged or removed.

Most of the stones for the walls were very thin. They were from a special kind of basalt. Other stones used in different buildings or platforms for the Moai statues are different types of rock.

This was a short walk morning.

A closeup of the islet. This is where we would have done native style rock fishing if the wind had allowed.

The island has a wet and dry season. we are at the tail end of the wet season. it rained every day, but not at every place we were on the island.

At last we arrive at the crater. The crater was 600 feet deep filled with water 30 feet deep. With a mat of reeds floating on it. In some places it was said that the mat was so thick cattle could stand on it without sinking.

It was a long way down. The crater was 1.6 Km wide.

There was an option of hiking up to the crater. Only 5.4 miles one way with an ascent of 896 feet. We opted for the van ride!

Crazy pose!

Here is Lilli, Beauty was not the only reason she won the contest in 2012. She said that she is a great dancer also.

On the road to the crater was this house with signs on it. I asked Lilli about it.

In previous years the Chilean government collected all the visitor fees. This made the Rapa Nui people very unhappy and they barricaded all the parks. This naturally was very bad for tourism.

Those hotels who had guides from Rapa Nui could enter the parks. The strike was settled and all monies collected to visit the parks now do not go to Chile, but to the Rapa Nui people. I’m sure Chile taxes the airlines and collects its money one way or another.

All our guides were of Rapa Nui ancestry.

On the way back to the hotel we see the business of the richest man on the island. He has a business of renting cars, ATV’s, motorcycles and other types of bikes!

We pass by a farmer who is selling pineapples off the back of his truck. There are no stop lights or street signs on the island. It makes it difficult for those visiting the island to know where to go or where they are!

Here we see a freighter parked at sea. There is no large wharf so smaller ships must bring back the cargo to town. It can take many days to unload a ship. Those black dots are people surfing!

There was a bit of a traffic jam in town. Streets were very narrow, and the drivers were crazy. I observed much sign language among drivers!

Here are the boats the fishermen would go out to sea and fish from. We were hoping to do some ancestral fishing but the wind was too strong. After seeing them I was happy that we couldn’t go. That would be very dangerous with any type of chop in the water. The fishing was with hooks, line and rocks. Bait was pieces of chicken. This is the same method as the drop-shot that Steve has such good luck in Lake George. However Steve uses artificial bait.

Lots of different businesses in town, these guys offered tours. There is no standard for being a guide, so if you didn’t stay at a reputable place you might end up with a guide spouting nonsense, All the guides from Explora had several months training and supervision. All our groups were to have a maximum of eight travelers. Steve and I were often the only ones on our outings.

Here is the Catholic Church. Priests who arrived from Europe were able to convert most of the people to Catholicism. Offering schools, hospitals and food, they filled the needs of the people. The population had decreased to around 110 people! Now there are about 7000 people of whom 3000 are Rapa Nui.

This is someone’s Christmas tree!

More free range or town horses.

The countryside is so green. They even grew big puddles with all the rain!

Here is one of the many cows that we saw on our travels on the island. Many were still nursing their newborn calves and often many of the teats would be engorged with milk. It looked painful.

In the afternoon we are heading in this direction to see the 15 (15 Moai on a platform) and then walk along the cliffs to a beach. I hope it stops raining by then and our walk is a stroll and not a hike!

But first, we see some kind of pit and a fire back at Explora. We heard that there was to be a special dinner tonight…

Carrot soup for lunch. Black and white sesame seeds as a garnish.

I had the lamb chops.

Steve had fish.

Who can resist chocolate guava cake? I couldn’t.

Steve’s and my leis were looking uglier and uglier as the days progressed. I threw them out after I took this picture.

In the van with us this afternoon are two new incoming guests. They are S and G from British Columbia. I take an immediate dislike to them as they look like real hikers. They have serious hiking boots on, we have just sneakers with us as we have a weight limit on our trip to the Galapagos. Yes, we could have worn hiking boots, but then where would the other shoes go?

We jump in the van and head off to see Tongariki, the collection of 15 Moai.

We pass by the house of Mr. Richest Man on the island. You will remember that I had mentioned earlier in this post that he has the largest rental car dealership on the island; 100 vehicles!

We saw lot of horses that were laying on the ground. We were told that since the horses were free to roam all over the island they frequently ate plants that would make them sick, and then die.

Our trip often took us along the coast where we had great views.

On our way we pass the quarry, Rano Raraku. I hope you remember that there were over 450 Moai in different conditions here. No where near that number were in good shape. Some were probably used for practice or experimentation.

This is a popular place!

Why don’t my pictures look like the professionals’ ?

Anu Tonariki is the platform with 15 intact moai. Behind the platform is what is called a crematorium. It is the resting place for the bones of revered ancestors. A group of German archeologists paid to have the moai erected. In 1960 a tsunami knocked the Moai 100 meters inland! They were re-erected on the platform, which the tsunami did not move.

Remember all of the erect Moai are a reconstruction. Only those at the quarry remained erect, as they held no mana in them and therefore hold no power or value.

Here is Natalie, our guide. She is telling Steve the stories. In front of us is a Moai. You can see the serious hiking boots of our fellow guest. This Moai is quite eroded.

It is all so dramatic!

The 15 are all different.

Only one had the Pukao or top knot. It was formed from a different stone than the rest of the Moai, and represented long hair dyed red and styled into a big bun. Only men with powerful mana were allowed to wear their hair this way.

The archeologists can generally tell which Moai are older by the characteristics of the Moai. The early Moai were all different. They later became more stylized with the ski jump nose exaggerated jaw and elongated ears.

Notice how they are all different. This platform was used by two neighboring tribes that got together and said let’s make something special! Now what I hadn’t realized before, was that over the years the Maoi were constantly knocked down and new ones were erected. These two tribes designed the platform to hold many moai.

