My Understanding of Stuff

We’ve crossed into our 24th time zone, Atlantic Standard Time (or Eastern Daylight Time.) While we have one more port before Fort Lauderdale people are packing.  Many are already packed.  We are putting that off until the last minute.  I’m glad because last night was the final “Gala Night” and on gala nights we get a “pillow gift.”  Some of them have been practical (a … Continue reading My Understanding of Stuff

Amsterdam Art 202 (Sailing Ship Figureheads to Surrealistic Swiss Army Knives)

Today we entered our 23rd time zone, one more to go.  It’s a sea day and I wanted to continue to write about art on the Amsterdam.  In Art 101 I described some of the art work that I see every day.  In this post I show some of the pieces that I don’t get to every day but that I enjoy when I do. … Continue reading Amsterdam Art 202 (Sailing Ship Figureheads to Surrealistic Swiss Army Knives)

One Nation’s Hero — Another Nation’s Thug

Sir Francis Drake sacked Cidade Vehla twice.  To the British he was a patriotic Privateer. To the people of Cape Verde he was a piratical thug.  His two sackings of the low lying Cidade Vehla plus a French attack later caused the Portuguese to move their Cape Verde Capital to Praia, on a plateau high above a more sheltered harbor.  But Cidade Vehla is still … Continue reading One Nation’s Hero — Another Nation’s Thug

Kroil Jazz Festival — Cape Verde

Every spring Praia hosts two music events, the Kriol Jazz Festival and the Atlantic Music conference.  The Jazz festival kicked off the weekend of April 15 and 15 showcasing local talent.  It than took a break for the Atlantic Music Expo April 16-19 and on the evening of the 19 (just as we were leaving) the Jazz Festival continues through the following weekend. Cape Verde … Continue reading Kroil Jazz Festival — Cape Verde

Europe with Soul — Cape Verde

Praia, the capital of the Cape Verde Islands, was one of those stops on our cruise that that I thought of as kind of a place holder between Africa and home.  I knew three things about the islands, they were a stop for Yankee whalers on the way around Cape Horn (given winds and currents it was often easier to cross the Atlantic twice in … Continue reading Europe with Soul — Cape Verde

In Dakar the Hardware Store Comes to You

I think to dodge the touts as much as anything we took a cab to the Medina (where we did some of our haggling), the Grand Mosque, which has minarets that look either like radomes or giant golf balls on tees and drover along the coast.  The corniche has some wonderful public art (Youssou N’Dour is Senegal’s culture minister.)  One of the great things about … Continue reading In Dakar the Hardware Store Comes to You

Busman’s Holiday — Development Projects in The Gambia.

In The Gambia I planned a busman’s holiday.  I wanted to visit a few development projects.  One was St. Joseph’s Training School for men, which is in an historic Portuguese building and also has a market where you can buy things made in the school.  Instead our driver took us to the Presentation Girls Vocational School.  I knew this wasn’t where I wanted to go … Continue reading Busman’s Holiday — Development Projects in The Gambia.

Corruption and Color — The Gambia

The Gambia reminds me of Albania 25 years ago.  Street life looks very much the same (although the dress is more colorful) and the cops are just as corrupt.  We hired a cab for the day.  As we were leaving a beach resort where I had a beer a traffic cop stopped the oncoming traffic and nodded at our driver who made his left turn … Continue reading Corruption and Color — The Gambia

Amsterdam Art 101, (Musings on a Sea Day)

The Promenade Deck has the dining room, the theater and the cinema.  But it has a design flaw.  The kitchen sits mid-ship and you can’t get from fore to aft on the promenade deck.   We usually use the aft staircase to get to the dining room the deck above us, or the café, library or lounges on the deck above that.  But if we are … Continue reading Amsterdam Art 101, (Musings on a Sea Day)

Do We Really Need An Ambulance?

