Today, I would be hard to put to imagine a more peaceful, gentle awakening to begin a day. There was no PA announcement, no wakeup call, no knock on the door, no traffic, no aircraft noise, no waking with the realization that some chore must be done, but only the slow, gentle awakening from a dream involving bird nests with flower petals in it and a lovely lady.
Outside, it was a grey pre dawn, and we are docked in Puerto Montt, Chile. I have been here before, but only looking out an airplane window. The weather is clear, winds calm, and the forecast is for temps in the sixties. My feet hit the floor, pulled on shorts and sandles and patted down to the yacht club for some coffee (two black) served by the surly waitress who looks like Tyne Daly. The crew is gonna have a boat drill. It is 62. and we are here in Puerto Montt until 5PM.
Down at breakfast, I was reminded that old people like to get up early and eat breakfast, as the line stretched out of the dining room and down the hall, but the coffee line was short and moved quickly, and I spilled not a drop on my trip up one flight of stairs and down the length of the ship.
//Made second trip to yacht club and got two more cups of coffee to my cabin without spillage and saying a quick hello to Hannah enroute. She confirmed I will need USD 26 in Chile and that I will be getting the advance disembarkation. Back in cabin, fresh clothes and a shower before I go looking for the internet café which I am told is in town (by sherry). Was thinking as I gradually awoke earlier of how many nights I have been thusly pampered since September when I embarked on the Ecstasy….15+7=22, + 11=33+14=47 by the time Sat nite has come and gone. It is a nice way to live, but I don’t have the same feeling here that I did on the Dawn…namely that I’d sell my house to live there the rest of my life.
Time 9am. Lovely shower, cleaned teeth, ventured to casino and after a wait which seemed forever, got eighty bucks from their ATM which in fine tradition of fifteen dollar photos and three dollar bottles of water, hit me for five and a half bucks for atm fee in addition to any that the home bank might charge. But now I have enough for the internet café in town, the twenty six USD that Chile wants in cash to let us out of their country, and enough to pay the limo driver in the event that their records do not show that I pre paid, as the ‘receipt’ that I was given is problematic at best. Thanked the people at pursers’ desk for the rapid appearance of tv repair and laundry after my calls to them about it. Packed away the freshly done underwear sox and t shirts and actually began packing some stuff to go home. Saw Hannah and got huge Philippina smile to counteract tyne daily who isn’t getting paid as much to kma. Now my maid wants the room so I am hustled a bit to finish my pre cleaning cleaning thereof.
(At 1700) HAPPY! Yes, I spend a lot of time being ‘content’ and lots being ‘comfortable’, but today I edged over the line and was actually and truly happy. I was sitting on aft deck seven, waiting for the Dixieland band to play for another sailaway party. The deck thrummed as the engines came on, and it was exciting to think our next port of call is Valparaiso, which has illuminated my imagination since I was a tot. The sun was shining brightly, and I had just had a fantastic swim and my skin was all aglow. Earlier I had ridden the exercise bike for a calorie burnoff of 112 calories, so I was looking forward to dinner, looking forward to hearing the band, looking forward to hearing the trio later (1900) and my baggage tag situation was totally resolved – NCL is putting me up at the Sheraton during the time between docking and the flight, which is a 13 hour layover. All my parts are working well (the first time they played, as we left Buenos Aires, my middle finger was so sore I couldn’t DREAM of playing piano, and after being in the hot tub and swimming a few times, I can scarcely remember how bad it was.
The band played Indiana [nice thoughts of Dad] so that I would know they could do it, which is what I want to do in the talent show tomorrow. I got a bottle of Tylenol here on board but have not had to open it. There is a bowl of cut fruit in the room. My laundry is all done. The bed is freshly made and has clean sheets on it almost daily I think. If any tragedy has befallen my home or those I care for, I don’t know it. We have two more nights at sea and a sea day tomorrow. When I get home, lonesome though it may be, I have no obligations etc and no job or unpleasant relationship waiting for me. I should have enough money to pay the annual on the plane and trip expenses as well.
Not the direct cause of the happiness, but perhaps contributing to the overall sense of well being is the fact that I spent at the very least, four hours on the internet down in Puerto Montt today. I walked off the ship on deck six (which was nearly level with the dock) and when I came back the second time, the gangplank was on deck five and two additional were showing below that. Huge tides. I watched salt being unloaded from a ship called Wrestler I onto a line of waiting trucks and thought about BenB whose blog I glanced at but didn’t read in depth. Their hookup wasn’t bad and I was even able to look at my beloved comics [ including back ones] without feeling guilt, since the cost was a dollar an hour, the lowest I’ve ever seen. I read blog after blog, checked my private messages on several forums, posted on a few blogs and checked emails etc. I also was able to help another man get into his email system by the use of email anywhere. Very pleased I could do that.
Saw two police in uniform (brown) but by the time I dug out my patches they were gone and I never saw any more. Someone had a lama wearing a silly hat at the place where you walk off the ship. I internetted for three solid hours, returned to the ship to use the bathroom and get something to eat, and then returned for at least another hour, probably more, and boy did I feel caught up when I finished. That’s when I got into the gym where there was not another soul around and rode a bit over twenty minutes on the bike, doing 6.5 miles in 22:30 with the 112 calorie burn which I am about to go undo presently.
Supper was sliced pork, a couple pieces of meatloaf, another thing that was pressed white meat, but just what I don’t know, and potatos, with ice cream to come later on. The Lido lounge is presently packed so I don’t know whether I’ll be able to sit and watch the trio from my usual spot or not. As mentioned, I saw Hannah and determined that the blue tags are the right ones to use, because the luggage is going to be taken to the Santiago Sheraton to wait for the plane ride. They don’t use the VIP tags on the Crown, but this is the bit that ** had told me was going to be smooth. I had no idea. I have no answer from him, S**, A** or S** as of when I looked, but feel that I have done a credible job of keeping up my end of things here.
Now there is lovely scenery sliding by again, so I’m out of the room and back to the Lido lounge once again. // stayed for the first set of the trio. They did some very tasty numbers, very professionally arranged and orchestrated by Pablo, who says he has ‘passenger privileges” but didn’t say where he was for the sail away dixie music.
//The internet guy aboard declared it was ludicrous to go to an internet café and miss the glories of Porta Montt, but I said it might safely be called incomprehensible instead. And left out my opinions of him lighting a toxic, expensive Marlboro and going outside to poison his lungs. I listened to two sets of the trio and got a kiss blown by Paula when I left. I also had a nice chat with Pablo, and would love to run into him in NYC sometime, to go listen to Les Paul.
Following, went to the casino and got two cookies. Have only gambled there once in two weeks, losing a quick twenty and getting enough bad vibes not to want to return. Have thought about it, but tonight is second to last night, and I have even begun packing. The talent show is supposed to be sometime tomorrow, but have heard sod all about that since signing up. Also asked Hannah about the map of the Antarctic trip with our trip traced on it, and it is supposed to show up at the Excursion desk tomorrow (manana).
So – I still remain in a relatively good mood, and content to be going home after another wonderful experience. The flight to Antarctica was another of life’s peak experiences, and I feel good just looking at the screen saver of the flight over the Crown while I sit happily aboard it. At 2300 to the 11th floor for two more cookies and back to movies on tv.
-- The Trio I wrote about so often --