Here is the back side view. The lady with the red hair was not from our group.. She was concerned about the rising of the worlds sea levels and that the Moai would be soon under water.

Some old Moai that had been destroyed.

Here you can see the cement line where the Moai on the right was put back together again after it was damaged by the Tsunami.

This guy was one of my favorites!

The closer I am, the better he looks!

Here is Sharon. She was really into the lighting and her husband had a serious camera. Most of my pictures had to be brightened as it was so difficult to see the details of the Moai.

We started our walk along the cliffs. Here is a piece of obsidian that Natalia found. It is illegal to take any rocks from the park.

Our hike begins.

Here is a sick horse. He ate lupine. He shouldn’t have. He will get sicker, drink sea water and then eventually die. We saw two recent victims on our hike.

The walk went on for a long time. I think we started just below those three hills on the left of the picture.

We gathered here to look at something, I have no idea what it was!

Natalia kept on leading us onward.

We arrived at a rock called Te Pito Kura. It is believed that the high iron content in the rock makes compasses go crazy. The four small stones mark the points of the compass. Rumors are that touching it increases fertility. I’m to old for it to do any good.

I was never so happy to see our van! Our short easy hike was actually 3.6 miles! We hopped on the van for a short drive to Anakena Beach.

At Anakena Beach were a group of seven Moai, called Ahu Nao, Nao, not to be confused with Ahu Akivi or The Seven, that we will see tomorrow! You can see that two of the Moai have deteriorated.

Those with heads have the top knots.

This is Anakena beach. It is the only beach on the island. Although we hiked all afternoon with our bathing suits under our clothes, we didn’t have time to take a dip in the ocean. We had to hurry back for the special dinner.

Steps for the day were 13367! We will now head back to the van and go back to Explora. Natalia is really cheating here. She has a flower in her right ear signifying that she is single. She has a husband, so I was teasing her that she was actually doing a “Lemme, lemme, upgrade!”

The pit where the special feast was cooked.

Dinner’s ready!

Taro, sweet potato and chicken. This taro must have been mixed with banana as it tasted like banana!

We had a dance performance. With many costume changes!

Let’s watch a video our talented dancer, shall we?

I teased Steve about what would happen if her knot got loose!

At the regular dinner which was next I had invited ourselves to dine with C, the elderly French Canadian woman and her friend F, and a couple from Georgia, that we had seen yet not met. They were very kind, and said “Please do!”.

I had the fish for our main dinner. I was so full from all the other food. Our couple from Georgia was very interesting. They have traveled all over the world.

After dinner we decided to try the hot tub, and to see if we could also see the stars. Unfortunately it was overcast. We did see lots of bugs scurrying around the towel baskets. I was freaking out, as I hate bugs! Upon getting out of the pool I made sure to shine my iPhone camera app on my robe and sandals to make sure that no bugs had crawled into my clothes during our soak!

What is your honest opinion on man buns?

Do your hips lie?

Do uninvited bugs in your clothes freak you out? Notice I said uninvited…

Valparaíso to Easter Island, Chile Wednesday January 18, 2017

We had to get up early to drive south from Valparaiso to the airport in Santiago to catch our flight to Easter Island. It wasn’t hard to wake up early as we barely slept. The gulls outside our windows drove us crazy all night long! Wake up call at 5:30 for a 6:00 car pickup.

Good bye Valparaiso graffiti!

This was a picture of a haunted street. I really didn’t understand the story but you were not supposed to linger here, but to drive by fast. So we did.

The sun began to rise on our way to Santiago.

Steve tried to sleep in the car as he had a bad night’s sleep. Between no air conditioning, the gulls, and my snoring-I mean purring, and a sore throat Steve had a very bad night. Even with the soothing sounds of a fan on the app on his iPhone, he slept very poorly. He went to bed at 9:30. I went to bed at 10:30. I woke up at 12:30, and thought great, I have five more hours to sleep. Which I told myself every hour decreasing the amount of time to sleep the rest of the night!

The pretty drive to the airport.

Steve got us some coffee so we could stay awake on our flight. As the hotel was not open for our early breakfast we were given a bag breakfast of a ham and cheese on stale bread and a nectarine. All we really wanted was coffee! The Dunkin’ Donuts had no milk and only artificial sweetener. I tried to pretend I was drinking a large espresso.

Orange juice and ibuprofen. Manna from Heaven for a sore throat.

You can see the smog hiding the mountains! The doodles represent the mountain edges!

We were flying business class to Easter Island. Did you know that it will take us 5 hours to get there?

I loved seeing our plane’s shadow as we ascended!

We leave the mainland. Next stop Easter Island! It is called Easter Island as it was discovered by Jacob Roggeveen,a Dutch Explorer, on Easter Sunday in 1722.

Plane breakfast. Easter Island is in the middle of nowhere! It is a long way from there to any other inhabited land.

You can see where Valparaiso was. On the coast and north of Santiago. Look at all the mountains!

Easter Island.

Yay! We have arrived! We have landed! Looks like I could use a brow lift and possibly an under eye tuck. Would you believe that a hair dresser I once went to suggested I get an eye lift, and Botox in my cheek folds? I always call them Fred Flintstone’s as his face had some really big ones.

Wilma doesn’t have any at all. Maybe she had Botox! Her hairdresser will never tell!

Steve looks like his hair has a lot of volume today. Do you see my grey hair? Not bad for 60, turning 61 in May. Although I am really 62 in real life as I am blogging about a trip that happened two years ago.

Just follow the signs.

We leave the airport and head to our hotel. There are many kids camping here. Not for me!