The letter from the Captain starts, “We know we are living in a changing world.”  He talks about how Holland American is constantly monitoring security and continues, “some ports do present the possibility of more safety and security issues than other ports.”   I thought this was the prelude to telling us we were canceling a visit to Luanda, Angola, especially after listening to the port … Continue reading Do We Really Need An Ambulance?

The Last Gasp of Socialist Realism — Luanda

Agostinho Neto was the first President of Angola.  His parents, Methodist teachers, sent him to University in Lisbon where he became a medical doctor.  He was arrested after becoming involved in a political movement to overthrow the fascist Portuguese leader, Salazar and exiled to the Cape Verde Islands where he became a well-respected doctor.   Both an airport and hospital in Cape Verde are named for … Continue reading The Last Gasp of Socialist Realism — Luanda

Radio Silence.

At 4 AM Thursday morning our sleep was shattered by a piercing alarm, seven short and one long, followed by the officer of the watch announcing there was a fire in the incinerator room.  I immediately went into emergency mode, which is to back up my computer on a portable medium.  In about 10 minutes the Captain came on to tell us that there was … Continue reading Radio Silence.

Sunset Rainbow – Sailing Out of Luanda.

I’ve seen a rainbow at sunset but never seen one quite like this.  I could describe it but It’s best to let the picture stand on its own. We sailed out of Luanda, Angola yesterday just after sunset.  The first group of pictures is from the deck, of the city as customs gave their final clearance and we loosed the lines.  I like the “shopping … Continue reading Sunset Rainbow – Sailing Out of Luanda.

An Enclave no more – Walvis Bay

As a kid I looked at a map of Africa and saw this little speck of darker cartographer’s red on the coast of “Southwest Africa.”  It was Walvis Bay.  The rest of Southwest Africa was a lighter pink, identifying it as a UN trust territory attached to a Commonwealth nation.  I always wanted to know why this spot was separate from the hinterland.  And because … Continue reading An Enclave no more – Walvis Bay

Germany in Africa

Swakopmund is an old German town at the mouth of the Swakop River.  It sits between the Atlantic and tall sand dunes that rise behind it from the Namib Desert.  It was the main port for German Southwest Africa.  It was not the first choice.  Thirty six kilometers south is Walvis Bay, Whale Bay, the best natural harbor on the Namibian coast.  But the British … Continue reading Germany in Africa

Life in the Desert

Herman sniffed a couple of times “I smell springbok.”  A few minutes later we were on a small herd grazing in the sparse vegetation of the Namib Desert.  Two jackals, Herman says a mating pair, were tracking them, not hunting, but just keeping an eye out.  A third jackal was shadowing the two, not to close.  Herman says he may be trying to move in … Continue reading Life in the Desert

Artifacts at Sandwich Harbor.

Sandwich Harbor was surveyed by the Royal Navy, which rejected it as a port.  But fishermen and whalers used the harbor because it had a fresh water lagoon.  It still has a lagoon but it is now brackish.  The terrain has changed over the past 50 years.  South Africa put dams on the Orange River, which empties into the Atlantic south of Sandwich Harbor.  The … Continue reading Artifacts at Sandwich Harbor.

Our Big Splurge in Namibia – WOW!

Namibia was our big splurge.  There were things we wanted to see and limited time so I booked a 4WD with a driver, Herman, for all day.  We shared it with Gail and Mark, a couple we met on the South America cruise three years ago.  We visited the old German town of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and then drove across the dunes of the Dorob … Continue reading Our Big Splurge in Namibia – WOW!

Thoughts on Leaving Cape Town

It’s 6 AM.  I got up to use the toilet a few minutes ago and my mind won’t shut down with thoughts and images of South Africa, the “Rainbow Nation.”  It was an intense and engaging three days. There a lot of physical images that represent this rainbow, post-apartheid, nation, sculptures of rainbows, the flag, architecture and art exhibits reflecting the new South Africa.  The … Continue reading Thoughts on Leaving Cape Town