March 23rd, 2010

Penguin - Mambo

Trip entry number 1

Note: This comes primarily from my mother's journal, so it is not all in my own words.

Thursday, February 24, 2010 – Ottawa, Canada

Mom picked me up at work and we drove to her apartment. Surprisingly, we were able to sleep the night before leaving on the trip.

Friday, February 25, 2010 – Ottawa, Canada

Mom and I took my sister-in-law out for lunch after she gave Mom a haircut. Then we had a rest and my sister-in-law drove us to the airport where we checked in and got ready to wait. We waited and got on the plane and waited some more while we waited to get de-iced. Finally got ready and left three hours late. Finally got to Toronto after the flight attendants told us the Canadian women and men won their hockey games. Women won gold, men won semi-final.

We met Karen and Audrey as we got off the plane. Karen and I went to get wheelchairs for Audrey and Mom because the cart service is lousy. It was a long flight but we finally got settled in and de-iced and on our way. The airline fed us and we were all very hungry and food revived us somewhat. We finally got to snooze a bit. We had breakfast on the plane. Everyone else got off the plane but we who need wheelchairs were allowed to remain (with our companions) until we take off for Buenos Aires, Argentina at 2:30pm Chilean time. Only we don’t take off because our plane hit a bird (albatross) and got damaged so our flight was cancelled. Sandy (Captain Sandy's Cruise Tours) got busy and told us wheelchairs (Joyce, Audrey, Beelee, Shubert, and companions Karen and Nancy) not to let anyone take us anywhere without his say-so. So with the language barriers and people trying to move us out of the way, Nancy and Karen did a good job of control. Sandy got tickets on LAN Airway for tonight so here we are waiting again for a plane.

Beelee, Karen, Joyce, Shubert, Audrey, and Nancy all made it to Buenos Aires but our luggage didn’t. Neither did the Air Canada representative who was supposed to meet us. So we reported missing luggage, including Mom's walker, and Mom had her first cigarette since we left home on Thursday at 3pm. This is now Saturday at 1am. Didn’t hear how the hockey game went but Mom hopes Canada did okay. Karen managed to find how to take a bus to our hotel and we got here just after 12:30 Saturday morning and got to our room. Karen and Audrey are two doors down. We don’t know where Beelee and Shubert’s room is but we’re all here. No room service so we’ll be hungry until morning.

Penguin - Mambo

Trip entry number 2

Saturday, February 27, 2010 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Big earthquake in Santiago while we were in the air – the airport is damaged and Sandy and the rest of the group are still there. We met Tony and he says everyone is okay, but our luggage??? And Mom is without her walker and clean clothes. We went for breakfast and met Beelee & Shubert, Karen & Audrey, so we’ll play it by ear until we hear further. I went to see if I could find an English newspaper. The only paper was printed before the earthquake, so it was useless to us. Mom checked on TV and it looks like Canada won their game last night, but no English news.

We put TV on and watched some of the pictures. We learned that the Spanish word for earthquake is “terremoto”. Captain Sandy’s office at home is phoning all our emergency numbers to tell them we are all okay and we are just left in limbo wondering what happens next and what happened to the 17 left behind, including friend Debbie’s Aunt Isabell.

I accompanied Mom when she went out for a smoke (I wouldn’t let her go out alone) and when we came in we met Olga who is also on our tour. Our cruise hasn’t started yet and we had more excitement than either of us has ever had on a cruise. What’s in our suitcases can be replaced and all the people in the group seem to be okay so far. I went to a nearby mall to look for an Internet café and maybe pick up a pair of underpants for Mom. I learned through previous experience to pack two days worth of clothes in my carry-on.

The mall (Gallerie Pacifico) was three levels and had a painted ceiling that made it look like the inside of a cathedral. I couldn’t believe the beautiful leather goods. I would have bought a full-length leather coat if I could find one to fit. If I were staying for a week in one place, I would consider having one custom made. The prices were very inexpensive. I bought a Latin American Spanish phrase book (Lonely Planet) and brought back Caesar salads for lunch. Mom went for a smoke and I hopped on the Internet (from a place I could keep an eye on Mom. I sent emails to family and friends to say we are here safely in Buenos Aires, then both of us had a snooze.

