Carrie's Adventures

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ushuaia, Argentina

It is at the End of the Earth, or so they say. This is one of the last settled areas before you reach Antarctica, it's claim to fame is: Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, on the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mounts.

It never really ever got warm here. These are the average temperatures for the area:

December to February: 6°C to 10°C (nights), 8°C to 18°C (days).
March to May: 0°C to 6°C (nights), 5°C to 10°C (days).
June to August: -8°C to-15°C (nights), -2°C to 3°C (days).
October to November, 2°C to 7°C (nights), 4°C to 11°C (days).

Good lord! No wonder they have sheepskin and Colombia jackets everywhere. When looking at the claim that this is the 'end of the earth' it seems a bit unbalanced. Given that we are only 54.8 degrees South ~ the equivalent in North America being perhaps a bit further north than Prince Rupert, but it is still considered the end of the world... That said, I guess knowing the next stop from here south is Antarctica, I expected the temperatures to be colder. However when checking out the average temperatures, they were about the same regardless of what side of the equator you are on. For some reason, it had felt warmer in Juneau and Prince Rupert. Guess that is just my mind playing tricks on me.

Every time we were here, we would go out for lunch. Akis affectionately called it his 'Greek Easter' and it was a bit of a meat fest.

Once we were done with the dining, we would walk off our lunch in the small one street town. Kinda reminds me of Southampton in the heart of the summer. I just can't imagine what this place is like in the middle of winter!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Punta del Este one last time

I still have to say that this is my favourite port in all of South America. I'm not sure if it is because it is more affluent and doesn't feel 3rd world, or if it is just plain charming and quaint. Perhaps it is a bit of both.

On our last day there we walked the beach and watched the surf

Viewed the Sea Lions in the harbour...

And took in the waning population on the beach... Well perhaps it was just the suit that was waning...

Monday, March 17, 2008

We're gonna be famous

or maybe not... It would seem that one rather famous director thought that the Infinity would be a good place to take some shots for his movie. Francis Ford Copella ~ yes the Godfather guy ~ is directing a new movie called Tetro. It is based on an Italian family in Buenos Aires and about a month ago he came onboard the ship to check it out and see if it would be suitable to do some filming. As it turns out, things were agreed to and yes, parts of the GTS Infinity will now be starring in his new film.

Quite excited about the fact that there was someone famous onboard, Akis was all over the place trying to get a peak here, photo there. He spent most of the morning walking the hallway outside of the crew cabin they were shooting in up near the Radio Room trying to catch a glimpse and saying hello to people hoping they will remember him. He then proceeded to watch the filming which was done in the Gangway. He was so determined to check it out, that he didn't even complain about putting on his evening uniform ~ one he usually avoids at all costs ~ to be able to stand there and observe what was going on.

There were a couple of our coworkers who were selected to be in the movie. However with the filming falling behind schedule, they decided to grab a couple people that were close by rather than wait for Bryan and Trishna to arrive. So unfortunatley they didn't get their 15 seconds of fame or the $25 for being part of the movie.

Unless you are part of the industry, I don't think you realize all the work that goes into making a movie, the number of takes, the amount of repetitive work... The one shot in the Gangway which had the couple meeting with a ship officer welcoming them onboard was retaken at least 14 times and took over 2 hours to set up and film. All that for what will be 20 seconds in the movie. Now that is a lot of effort!

Some of the set up and the actors for the Gangway filming:

Yes that is Francis... He's a bit blurry, we couldn't use the flash. Something about us interferring with the lighting. Jeesh. :)

Sitting and watching films you don't realize how long and actually exhausting this would be. Now I'm not sure if it justifies the millions some folks get paid, but you can see why folks get more than minimum wage for this. All in all they were on the ship for almost 12hrs. Bloody long day if you ask me.

Last run around South America

It is hard to believe that the South American season is almost over. I know for those who have been here all season, they are glad to see it come to an end, and to be honest, I am missing the warmth of the sun in Caribbean right now.

