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A Mighty Wind - Puntarenas to Valparaiso


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You're cracking me up!  Silver sewage, good one.


In Machala, Ecuador today.

We had a Police Escort to The Happy Fruit Farm. But no escort on the return. I'm serious. You can't make this up.🤣🤣🤣


From the Guardian.

The week began with the discovery of two headless bodies, left dangling from a pedestrian bridge. Then prison guards were taken hostage by inmates, nine car bombs detonated in two coastal cities and five police officers were shot dead.


Ecuador – which sits between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest cocaine-producing countries – is a strategic smuggling route due to its long Pacific coastline and large shipping and fishing fleets.

Analysts say the spike in violence started when local criminal gangs began vying to work with the rival Mexican Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation drug cartels.

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Puerto Lopez

Part 2

Agua Blanca is a traditional village which has and archeology site, museum, craft stand and sulfer springs.  The descendents of the Mantena culture live there and the ruins are pre Columbian.  They are hoping to find professional archeologists and funding to help them continue excavation. The tribe buried their people in urns. We were all curious about how they accomplished this. They were much smaller people, bodies were put in fetal positions and they popped another urn on top. After a trip with Chef Pia, I'm gonna need a bigger urn.IMG_20221108_085106_893.thumb.jpg.a57bde8e779d8c9e1107046decc7200f.jpg





Snakes. In jars where they belong.


The chair of power. Only the Chief sat here.






A few of us ditched the hike to the sulfer springs and went back to explore the village.  Warm and friendly people. The kids were returning from school and headed to the church for choir practice. As they did their dogs greeted them and followed the to choir practice.





The sulpher springs.




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Puerto Lopez, Ecuador 

Part 3

We completed the day with a Panama Hat making demonstration.   Turns out the real Panama hat is made in Ecuador. Who knew! It was Teddy Roosevelt who popularized the name when he wore it during the Panama Canal construction.  Most are made by machines now. There are a few people left who still make them by hand. Quite the process. There were hats available for purchase. The scrum to do this put the Terazza scrum to shame. 🤣20221105_165905.thumb.jpg.fc60e870e56e37531b63c14598820d57.jpg

Boiling the palm leaves.


Multiple weaving processes.


The final iron.



Beach  and street scenes below. Silversea guests did their job and contributed nicely to the local economy.  We were once again cheered as we headed back to the ship. 😃







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Machala, Ecuador 
Happy Fruit Farm
Our tour started with a Police Escort from the port. There is a major drug cartel battle going on in a few of the Ecuadorian port towns which has escalated in the last weeks. We believe the escort was for show, or at least hoped thats all itbwas.  We did get to run all the red lights. Yippee. Tours in Guyaguil  have been canceled.IMG_20221112_091315_874.thumb.jpg.d56d55262318e0bdcbe21f75e172972a.jpg


The Happy Fruit Farm was a HAPPY place. Started with fresh Pineapple and mint. Next, amazing 4 course tasting, all organic and made on site. Followed by tour of farm and Fruit tasting. Then followed by a chocolate making  lesson. Followed by another tasting of the best Chocolate we have ever eaten. Five star tour.







The tea was a creative blend of dried fruit rinds, cocoa, and classic tea. What a blend.



Each chocolate piece was infused with some interesting bits. 


Fruit tasting in the field.


Breadfruit, now I know how it's supposed to taste.




Cacao pods. They use several different varieties.  Their chocolate is 80% with zero bitterness. 


We tasted the cacao at all points in the process, raw, dried, roasted and ground. The flavor transition so very distinct.




The final tasting. We got to play with the different flavors ourselves. Quite the imersive experience. Dried mango and golden berries took top honors. Classic honey and sea salt a close second. The runners up were equally tasty.


The farm is staffed by an international group. Some paid, some volunteers.  It is a way of life for many. Traveling the globe working and learning different organic farming practices . We were glad to be the recipients of the fruits of their labor, literally.


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Huaca Huallamarca 200 BC

Lima, Peru


A large truncated pyramid in the heart of ritzy Lima. The former Presidents house is across the street. Amorphous adobe balls were shaped by hand and used for construction, typical of Pinazo tradition. It is a famous burial site. No human sacrifice or weapons found here.

Street scenes and always helpful police presence.  There is even a special tourist police squad. They are not only there to protect, but also to help tourists in general.