After a very bumpy ride we reach Explora Rapa Nui. https://www.explora.com/easter-island-chile/

There are other Explora hotels. One is in Antacama, the Chilean Dessert in Northern Chile. It’s elevation is very high so it is doubtful that I will ever visit there. Another location is in Torres Del Paine in the south of Chile. We hope to visit there someday. Two more are in Argentina and another in Bolivia. They are all boutique all inclusive hotels with guided group activities. There appear to be about 20 guests here now. Each day a few leave and a few arrive. The largest hotel on the island has 90 rooms (not Explora).

There is wifi service only in the main bar and lounge. Each day you can select two half day or one full day activity. The one full day activity is a strenuous 7 hour hike which includes a pack lunch. You can be assured that I will not be doing that!

Here is Steve checking us in. Everybody gets a lei!

Don’t I look lovely with my beautiful lei? At least my chin looks firm! Unfortunately the flowers looked good for only about 30 minutes!

The walkway between the buildings is thankfully covered. They get a lot of rain here. It is a good thing that I bought my Patagucci rain jacket. It is very humid here. My hair doesn’t know if it should lie flat or rebound! Oh, my rain jacket was found and it is being sent to the Ritz Carlton in Santiago where we will pick it up on our return trip from here.

Let’s see what our room looks like. We were staying in room 12.

The view out our window. Thankfully the room was air conditioned as it was quite humid here. There was a lovely chaise built into the window.

The view of the ocean and the pool out our window. Do you see the rain cloud? Rain, rain go away.

Our room with luggage all over. We had to hurry to unpack as we were going to have lunch and then go on our first hike. Were we going to wear our sneakers our Keens and socks, or Keen’s and no socks. We decided on sneakers.

We had lots of nice storage on the shelves. Behind the bamboo portions was a toilet on the left, sinks in the middle and a shower to the left.

We had iced tea, it was very lemony.

Lunch started with a lovely green salad.

Followed by ham and cheese on a baguette.

After lunch we met in the lobby with the other guests who will go on our walk in the quarry. We arrive at the park entrance where our guide Natalie produces our park passes, and we set up for what is supposed to be a short walk. This area is called Rano Raraku.

The quarry is not a big hole, but the side of a hill. All of the Moai on the island are from this quarry except for one that was made of basalt. We do not know where that one was from yet. The Moai are made of tuff, a rock made of compressed volcanic ash.

There are 840 Moai on the island. 400 are located in the quarry. We didn’t see that many, and there are bits and pieces of some that are broken. All the Moai that were finished have been toppled . The only erect finished ones that you can see have been restored.

It was very moving for me to come to Easter Island. As a young girl I read the book Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. Steve has read it also and was quite excited to come here also.

None of these Moai have eyes as they are unfinished. They did not get eyes until they reached their final location elsewhere. If you get a chance watch the video on you tube that discusses the theories on how the Moai were moved.

Here we see half of the Brazilian couple that went on the hike with us. The lady on the left is from Quebec. We think that she was in her 80’s. She was in tremendous shape. She leaves her husband for two weeks at a time and travels the world with her girlfriend. Her husband stays home with the dogs and tells her to “hurry back home!”.

Several of the Moai were toppled over and broken into many pieces.

Down below you will see a rider on horseback. He is there to make sure that people stay on the path.

Here you can see a Moai in the process of carving. It was probably half done before it was abandoned. You can make out the face and the body.

This Moai was different than all the other Moai on the island as it was kneeling. It had been excavated. Originally only the head was visible.

I persuaded the Brazilian woman to sit sideways and to pretend to kiss the Moai. It made a great picture. I would rate this picture as adequate.

Far away you can see the 15 Moai. I hope we will learn more about them!

Moai were carved both vertically and horizontally out of the rock.

A view down the hill and toward the ocean. Somehow my walk turned into a hike!

You can see how eroded this Moai is.

You can see how big the quarry is in this picture.

There are lots of horses on Easter Island. More about them on another blog post.

We were supposed to go on a walk to a crater filled with fresh water, but due to all the recent rain it was forbidden. It was declared unsafe due to all the red clay mud.

We had to drive through a humongous puddle on the way back to Explora.

Back to the hotel.

Let’s take a walk to the pool. The man swimming was from Korea. He and his friend elected to have massages and hang out at the pool instead of doing an activity this afternoon.

The pool was too cold for me. I had read in one of my guide books that it was supposed to be a surreal experience to be in the pool and look at the stars at night. Perhaps I will do that from the hot tub instead.

The water looks inviting but it was so cold!

The hot tub looked very inviting.

We arrived at the bar to discuss our next day’s activities with our next day’s guide. I had a scallop on something green and creamy to whet my appetite before dinner. Doesn’t it look disgusting? It was yummy. I want to vomit just looking at it now. I actually ate that thing? Yuck!

The tortilla chips in the bar got stale quickly in this humidity.

Steve ready for dinner. Lots of wine glasses to drink out of, and windows to enjoy the view. I think that Steve is looking at me like Fred looked at Wilma!

We met a lovely couple from England before dinner and had fun talking politics with them.

Bread to start.

There is always a salad isn’t there?

Followed by soup. Before and after they ladled the soup in the bowl. I love soup that is a production in the presentation!

Our fish.

Yummy dessert.

Look how far west we are!

Did you read Kon-Tiki as a child?

Do you like two part soups?

Do you need Botox injections in your fore head, cheeks, lips, an eye lift and a tummy tuck?

Valparaíso, Chile Tuesday January 17, 2017

After a fitful sleep at we woke up and went to breakfast. Unfortunately the room had no air conditioning and it was quite warm outside. We left the windows open so that we could have a breeze, but the gulls were always squawking! In addition, there was a park below with lots of people hanging out late into the night!

Here is another view of the hotel. Our room is on the third floor of the building on the upper left by the arched window.

This is a picture of the outside of the restaurant where we had dinner last night and breakfast this morning.

