These are the voyages of Rick & Mary Bader. Our continuing mission: to boldly go where we have never gone before!
Welcome to Bader Journal, the travel blog of Rick & Mary Bader. That’s us, pictured at the top, in old travel pictures that will rotate randomly each time you open the blog, but have nothing to do with the content of the post appearing below them. This blog was created primarily for our family & friends but anyone who is interested is welcome to view it. We set sail on January 4, 2019 on our second trip to South America & Antarctica, roundtrip from Ft Lauderdale. We are sailing on the M/S Prinsendam, Holland America’s smallest & oldest ship, with a capacity of about 850 passengers. Sadly, this is Prinsendam’s last Grand Voyage, as it has been sold and will be gone by late summer. This will be our second voyage to South America & Antarctica on this ship, having done this on a somewhat different itinerary in 2012 (see below). Here is a map of our itinerary for this year:
Our posts typically contain a lot of pictures & text so they take some time to create. This can only be done on sea days, when we are on the ship & have leisure time. In addition, internet access on a cruise ship is very spotty & slow. For these reasons our blog postings usually are not completed until well after we return home.
On this voyage we will compose the blog posts as we go along (at a time when we can still remember fairly clearly what we did & what is in the pictures) but may not post many (if any) before we return to the USA. If you want to be notified when new posts appear, read Part B below.
One general caveat: please don’t take what is written here about the places we visit as authoritative. We do our best to be accurate but really we are mostly repeating things we have read or been told. You may sometimes note a skeptical tone when we tell you something we have heard but don’t necessarily believe, though even things we do believe sometimes turn out to be inaccurate. So, caveat emptor!
What follows is an outline of instructions for using the tools built into the blog. Use anything that is helpful to you & just ignore the rest. But don’t skip reading item D.
A. Menu Buttons At The Top of the Page:
1. The “About This Blog” button will always bring up this post, in case you want to review the itinerary or the instructions for using the blog.
2. The “Home” button will always bring you back to the default view, with the latest post at the top, if you have been looking at something else.
3. The “M/S Prinsendam’s Current Position” button will take you to a webpage that always displays just where that ship is at the moment (or at least where it is scheduled to be). It will also tell you how the weather is there.
B. Subscribing To Email Notifications Of New Postings:
If you scroll to the very bottom of your computer screen you will find several “widgets” in 4 columns. In the second column from the left (next to the calendar and above the orange RSS buttons) is a button to subscribe to email notifications of new postings. If you sign up you will receive an email right after a posting is published with a link to the new blog page, so you won’t have to waste time on the internet looking for one that isn’t yet there.
C. Navigating the Blog:
1. Google: The easiest way to find a particular post is to use Google. If you google "Bader Journal" & the place in which you are interested, the posting on this blog should be one of the first results listed (e.g. "bader journal rome" will bring up our posts about visiting Rome). If we have visited that place more than once, all of those visits should appear in the google results.
2. Blog tools: At the bottom of your computer screen you will find several widgets (probably overkill) that may (or may not) be useful in navigating the blog:
a. In the left position is a calendar on which the posting dates of blog entries are blue. Click a blue date with your mouse and that day’s post(s) should pop up to the top of the blog.
b. Next to that is a section with three items. The first is the email subscription described above. The middle one has two orange buttons for subscribing to RSS feeds of the posts and/or the comments (We have no idea how well – if at all — that works). The bottom one is a search function that should allow you to find a previous posting by search for a particular word or phrase in the text (e.g. “camel” or “Peru” or "Alhambra").
c. In the right hand position is a list of the 5 most recent posts; click on one to bring it to the top.
d. Second from the right is an “Archives.” After the name of each month is the number of postings during that month. Click on a month to bring up that month’s blog postings. This is probably the easiest way to access all of one of our previous voyages on this blog, which I will list here as a sort of table of contents (note that the dates indicated are when the posts went up on the blog, not when we were sailing on the cruise):
— Grand South America & Antarctica Voyage can be found at December 2011 through March 2012:
— Grand Mediterranean Voyage can be found at March through October 2013:
— Southern Caribbean can be found at April through May 2014:
— Voyage Of The Vikings can be found at July through September, 2014:
— Second World Cruise can be found at January through September, 2018:
**Remember that if you use any of these menu buttons or widgets to bring up old posts, you can always go right back to the default view with the newest entry on top by using the “Home” button on the menu.**
D. Viewing Captions of Pictures ( most important point! )
The pictures have captions, but they are not visible in the Blog’s text. If you hover your mouse cursor over a picture a caption should pop up that will contain some identifying information and sometimes more substance as well. The popup is temporary; if it closes before you finish reading it just move your mouse away and then back over the picture and it will pop up again. If you click on a picture you may be rewarded with a separate larger view of that picture. This works on a computer browser using a mouse, but we don’t know how or whether it will work on a tablet or phone or RSS feed.
