Monday, February 20, 2017

The Beach Town of Maceio

19 February 2017 

This is the fourth blog I'm posting today, so please go back four posts to see all of our updates.  We’re having major wifi problems – the wifi on the ship is super expensive, as well as slow and sometimes it just disappears.  Some ports have free wifi, but we haven’t reached one yet in Brazil.  So I’m just writing the blog, and will post everything at once.

Maceio is a moderately-sized city best known for its beaches – gorgeous pale golden sand beaches that line the shores of this coastal town.  There are several points which jut out into the ocean, so there’s even more beach. 

We’re still close to the equator, so the shallow water is that beautiful aqua blue found only in tropical seas and oceans.  Crystal clear, and just such a brilliant color. 

There was a school band playing as we left the ship, kids roughly 13 to 16 years old.  A large tent was set up, with sort of a little market – this region is known for the lace and crochet work, so there were items for sale, along with other things.  But we shop very little, so we glanced at the items and walked to the buses which took us over to the handicrafts market.  More of the same, though colorful and pretty en masse.

We were hoping to find free wifi, but nothing was available.  The one restaurant with wifi wasn’t opening until 11:30 AM, and it was only 9:30 AM.  Plus we had to leave by 12:30 noon in order to get back to the ship.  So we gave up on that, and headed back to the pier. 

The kids in the band were hanging around while someone else played guitar, so Richard went over to chat with the clarinetist, having played clarinet when he was in school.  Another student seemed to be translating for the clarinet kid, and at one point the teacher came over.  I didn’t catch the entire conversation, but it included Richard asking them if they knew Dixieland music.  Complete with Richard doing a little version of “When the Saints Go Marching In.”  What can I say, it was really funny to be on the outskirts of this conversation!

We had a relaxing afternoon on board as we head south, toward tomorrow’s port. 

I still have laryngitis from this cold, so rather than go to the dining room and barely be able to have a conversation, I’ve been having my meals delivered to our stateroom.  Not that it’s a large stateroom, but we have a two-seater couch, a chair, and a tiny table.  So I get my dinner delivered, and it’s quite lovely, actually!  Richard likes the casual dining upstairs, but there’s so much mango that I end up avoiding a large amount of the food options. 

The dining room has a whole process for those of us with food allergies, or other food requirements.  I find their whole system to be really interesting.

First, there was a request that I fill out a form regarding my food allergy, and email it to the main office of the cruise line.  Then, we printed a copy, and I gave it to the head dining room manager.  The first night I had dinner, I let the waiter know about my allergies, and he made sure nothing had the evil mango in it.

But then, to avoid any possible mistake or cross-contamination, at the end of the meal I was presented with the next day’s menu.  It was explained that I should select what I’d like for dinner, and my food would be prepared away from any of the other food, to avoid getting even a smidgeon of mango in my meal.  So I’ve been doing that every day, and the staff seem to all know that I (and a number of other people onboard) have a “special order.”

We also appreciate the joys of in-room breakfast.  Yeah, this is absolutely a luxurious way to travel.  Leaps and bounds different from our usual style, and we both feel we’re barely getting a glimpse of the cities we’re visiting.

But it’s kind of nice to be pampered, however briefly!

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