Off we went with JP, and Maxima our driver in our Peugeot van. Valparaíso is so colorful!

I am used to signs showing evacuation routes from super highways due to snow closures. This was the first time I saw a sign for a Tsunami escape route.

Houses were built anywhere there was a place to support a house. Even though Chile has lots of earthquakes, there are not many deaths, due to the strict construction guidelines.

The sun was blinding here. JP and Steve are shielding their eyes from the glare.

JP was into crazy poses. I’m not really into them, and don’t do crazy well, but I am a good sport. Here we are anyway at the famous floral clock doing a crazy pose.

We are now in Viña Del Mar, it is known for its beautiful gardens. It is within the Valparaíso region, and is Chile’s fourth largest city. The chef at the hotel last night called Valparaíso the San Francisco of the third world!

Here we are, on the Promenade. It is early, so not many people are out and about.

Here is JP pointing toward Valparaiso.

Here is the other direction, toward Con Con.

Here is the Casino, as I don’t gamble and it was early in the morning; we didn’t go inside. Plus the men in tuxedos, and the women in gowns and fine jewelry are probably still asleep, so there would be nothing to look at and report on!

We continue our stroll along the Promenade like the two love birds that we are. I smartly suggested we remove our dorky hats for the picture. See that white shirt I am wearing? Well, I will leave it in the hotel tomorrow by mistake and not ever see it again!

Ah, some energetic joggers. The rock in the background is called the “Michael Jackson” rock as it started out black. #imjustrepeatingthejoke

Above the u shaped rocks, there were seals playing. They were fun to watch jumping and diving into the water. That is Valparaíso in the background.

Here are Steve and JP watching the seals. Maxima, our driver, is keeping an eye on me!

We depart the beach with JP and Steve looking for babes in bikinis.

Let’s go into the park Vina Del Mar which was named after Jose Francisco Delvarga.

This is an old house across the street from the park. This is what many of the houses looked like when the city was founded. Now it is mostly skyscrapers.

They host many concerts here. Preparations were underway for a concert in two weeks.

Inside the concert arena.

We could not understand this sculpture hanging down from the rooftop of the amphitheater.

We continued our walk in the park and examined many of the old specimen trees.

JP was very upset that so many of the tree limbs had to be cut down due to the rot that the old tree had.

This is a photo of the house where Senor Delvarga lived.

You can see damage from the earthquake that is being repaired.

We depart Vina Del Mar and all its flowers.

We go to the Mueso La Sebastiana next. fundacionneruda.org This was the home of the Nobel wining Chilean poet, statesman and womanizer Pablo Neruda.

Neruda’s home had charming views of Valparaíso. He loved to get together with friends, especially on New Year’s Eve when the bay lit up with fireworks. During the summer at our house in Lake George, I am always running up and down our deck looking at the fireworks over the lake. I am easily entertained.

The colorful house from below.

Here we are in a normal pose.

We left the museum as the crowds began to gather.

Mural of a young boy fishing.

The houses are all a mishmash of styles. JP told us that a number of the houses are built right on top of each other, so it can be difficult finding the right address!

Panoramic view of Valparaíso.

I spy something.

The murals have many different themes.

Many of the murals were commissioned by business people or the city.

I found this one creepy.

All through the neighborhoods were murals.

To get to our restaurant Maxima had to back the van up a narrow street. Well, it was that or back up after he dropped us off. I think he wanted to impress us. He did!

Lunch was at Maralegre, (maralegre.cl) located in the boutique hotel Casa Higueres. casahigueres.cl

Steve and I were pretty hot and tired from all the walking around in the sun. It was nice to take some ibuprofen and not be on our feet. Steve has felt a sore throat for the past few days. I think it’s all the smog. We shall see when we get to Easter Island as there won’t be any smog there!

Here I am equally happy, this vacation has been so wonderful!

My view over Steve’s shoulder.

A closeup shows a house with earthquake damage, or ready for renovation or both!

We were offered tomato berry watermelon gazpacho to start. I drank Steve’s as he doesn’t care for tomato juice, or fruits. It really helped to cool me off.

Fresh rolls and butter, much better than stale rolls! As the lunch went on the butter melted completely in the hot sun.

Salad was greens with cheese, thinly sliced pear and quail eggs.

I ate half before the waiter brought out the dressing!

Steve had a Pisco Sour, I had an Aperol Spritz.

We were offered a palate cleanser of apple anise ice. It was quite refreshing.

Steve had the tagliatelle, sun dried tomatoes, sage and almonds.

I had the wagyu beef, shrimp angel hair pasta with truffle oil. No I did not finish!

Before dessert I had Steve and I change seats, just like at my fancy candle lit dinner parties!

My new view.

The dessert was called chocolate vanilla or vanilla chocolate in Spanish!

The waiter poured hot chocolate on the mousse so it melted like a reverse volcano. This might be my Vulcan Hudson afterall!

More graffiti.

Steve with improper arm placement for my picture taking. I could however, ask him to move his arm at any time and he would do so. I just like to make fun of him!

This is called the English section. When the English immigrants came to Valparaíso they married the Spanish aristocracy and stayed in this area. They were considered of higher status because they were English. The Germans moved to the Lake District. These homes were painted pastels: blues, purples, whites and greens.

A panoramic view of the port.

We could see four cranes constantly moving containers.

Here I made JP and Steve do a crazy pose.

This house was in very bad shape, but it had an amazing view.

Graffiti and laundry hung out upstairs to dry.

The main square. There was an artisan market under the canopies.

Because the city is a UNESCO site the original outsides of buildings are protected. You must keep the outer facade protected, but can erect a modern building inside! The result is bizarre.

A tomb in honor of the naval war heroes that died in a battle in 1879 against Peru. It is continually protected by a sailor, who you can see on the left of the statute wearing dark pants and a white shirt.

