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Live from the 2019 Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage


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February 18, 2019

Buenos Aires, Argentina


For my first day in Buenos Aires I signed up for a city tour set up on the Cruise Critic roll call.  It was a HAL tour but for just 8 of us (we had a 24 seat bus so it was very comfortable).


Our guide was Maria and we started the tour by going to Floralis Genericus, a giant steel and aluminum flower that opens each morning and closes at sunset.


Next, we stopped at Recoleta Cemetery.  It has an amazing array of vaults.  First opened in 1822 in the garden of a disbanded convent, it is still being used today.  Probably the most famous person buried here is Maria Eva Duarte de Peron, often referred to as Evita.  Some of the mausoleums are well-tended, others have broken glass and are in poor shape.


Then we went to El Ateneo Grand Splendid which has been named by National Geographic as the world’s most beautiful bookstore.  First opened in 1919 as a theater it was then turned into a movie theater before its transformation to a book store.  I was pleased to see many people still buying books in this digital age. 


We then went to Plaza de Mayo, the center of Buenos Aires.  Our first stop was to get some cash because the ship was not selling Argentinian money.  At the first bank we went to, Patty, Sherita, and I could not get any money.  Very much like the experience I had a few days ago, the ATM accepted the card and when it came time to get money, an “invalid request” notice came up.  Maria took us to another bank and we each had some success but the most you could get was 1500 pesos (about US$40).


In the square we saw the Casa Rosada – the executive mansion and familiar to anyone who has seen Evita.  We then went into the Metropolitan Cathedral which houses the remains of the liberator of Argentina, Chile, and Peru from Spanish rule, General Jose de San Martin.  On the way back to the bus we could look down and see the obelisk of Buenos Aires.


Lunch was in Puerto Madero (not included in the price of the tour) at an Italian restaurant.  Service was slow and the food was just OK.


The last stop was in La Boca.  It is one of the neighborhoods of the city and it is very colorful with lots of artwork everywhere.  There were a number of restaurants with Tango music and dances.  We had  40 minutes to wander around.  I bought a magnet and tried to stay out of the sun (it was a hot summer day).


By then it was after 4 pm and we had been going since 9 am.  A couple of people in our group were going to a Tango dinner so we needed to get back to the ship.


Today was a turnover day and we lost about 100 passengers and rumors differ as to how many got on (anywhere from 100-160).  I knew two of my friends from my two Westerdam cruises were going to be in the Crow’s Nest at 4.  I went to see if they were still there and they were.  It was great to see Ann and Pat again.


I had much earlier decided that I was going to the Lido for dinner.  They were having an Asado Steak dinner and it was very tasty – actually one of the best steaks I have had onboard.


I had missed 4 pm trivia so I headed back to the Crow’s Nest for 7 pm trivia.  Patty and Sherita had gone to the Tango dinner so Pat and another new passenger, Chris, joined us.  We had 17 out of 18 but the winners had 18.

1) What sauce is made of garlic and mayonnaise?

2) In what city would you find the world’s largest bullfighting ring?

3) What is the official language of Papua New Guinea?

4) What is the only country that is crossed by both the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn?

5) What is the most common type of plant in the world?


The show tonight was “Pampas Devils Gauchos” described as a traditional gaucho show with the Argentine Tango and tap dancing and bolos.  It was a good show but I was beat by the time it was over at 10:30.



1) Aioli

2) Mexico City

3) English

4) Brazil

5) Grass


Smooth sailing until next time!

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February 19, 2019

Buenos Aires, Argentina


I know where yarn heaven is and it is on Avenida Raul Scalabrini Ortiz in Buenos Aires!


One of the women in our Stitchers group kept mentioning the wonderful yarn stores in Buenos Aires.  I did some research on the internet and found that this street is the “yarn district” of Buenos Aires.  There are yarn stores one after another for a few blocks.


Pat, Sherita, and I had made plans to meet at 8 am (!!) to go shopping.  The stores open at 8:30. They changed some money in the terminal (the terminal ATM would not work either) and then we got a taxi for the ride to Av. Raul Scalabrini Ortiz. 

It took about 20 minutes ($15 but we were likely overcharged) and we got out at one of the stores.  We walked two block and saw at least a dozen yarn shops – we didn’t even go another block where there was supposed to be more stores!  We went into at least 10 and all bought some yarn.  I bought about 5 kilos of various yarns and spent about $50 – it was such an amazing buy.


We hailed another taxi and all went well until we were a couple of miles from port when we got into a huge traffic jam (we later learned there was a demonstration that tied up the roads).  When we were a little more than a mile from the ship, the taxi overheated and we had to get out.  It was about 11:20 by then and Sherita still had to get back for her excursion.  We decided to walk since the traffic was going nowhere.  It was very hot and we had to walk at least a mile (I am going to check the actual distance tomorrow). 


We got back in time for Sherita’s excursion but Pat and I were dripping wet.  We stopped at the little café in the terminal and got a cold drink and sat for about an hour before heading back to the ship.