While Mom went out for another smoke, she talked to Tony. It may be early March before the Santiago airport is up and operating. Now there is a tsunami heading for Hawaii and Vancouver. We went down for a drink and then we boarded the bus for a tour and then a steak dinner. We found out that Beelee inherited half of the island of Zanzibar from her father.

Dinner was fabulous. I’ve never had such good steak. It was tender and cooked perfectly (medium-rare for me). It melted in my mouth. The servers were wonderful. The wine was delicious. We saw some of the city of Buenos Aires on the way to and from the dinner. Some people opted to go to a tango show after dinner, but we were tired and just wanted to sleep so we went back to the hotel.

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Trip entry number 3

Sunday, February 28, 2010 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Today’s the day we get on the ship. Mom was so deeply asleep that I had to really work to wake her. We both had showers and went down for breakfast where we greeted the amigos (survivors). We won’t let our backpacks out of our hands. We toured the city and I took pictures because Mom’s extra cameras are in her missing suitcase. Claudia is again our guide and the same bus driver as last night.

When we got to the port Mom had to do some walking. Finally she got a wheelchair to get to where we registered. Then she walked up the ramp and had to wait for a wheelchair because she couldn’t walk any further. The ramp was very steep and able-bodied people were having difficulty. After getting up to the top, we were informed that we could have gone in two decks below if we had told them she needed a wheelchair. We took this as a lesson and used it to make disembarkation easier.

Mom’s walker was with our luggage in Santiago, so we made arrangements to rent a wheelchair. Mom can push it and walk or if I can push her. We did the muster on-deck drill then went to the dining room and had a comfortable dinner served to us. Then we hit the stores and Mom bought capri jeans, an NCL t-shirt, some undies, socks and a pair of Crocs. Mom cancelled her shore excursions because she can’t do them with a wheelchair. I decided to cancel my Montevideo shore excursion so I can shop for clothes. When we came back to our room Noel was just separating our beds. Tony says we get free laundry so we unpacked out new clothes and got ready for bed.

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Trip entry number 4

Monday, March 1, 2010 – Montevideo, Uruguay

We got up when our breakfast arrived. Land came in view just after breakfast. Weather looks clear. I was planning on shopping on shore but everything is closed for the inauguration of the new President in Uruguay. So we went out and wandered for a while and let Noel make up our room. Then we came back to our room and I decided to go ashore to see if anything was available. I found an Internet café and discovered that CANADA WON GOLD MEDAL and beat the Yanks 3-2 in hockey – after all, it is our game. (Both men and women have gold.) We went to the Garden Café and had lunch, then back to our cabin and read and then both of us had naps. Just after 5pm and we’re on our way. We went to the shops where we bought a few more necessities and Mom bought cigarettes. On our way back to our cabin we met Karen and Audrey and joined them for dinner at the Seven Seas dining room. Then we went back to our cabin. Mom finished reading the book I wrote for the 3-day novel contest. (Her words: Quite exciting and it grabbed your interest right to the end.) Then we went to bed.

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Trip entry number 5

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 – at sea

Up at 7am, bright, sunny morning and then fog moved in and out again. Breakfast arrived. We went and learned how to make a flower. Sat with Beelee and Shubert and Shirley. Then to Cruise Critics Meet and Greet. Met Keith and Lynne from Stittsville. Came back to cabin and picked up stuff and left stuff. Went to the shops and Mom bought a book. Then we started to have lunch at the Garden Café but decided to go to the dining room to be served (easier for me than trying to push Mom and pick up food). We met Audrey and had a chat then decided to come back to our cabin and relax. We both had a nap. Mom couldn’t keep her eyes open when she tried to read. The ship’s motion rocks me to sleep. After we woke, we put on our other pants and went to dinner. Our server was a sweetheart named Jennifer from the Philippines and we had hugs. Then we invited Marty and Betty from Welland to join us and we had a nice visit – came back to our cabin and I went to the Garden Café for water, tea and cookies for our bed time snacks.

