Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Parintins

This morning we arrived in Parintins. This is a new port for us because the last time we came up the Amazon we bypassed this port. Parintins is famous for its Boi Bumba celebration in June. It is the largest celebration in Brazil after the Carnival in Rio. The Boi Bumba is a samba competition between several teams representing either the blue or the red groups. We will see a demonstration of this on our way back. It is funny to see coke signs both in red and blue. We tendered in to this port and after looking into several shops we decided to take a tricycle ride which is a popular mode of transportation here instead of taxis. We paid ten dollars for an hour ride and a great ride it was. I am not sure that I have ever seen so many scooters. Probably a hundred to every car that we seen. I was quite a sight when a school was letting out and moms were there with scooters picking up their kids and putting up to two of them right behind them. Everybody rode them, young, old, male and female. Tomorrow, Manaus.

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Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Boca Da Valaria

Boca da Valeria is a remote village at the convergence of the Amazon and the Rio da Valeria river. Approximately 75 people live in this village, but kids and adults from all the neighboring villages come when the ship docks. Judy had come up with a neat idea which really made our day. Before we left, we went through the pictures that we had taken three years ago in this little village, we selected about 20 pictures of kids and adults in the local homes and had them printed. We brought them along and went to the homes that they were taken in and again got to see some of the adults and the kids that we had taken pictures of. Only one print of three little girls that we were not able to find, that people said they had left the village. Now we took some more pictures of the same people and we are going to get them printed on ship and when we go back to the village on our return trip, we will give them those pictures. We noticed how excited they were to get the pictures because we seen no pictures hanging on the walls. We did notice that most of the homes now have electricity run by a generator where the last time we were here, only the bar, church and school had electricity. Tomorrow:

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Santerem, Brazil

Today reminded us why we booked this trip again….SO JIM COULD CATCH A PIRANAH!!! And I did. Today we took a boat ride along the meeting of the waters and seen again how the people live along the Amazon. These people are extremely resilient, because a year ago the Amazon reached its highest levels in many years flooding most homes of people living along the mighty river. We could see on houses how high the water got making the people who make their living by fishing move in with relatives in the larger cities, but after the water receded they moved back into the house and started their fishing again. Now an amazing thing that happened to us today. Three years ago when we were here we remembered our guide being someone who called herself the flower lady because she wore live flowers in her hair. Today we were on boat number 3 out of nine boats and low and behold, she was our guide again. It was fun renewing the acquaintance with her and hearing her guide tips again. Tomorrow, we visit a small fishing village.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Crossing the Equator

Today was crossing the Equator day, and we were goofing off and didn’t get a picture of the line again, but we will to be more vigilant on the way back. Seafaring tradition maintains that all that cross the equator during a nautical voyage must undergo rites of passage and elaborate rituals initiating them into the Solemn Mysteries of the Ancient Order of the Deep. Those who have never “crossed the line” are derisively referred to as “pollywogs”. After the ceremonies people are known as “Trusty Shellbacks” and as we have been through the ceremony before, that is what we are called and did not have to go through the initiation. We watched with amazement as the current “pollywogs” were initiated and of course took pictures of the whole thing. It is always fun with a lot of people getting extremely dirty and wet.
Tomorrow we are in Santarem and have a excursion booked that hopefully will let me catch my first Piranha. Details tomorrow.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Devils Island

Devils Island is actually made up of three islands: Royale Island, St Joseph Island and “Lies du Diablo (Devils’ Island) off the coast of French Guyana. These 3 islands were part of the notorious French penal colony in French Guyana. We were not allowed on Devils Island; instead we toured the penal facilities on Isle Royale. There are cells, administrative offices, hospital and other facilities there. They are just remnants of the original, but still interesting. We also saw lots of Monkeys, exotic birds and an animal called the “agouti” which looks like a very large rat, probably about 2 feet long. It is tough to catch a picture of, but Judy got one.
We have really been enjoying the production shows onboard. They are doing some of the same shows that we have seen before, but doing it without the big stages and sets. Because this is a small sip, the singers and dancers that do the shows also work as cruise directors, so we have met them up close and personal.
Tomorrow, the mouth of the Amazon and the adventure continues.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Trinidad

