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Documenting a period in my development that could become pivotal

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oregonian painter travels South America by Celebrity Infinity Cruise

Making an accordion art journal was an important part of documenting our South American cruise. This is one portion of the tour we took at Port Montt, Chile.

With travelling companions (another couple from Albany) we drove to Seattle January 1st and spent the night in a hotel in Kent. We left their car at the hotel while we were gone.

9/02 We started our journey south on an American Airline flight at 9 AM. In the Seatac airport the snow was falling in big flakes and the deicer sprayed chemicals over the exterior of the plane. We then flew over snow covered peaks until they gave way to a patchwork of cultivated ground. We changed planes in Dallas and Miami before an overnight flight to warm, balmy Buenos Aires, Argentina the next day. Over 7000 miles in the air.

9/03 We were in Buenos Aires over night and saw the Carlos Gardel Tango show. We had very good seats at a dinner table in the balcony overlooking the stage.
9/04 Sunday morning we took a private tour of Buenos Aires, a big city of 5 million people. It is an old city with ornate baroque French architecture and lots of poor areas with street people and gang graffiti. The old palaces are now foreign embassies. The temperature was in the 80's.
We boarded ship with the other 1,965 people starting the tour. Everyone is checked onto the ship just like an airplane. The ship was the Celebrity Cruises Infinity, length 965 ft., beam 106 feet. 91,000 tons. Over 1000 staterooms. Maximum speed 24 knots. Draft 26.3 ft. Nationality of officers: Greek. Nationalities of Hotel Staff was from over 50 nations. Ship Registry: Malta The captain was Greek. And the head of all food was from Istanbul.
That evening the ship started cruising towards Montevideo, Uruguay. We were a happy well fed, harmonious gathering of many peoples. If peace can happen on a ship, Diane thinks a world could be like the ship.

9/05 In Montevideo we did a self guided walking tour. The city was built helter skelter with some very grandiose exaggerated, contorted baroque style buildings. Diane went to the only art museum open on Mondays. The artist's work was very much influenced by Western Cubism. His paintings could have been done by Oregon painters during the 30's. Only the artist said he was inspired by native South American art instead of African Masks as was Picasso. The city was about a million people and not very safe. We saw a man on a motor bike steal a purse. A pedestrian tried to run the thief down but couldn't. The country appeared to be very poor.

9/06 We were at sea and had a formal dinner. Diane went to the group Spanish lesson and left early to take in the very crowded Tango lesson.

9/07 We arrived in Puerto Madryn, Argentia for the day. 60,000 people live in this town. Diane and I walked around the city and it was a lot nicer and prosperous than the previous two big cities. Diane bought dancing shoes. She met an Aluminum sculptor at the community gallery on the waterfront. They exchanged websites and he gave her a hug which is the custom in SA. The ship left at 7 PM. Our friends took a tour to an elephant seal and penguin colony. The ships tour was full so we didn't go.

9/08 We were at sea and saw quite a few small to medium size whales.

9/09 We arrived at Port Stanley, Falkland Island (British). On these islands the sheep out number the people 240 to 1. We took a taxi to a place called Gypsy Cove to look at the penguins. The penguin's habitat was very effectively protected by signs warning tourists that beyond the fence there was danger of hidden live mines left by the war between the England and Argentina. We had sunny calm weather which is highly unusual for the area. The British colony in contrast to the towns on the continent was as neat as could be. Lots of nice gardens with flowers, potato's etc.

9/11 The ship slowed down and let us take picture of Cape Horn, Chile. Afterwards Diane went to the starboard side 4th deck. Almost alone she sat down cross legged on the deck, out of the wind she painted the rocky coast line as we left the Cape behind. The clouds and sun shining through were dramatic.

9/12 We awoke at 4:30 in the morning to a setting full moon and early dawn. The sunrise and the post card perfect picture of a small town at the foot of dramatic mountains rewarded the early wake up. The ship stopped for the day at Ushuaia, Argentina called the end of the world and the beginning of everything. Ushuaia is the most southern town in Argentina with 40,000 people. We took a taxi to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. An exotic forested area but there was too many people when ships are in town. The best bird watching was at the local dump. Even saw a red fox.

9/13 We stopped at Punta Arenas, Chile - the most southern city in Chile with 80,000 people. We took a van out into the country and saw a large flock of birds called rio. We saw some of the glaciers as we left Punta Arenas onwards through the Strait of Magellan

9/14 We cruised through the Strait of Magellan looking at glaciers and fjords. Very rocky and glacier formed area. Very little wild life and people.

9/15 We cruised past the Chilean Fjords. We couldn't see anything because of the rainy weather. Very windy 65 mile an hour brought up high waves that rocked the boat. We went lurching as we tried to walk a straight line in vain. About 17 ft sea's. We did not get sea sick thankfully.

9/16 We visited Puerto Montt, Chile with a large German population. We took a tour in to the lake country, Petrohue Falls, Osorno Volcano ski area and tried to look at a volcano in heavy rain. This area has lots of spendy fishing trips. Brown, Rainbow, Chinook, and Silvers. The biggest surprise to Diane was the native redwood trees, now protected to prevent extinction.

9/18 We arrived at Valparaiso, Chile, where we took a tour to Santiago(temp. 90 F), and got on the airplane for the long flights home at 9:30 PM.
The trip was over 14,000 air miles and 4,000 sea miles. Over 18,000 miles total.Food consumed on a 14 day cruise. 24,000 lb beef, 5,000 lb lamb, 7,000 lb pork, 4,600 lb veal, 10,000 lb chicken, 3,000 lb turkey, 13,000 lb fish, 2,500 lb fish & lobster, 26,000 lb fresh vegetables, 15,000 lbs potatoes, 20,000 fresh fruit, 3,000 gal. milk, 600 gal. ice cream, 9,000 dz eggs, 6,000 lbs sugar, 4,000 lbs rice, 1,800 lbs ceral, 2,400 tea bags, 2,500 lbs coffee, 2,000 lbs of cookies, 3,400 bottles of wine, 1,800 bottles of other alcohol, 10,000 can of beer. We enjoyed the tour of one galley. The ship has seven galleys and saw sone of the 200 cooks work.

Ship fuel. About $1,000,000 for 14 days. I am not sure but this is total extravagance for a planet in peril. I did see a National Geographic cruise ship but it was much smaller. For those of you who have not been looking at my travel pictures. I have made a few observations on the meaning of luxury service and about the use of tools like photography and painting as a way to educate and form memories.


rob ijbema said...

love the water color diane
looks so japanese,sure you were on the right boat?

Parapluie said...

Thanks Rob for your interesting reflections. Yes, the landscape did feel very Asian in the fog and rain that day.
The whole idea of a cruise is alien to me so it was a mind opening experience. Frnakly, I hungered with jealous eyes the National Geogrphic cruise docked near ours in Ushuaia but I am afraid it is out of our price range.

Parapluie said...

I just added some photographs to my painting to support my impression of the Asianqualities of the waterfall.