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Trip entry number 6

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 – Puerto Madryn, Argentina

It has been a very enjoyable day. Mom read in bed until she fell asleep. Up at 7am. Land on the port side and calm waters. Breakfast arrived and we watched the ship dock at Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Weather is lovely with scattered clouds and light breeze. I’m going on a tour today and Mom’s going to stay in our cabin and relax and read. Ship unloaded on the port side so Mom had a great view of the city. She watched me leave the ship and board the bus. (Mom’s words: I hope she has a great tour because she’s looking after me very well and deserves free time for her enjoyment without having to worry about me.) Mom ordered lunch and read for a while, then got cold and crawled in the bed to read until she got sleepy. I got back and woke her up around 5:15pm.

The shore excursion was enjoyable. We bussed from Puerto Madryn to Trelew and Gaiman. We stopped at a paleontology museum where I bought a light wool ruana for the cool days coming up as we move farther south. (My coat is in my luggage, which is in Santiago.) We stopped to look at a cove full of sea lions. There were birds there that were coloured like penguins, but could fly. They were rock shags. We also stopped at a Welsh tea house for high tea. The tea itself was a little strong for me, but the sandwiches, pastries and the choir were delightful.

We got ready and called on Karen and Audrey on the way to dinner with them and, as usual, we had a great time then back to our room where we found a frog on Mom’s bed. Glenda was our server and the usual one for Karen and Audrey because they need gluten-free. She was very nice.

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Trip entry number 7

Thursday, March 4, 2010 – at sea

Weather was foggy in the night and still is and it’s raining as well. Breakfast arrived and then I had a snooze while Mom I read. Then we both had a shower and sorted clothes for the laundry. We went to the Tanzanite demo. Then we shopped and on the way back to drop off our clothes on the way back to lunch we almost ran over the Captain (Tommy Stensrud, Norwegian who lives in Saskatchewan with his Canadian wife when not at sea). Then we did the trivia and came to the coffee bar (Mom had coffee; I had chai) and a place to read. Went to the Observation Lounge and played cards. Then came back to our cabin for a rest. Tony called to say they have our luggage and we’ll likely get it at the Hotel Kennedy when we end our cruise. Then we went to check our menus at some cover charge restaurants and then went to the Seven Seas for dinner and Glenda was once again our server. We had a bottle of wine with our meal. Came back to our cabin and then went to the Garden Café for coffee and tea and played cards until it started to get busy with late diners so we got our cookies, et cetera and came back to our cabin where we found a dog on Mom’s bed. Got ready for bed and read a while then lights out.

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Trip entry number 8

Friday, March 5, 2010 – Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Fog is starting to lift and there is some blue sky and rather calm seas. Falkland Islands came in sight while we were eating breakfast. Mom read and I snoozed (surprise…the ship’s motion really does put me to sleep) and finally we got dressed to go ashore. I got tender tickets and we headed down to get on the tender. We walked (I walked and Mom rode), checked out gift shops and then went to Deano’s (pub) for fish and chips and mushy peas, then back for the return tender ride and back onboard the Sun and up to our cabin. After Mom had a cigarette we went to the Garden Café for a salad and a drink. Back to our cabin where we watched a jellyfish swim by to check out our ship. We had a rest and then went to Captain Sandy’s Cocktail Party where the six amigos (caballeros, according to Shubert) sat together but mingled and talked to lots of others. Then Karen, Audrey, Mom and I went to dinner and Glenda served us very well. Then back to our room where we worked on the Daily Sudoku #6 and Mom managed to do it before me. (I didn’t realize we were competing or I would have started mine at the same time.)