Last, but far from least, at the end of each posting is a small blue text button reading “Leave a comment.” If there have already been comments posted it will read “[number] Comments,” but you can still click on that to add yours. Comments are heartily welcomed! When away from friends & family it is always good to hear from them (by which I mean you). Even when we are home again we enjoy hearing from folks who read the blog. If you want to leave a public comment (this blog can be found on Google & has, to our surprise, been viewed by many people from all over the world) then use the “Leave a comment” button & your comment will become part of the blog (and will also be sent to Rick by email). But if you would rather communicate privately with us – about the blog, about something else, or just to say hi – then you can use our regular email addresses. When on a cruise we read our email semi-regularly (depending on our schedule & how well the internet connection is working) so a response (if one is called for) may take a few days. Please have patience.
For those who don’t know yet, our daughter Carrie was married on January 19 to Michael Jarvis. Here are a few pictures.
Today we finished up our two days in Ecuador, where we visited the port cities of Manta (Wednesday) & Guayaquil.(Thursday). We continue to be thoroughly frustrated with the Internet service on the Prinsendam, which is expensive ($.25 per minute or more, depending on how big a plan you purchase) & hardly works at all. It is galling to sit and wait minute after minute while gmail loads, with the meter ticking away. Then it will helpfully inform you that “this is taking longer than usual” (as if we didn’t know that) and tell us to start over by reloading the page. So, if you aren’t getting timely answers to email that is the reason, and also the reason why these blog postings may appear a day or two after they are written. So, please be patient, “this is taking longer than usual!”
I also wanted to mention that when I looked at the Panama posting on the internet it didn’t look like the draft I was working with in Windows Live Writer. As you could tell by the text, the smaller pictures were supposed to be shown 2 on each line, but at least on my computer the posting on the internet showed all of the pictures in a single row down the page. So, today I’m going to try making the smaller pictures a little less wide on the page in the hope that they will appear on the internet where they are supposed to. If the Panama posting on your computers appeared with the small photos two abreast like it is supposed to, please let me know in the comments; it wouldn’t surprise me if my internet connection here & small laptop screen were screwing up my view of it.
Manta is a city of 180,000 in the northern part of Ecuador. It is known for Panama hats, the best of which are made in a town near Manta called Montecristi. In fact, all Panama hats are actually made in Ecuador. Apparently they were originally exported from ports in Panama, from which they got the name. Or, a better story, Teddy Roosevelt got one of these hats while inspecting the construction of the Panama Canal & called it his “Panama Hat,” and the name stuck. That sort of thing happened a lot with Teddy Roosevelt, who was something of a celebrity before there were celebrities. Anyway, here is Manta & some panama hats & some flowering trees:
Of course, everyone bought Panama hats in Manta, including yours truly. All I need now is a 3 piece white suit & a cigar to complete the look.
Manta is a fishing port, with emphasis on tuna. You can tell tuna is important here because they have erected a public statue of a tuna & a tuna fountain near the entrance to the port! I also got some pictures of a ship unloading a tuna catch next to our ship.
Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest city with 1.8 million people. I find it hard to believe I had never heard of a city that big until signing up for this trip. It is also Ecuador’s busiest port, although you have to sail several miles up a river to reach the port, which is still 30 minutes from downtown by bus. Most cruise ships can’t sail up this river; ours is one of the few small enough to do so. Mostly, Guayaquil is a big & fairly ugly city, with nondescript high-rises & fairly rundown neighborhoods lacking in character. Our shuttle bus dropped us off in the center of town, at a park known as Parque Seminario (its across the street from the cathedral), & also as Parque Bolivar (it has an equestrian statue of the general), & also as Plaza de Iguanas. It must be confusing to have so many names for one place.
Its called Parque de Iguanas because (you guessed it) there are a lot of iguanas that live there. It turns out that iguanas like to climb trees, & the local hotels come out a couple of times a day to give them food (looks like lettuce), since they are a tourist attraction. Very cool, in my estimation.
The park also has a statue of fighting wild boars, which should make Texans feel at home (and Cincinnatians, although these pigs don’t fly), and across the street is the cathedral, with a statue of General Bolivar in front.
Walking along the Malecon (the riverside park) we saw the “rotunda,” a columned semicircle with a statue of Bolivar & San Martin shaking hands. They met here but didn’t get along (they say San Martin wanted monarchies in South America while Bolivar wanted Republics), and Bolivar refused to ally with San Martin despite an offer to serve under him. San Martin soon withdrew from the fight for independence & retired to Europe. So its hard to understand what there is to commemorate here, but they have done it anyway. There is also an attractive Moorish style (why?) clock tower & many pretty flowers & gardens. Mary had to use the “banos” here & found to her dismay that you have to pay for toilet paper; fortunately she had some kleenex since she didn’t have any coins. Live & learn.
Tonight on the Prinsendam it was Panama Hat Night. So, I took this opportunity to introduce you to the other two couples assigned to our table at dinner. Steve & Kathy (in picture with Mary) are from Fort Worth, although they live now on the coast of Alabama. Steve is a retired firefighter. Bing & Barb are from St. Louis but have lived for 8 years in Tampa. Florida. Bing has been a very successful gambler on this cruise. They are all nice people & we have been enjoying their company.
And finally, every night the room crew leave us a towel animal on our bed. Its pretty silly, but kind of fun since they are different every night. Here is one of the best so far, to end this installment.
We have a sea day tomorrow (Friday), then four consecutive port days in Peru, so the next posting will probably not come until after that (assuming, as always, that the internet permits).