Wanderung 28

A Warm Winter Break

December 2013 - January 2014


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Wednesday January 1, 2014: Santo Tomas de Castilla ,Guatemala

After two rather late nights we were both exhausted. After our ship docked about 9 a.m., we did disembark at Santo Tomas de Castilla, the main eastern port of Guatemala with the intention of wandering about a bit. It was hot and we found out from the Tourist Information desk in the large craft market on one end of the dock that we would have to walk 14 kilometers along the highway to get from the port to the real "city". That was mighty discouraging information, and in the end we just did not have the energy to cope with the thought of "running the gauntlet" of high-intensity vendors clustered at the exit of the port area and then walking in the heat for hours on end in the hopes of seeing something interesting.

Eschewing a walk in the countryside, we decided to take our time and really inspect the handicrafts for sale in the port's craft market. There were a lot of very nice handcrafted items available including leather goods like wallets, woven goods like blankets and scarves, and carved wooden items such as birds or other animals. Among the wooden things were at least two vendors of wooden flutes which seemed to have the same holes and pitch as a wooden recorder. These intrigued us and Monika tried out several before we settled on one to take home.

So after purchasing a really nice, hand-carved, wooden recorder at the market, we decided to simply go back on board the Ryndam. While going through security screening, my small can of pepper spray that I usually carry to guard against dog/animal attacks was confiscated by the ever-vigilant security staff. I thought it was ridiculous and it brought back echoes of exactly the same thing happening in Canada years ago where a finger-sized pepper spray was treated as a deadly weapon. Of course, the Canadians allow you to carry the huge, bear-sized pepper spray can through without any problems, so you can have a can of pepper spray large enough to stop a grizzly but not small enough to stop a dog or human, which I find completely nonsensical. So once again I ran smack into Holland America rules and came away somewhat frustrated and embarrassed, which is not they way I usually feel on a cruise ship! Strike Two for Holland America!

We retreated to our cabin to rest, Monika on the computer and me with a nap. We also spent much of the afternoon and evening finishing "Whiskey Beach", a corking good story by the way, and I filled in a couple of hours fleshing out some of my earlier journal entries. We went down for the "free-style" early seating where we got the same table for two at the stern window we had enjoyed the night of our departure from Tampa. Since we only had three more nights on the cruise, and one of them was a formal night where I would not have been allowed in the dining room in any case, I told the maitre d' to cancel our fixed seating table reservations as I didn't want the other people at our table to continue to expect us to come.

After dinner we walked on the promenade deck and watched the pilot boat, a good-sized cabin cruiser with a big outboard motor, coming charging up on us out of the darkness and then pick up the pilot. More accurately, the pilot boat matched speeds with the Ryndam, slowly edged over to the open port area, and the pilot then jumped down onto its bow, after which it made a U-turn and sped back off into the night.

Copyright 2014 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt


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Map of Homosassa, Florida Map of Western Caribbean Cruise Map of Panama Canal Cruise

December 2013
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January 2014
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5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
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