This call replaced the ‘deemed unsafe’ Acapulco stop. Deemed unsafe? Here I am watching BBC UK television reports of the troubles in the UK and more to the point, a piece on St Ann’s in Nottingham. Just ten days ago, that is exactly where we were, as my son lives in a small street off St Ann’s Well Rd. Thirty-three years ago I was the Work Study Engineer in an efficient, medium sized clothing factory in the area, but when the major chain stores (led by Marks & Spencer), opted to turn their backs on local manufacturing, hundreds of jobs were lost in places like St Ann’s and nothing has ever replaced them. Small wonder that the youngsters who are not blessed with the ability to be IT geeks, can no longer get jobs in manufacturing, or jobs to suit their abilities. Arriving in Central America, I noted yesterday that even the smallest of houses needs bars on the windows and it is not a pretty sight.
This is a tender port and we were off on the first boat. Brian had arranged the day’s tour but our collective faces dropped when we saw that our transport for the day was a Toyota Coaster. With our group of 19 having several six footers (and well built ones in some cases), sitting for hours in a ‘van/coach’ built by the Japanese for the Japanese, was not an endearing prospect. “Numb bum” syndrome was definitely on the cards.
There was a fair sized band to welcome us. Our tour guide Evelyn, had her own story to tell, as her parents fled to the USA when she was young, as Central America is full of tales of corrupt and/or power crazy regimes. However, she fell foul off the authorities in the USA when she moved from California to Texas without informing them and was subsequently deported, leaving behind two small children who are now with their grandparents. Maybe there is a lot more to the story, but sad anyway.
We had a fairly long drive to our first stop, where we could stretch our legs and browse the stalls. It is not unusual here to be accosted by small boys trying to sell small items made by themselves out of a local grass. If I remember, there should be a picture of a locust. We can’t bring these things back into NZ anyway, but several on the coach shelled out 1 dollar, knowing that these kids are doing their bit for the family income instead of being at school. You won’t see teenagers here with Nike trainers, clutching Blackberries and claiming poverty. They are poor.
We carried on then to Granada for lunch. This was a bit disorganised and sitting on shapeless wooden chairs didn’t exactly help the numb bums. I managed to ice my shoulder as we always take a hand towel from the ship and either dampen it with water or in this case, use ice from the chilly bin containing the water and the beer.
The band on the wharf seemed to have shrunk on our return. The tender ride was hot and sticky and we had already queued outside a tent on the wharf, as most people don’t seem to care about those outside in the baking sun, as long as they are in the shade! This often seems to happen so you get a tent three quarters empty and a sweaty mob outside. Organised Disney queuing this is not...
Back on board, a quick call to the gym for some shoulder exercises (that probably make things worse!) before a cooling dip in one of the main deck pools (our quiet pool was too busy) then a meal out on deck before a return to the Vista lounge for the Wayne Hoffman show. A ‘mentalist’ and illusionist. Very clever and we still can’t work out how he does his tricks.
Clocks FORWARDS one hour for a change and two days at sea to look forwards to, though I am falling behind with the blogs - again... Sorry.