The "Bollywood to South Beach" Voyage, part 27
Text by Snookums, Pictures by Filbert
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December 1 (Tuesday, Day 34, Cruising the South Atlantic Ocean) -
We woke up (Snookums had been up since 5:15 AM) and our morning timing allowed us to enjoy breakfast together at La Veranda. Filbert has been on a huge hot tea kick and drinks 2 or 3 pots at breakfast. Most recently he’s been enjoying orange pekoe, but he sometimes has black currant, Irish breakfast or English breakfast.
More after the jump . . .
While we were eating we saw 4 volcanic islands (Martim Vaz Islands) in the distance and as we got closer the captain came on the intercom and said that they belong to Brazil but since they weren’t fully charted, we weren’t going to get any closer than 8 miles. An hour later we passed a much larger island, Trindade, which was 12 miles away from our ship and houses 32 members of the Brazilian navy.
|Martim Vaz Islands|
|The Country Fair|
|Splat the Chef|
December 2 (Wednesday, Day 35, Cruising the South Atlantic Ocean)
Snookums woke up and worked out and so did Filbert. However, we didn’t have breakfast together since our timing wasn’t quite the same. Snookums did laundry since we’ll be busy with Rio de Janeiro tours for the next 3 days. Filbert went to the lecture about uncharted lands in South America and then Filbert and Snookums went to the lecture about what diplomats really do. Snookums was discouraged to not learn anything and Filbert reminded her that Ambassador Samuel Hart is a diplomat and therefore doesn’t say anything. The speaker did say that a lot of foreign service jobs are held by contractors and he doesn’t agree with that. He also doesn’t think that ambassadors should be political appointees. Filbert thinks that most ambassadors shouldn’t be speakers on cruise ships . . .
After lunch we went to the food lecture on foreign food markets by Paulette Mitchell and saw her slide show of the various markets she has been to around the world. We had been to a lot of them (Bangkok, Apia, and Saigon just to name a few) and were surprised she didn’t have a slide of Tokyo and the Japanese department store basement food halls. We guess she hasn’t been to Japan.
It wouldn’t be a cruise without a helicopter medical evacuation. Sure enough, around 3:00 PM the captain made an announcement saying that we diverted course a little bit (by turning due west) in order to get closer to Brazil for a medical helicopter evacuation. We will still dock in Rio tomorrow as scheduled, though. Snookums heard that a woman was having kidney problems.
Snookums and 4 other guests went on the 45-minute galley tour led by Executive Chef, Georg Hessler. Everything is made fresh on Regent ships – salad dressings, breads, desserts, ice creams, etc. One of the cooks was severely burned when a wind gust came from nowhere right before we got to Cape Town when he was working at the Pool Grill. His hand and arm are really bad (and it’s too early to tell if he’ll fully recover) and so they are a man short and that challenges the kitchen staff. We were also told that the Brazilian inspection team comes up with different rules every time a ship is in port in order to make a little money on the side (via bribes). Some of the kitchen staff was taking produce out of the cardboard cartons it came in and was putting it in big Rubbermaid totes with locking lids. Produce doesn’t store well in closed containers, but that’s beside the point. The Brazilian inspectors insist on it that way so the ship has to conform. The provisioning manager frequently purchases local products like fish and vegetables. Snookums jokingly asked if anything was purchased in St. Helena (since everything has to be shipped in) and was told that olive oil was purchased at $8 per liter since the ship was running a little short for dressings. Now the executive chef wished he would have purchased more since Rio de Janeiro is charging $22 per liter of olive oil! The executive chef also told us that sometimes the product that is ordered doesn’t come in. He said that he ordered baby spinach in Cape Town and got Swiss chard. He decided to call his Swiss chard creation “African spinach with peanuts”. Snookums remembered having that vegetable and commenting to Filbert that it wasn’t spinach at all but was some kind of chard or green. The chef shouldn’t try to fool the passengers!
The galley tour:
Tonight was formal night (the captain’s farewell for the guests getting off in Rio) so we decided to actually get dressed up and go. Filbert didn’t want to wear his Indian outfit so he wore his navy blue pants and his pinstripe suit jacket and looked dashing. (Remember that somehow his suit pants managed to stay home rather than get in the suitcase!). For dinner Snookums ordered the Iced Fruit Cup with Lychees and Citrus Segments, Butter Lettuce and the Broiled Fillet of Tilapia with White Truffle Sauce. Filbert’s dinner consisted of Brazilian Fish Soup, Butter Lettuce with Crabmeat, Tagliatelle Pasta a la Mediterranean Tossed with Lobster and Seafood Mermaid with Sauce Newburgh (scallops, shrimp, mussels and lobster tail on truffle pilaf rice). Neither of us had the intermezzo of Refreshing Aquavit Sorbet with Almonds to cleanse our palates prior to eating our entrees. Snookums’s desserts were the Caramelized Lemon Tart with Summer Berries and an order of Orange Ricotta Ice Cream since she thought it sounded unusual (and it was kind of different, in a good way). Filbert’s dessert was Low Carb Flourless Chocolate Cake and Sugar Free Cappuccino Chip Ice Cream. We were both very happy with our choices, although we thought that the butter lettuce was kind of bitter.
|Dec. 2 sunset, through the sea-sprayed veranda glass door|