#thisiswhyitakethepictures

Have you ever ridden on a funicular in Valparaíso? Come along.

First you met the previous riders of the funicular.

Our car enters the station.

Enter brunette bombshell. Steve keeps his eyes properly elevated. When he is married to a bombshell like me, what more does he need?

We are off! Higher we shall go.

Still higher.

We finally reach the top and exit and it returns to the hotel.

After our ascent in the funicular, we walked to our hotel. hotelpalacioastoreca.cl I was delighted to find that our hotel was just across the street! We asked JP if he would be our guest for dinner tonight. First Steve and I were going to go for a swim at the hotel.

We wanted to soak in the wood fired hot tub, but the fire was out and the water was cold.

Instead we went for a swim in the indoor pool at the hotel and I tried to stand in front of the water jets. I wish the pool was a little bit warmer.

We went back to the room and while we were changing we heard sirens going off. We weren’t sure if it was pre warning for an earthquake or a fire in the hotel. We were in hysterics trying to decide if it was better to run out of the room naked, or to put your clothes on first. By the time we put our clothes on the second set of sirens was over. Phew!

We went to dinner at the little restaurant across the park from our hotel. The place where the all night revelers held court!

Steve was his usually happy self at dinner. He only gets grumpy in the morning after he has had a bad night’s sleep. Then, once he gets his coffee he is good to go. I must admit that whenever I say or do something I shouldn’t,he gets disappointed in me. Of course, that rarely happens. Ha Ha! Well, maybe once a month. Would you believe week? Okay, maybe I misbehave once a day, but then it is an accident!

I must admit that I find Steve terribly handsome. When Scott Brown was running for the Senate seat in Massachusetts I said that I thought “Scott Brown is terribly handsome!”. Steve of course has never let me forget that. Every time he is on television Steve mentions my quote. I am lucky that Senator Brown was not re-elected. I think I have told this story several times already, but I never tire of it!

Forty years ago, I mentioned that I thought one of the male members at the gym was also good looking. Steve promptly replied ” I have seen a better head on a cabbage!” So now I generally keep my thoughts to myself!

Here is our waitress telling JP, “No, that is not available.” We could only choose from a third of the menu!

I ordered a blueberry Pisco sour. They also offered ginger, mint, or regular.

We had the salmon with potatoes and it looked disgusting. It was delicious. You might call it salmon with glop sauce!

Here is a view out my window in the restaurant.

Close up we can see that these people had a dinner party going on. How lovely!

For dessert I had the strawberry mousse. Of course I finished the whole thing! Unfortunately there was no chocolate anything or ice cream on the menu for Steve.

JP had apple pie for dessert. We had a nice discussion about politics and taxes. The previous mayor of Valparaiso was accused of corruption and the new mayor is only 31! He was elected because everyone thought he was too young to be corrupt!

In Chile there is income tax, property tax, and a 19% sales tax. All our extras at the hotels were billed in American dollars and we were exempt from sales tax on that. (Our hotels were all prepaid by our travel advisor.) The Chileans have free health care and there are many places for the homeless to live, so we rarely saw someone sleeping on the street. There were many people hustling at traffic intersections hawking goods, and people performing juggling for tips. The street artists and vendors pop up all over and the police are always asking for their permits. If you don’t have one, you say it is your first time, or that you didn’t know it was required, pack and then return ten minutes later.

What flavor Pisco Sour would you order?

What do you think about a 19% sales tax?

What looks better, your head or a cabbage?

Delphi Club, Abaco January 17, 2019

This is the last post from the January Delphi trip that I didn’t fully post.

No pictures of eggs for you this morning. You must be sick of them by now. Here are some lovely flowers. I have never seen any guest put flowers in their hair. Don’t even try to get me guessing if a flower behind your right or left ear means you are single, married or on the prowl.

Today was our last day. As such, Steve was not going to go fishing. We decided that we would go on an adventure and try to find a Blue Hole. Blue holes are deep holes in the limestone bedrock filled with fresh water. The slightly acidic fresh water has dissolved the limestone to create drainage holes. V decided to tag along with us. Would it be a good or bad decision? Well, stay with me and you will find out.

There is a book in the lodge that has maps and information of the various tourist sights. Did we take it? No. Did Steve think he knew where the blue hole was? Yes. Did Steve even know there was a book that had the information? No. Did Linda bother to inquire if Steve might want to bring the book with us? No. Did Linda think that Steve knew what he was doing? Yes. Was Linda wrong? Stay with me and you will find out. Did Steve think they were going to find Blue Holes? No. Did Linda think they were going to find Blue Holes? Yes.

Quick update: For those quivering with anticipation, as if there was any other way to be; Steve and Linda remain happily married.

First picture is one of the guide boats. The guide sits in the back and drives the boat. When he gets to the fishing spot, he can climb up on the back platform and look for fish while using a long pole to push the boat. There is no electric motor on these boats. If the guide starts getting old he will sit on the platform and not stand on it. I don’t blame him, I don’t like heights and being up there would make me nervous. However, the guide has a better view if he is at the higher spot. The sport sits on the seats until the boat arrives at the fishing spot. Then he will stand up on the front platform. He can lean against the metal bar for support. That long pole on the left of the picture is the pole to push the boat along. If I were to tag along with Steve all day, I would be sitting in that chair the whole long day. No where to get out of the sun, no place to get out and stretch your legs. Basically trapped the whole day. Now if I remain at the lodge, like I usually do, I can go a nice bathroom anytime, soak my feet in the pool, jump from couch to porch swing, or to bed in the room. We are in the Bahamas so we Steve got to drive on the left side of the road. The steering wheel was on the left. Steve came this way nearly every morning on the way to the boat launch. This is the parking spot for the guides. They have already launched their boats. This is the launch spot. Not particularly scenic is it? I should have known that we were on a fool’s errand as the sign was directing us to caves and not holes. We decided to look for Nancy’s Cave first. No, I did not find out who Dan, Nancy, or Ralph were. Nor, if have they been found. Well, we never did find Nancy’s cave. The road looked like it was beginning to end, so we turned around. There were small trees growing in the dirt road, it looked like not many people had been this way recently. This looked more like a place where a cave might be found. We either have a sign post waiting to happen, or a sign post ready to be removed.

