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Cruise, Week Three


Our second leg of the cruise started in the port city of Valparaiso. Unfortunately, serious fires the night before our arrival meant so much smoke in the air we didn’t even go off the ship for our customary walk. So, we sat around in the the terminal until we could re-board the ship.

After 2 sea days, we arrived at Arica, Chile. In the rain… the first rain for this city in FORTY YEARS! Locals were very excited by the rain. We took a cruise to view the geoglyphs, enormous figures on the hill side. Based on their location and orientation, it is presumed these were navigational aids to find your way out of the desert to the sea.

A visit to the local museum introduced us to the Chinchorro mummies. These 7,000 year old mummies pre-date Egyptian ones by some 2,000 years, and show an entirely different civilization existed here. They used a most unique mummification technique. Careful preservation is necessary as the humidity, even as low as it is, is increasing which affects the mummy materials.

Although arid, this area has excellent soil, so with irrigation it is a big producer of many types of fruit and vegetables. Because there is only one season here all year, there are no seasonal products… everything grows all year. Especially olives, a major crop.

Our next stop was supposed to be Lima, but a problem with the completion of dock construction diverted us to Pisco, Peru. There is really nothing to do or see here unless you take expensive excursions, so we stayed on board until we departed for Manta, Ecuador

Manta proved to be quite interesting. This is the area where the Panama Hat originated, and it still is one of the mainstay industries in this area. The ladies who weave the hats have a very unique way of working!

The St. Mark’s church is particularly interesting… it was designed and pre-fabbed by Gustav Eiffel (before the Eiffel tower) and shipped with two other buildings to Arica.  These were to replace originals destroyed by an earthquake.  All the metal pieces fit together and require a key to assemble/disassemble them.  When Peru lost the territory in a war they took the “church key” with them.

As usual, click on the Flickr link (below right) and then Albums to see all photo albums. Our next stop: the Panama Canal.

Smoke over Valparaiso

Smoke over Valparaiso

Some of the not so desirable portions of the city

Some of the not so desirable portions of the city

Enormous geoglyphs in the distant mountains

Enormous geoglyphs in the distant mountains

Ancient Chnichorro mummies

Ancient Chnichorro mummies

Church, designed by Gustav Eiffel

Church, designed by Gustav Eiffel

Inside St. Mark's church, showing Eiffel's traditional metalwork

Inside St. Mark’s church, showing Eiffel’s traditional metalwork

A very busy street in Manta

A very busy street in Manta

Local entertinment

Local entertinment

Manta is definitely a port city

Manta is definitely a port city

Making Panama hats

Making Panama hats

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