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Trip entry number 9

Saturday, March 6, 2010 – at sea

The sun has come out but there’s fog along the water so the fog horn is sounding. I went back to bed and Mom read for a while then we got ready and went to Windjammer’s and made origami boxes, then to the photo lab and on to the Garden Café for a salad lunch. Came back to our cabin for a rest – I went to take pictures and came back and said that it was lovely on the pool deck so we decided to go swimming. Mom dropped her big wedding ring in the pool and I dove several times before I could get it for her. Yup, that salt water sure adds to buoyancy. I made Mom take all her rings off and tie them on the tie belt of her swimming shorts. While we were swimming Karen and Audrey stopped by to say hello. Went back to the cabin to shower. Then we came up to the Observation Lounge to play cards. Went to Pool Deck for “Round the Horn” ceremony but left because everybody was pushing and we were frustrated. One person actually started to try to climb over Mom in her wheelchair. Came back to the Observation Lounge to watch as we rounded the Horn. I went down to the Garden Café to get some supper because the Observation Lounge is very busy and we want to keep our seats. Garden Café was closed so she went to the Great Outdoor Café for some pasta and banana bread. She went out and got lots of pictures as we rounded the Horn at 6:18pm and the sea is calm and the sun is shining, not at all like all the books we’ve read where it took days in wild seas and rain. I guess we hit it very lucky. After we went around the Horn we stopped and asked Karen and Audrey if they would join us for dinner and we had a wild good time. Then after dinner we went to the show and watched Cirque Pan. (There really wasn’t a lot of resemblance to Peter Pan.) Then back to the cabin just before 10pm.

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Trip entry number 10

Sunday, March 7, 2010 – Ushuaia, Argentina

We woke in Ushuaia, Argentina. Weather looks great – sweater weather. I pushed Mom into town and brought her back to the ship then went back on my own. I mailed a postcard to Randy because this is “the end of the world” and his birthday is coming up. I met Karen and Audrey as they were returning to the ship. Audrey came back on board and Karen and I went into town to “shop”. While I was in town Mom went to the Garden Café and had lunch. I brought Mom back chocolates and a magnet. We left port about 3pm heading for the Beagle Channel. After we got some cookies et cetera for me (because the Garden Café was a mad house) we came back to our cabin where we both had a snooze. We were sailing into wind and fog in the Beagle Channel but it cleared and the sun came out. Mom sat on the balcony and took some pictures and I went up on the topmost deck to get pictures. We finally went down for dinner after 8pm and saw Karen and Audrey leaving shortly after we got there.

I couldn’t find my info for my shore excursion the next morning (in the missing luggage), but Ann phoned while we were at dinner and phoned back later. Ann came to our cabin and gave Nancy her tender ticket and information on where to meet and when to meet. We went to bed and read for a while.

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Trip entry number 11

Monday, March 8, 2010 – Punta Arenas, Chile

I got ready for my shore trip and Shubert phoned to say they were going into town and would be back for lunch. This is a good day for me to stay close to our cabin and the bathroom. (Too much fruit??) Maintenance came and replaced a light bulb. Weather looks threatening. I hope it stays away while I’m ashore. This is the excursion I’ve been anticipating. I’m going to see penguins with the Cruise Critics group. The trip was fabulous. It was a penguin preserve on Islas Magdalena. The whole island is full of Magellanic penguins and they are not afraid of humans. I took pictures and little movies for almost an hour. I even got a short movie of one pecking my toe because I was getting too close. When we headed back to the boat (Zodiac) the captain was telling us to rush because a storm was coming up. The trip back (90 minutes) was rather exciting with lots of movement. Once I learned to roll with the waves instead of trying to hold myself stiff, I enjoyed the waves. No one got sick, but there were some who were very thankful when we reached shore.

While Mom was out having a cigarette a couple of porpoises came by and she tried to get a picture but she might have missed and just have a picture of waves.

I came back and brought Mom a penguin hat and a magnet. Later I went and got myself some lunch and had a short snooze. Tony phoned and came up to visit and talk and get a form filled out for our missing luggage. We phoned Audrey and Karen and we got together and went to dinner then we went and got Sudoku papers and two books for me to read. We are now cruising northward in the Pacific Ocean. We’ve been through the Beagle Channel and the Straits of Magellan.

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Trip entry number 12

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 – at sea

Up just before 7am and the Pacific isn’t very pacific. We are bouncing quite a bit. Drawers in the bathroom keep opening up and the hangers are all dancing. We are in a force 9 gale with seas of 4 to 6 meters high…mostly 6 meters. When we hit a great big one, the wash comes as high as the eleventh deck. We have decided the best place to be is right here in our cabin and in bed most of the time. Mom’s gut still isn’t settled yet so she’ll take it easy on food today. We got dressed with great difficulty because the ship was listing to the port very badly. I had fun wheeling Mom against the list and we went to get our passports only to find out it had been postponed until tomorrow because of the rough seas. So we went to the Garden Café for our lunch. It was a mad mob scene, but one of the helpers took our plates and served up our food then found us a table in the Pacific Heights restaurant. Then we wandered to the reception area and found a spot where we could do the daily Sudoku before we came back to our room for a snooze. Sea is much calmer because we are now cruising in the Chilean Fjords. The wind is still strong but we’re not listing as badly. We had showers and got ready to dine with our Captain Sandy’s reduced group at the Italian restaurant (Il Adagio).

