Up at 6.00 am for breakfast. Bags out at 6.30 am. Tess and Baptiste came in at about 8.00 am and we had photos taken with them and gave them their gifts.
It was very, very sad saying goodbye to Baptiste. We had a bit of a cry. He came down to deck 3 with us and said goodbye to the others in our group who had enjoyed his "butlering" and then he carried our bags out to the bus for us. The Captain, Sarah and Jessica were standing on the gangway and kissed us goodbye. The Captain gave me a big cuddle and I told him how wonderful Baptiste was to us. We will also be writing to Ponant to tell them how good he is.
The shuttle bus drove us to the departure terminal where we had to identify our check in luggage and then put the carry on stuff through the xray machine. I was pulled up and had to open up my carry on. The offending item was a bag of things I have been carrying to give to the children in the village that we visit in Peru. There were a couple of packets of hard, bouncing balls in there and they must have looked a bit suspect in the xray. All good, boarded the bus and we then proceeded on a tour of Valpariso.
We drove up into the hills to see all the houses that seem to be clinging to the hillside. Apparently, the residents aren't worried about earthquakes, but more about heavy rain and the landslides that it causes. The houses don't seem to have very good foundations.
They have some pretty good graffiti.
Before we left Valpariso, we stopped at an original Easter Island statue. Wow! I would love to visit Easter Island and it was great to see this statue.
This poor guy was trying to sell some beads and bangles but no one was interested so Phil thought he would help him. He did get a few sales!
Then off we went for the two hour bus ride to Santaigo, with Fangio the bus driver. We went over mountains, through tunnels, through valleys, over mountains again, more tunnels and finally we arrived at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Santiago. I had my seat belt on because he was a lead foot driver. We were passing everything on the highway! The Grand Hyatt, Santiago.
Before we checked into the hotel, we were dropped off at a huge mall, within walking distance of the hotel, for lunch. It had a really nice atmosphere. There was music playing, it was warm, so we chose a restaurant outside and had a plate of Empanadas for lunch. Each table at the restaurant had a clip dangling under the table to hang your bag from. I thought it was to stop bag snatching, but one of our group said that in South America, putting your bag on the ground is frowned upon.
After lunch we hopped back on the bus and drove around the corner to our hotel, the Grand Hyatt. For those of you who have seen the Hyatt in Shanghai you will know what I mean when I describe this one. It is round and hollow like a bee hive and the rooms are all around the edge, with a fabulous sky light on the top. It is really a very stunning design.
Our room is 1905 which is on the top floor. Our room is called "Chopin" and has a double door. Well, when we opened it, we were just blown away. The room, or should I say rooms, are huge. We have two toilets, an office with a desk, a kitchen, a dining room with a chandelier and a table with eight chairs, a lounge room, two TVs, a huge bedroom, a spa bath, a shower and a bathroom and a dressing room AND A STATUE! It is just ridiculous. Rikus came to the door (it takes ages to get to the door from the bedroom) and I complained that our room was too small!! He just laughed. I have never seen a room like this ever in my life.
Phil then proceeded to phone the Samsung Service Centre in Santiago to see if they could repair his Tablet. Just as the phone rang, Sebastian from the hotel came to the door and as he could speak English and Spanish, he spoke to the Samsung guy and got the address of the Service Centre. Phil went in a taxi to try to get his Tablet repaired. For the last three weeks, he can't turn it off and it just won't work.
Meanwhile, I waited for Security to come to the room because the safe is unable to be locked. Everything happens in "South American time" which is not very prompt. Finally the Security lady came and she couldn't reset the safe and phoned for an engineer to come. I raced down to the lounge on the sixteenth floor to tell Rikus that we wouldn't be meeting him and Jan and Greg Allen for a drink because Phil was at Samsung and I was waiting for the engineer to come and fix the safe.
Phil got back from Samsung - no luck there so he joined the Allens and Rikus while I still waited for the engineer. He finally came and had a lot of trouble fixing the safe but after taking the entire back off the door, he got it working.
I joined them all for drinks and when Rikus and the Allens left, Steve an American, started talking to us about Antarctica as he had overheard us talking about it. He and his partner Steve, travel a lot and spend a lot of money staying in the best rooms at hotels and take the best cabins on cruise ships. They are joining a Celebrity Cruise Ship in Valpariso on Monday, to sail to Miami. Don and Kate from our group are doing that too.
They were really nice guys and very interesting to talk to so we stayed there until about 9pm. We came back to our room and ate our chocolates. Missed dinner altogether but that didn't matter, because we are just over-eating so much.
Had a spa bath and hopped into bed. Lovely bed and pillows.
The view of sunset from our room. We are in here for five days!