This is where you might have your picnic before or after you visited the cave. We did not bring any food with us. Since you are reading this, you know that we safely returned from the adventure. Look how slim and trim Steve is in this picture, it looks like he didn’t gain any weight on this vacation at all! When Steve reviewed my post for editing he scoffed at my comment that he is slim and trim. I will say that he is trim then. Well, this looks promising. Come along, won’t you? Here is V, she was such a good sport to come along with us. This is the interior of the cave. It was not very tall, We all took a peek and then retreated. We could hear all sorts of gurgling and sloshing noises from the area. On the way back I thought “Oh, let me return and take a little video of the exciting sounds!” Of course, when I got back to the mouth of the cave, SILENCE!On our way to our last cave. You might think that Steve was our fearless leader, but my now I am sure you all know, that Linda is always in the lead. I was already on my way back, as I thought this trail was a bust. Last cave. You can see the water has a bit of an blue tint to it. Well, that was the end of our adventure. I wanted you to see some of the bark of the trees in the forest. There are fires and a lot of the vegetation is destroyed.

After much discussion it turns out that there was a massive communication error about this adventure. I thought we were going to look for Blue Holes. Steve thought we were going to look at the caves. So he was correct in what he was driving to. I was incorrect as I was not paying attention to what he was telling me we were going to see!Back at the lodge, safe and sound we all had lunch on the veranda overlooking the ocean. I should probably let Steve get the ocean view, but I am greedy, and like to look at the ocean. When he is out fishing all day, he can look at the water all he wants. You can tell it is a travel day, as he is wearing one of his plaid shirts. One of these days I will count how many plaid shirts he owns! I had the mahi mahi on romaine. Steve had the chicken with Chinese noodles and vegetables on a green salad. We all had ice cream bars for dessert. E from DC didn’t care for hers, so J, her husband ate two. He reminded her that when you are off the coast of Africa for nine months on a naval boat, you vowed never to decline ice cream in the future. Steve had remarked at dinner one night about this poem in one of the bathrooms off the great room. I think most females never even notice it. After all, why would we? It is on the wrong wall! Then it was off to the airport where we waited for our flight to Fort Lauderdale. This is a picture of Marsh Harbour International Airport. Currently it is closed at night as the runway lights are out. They had better get that fixed soon! The building on the right is the old airport. I can’t even remember what that looked like, it was very small though! Back at Fort Lauderdale airport we had a long layover. Better a long layover than missing your flight due to bad weather. We ate at the Jack Nicklaus restaurant. Steve had the chicken with fettuccini.

I ordered the grilled cheese with tomato soup. I also ordered ice tea with lemonade to drink. “You mean an Arnold Palmer?”, the waitress asked? “I thought you weren’t allowed to ask for that in this restaurant.”, I said. She looked at me as if I were nuts. Now don’t tell me I was the first person to say that. Now that could be the case, as I often am the only person to say something awkward!

While at the airport I got an e-mail from S. Did I know of any good restaurants in the Florida Keys? I live to serve, so I looked up a number of restaurants on Yelp. I hope they turn out okay. I do hate to disappoint my fans!

One thing I have just realized is that I should have asked S from Scotland to dance with me. Or at least pretend to dance as there was no occasion to dance while at Delphi. If I had, then I could have claimed to have danced with a man who had danced with the Queen!

No questions today. No one ever seems to answer them. Nor are enough of you liking my blog posts. You get them in your mail box, or stumble upon them somehow. Please take the effort to like them. It is pretty simple. Just click on the like button at the bottom of the post. For those of you who are liking them, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now, let’s see if my like numbers increase! For the truly adventurous you can even add a comment! It’s really not hard to do!

Another update: Steve and I are going to England in May to see visit with Peter and Jane (Peter ran the Delphi Club for years). Guess who we are going to see there? V and her husband J! I keep telling you that we meet people again! In fact, J described us to Peter as “delightful”!

Tomorrow continues our trip to South America in 2017. I will however end up taking another break of that trip as we are going to Argentina again Saturday night!

Delphi Club, Abaco January 15, 2019

This is not an April Fool Joke as I discovered this all last night. it turns out that I never finished my blog posts of the trip to Delphi that Steve and I took in January! There was much more that happened than what I had posted. Try to follow along, I am sure it will be terribly confusing!

More fried eggs again! I may surprise you someday and order something else for breakfast! I often order waffles or French Toast when I am in a restaurant. This post was written before my visit to the internist where he put me on Lipitor and said watch your cholesterol! Today was the last lunch for A, J and S. They were flying to Nassau, spending the night at the new Baha Mar, and then off to Miami to drive to Cheeca Lodge in the Florida Keys. I have always wanted to stay at Cheeca. Maybe if A starts a blog, I will be able to read about it. Start a blog A!

Here is our big bowl of blue corn chips and dips. I am dipping my chips in guacamole, more often now. I’m still not sure if I like it. I draw the line at ordering Avacado Toast, that’s just too trendy for even me!

I ordered the Mahi Mahi on field greens. I neglected to ask for no olives. Every one but J ordered an ice cream bar for lunch. J is trying to keep his figure.

After lunch I hugged A, J and S goodbye. J is an extremely strong hugger! I don’t know if he knows his own strength! He probably does!