The sun comes out once in a while and it is glorious, then another squall sweeps in. There is snow on some of the mountains on the islands of the fjords. We got to the Italian Restaurant and sat with (guess who) Audrey and Karen – none of us really enjoyed the food and we were all in separate booths so we greeted everybody up and down the aisle when we got ready to leave. Karen and Audrey came back with us to our cabin and chatted for quite a while until I showed them the globe I bought for Randy. Then we went back to the shop to get globes because they loved them and hadn’t seen them in the shop. Mom stayed in the cabin and brought her journal (the one from which I’ve taken most of this information) up to date. I came back and we went to the chocolate lovers’ buffet. What a mob scene! Met Donnie and Joyce from Arkansas and Mom visited with them. Donnie has a real crush on Mom. We came back to our cabin. While I was with Karen and Audrey at the shop, I bought Mom a tuxedo shirt to go with Mom’s penguin hat. Audrey and Karen felt I had to get it for her and that she has to wear it at our next Captain Sandy’s group dinner. Mom’s just crazy enough to do it.

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Trip entry number 13

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 – at sea

Weather looks like it’s going to be sunny and the fjord that we are sailing in is very calm. Breakfast came and Mom ate toast. We both went back to bed for a while. When we woke up we were back out in open water and there’s quite a swell giving us another drunken sailor day when moving around the ship or even our cabin. We got dressed and went down for lunch and picked up our passports and came back to our room. Mom’s staying near the bathroom just in case. We saw Tony just before we went in for lunch and we saw Beelee and Shubert but they didn’t see us. I gathered laundry and got it ready to go. Then I went out to find a place to read and Mom stayed in. What a gorgeous afternoon. The sun is shining; the sea is calmer and it’s very warm: the perfect afternoon on the ocean. I phoned Karen and Audrey and we met them for dinner. Then we came back to our room and we finally had to phone the Medical Centre for some help. The ship’s nurse came to the cabin and checked me out and gave me some pills to stop the diarrhea. Mom has acute gastroenteritis. We read for a while and then went to sleep.

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Trip entry number 14

Thursday, March 11, 2010 – Puerto Chacabuco, Chile

Randy’s birthday. Breakfast arrived. Mom can’t eat anything but the very dry toast and water. Puerto Chacabuco and she’s confined to the cabin for 24 hours. I got ready and went to get a tender ticket to head for shore. It’s a very small town there was absolutely nothing to see within walking distance. Anyone going to this port should book a shore excursion.

I brought back some Jell-O for Mom. We both went to bed and had a sleep. When I woke up I decided to order some food because the Jell-O seemed to settle in with no problems. But apple juice didn’t. I came back from supper and gave Mom a Gravol. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. I only considered Gravol for motion sickness. Mom’s feeling a bit better. She spent most of the day in bed.

I was reading in the Garden Café with some iced tea and cookies when I spoke with a couple from Texas. (Barbara and Doug) While we were talking, a baby bird was in the Café. It appeared to have a broken leg. I picked it up in a napkin and we asked one of the crew for a box. He offered to take the bird; but wouldn’t assure us that he wouldn’t just thrown overboard in the middle of nowhere. When we refused to give him the bird, he told us we’d have to go to the reception desk. We did and they told us that we should release the bird on the Promenade Deck. We took him to the Promenade Deck where I put him down and made a nest out of the napkin in a place people were unlikely to see him. The next morning, very early, I went back. The napkin was still there, but the bird was gone. I choose to assume he found his way.

