Published: January 20th 2011January 20th 2011
Hi all, well here we are!!
Where? I hear you ask….
At time of writing we are in Fortaleza in Brazil. We were supposed to be in Recife in Brazil but the authorities there wanted $500 for every Pilipino crew member on board – according to our captain that would have cost the cruise line thousands of Dollars. So no docking there and a quick change of course to this place ( Fortaleza).
It is a seaside resort, much like Torremolenos (not that I have ever been there, but it is what I imagine it would be like) with great sun, long sandy beaches and mobbed – a bit like Girvan beach at the Glasgow fair.
The update starts here:
We left Glasgow and travelled to the midlands to stop for the night. The journey was pleasant as we had Jen and Pete with us to wile away the miles. On arrival we tried to book into a hotel – we were turned away – the receptionist said she was not allowed to sell any rooms as they were having a problem with a guest or guests. The police were arriving as we left what I noticed was an empty
car park!!! Don’t know what the problem was, however the hotel looked like an empty haunted place. The next hotel we tried had rooms – hooray – but the constant touring in and out of this hotel car park by small (neddy) cars – driving up so close to each other you couldn’t put a butter knife between them – and exchanging stuff through the windows, was really disconcerting. At midnight Judi was ready to go out and have a “word” with the offending drivers. We were really “lucky” to have gotten a room on the ground floor facing the car park. The noise stopped just after midnight – the wee lambs must have been needing to go home to there mummies.
Next morning bright and early we set off for Sainsbury’s to get some provisions for the remainder of the journey to Southampton and the start of our Honeymoon. While in the Sainsburys having a light breakfast, Judi commented on the blotchy look of my face – I was most upset, thinking I had looked pretty good considering the stress, strain and lack of sleep. However, while shopping I decided I must get some antihistamines, as the blotchy rash
was now attacking my chest and itching like crazy.
I bought pills and cream and popped the pills and slathered the cream.
We went to say goodbye to Jen and Pete who had kindly babysat all of our cases just incase the friendly neds took a fancy to them. While we were there Pete told us of how out of a bundle of bric-o-brac, which had toppled over slightly, that the only item to have fell out of the box was…….”if you can believe this” he said……. a little cuddly penguin. We all agreed that maybe Sara was giving us a wee wedding gift and we promised to take “Herbie” on our travels with us. So if you see the odd photo with a friendly penguin posing you know who it is!!!
After visiting and leaving the wedding bouquet and other flowers on Judi’s mom and dads grave and Sara’s we set off for Southampton – on arrival we booked into a nice 3 star hotel and after dragging out 7 cases and many bags into the room we decides to have a look at this annoying, spreading rash. It was over my face, arms, chest, back and legs. Wasn’t
much that wasn’t rashy and verrrry itchy. More pills and some cream later and it was still spreading and I’m getting to look like the elephant man – big weal’s on my neck. So we decided to consult with the professionals (Catriona) who basically said (After seeing the picture sent by phone) GO to A&E. Not being keen to have my honeymoon cancelled due to some unexplained rash, (well, I was managing to cope with broken ribs and a cracked hip) I had to be persuaded by Judi and Catriona that it was the best course of action. So, off to Southampton General Hospital ……. 5 hours later … the doctor diagnosed an allergic reaction to something (I knew that.) and told me to keep taking the Antihistamines he also prescribed a dose of Steroids to take the heat out of the rash. I got him to write in the notes that he could see no reason why I shouldn’t go on the cruise (Just in case the insurance company later said I was unfit for travel and cancelled the travel insurance policy). I had a bad night and next morning, again on advice from my daughter and new wife,
I tried to get an emergency Dr’s appointment – no joy – so off to another hospital’s drop in centre. They saw me pretty quick, however couldn’t prescribe anything as I had been treated in the General Hospital A&E the night before. They thought it looked like a drug allergy… so not nuts then!! We then went to the chemist and got various creams to stop the itching. We wandered around Southampton doing the Shopping we were supposed to do – getting Anti mosquito sprays and walking boots for the honeymoon. It was an itchy, scratchy day. I could hardly stand still… poor Judi… dealing with a snappy tormented new husband. I have never bought boots so fast in my life – told the shop assistant what I wanted them for and slipped them on and bought them. No need to sit and itch. Just needed to get out of my skin, never mind the shop.
Next morning we were to board the Ship. We took great care to make sure my face was presentable and our cover story was agreed, I was wearing high necked, long sleeved shirt and long trousers. Not much skin on show.
boarded – not much wait and sailed off to the Bay of Biscay. If we, or I didn’t feel well before the bay, well, we were both sick as dogs (not sea dogs) for a couple of days – so was everybody else on the ship. – The captains closing remarks at the end of the ship report and weather, which he gave over the speaker system twice a day, was – “Buckle up and enjoy the ride” – in force 8 to 10 gales and very rough seas, this was beginning to lose its funny side after hearing it 4 or 5 times.
Eventually it all calmed down and we reached out first port on the island of Madeira, Funchal, a very beautiful island with chemists where you could buy anything you wanted, and we did buy some medicines to help with the rest of our voyage. We walked around like zombies from night of the living dead; all of the passengers had a slight sway and odd gait as the walked around the port. We had got our sea legs but lost our land legs. It had a charming church in its centre that was playing an amazing
array of tunes on the church bells. The magical sound stopped us in our tracks, it was unreal, a bit like “Trumpton”, managed to record a part of it. We found a wi-fi zone in the middle of the streets and promptly took a photo and sent a wee message to loved ones, we have no idea if any of them received it!! Communication opportunities are a bit scatty for us and we miss being able just to chat to our nearest and dearest with ease. Hopefully this blog will keep them reassured that we are ok. It was upsetting to see the terrible floods in Rio De Janeiro and the tragic loss of life, we are due to dock there 22nd Jan but we can reassure everyone that we will only dock if it is safe to do. It feels a little uncomfortable the thought of us arriving there to ‘party’ when there is a national emergency going on.
Next we sailed on to the Cape Verde islands, off the coast of Africa, a port called Mindelo. This was a very poor place with not a lot to see. The high point being the newly renovated Governors Palace.
It was PINK.
Then we sailed for a year and a day to the place where the bong tree grows, oops that was the owl and the pussycat, not Murdo and Judi….. we sailed to this place, Fortaleza .
Fortaleza has a grand Cathedral, fine beaches and a market with 600 shops. That’s the blurb – the reality is that it is like a Spanish resort with the Barrows attached to it.
The 600 shops were who knows how many - stalls – all selling much the same stuff, handcrafts and alike. The cathedral was magnificent (we sat through some of the Mass – Yes, it was Sunday) with Stained glass windows and many electric fans. Did I mention the heat??? We are just south of the equator and it is around 30-40 degrees with highish humidity. We docked in a container port and had to get a shuttle bus to the town (Market). We were warned to look out for container lorries speeding round the dock – oh, and watch out for the coal dust!! It was everywhere.
We returned to the ship for lunch – didn’t seem like much point in wandering round the market for hours.
We discovered all the rest of the passengers had the same idea. So the decks are awash with every sun lounger occupied.
Anyway, it has been interesting so far and the surprises, both good and bad make the trip memorable. We got a text on our phones to say we could not make outgoing calls as we were in a foreign country – but we could receive texts. I wonder if this is the same for all of South America?
We are now leaving Fortaleza with the sun sinking behind the clouds and a warm balmy wind blowing us out to sea. At this point it looks fantastic. Amazing how things change in different light!
There are more photos below