Akis and I had been out in Buenos Aires only once before, just before our Brazilian cruise. We spent the day in Florida street wandering around, shopping and having lunch. There are many amazing deals to be had on things like leather and cashmere. It was shocking to discover that you could pay $150 for a quality leather coat. You would never find that at home. Here are the views from Florida street.

After walking the afternoon, we headed to Ricoletta. This is where they have the famous cemetary ~ where you can find Eva Peron. It apparently is very difficult to have your remains buried here and in fact took 17 years or something like that for them to locate Eva's body here. And when they did, it is down so deep and well encased to prevent anyone from removing her.

The park adjacent to the cemetary was nice ~ a big patch of green in the middle of the city.

Saturday was our last Buenos Aires and in the spirit of taking advantage of good deals, I went out in search of the purses from this shop which was full of funky purses on Florida street. So as I got into the cab on my own and gave my destination, the cab driver asked if I was going for shopping. I said yes, and he asked me if I wanted to go to another area. Not being able to speak Spanish, I was a bit leary of where this man was suggesting I go, not sure if this was going to be safe. As it turns out, he took me to an area which is about 3 blocks from Florida street, however all of the stores are outlets for the factories. Yes, you guessed it. I managed to spend all of my money in 3 stores while the cabby stood there and held my bags. It was crazy, in 90 minutes, the whole adventure was over and I was carting back shoes, coats and sweaters. What was even crazier was upon my return, Akis saw all the goods and we WENT BACK OUT AGAIN TO BUY MORE! What is up with that??? As it turns out, the original store that I wanted to go to for the purses, wasn't even open, but with my wallet significantly lighter, that was probably an ok thing anyway. Here's to factory outlets!

Wedding plans ~ yes, there are some....

I don't know what I was thinking when I originally thought that it wouldn't be that difficult to plan a wedding from the ship. We would get the location for the wedding, get the hall and the rest could wait until we got there. Well, as planning goes, that was a sucky plan. Since arriving on the ship, I have been pestering Akis to contact the church, contact the City Hall, make a list of guests, think of a location for the reception. This need to get lists, arrange conversations, generally organize ourselves has proven to be the Achilles heel for 2 non-planners. So 4 weeks after getting on the ship, Akis and I were no further along in our plans, and yet I had received emails from family and friends that they were investigating holidays, looking at hotel availability... You know, generally being organized.

The crux of our challenges seemed to be that nobody wanted to book the hall/church for us. As one would assume, there is more paperwork that needed to be done given that I am not Greek Orthodox, nor am I Greek. Well it would seem that until I was able to provide translated documents like proof of baptism, birth certificates, etc., booking a location was not a possibility. However no matter who we spoke to ~ church, city hall ~ they always said, don't worry, there will be lots of space, don't worry about a date. I think they were crazy.

So, in the interest of keeping things moving along, and not waking up one Monday in August and realizing we should be asking people 'Hey, what are you doing this weekend? Wanna come to a wedding??', we went ahead and hired a Wedding Planner. This may be the best money I will ever spend. Not only have we been able to get a date more or less confirmed, I don't have to hound Akis to go and make phone calls! And because they have been doing wedding planning for about 10 years, they don't need my papers until I get there. It is a win/win. Right now, there are strikes going on in Athens which means that the government workers are not working. While this is proving to be a bit more challenging for the planner to solidify the 'where' option for the ceremony, that is OK, because we at least have more or less a 'when'.... at least enough for people to start planning their trips.

And the date will be....August 22nd or August 23rd. So keep it open!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

That Lunar Eclipse

You may remember it, it was about a month ago... This seems to be the schedule that I am running on lately. Everything seems to be reported about 28 days late.

After learning that the eclipse was occurring that evening, Akis and I did head up to Deck 4 for a view of the event.

There isn't a whole lot else to view ~ other than Akis' crazy hair ~ as it was 1am or some crazy hour like that, but we did get a couple of photos of the display.

Go figure, 3 clouds in the sky and they all had to pass over the moon. What are the odds?

Almost there.... It was weird, even though it was in the shadow, you could still see the outline of the moon.