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Trip entry number 15

Friday, March 12, 2010 – Puerto Montt, Chile

Mom spent the day and the night in the Medical Centre. I wandered Puerto Montt and took pictures. I came back to check on Mom. I read for a while, and then got dressed for the Captain Sandy’s cocktail party. I stopped in to see Mom on the way there. I went to dinner with Audrey and Karen and then checked on Mom again before bed. All the staff is asking about Mom. It is very touching. Sandy has joined our group. He stayed in Santiago with the folks who missed the trip and flew with them back to Ottawa. Then he turned around and got on another plane to join us. He checked our hotel in Santiago to ensure it was undamaged and came on to Puerto Montt to board the ship. Of course I flirted with him. He has Parkinson’s and his joke is that he no longer puts his hands in his pockets. I saucily told him putting his hand in my pocket would be more fun. Without batting an eye, he said, “What time?” My reply was, “Later.” He phoned the cabin later that night, but only to check on Mom’s health. I’m just thankful he didn’t call my bluff.

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Trip entry number 16

Saturday, March 13, 2010 – at sea

I was still asleep when Mom was wheeled into the cabin. She had “sprung herself” from Sick Bay and got back and had a shower. The nurses had not bathed her at all. In fact, she had to ask for a washcloth and basin so she could wash her face. I ordered food for Mom then went to have my own breakfast. Shubert phoned and so did Tony to ask how Mom’s doing. Barbara phoned looking for me and told Mom where she’d be. Mom ate some toast, drank cranberry juice and water. She is slowly getting some strength back. As Mom is restricted to the cabin, I returned the wheelchair.

I came back to our cabin and had a shower and got ready to go to Captain Sandy’s dinner. Mom told me to go and have fun, that she’d be fine. While I was at dinner, the nurse phoned to check up on Mom.

Dinner was in Le Bistro French restaurant. We were at three tables, roughly divided into two tables of couples who were travelling together and one table of those of us who were not part of groups. Tony sat at one end and Sandy at the other. I sat to Tony’s right with Audrey beside me. Louise sat to Tony’s left with Karen beside her. The remaining two seats (to Sandy’s left and right) were for Beelee and Shubert who did not show up. The entire group waited for them. Sandy and Tony each scoured the ship separately for them and phoned their cabin. No sign of them was found, so we reluctantly proceeded with the dinner. Unlike Il Adagio, dinner was quite good. We had a great time telling jokes and drinking a lot more wine than we probably should have.

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Trip entry number 17

Sunday, March 14, 2010 – Valparaiso, Chile & Santiago, Chile

Finally up after 6am and had a shower. Breakfast came and we finished packing and a wheelchair arrived to take Mom to Sandy’s group at our meeting point. We were put through immigration in jig time then bussed from Valparaiso to Santiago and brought to our hotel and, halleluiah, our bags and Mom’s walker were there. Mom and I had lunch with Audrey and Karen in the hotel restaurant. Then Karen, Audrey and I took a sightseeing tour and Mom went up to have a rest. Mom went for another cigarette and Sandy kept her company while he was waiting for his room. Mom offered him my bed so he could rest while he waited. He politely declined. This is funny, considering the joking Sandy and I had done previously.

When we returned from sightseeing, I found Mom reading in the pool area. Audrey, Karen, Mom and I decided to meet at 7pm for dinner. We came back to our room and Sandy phoned. I went to the lobby to return the pen he had lent me. We went down early to the bar and had a drink then we had to wait until the dining room opened. Mom went for a smoke and then we went into the dining room and had dinner. The hydro went off all over the city. This has sure been an interesting journey: snow storms, birds (albatross) hitting our plane, missing the earthquake, no luggage, no walker, no hydro in Santiago. What next??? Let’s hope it’s nothing more than a good time. We’ve managed that already.

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Trip entry number 18

Monday, March 16, 2010 – Santiago, Chile

I had my shower so we got dressed and went down for breakfast and sat with Louise and then Audrey joined us. After breakfast, we returned to the room so I could change my shoes. I went to the Mall with Audrey and Karen. Mom showered then sorted through her luggage and organized somewhat before going down to the pool area to read.