Lunch in the Lido (after taking a good look at my purchases!) and then Pat and I worked on her knitting before afternoon trivia.  A number of people were still off the ship so we teamed up with one of our neighboring teams.  We had 15 out of 19 but the winners had 18.

1) Absolut vodka comes from which country?

2) Who played the Scarecrow in the 1978 movie “The Wiz”?

3) What was the name of the first Pope?

4) In what country was Russell Crowe born?

5) What is the fastest creature on two legs?


I ate early with Sherita, Jim, and Roy. I had crostini, a salad, beef stroganoff, and a sundae for dessert.


Chris and Pat played trivia with us again.  Winners had 18 out of 19 but we only had 15.

1) What city is the culinary capital of New Zealand?

2) Name the large US city that was hit by 16 earthquakes registering between 3 and 5 between 1980 and 1995?

3) In what country was Trivial Pursuit first sold?

4) Who was the first person to see Jesus after he left the tomb?

5) Fender and Gibson are types of what?


There was a comedian for the show but since I had not done last night’s blog (which took three hours), I skipped it .


Looking forward to a sea day tomorrow and not having to get up early!



Afternoon trivia

1) Sweden

2) Michael Jackson

3) Peter

4) New Zealand

5) Ostrich


Evening trivia

1) Wellington

2) New York City

3) Canada

4) Mary Magdalene

5) Guitars


Smooth sailing until next time!

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2nd day -- Buenos Aires 


How wonderful you got to go to the yard shops and buy some. n $50 sounds reasonable compared to prices in some of our stores.  Wonder what the demonstration was about that tied up traffic.  At least you had a place to get something cool to drink in the terminal.


Great reports.

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Kathi, I could have answered the Gibson and Fender question. I used to work at Gibson - when they were still in Kalamazoo MI - their original home. My first full-time job. Wound banjo strings and then put together amplifiers - when it was all done by hands - no robots.

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9 hours ago, nvdreamer said:

Love your reviews.  When you go to the yarn stores do you have projects in mind for the yarn or just buy what catches your eye?

It pretty much is what catches my eye.  Sherita and Pat talked me into stepping out of my comfort zone and buy the earth tone color yarn since I am drawn to the blue/green/purple shades.

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February 20, 2019

At Sea


The morning started with a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet.  There were at least 25 members present.  Spent about an hour with Knitters and Stitchers afterwards before heading to the Lido for lunch.


For afternoon trivia we only had four players and had 13 out of 21 correct with three teams tied at 17.

1) What is the third letter of the Greek alphabet?

2) What was the profession of Wyatt Earp’s sidekick?

3) What are the colors of the flag of Egypt?

4) How long in feet is a Venice gondolier’s oar?

5) Where is the largest pyramid in the world?


After trivia I changed so I could swim after arts and crafts.  We decorated a tote bag.


There was a $25 South American wine tasting this afternoon by the Lido Pool.  No sweet wines so I did not participate.


I sat by the pool for a little over an hour and swam for about 15 minutes. 


Sherita and I went to the Pinnacle Grill for dinner and it was delicious.


Evening trivia was in the showroom because there was a cocktail party for those who boarded in Buenos Aires in the Crow’s Nest.  We had five players and got 17 out of 18.  A number of teams tied with 18.

1) In which country did voodoo originate?

2) In The Great Gatsby, what color is the light at the end of Daisy’s dock?

3) What is the only continent without a desert?

4) In which country is the easternmost point of the continent of South America?

5) What is the only astrological sign that is not represented by a living thing?


Pat had a really good time at the wine tasting so Sherita and I went to sit with her while she had her dinner in the dining room.


A saxophonist was the entertainment but I did not go.


Afternoon trivia

1) Gamma

2) Dentist

3) Red, black, and white

4) 14 feet

5) Mexico


Evening trivia

1) Haiti

2) Green

3) Europe

4) Brazil

5) Libra


Smooth sailing until next time!

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February 21, 2019

At Sea


A group of about ten stitchers at this morning's get-together.  I stayed until about 11:30 when Sherita and I went to the Lido for lunch. 


We won afternoon trivia with 19 out of 21.

1) If you suffer from anosmia, what sense do you lack?

2) What is doggerel -  a tree, a poem, a weapon, a musical instrument, or a star?

3) In 1999 Macau was transferred to China from what country?

4) What left-handed tennis player won the Grand Slam of Tennis in 1962 and again in 1969?

5) How many miles would you bike in a full iron man triathalon?


Pat and I went for ice cream before arts and crafts.  The project was an accordion-style scrapbook.


At 4:30 we had another block party.  Red and white wine as well as sparkling wine was passed out as we got to know our neighbors.  I wish the other ships did something like this.


I ate with Sherita, Roy, and Jim at 5:30.  I had French onion soup, prime rib (which was very good), and a strawberry sundae for dessert.


We only had 16.5 out of 21 in evening trivia.  The winning team had 17.5.

