Thursday, November 8, 2012

Apologies, Punta Arenas, Costa Rica

Punta Arenas, Costa Rica - Vendor stand at the beach

My apologies that it has been so long since I have returned to the blog about my series of cruises I call my "Almost A Last Hurrah" voyages.  

It has been a busy four or five months.  In May and June I had cataract removal surgeries done for both my eyes. The surgeries were very easy and successful - in fact I found the procedures easier than my usual visits to the dentist.  The world is a much brighter place for my old eyes now!

In July I had my two youngest granddaughters visit to spend 11 days with me here in Hawaii. My French cousins arrived for a 3 week visit on the first day of August.  

I will be reporting about those visits on my other blog page, "The 50th State" soon.  

At the end of August, my roommate Sherb and I took off for a 7 day Alaska Cruise and visits to family and friends in the Seattle area.  I will be reporting and showing my photos from that cruise on this blog eventually.  

I had a busy and a bit tiring summer.  I finally found the energy and motivation to start writing in my blog again.  I would like to get the last chapters about my three back to back cruises trip from Istanbul to Long Beach finished soon.

Onward from the Pacific End of the Panama Canal

My last post was about the Panama Canal Transit.  The remaining stops are:  Punta Arenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and finally Long Beach, California.

Friday, December 9th, 2011 - a sea day.  

My daily notes show that I read my Kindle reader all day and that I lost $20 in the ship's casino that night.

Saturday, December 2011-  the Carnival Inspiration arrived at Punta Arenas, Costa Rica.  Punta Arenas means "Sandy or Sand Point" in English. This is a good description for the town which is build on a sand bar that is only 3 blocks or so wide and about a mile long.  I am afraid that when the waters rise from global warming, Punta Arenas will be lost to the rising ocean water.  

The ship docked at 8 AM. It was the Inspiration's first port call at Punta Arenas. The dock was clearly not ready for such a large cruise ship to dock there. The tide was very low which caused the available gangways to have much too steep an angle to disembark the passengers.  

Carnival Inspiration at the long pier at Punta Arenas, Costa Rica

  The ship's staff apologized over and over again about the delays in disembarking.  There were several points when I thought there would be an open rebellion by the hundreds of passengers all lined up with no place to go!  The Captain promised the passengers he would delay the departure of the ship until 8 PM instead of 5 PM so that they would not miss the tours to interesting places and adventures in Costa Rica.

Finally at about 11:30AM it was safe to use the gangway to get off the ship and walk down the long, long dock to the town.

A view of Punta Arenas from the docked ship

Map of Costa Rica showing the cities on the Pacific Coast

Click here for information about Costa Rica

Ken and I walked to the commercial area at the end of the dock.  There were many families on both sides of the dock having a beach  picnic and ocean swim.  The beach was beautiful. There were several beach bars with a roofed over dining area which is typical of most Costa Rican outdoor bars and restaurants on the beaches.

One of the restaurants that are lined up along the beach front - Beach is to the left.

I had visited Costa Rica 3 times before. My first two visits were to improve my  Spanish. On those visits I had lived with Costa Rican families in their homes. Home stays out of your own country are a unique and very rewarding experience.  My last previous visit was strictly to return to this amazing country to visit with my friends.

Costa Rica is a small country, but I did not have time to rent a car to make a quick visit south to the coastal town of Quepos nor to the west to Nicoya in Guanacoste Province to visit my friends.

I will include some photos from those earlier visits in this chapter.

Casa Miranda 2003 - home of my first host family - Dona Herminia Ayala Miranda

Dona Herminia and her grandsons - Photo 2003

Dona Herminia making Costa Rican empanadas - Photo 2003

Costa Rica is famous for decorated oxcarts. Photo 2003

Arenal Volcano in Central Costa Rica - Photo 2003

Costa Rica is famous for its coffee - Coffee blossoms that will become the coffee cherries

Coffee cherries that will become fine Costa Rican coffee - Coffee photos 2003.

Salt water crocodiles on the banks of the Tarcoles River - Photo 2003
Costa Rican Parrot or "Pederico" - Photo 2003

Capuchin Monkey, Costa Rica - Photo 2003

Large moth on the ceiling at my host family's home - Photo 2003

A very large grasshopper outside my host family's home - Photo 2003

Costa Rica has brilliant plants and flowers - Photo 2003

Helconia at Nicoya, Costa Rica - photo 2003

Plant at Tabecon Springs near Arenal Volcano - Photo 2003

Plant at Tabecon Springs near Arenal Volcano - Photo 2003

Flowers at Tabecon Springs near Arenal Volcano - Photo 2003

I wanted to check my e-mail, but was not too keen on working up a sweat in the warm, humid air.  I found an internet cafe / soda near the dock and went in to enjoy splendid air conditioning while I enjoyed a Coca Cola and checking my e-mail.  Ken, my cabin mate wandered around the area a bit.  I later joined him to check out some of the seaside flea market vendors.

Beachside plaza close by the end of the pier at Punta Areans, Costa Rica

Child playing on the monument in the beachside plaza

My cabin mate, Ken, at Punta Arenas, Costa Rica

Municipal Plaza at Punta Arenas, Costa Rica

Ken and I went back to the Carnival Inspiration about midafternoon.  The ship sailed into the Gulf of Nicoya in the purple blue shades of a fall sunset.

Sunset over the Gulf of Nicoya just before the Carnival Inspiration departed

Next time - Sea Days,  Puerta Vallarta, Mexico

Please click the colored link to view my other blog about living in Hawaii "Life in the 50th State"

Please give me photo credits if you use or share my photos for non-commercial use.

I use a Canon G-11 digital camera on a mono pod - usually without flash

Please contact me at should you need to use my photos commercially. Larger, digital files of my photos are available.

I encourage you to share this blog with your family and friends.

Your comments and criticisms are my reward for the effort to do this blog – they are appreciated.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my travels.


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