S gave me a very high compliment. He told me that he had met many wives of big shot executives and that they are dull as shit. I however, am one of the most interesting women he has ever met! I was really touched, and couldn’t wait to rub it in on Steve that he is VERY LUCKY THAT I PROPOSED TO HIM YEARS AGO! Unfortunately I had to wait many hours until Steve came back from fishing to tell him of my absolutely wonderful compliment from S.

Speaking of fishing, Steve caught 21 fish today. None were big enough to unseat C, one of the new guests, from head of the table. C caught a seven pound bonefish. Steve, however still has the record of a nine pound bonefish that he caught last year. C lives in Marco Island Florida, so he probably catches bonefish all the time. Our first canapé was smoked mackerel mayonaise on a …well it wasn’t mentioned on the menu card, so you can decide if it was a pitette, croute, or cracker! Next up was pork fritters, with a soy sauce dip.

During our pre dinner conversation I introduced myself and did a minor interrogation of our new guests who lived in the DC area. Yes, I did ask them if they worked for the government and if they were affected by the government shut down. He is with the Navy, and she works in the Pentagon. As the department of defense had their funds approved prior to the shutdown they are being paid, and are working hard to keep us all safe. Not that the other people who are working and not being paid are not working hard, nor keeping us safe. They are, and when we were in the airports I made sure to tell the TSA individuals that I hoped the shutdown was settled. They were all in good spirits. One thing I noticed is that the people who I call “the barkers” were not barking orders in the airports anymore.

I asked many questions of our guests from Washington. I will keep all the answers to myself. Our starter was a conch salad. Something that I do not care for at all. I ordered the rack of lamb. I asked it to be cooked medium, as the other night it was a little too rare for me. Steve ordered the hog fish. A terrible name for a tasty fish.

I sat next to J from Ireland, one of the barristers. The other barrister D, you will remember returned home. Our new friends from DC asked J the same questions that I did about the wigs and robes! Great minds think alike! Of course I could only understand about every third word that he said! I do wonder if I am unintelligible to him. Dessert was a delicious coconut creme brûlée. Steve didn’t eat it as he doesn’t like coconut. I bet his weight gain this week will be less than mine!

How much weight do you gain on vacation?

Do you like Mounds Bars, or Almond Joys? Both are coconut based, so Steve abstains.

Can you keep a secret?

Valparaiso Chile. Monday January 16, 2017

So this will be an overview of the trip so far. We flew from JFK in New York City nonstop to SCL Santiago Chile on January 5.

We stayed one night in Santiago and then flew the next day to Balmaceda via Puerto Montt. That was the black line on the map. We were then driven to Coyhaique where we stayed a week at the lodge. Then we flew to Puerto Montt (the red line) where we drove to Puerto Varas and saw Lake LLanquihue and all the volcanos with Isabel (except when it was cloudy!). We then flew back to Santiago and drove northwest to Valparaiso which is on the coast. Then we will fly to Easter Island. I will keep the rest secret for now!

Santiago is inland and surrounded by mountains. There are three major tunnels between the interior of Santiago and the outskirts. Smog gets progressively worse as you near the city center.

As we say good bye to Puerto Montt, I will give you a little more Chilean history. Chile was declared independent from Spain in 1818. The government felt that it was important to exert sovereignty over the south of Chile and 212 German colonists came to Lake LLanquihue to farm. It is interesting to note that what you and I consider middle Chile, is considered South Chile to Chileans. Further south, where the Fjords and Patagonia are was not colonized until the middle area was established, and was already considered the South! Confused? I am. Just remember Patagonia is south of south Chile.

Good bye Lake LLanquihue! Good bye Volcano Orsono!

Hello clouds!

The clouds lifted the further north we flew. You can see the Andes again.

A closer view of some of the volcanoes. The one on the left already blew its top off and a glacier sits in the cone. You can tell the volcano is inactive as you can see the glacier.

When we landed I found out that the large group with us on the plane was an Alumni group from Harvard. Even though they went to Harvard, they had to board the bus with us to go to the terminal.

JP, (Juan Pablo, who was our guide earlier during our stay in Santiago) and our driver picked up and drove us to Valparaiso. It took about a 90 minute drive from the airport. Did you know that there are 5 Valparaiso’s in the world? Valparaiso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Valparaíso is also the third largest metropolitan area in the country. Before the Panama Canal was created, the city was a major port for those traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The city is known for its funiculars, graffiti, cobblestone streets, and colorful clifftop homes. There is lots of graffiti here, the city has not banned spray cans yet. Valparaíso is in the process of installing street cameras in hopes of decreasing the amount of graffiti.

There are beautiful murals all over.

After winding through many narrow streets and hills we arrived at our hotel. You can see how narrow and steep some of the streets are.

Hotel Palacio Astoreca hotelpalacioastoreca.cl will be our hotel for the next few days. Steve and I have been enjoying our stays at these smaller boutique hotels as opposed to the many hundred room hotels. These smaller hotels are all quite unique. Our hotel has only 24 rooms. The entrance to the hotel is near the front of the uppermost van in the picture.

The hotel was damaged in an earthquake about ten years ago. The inside has been renovated and it has a quite modern style. I don’t really know how to describe the outer architectural style.

This is a reception area off the lobby. The reception desk is off to the left.

There was a lovely library in the hotel and Steve climbed the movable stairs to get a couple of books. He now knows many facts about Picasso.

Our room was on the third floor. Thankfully there was an elevator! We were assigned room #17. It was the receptionist’s favorite room. We liked it too!

Steve examining the rooms before our bags got unpacked and spoiled the pristine room.

This was another view of the bed. For some strange unexplained reason there was a strange wooden frame around the side of the bed. It made it very difficult to get in and out of the bed. Steve considered this an “unfriendly bed”.

The bath with a waterfall shower head.