1) Which has a larger land mass – Antarctica or South America?

2) What is the correct way to address the Pope?

3) What diet drink was hyped by Coca-cola about having only one calorie in 1963?

4) What was the name of Captain James Cook’s ship when he was exploring Australia?

5) Name the capital of Iceland and for an extra point spell it correctly.


Sherita and I went to see the show which was a singer, Yaniv Zarif.


Four port days in a row coming up.


Afternoon trivia

1) Smell

2) A poem

3) Portugal

4) Ron Laver

5) 112


Evening trivia

1) South America

2) Your Holiness

3) Tab

4) Endeavour

5) Reykjavik


Smooth sailing until next time!

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February 22, 2019

Santos, Brazil


There were only three excursions and two were strenuous.   Two went to the Coffee Museum (I don’t drink coffee) and two had to do with football (soccer) so I decided to take the shuttle to the Praiamar Mall instead.  Pat called me around 10:00 and asked if I wanted to go together so I had someone to walk around with.  We met at 10:30 and took the shuttle about 100 yards to the terminal and then got on another bus to the mall.


It was a very hot, humid day and there did not seem to be anything interesting close to the mall so we walked through the mall.  We visited a number of baby clothes shops but, since Pat’s soon to be born grandbaby’s gender is not known, no purchases were made.


There was a giant supermarket in the mall so I bought a six-pack of Coke and pencils for the children along the Amazon. 


We returned to the ship just before 2 and I went to the Lido for lunch.  Pat came up about an hour later and we knitted for some time (the light in the Lido is great for knitting).  During that time we had a huge rain storm with thunder and lightning.  At one point you could not even see two feet from the ship.


Pat, Patty, Sherita, and I played trivia at 4 pm and tied with one other team with 14 out of 18.

1) Who was the Roman God of agriculture?

2) How many steps in the Eiffel Tower?

3) What country exports the most green olives to the US?

4) In which country did Legos start?

5) Which came first – Art Deco or Art Nouveau?


There were four of us for evening trivia (Pat, Patty, Chris, and I) and we had 19 out of 20.  Five teams tied with perfect scores.

1) What company buys more sugar and vanilla than any other in the world?

2) What brand of computer made its debut in 1976?

3) What is the name for a male goose?

4) What does SCUBA stand for?

5) What Pacific country boasts a population of about 60 million sheep and 3 million people?


Our dinner table is down to six as two ladies have switched to other tables.  I had fruit, a chicken croquette, fettucini, and frozen yogurt.


There was no show tonight but instead a movie about Pele.


Afternoon trivia

1) Saturn

2) 1792

3) Spain

4) Denmark

5) Art Nouveau


Evening trivia

1) Coca-cola (the one we missed)

2) Apple

3) Gander

4) Self contained underwater breathing apparatus

5) New Zealand


Smooth sailing until next time!

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February 23, 2019

Ilhabela, Brazil


I was awakened at 8:28 with my laundry being returned.  I left the bag on my bed last night at 6:45 when I left for trivia.  The service has been amazing on this cruise.


About 9:30 I went out on my deck to take some pictures and after two or three pictures everything got fuzzy.  I though my camera was a goner but later in the day it was fine so I decided it was the rapid change in temperature so my camera has gone back into the ziplock bag with the silica gel packets.


Sherita, Pat, and I met at 10 to get on the tender to go to the island.  Ilhabela is a popular resort location for Brazilians especially from the largest city, Sao Paulo.


We walked around for about two hours, looking into the stores and walking along the shore.  We stopped for a local beer during our walk.


I had lunch in the Lido and then Sherita, Pat, and I spend some time knitting before afternoon trivia.  We had 14 out of 18 and the winning team had 15.

1) What is the largest opera house in the world according to the number of seats?

2) Which Caribbean country has a three day celebration for their national rebellion?

3) How many of the 10 tallest peaks in the US are in Alaska?

4) What piece of office equipment was invented in 1900 by Johan Vaaler?

5) Which saxophone player changed his name from Gorleich?


After trivia we were ready to leave and I went out on my deck for sail-away.


We did poorer in evening trivia with 11 out of 19.  The winners had 15.

1) How long can a Big Mac sit under the heat lamp until it is supposed to be thrown away?

2) What are the two primary elements found in Mercury’s atmosphere?

3) Who won the 1923 Nobel Prize for the discovery of insulin?

4) When did “O Canada” officially become the national anthem of Canada?

5) Does it take more muscles to smile or frown?


All six present for dinner.  I had shrimp, crab cakes (really crab balls), chicken, and a butterscotch sundae.


The show was a repeat from earlier in the cruise so I skipped it.


Afternoon trivia

1) Metropolitan Opera House

2) Cuba

3) All

4) Paper clip (although the internet says this is a myth and there was already a better one when he received his patent)

5) Kenny G


Evening trivia

1) 10 minutes

2) Helium and hydrogen

3) Sir Frederick Banting

4) 1980

5) Frown


Smooth sailing until next time!

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