We arrived in Trinidad without a shore excursion booked and being this is really a big city with a huge dock, we decided we would wait until the way back to go into the city. We spend the morning reading and visiting and then Judy decided that she wanted to walk into town, I decided to stay on the ship and read. The city is getting ready for Carnival which happens next week, and Judy said there were booths set up and people were selling things for Carnival all over the place. Judy even tried on one of the headdresses. Tomorrow a day at sea, and then on Saturday, arrival at Devils Island. We attended another show last night and the staff does a great job with the sets that are available.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

St Lucia

Today we were in St Lucia. We were here in November and took an island tour at that time, so we just walked into the port area and didn’t buy a thing. We have been doing a lot of laying by the pool or on the outside decks and reading. We are enjoying the Royal Princess and every day we find more things that we like about it. Because of its smallness, we are not only meeting lots of people over and over again, but getting to know the staff because they come to all the functions just to sit and chat. We are among the forty most traveled passengers again so we get to have lunch with the Captain on Sunday. Tomorrow, Trinidad and we might see if we can get a local tour because we have nothing scheduled with Princess.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

St Barths

Not sure what I can say about St Barth’s except yachts, mansions, expensive stores and topless beaches. St Barth’s is the cleanest best kept island in the Caribbean that we have visited and it is French, and they are not known for that. We saw a 400 million dollar yacht that is owned by a Russian oil magnate that is named for his wife Alexandra with a very big A for its name. Most of the stores in the downtown area are in the Gucci class and the restaurants there get over 25 Euros for lunch. It’s a very expensive place, but extremely beautiful. Of course I enjoyed the topless beaches where Judy got a picture of me staring at this lady laying on the beach. There was a little girl who spoke French who was telling Judy in French to throw the shells in the water, she was a little cutie and was nude and her mother topless, any of you guys want to move to St Barths.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

Another Sea Day

We have had another wonderful day on the Royal Princess. We have come to appreciate the small number of passengers. We spent time around the pool, with no trouble getting a recliner, and it seems like there are no lines for anything. We did attend a couple of trivia’s, but with no wins. We have decided that we are going to spend more time around the pool, getting some sun and relaxing, not running around from here to here, now this could change on the way back, but for now even Judy is enjoying the pool and reading. We had wine tasting today, of course tasting the same wines as always but we still enjoy the wine and the free glass. Tomorrow is St Bart’s, the star hangout in the Caribbean and probably the most expensive place we will visit on this trip, the place is filled with celebrities and expensive hotels. We don’t have a excursion scheduled there, but are going to walk into town and snoop around a bit. Who knows maybe we will sight some celebs. We are having a great time, and have met some fun people.

Posted by: jcjlkrebs | March 5, 2010

The Royal Princess

After a very uneventful bus ride (thank goodness) on the cruise connection we arrived with a lot of anticipation at the small ship named the Royal Princess. This is the smallest ship we have ever been on (it holds 700 passengers) so we were not sure what to expect. First the ship was acquired by Princess from the bankrupt Renaissance Cruise line. When we arrived the boarding process was superb, because of so few passengers, we literally walked right on. We went right to our room (which is an outside) and we were very surprised. The room was bigger (not by much) then the other Princess ships land all in walnut with ample storage space. After giving the room a thumbs up, we started exploring the rest of the ship, and again we were impressed. The Library is the largest and most beautiful we have ever seen with over 4000 hardbound books. The ship has many secluded spots and wonderful little bars. Our departing from Ft Lauderdale was great and we met our table mates for the first time at dinner ( a couple from Indiana and a couple from Florida) and they are well traveled so I am sure we will enjoy them a lot. Watched a good comedian last night and hit the bed early. After a long day, even Judy was ready for bed at 10:30. Tomorrow, a day at sea and a chance to explore the ship even more.

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