Louise joined Mom and they talked for a while. Audrey and Karen came back by taxi and told Mom I was walking back. I came in just moments later when Louise and Mom had ordered a light lunch in the pool area. We read and napped for much of the afternoon, then joined Audrey and Karen for a three hour disaster dinner. All the orders were wrong and had to be returned. The girls left very tiny tips (200 pesos or about $0.40). Mom went for a smoke while Karen and I had dessert. Audrey went back to her room because she was stiffening up sitting so long. We finally, after meeting Tony and Sandy in the downstairs reception area, came back to our room to get ready for bed. I chased Sandy around the reception area and he called security to stop me. We were both laughing because he was running away from just a friendly hug.

There was a 6.5 aftershock just after I crawled into bed.

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Trip entry number 19

Tuesday, March 17, 2010 – Santiago, Chile

I got up early to have breakfast and go on a tour of the Concho Y Toro winery. Mom had decided not to go to save her energy for the farewell dinner, so she got up and came down for breakfast in time to give me a hug then she went in and got coffee. She and Louise had coffee and cigarettes in the pool area where she gave Louise the last of her stinky American cigarettes, then went back to have breakfast. She sat with Beelee and Shubert. Mom said they ate enough to last them all day. Mom enjoyed fruit and a couple of pastries. She was very happy to get back onto regular food and not feel as weak as she had. She is really enjoying having her walker and her freedom.

There was another aftershock about 10:30am. Mom went to the bar for a glass of strawberry juice and bar snacks for lunch because tonight is our farewell dinner. The hotel sent up some desserts (to make up for last night’s dinner??). We got ready and all went downstairs to wait for the bus that never came (there was a traffic accident in the tunnel and the bus couldn’t get through) so the hotel put their minivans to work and got us to the Camino Real restaurant on Cerro San Cristobal (Saint Christopher Hill) for a lovely meal. We sat with Pamela (a retired small claims court judge) and her husband Gordon (a retired criminal court judge), Olga and Richard, and Pamela’s friends Robin and Judith. We really started having fun when Mario (our bus driver) brought us back from the restaurant and we were singing and laughing and really having a group feeling. Mario didn’t speak English, so I asked Lisette (our guide) to translate and tell him that he has the most gorgeous eyes. He told me, through Lisette, that I am a very kind lady. Later, when we were singing songs, he sang a Spanish love song to me in front of the whole bus.

When we got back to the hotel Mom went for a smoke with Pamela. Gordon went with them. I went to the room and then went looking for Mom when she didn’t show up. I found her with Pamela and Gordon. I joined them and ordered a Pisco Sour. We all had a drink and then Tony joined us and we stayed there until after 2am and had a great time. We closed the bar. Finally, after 2am back in our room we got ready for our last night away from home.

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Trip entry number 20 (final)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 – Santiago, Chile

Mom went down for coffee and a smoke about 8am. Then I got up and we went down for breakfast. Karen came in and returned my book (Consequences). We met the judges and Mom gave Gordon a hug and he lit up like a Christmas tree. She also hugged Pamela, and then went out for a smoke and sat with Louise. Mom and I played cards in the bar and had our lunch there. We checked out of our room and Mom paid the bill. Pamela and Mom had just lit cigarettes when we had to load the bus. Lisette played Chilean music CDs for us and talked until we got to the airport. What chaos! Mom was getting very upset with PEOPLE. We finally, after waiting with Karen and Audrey, got on the plane where Mom calmed down. Beelee and Shubert pushed ahead of everybody and have been doing that all along. We got customs forms. Nancy filled them out. After we finally got settled in Air Canada served us supper which was edible and we got ready to have a rest. Neither of us got much rest.

Thursday, March 18, 2010 – in transit and at home

A little after 4:00am, the crew started breakfast service. Service was good—food wasn’t. We got to Toronto where Karen and I took charge of our wheelchairs and moved us through Immigration and Customs and on to our next flight HOME. Mom was seated next to Shubert and Beelee. There were empty seats so we asked the flight attendant if we could move to sit together and we did.

When we arrived at Ottawa Airport along with wheelchairs was “MOM’S WALKER” so she left the wheelchair and we went and collected our luggage. We said all our goodbyes with hugs and kisses and there was my sister-in-law waiting to load us up and head out. We were home (Mom’s apartment) before 10am. I called Randy to let him know I was back and would wait for him to pick me up after work. Having not slept on the plane, Mom and I decided to sleep for a while.

The snow is gone and it’s a beautiful spring day.