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Larcho Herrera Museum
Lima, Peru

The private museum houses an extensive collection of pre-Inca ceramics along with a gold and silver gallery. Members of yhe Herrera family worked to preserve these pieces. Overwhelming. I need a day to myself there. SS then fed us a delicious lunch on the terrace starting with and excellent Pisco Sour.  IMG_20221114_154259_699.thumb.jpg.053b5d79d2a1a77651de23fef9a6e642.jpg

Harvesting blood for an after dinner cocktail.




Each face is different


The scale of the collection boggles the mind.




Another head bites the dust.










Amazing goldsmithing.






The crowning glory. 



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4 hours ago, jpalbny said:

That's a really nice museum! Visited there in 2017. Did you go to the X-rated wing?

Yes we did!  Thought I'd keep the post G rated.  Now I'll spill. 😉

There are several large rooms full of X rated pottery in a separate wing. All very detailed. Crikey. Besides chopping off heads they were very into sex in every way shape and form you could imagine. Some you may have never imagined. I may have even blushed.🤣🤣🤣

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11 hours ago, jpalbny said:


It's anatomically unlikely that he's handling what you think he's handling. Unless his name is Hank?

JP is right. It's one of rhe head choppers, and it's probably hair in his hand. The pottery differs from the glyphs at Temple of the Moon, in that the human sacrifices there had their head on a block. So perhaps there were two different methods.  But as the archeologist on board told us, they make stuff until it's proven wrong or somebody else makes up something better. Love the honesty!🤣

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5 hours ago, Silver Spectre said:

Glad to hear that things have improved on the ex Silver Sewage @highplanesdriftersand that you are having a good time in Peru. Excellent photos too!

Thanks Spectre.  The ship still has its challenges, but I'll cover that in recap. In the meantime, our cabin is cool and the toilet flushes..... so full speed ahead!  😃

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Arica, Chile

Today we had rather mediocre tour. Highlights of Arica. Friends that went on the 12 hour bus tours to Lauca National Park enjoyed it, but no surprise a tad too long. (See a proper review by JP).

Grumpy morning salvaged with an afternoon wallowing by the pool topped off with martinis made by the Andres, the best bartender!


The visit to our balcony by the Inca Terns was a treat!



We saw the oldest mummy at a small museum along with some cool hats. The hats were not for sale.😃










Instagram vs reality



El Morro



Views from the top.






Pierside entertainment










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Antofigasta, Chile

Again, we chose the city tour over 16 hours in the bus. This tour was better than Arica.  Granted there are always local and post covid issues but the second segment of the trip is far from expedition.  But it was a georgous day and we enjoyed strolling about.


A lovely viewpoint north of the city. A hike would have been nice instead of the rush through.20221115_093235.thumb.jpg.22f08a3e2e3e9d5e64d83e7a0575fc12.jpg




There was a museum strike. But luckily Oscar found us a private museum to visit. 

Reminents of an old silver refinery (1892) that only operated for about 30 years due to the collapse in silver  prices. Looks pre Columbian from a distance.






An interesting art installation.  The white dates represent calm times. The red dates represent eras of violence, including wars, killings, and the long red stretch is Pinochet.



The town plaza was historic and beautiful.



Last but not least, ceviche and drinks at the yacht club followed by a stroll to the historic pier from mining days.














A local diving for scallops in the harbor.


Due to some TMI circumstances we missed the Stars in the Desert. But here's some pics from friends who loved it, and a few from the deserted ship.
Nice blurb in the Chronicle.
If archaeological zones, landscaped plazas and well, giant hands, are your travel cup of tea then look no further than Antofagasta. Set between the Pacific Ocean and the mountains, the city is Chile's second most populated place, and by far the largest in the northern region. Once the country's primary export port, notably for minerals including nitrate and later, silver, today Antofagasta is still the country's centre for mineral mining. Antofagasta was once part of Bolivia, and only became Chilean in 1904 after it was captured in the War of the Pacific. Under the subsequent treaty, Chile agreed to construct a rail link to Bolivia in return for the city. Today the city still enjoys relative stress free travel to La Paz, through some of the most scenic and spectacular landscapes in the world. The railway link, which extended south as well as north, naturally brought colossal growth, expansion which is still continuing today. In recent years, Antofagasta has seen high rise hotels and buildings sprout up amid the jumble of old-fashioned plazas, former Railway Stations, and wooden-fronted Victorian and Georgian buildings that can be found along the Barrio Histórico. The city borders the arid Atacama Desert, aka the world's driest place. As if the lunar like landscape was not enough, the aforementioned "Hand of the Desert", an 11-metre tall sculpture of a hand reaching up to the stars is located about 60 km from Antofagasta, and is surely a must for anyone who is interested in alien experiences. 





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