Hmm, should we see if this leads to the outside?

It does! Steve is a good sport and imitates an exhausted traveler lying on the chaise lounge. Now I must tell you that some of these clever posed pictures are not Steve’s ideas, but mine. He takes great pictures of his fingers so I have to direct him in the poses that I want commemorated. He is a good husband and plays along with me, I think that I will keep him.

Here is one of the views from our patio. Con Con on the top left, Reñaca a little to the right. Vina Del Mar is across the water above the large salmon building in the center of the picture. Valparaiso follows to the right and the bottom of the picture. Our room had a beautiful view of the bay, although I think all the views from the hotel were fabulous!

Here is a video from our balcony during the daytime.

Let’s go to dinner at the hotel, shall we? We need to descend the spiral staircase to the restaurant on the first floor. (I hate spiral staircases!)

It’s 7:30, and we are ready for dinner. Most people in South America don’t eat dinner until 8 p.m. Your eyes are in focus, I am trying the blurred shot to soften the wrinkles in Steve’s face. Just kidding, I don’t know what went wrong!

A lovely Pisco Sour, the orange on the foam is a dash of bitters, which cuts the sweetness of the drink.

Our rolls couple, ready to be slathered with butter and eaten!

For his starter, Steve had the house special. Bacon foam, mashed potatoes, and Scallops topped with a saffron foam. It was ethereal!

My skinny knife for my beef entree.

I had the beef filet with gratin dauphinois potatoes, topped with a muleteer salad and pickled zucchini cubes. Steve had the salmon. I forgot to take a picture of it!

It’s years later, and I look at this menu, wishing I could have one of everything right now. However we were too full that night to order anything more. However, if the menu was prix fixe, no doubt I would have insisted that Steve and I each try something different and share! The pricing was in Chilean Pesos. Now 1000 pesos is equivalent to about $1.50.

The sun had set before I got a chance to take a picture of it glittering over the water. I sure didn’t miss the street signs, and utility poles! Does this win the prize of worst picture ever? No! It doesn’t have a finger in the view!

Back up to the room, I discover our special treat!

I love pistachio macaroons ! In fact, I love all macaroons!

Here is the video from our balcony at night.

Good night Valparaíso!

Have you enjoyed my trip so far?

Have you ever been on a college alumni travel tour?

One of my readers has, can she figure out how to reply to the question?

Her initials are JLB, in case she has not figured out the answer to question number 2!

Wish me luck on her answering question number 3! As she doesn’t read old blogs, I rate my chances slim to none.

Delphi Club, Abaco, The Bahamas. Tuesday March 26, 2019

It’s our last day, and we are all up early. Usually Steve has breakfast and is all ready to go fishing before I get up. Most of the non fishing spouses are this way. Nothing worse than getting in the way of an angler with a one track mind, to get on the water and jerk some fish lips!

Here is an actual picture of the untouched fruit bowl! You know I had to be up early to take this picture!

Here is a picture of some of the pastries. They are made fresh every morning. Or at least they are put in the oven and baked fresh. I am not sure if they are pre made or not. I will have to investigate that next visit.

There are also savory danish. These have cheese and small pieces of ham in them. You know that I like the sweet ones more! More oatmeal doctored with raisins and coconut and some kind of dried fruit. Lots of maple syrup and some butter, so maybe I am not doing so well in the cholesterol lowering diet after all.

Here we have a map of Abaco Island. Steve’s finger is about where the Delphi Club is located. To the lower left is Sandy Point. That’s where Nancy’s is. I wrote about our trip to Nancy’s in my December 2017 blog post I believe. Steve goes wading here. To the north west a bit is Castaway Cay. It’s correct name is Gorda Cay, but the Disney Company bought it and they can call it whatever they want to. It’s a long boat ride there, but when the cruise ships are not there, the fishing is great. Steve was fishing there one time, and was waiting patiently to spot a fish. One of the guest saw him and questioned his Dad “Is that a robot?” He was used to all the automatronics in Walt Disney World!

Just to the west of Great Abaco Island is the Marls. That is where most of the anglers go fishing. I think if you tried to go by yourself you would no doubt get lost and die. Not a good way to start your vacation at all!

Soon it was time to settle the bill and then have Margery pick us up and take us to the airport. I did not have special attention on me this time. I have learned to keep my mouth shut and not ask any questions.

Here is the group getting into the plane. Steve is watching out that he doesn’t trip on the little ones.

We had no problems with the flight. Looking for a place to eat was another adventure. You know by now that I adore points and deals. Well, with some of our credit cards I get membership in Priority Pass, which gives you access to airline club lounges. Fort Lauderdale Airport didn’t have a lounge, but one of the restaurants lets you have up to $26 worth of food per card holder and the same for the guest. Well it took us 15 minutes at least to find the restaurant. I had one card, and a number for the membership for the other card. I figured we would get free lunches as we had two cards with two guest memberships. “Of course!” They said. Unfortunately they only accepted the membership with the one card, saying they couldn’t accept the written down number on a scrap of paper. I think they are going to charge my credit card for four admissions, instead of two. So that will be an extra $56, when we probably only spent half of that on our meal. Not to mention the $20 tip that M left. Steve hates my attempts to get deals on this type of stuff. I agree, it would have been better to just eat lunch at the restaurant near our gate. Except last time we ate there we had lousy service!

Last picture of our trip. I went over to the David Gandy display at the perfume store. One last kiss! What’s funny is that when Steve had his beard, I used to hold his face that way so I wouldn’t get my face all prickled from his beard!

Bearded or Smooth Shaven?

Do you even know who David Gandy is?

Do you know that I have 164 followers now? Yippee!

This is the end of the Delphi posts. I will resume tomorrow with more of our South American trip from 2017. You do want to know what happened in South America-don’t you?