Poignant Peru

Day 23 – Approaching Coquimbo, Chile – Find Insignia on CruiseMapper

Partout’s visits to Peru were cancelled because of the country’s widespread riots, but Insignia still made a “technical stop” in metropolitan Lima to take on fuel, food and supplies. This meant the boat could dock, but passengers could not go ashore.

Sadly, the locals at Callao Port did not get the memo. They were on hand with a welcome nobody could accept.

The Cruise-Ship Dating Game

The banner greeting was part of a ritual Doris has come to think of as cruise-ship speed dating. Arriving in a new port, passengers with a limited amount of time ashore and a keen appetite for local wares rush ashore, and eager vendors with an enticing array of local wares and a keen appetite for cruiser cash rush to make deals with them.

Impressive exchanges of goods and greenbacks result.

Peru is one of South America’s poorest countries, and tourism is its fastest-growing industry. Cruise-ship speed dating delivers a lifeline of cash to craftspeople and vendors that is likely more critical than ever in the country’s current troubled times. In Callao, precisely because of the troubled times that have shut Machu Picchu and discouraged tourism nationwide, the lifeline was disabled.

The few feet of water sloshing between dock and ship in the port might well have been the Pacific Ocean itself. Thwarted vendors gazed forlornly at equally thwarted passengers who forlornly waved from the ship’s railings. One cruiser moaned, “I’d be so happy to get off and help their economy!”

The Technical Stop

Meanwhile, other lines were uncoiling.

Louis and Doris were especially taken with the bunkering operation that brings a small tanker called a bunker ship alongside the mother ship to refuel (“bunker”) her. (Naval types: Feel free to improve on that landlubber description.) The fenders alone were the size of Volkswagen beetles, and the colors and shapes of the moving parts on deck were almost scenic.

We found it hard to believe such a wee line as the one below could be the link that delivered the fuel hose that delivered the fuel to the ship. 

And we marveled at groceries being delivered by forklift 

A Triumph of Love and Money

Meanwhile, out of sight and unbeknownst to the forlorn masses, the ship’s brass were scrambling for a workaround to facilitate the romance of buyers and sellers. Mid-afternoon, the ship’s bells signaled a public announcement, and cruise director Ray came on the horn.  Insignia had negotiated special permission for passengers to go ashore for a limited time within a limited space! The mating dance could begin!

Railings emptied. The gangplank filled. Ashore, the dock filled was populated. On board, the afternoon bridge game appeared noticeably depopulated. 

The Callao rendezvous was a speedier date than usual but no less productive Handcrafts were fingered, dollars were counted, arms were filled with Peruvian textiles and gourds and jewelry and other keepsakes from the country passengers technically never visited. 

And then the lines were pulled, the gangplank stowed, and we were out to sea for real

Another Question Answered

Lin: “Question for Doris: Have you found your sea legs, i.e., any bouts with motion sickness?”

This is a particularly timely question. (Backstory for those who don’t know Doris’s unfortunate history with water travel: She has walked out of movies set on sailboats because the scenes nauseated her.)

If “sea legs” refer to legs that manage to walk in a straight line despite the ship pitching and yawing, the answer is “pretty much.” She can now navigate from the coffee bar to the stateroom without spilling a drop of coffee on the way.

If “sea legs” also refer to the gut, the honest answer to is “TBD.” With the help of wrist bands for motion sickness and a scopolamine patch the first few days at sea, it has been “so far, so good.” But we were warned yesterday the seas are expected to be so high leaving Coquimbo, Chile, today that we will sail an hour early to allow extra time for the ship to climb up the sides of 30-foot swells that will slow passage to our next destination.

That sounds like a true test. Stay tuned.

Coming Soon! 

Other-Worldly Atacama 

4 thoughts on “Poignant Peru

  1. We hope you have arrived well (and not too green in the face) at your next destination.
    Don’t watch the movie Triangle of Sadness to prevent spontaneous vomiting or a continual remembrance of the offensive images.
    No, I am sure you will be just fine!


  2. Sorry you had to miss Peru this time around. Even so, your post and. Louis’s photos were wonderful and I thank you. I LOVE this line:” The mating dance could begin!”


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