Gary and Candy Spaid love to House Sit
Wanderlust Home & Pet Care

Nov 8 It was a beautiful day to begin our 24 day cruise down to Brazil. It was our first time cruising with Crystal.  Check-in went well.

Nov 12 St. Barts Port of Call -

The island is “rich” for a Caribbean island. We walked to the cross that overlooks the city and had a great view (see photo above). Then we walked around to the opposite side of the port to visit the castle. No Way Jose. It is now the police station.

Nov 13 Terre Haute Guadeloupe Port of Call -

It was a stormy day and a long tender ride so we choose to enjoy the ship. We were just there.

Nov 14 St Vincent & the Grenadines Port of Call

Yeah, no tender! We walked up the hill as you can see from the photo above. We met a very nice tourist policeman along the way. This island is much poorer than St Barts but the people seem to be happy.

Nov 16 Devil’s Island French Guiana Port of Call -

Many years ago I watched the movie Papillon with Dustin Hoffman. It really made an impression on me. Devil’s Island is the same prison island that made that movie famous. I have decided that people were much tougher than they are today.

Nov 19 Santarem Brazil Port of Call -

I put the two maps above to show how far up the Amazon we cruised.

Our tour was with Gil Serique, (not with Crystal Cruises), in the city of Santarem. They made a concerted effort to find animals. At one point a man climbed a tree and cut down the branch which held a 3 toed sloth and brought it on board the boat. We learned about the fruits and nuts (cashews and brazil nuts), in the forest. The brazil nuts come in a large coconut like container. This container can last for years and keeps the many brazil nuts inside fresh. We even got to fish in the Amazon for piranha. I only caught a sardine with my coca cola hand line.

Nov 29 Puerto Rico Port of Call.

It has probably been 20+ years since we have been to PR. We were able to walk into town from the cruise ship. We then found our way to El Morro a 475 year old fort built by the Spanish. It was even manned during WWII but never fired a shot.

Thoughts about Crystal Serenity:

Max passenger size is around 800, tips and adult beverages were included in the price. Many times, they remembered our names and what we were drinking, entertainment was still from my father’s era. I think for comparison purposes, I will have to add tips and beverages to see if Crystal is worth the money.

Nov 21 Manaus Port of Call.

The town was more modern than I expected with many highrises just out of town. Our guide, from Tours By Locals, took us around to the 3 markets. You can see in the photo above, he was showing us the teeth of a piranha fish. We also saw a Rubber Baron’s Mansion which is now a museum and the last stop was the Opera House.

Nov 22 Today’s tour was a trek into the jungle. The above guide and his helper is showing how to set a trap. One must eat to survive! We learned about the poison the locals use on their arrows; he ants that if they bite will create unbelievable pain; how to build a shelter; where to get water; and how to build a fire. Knowledge which I hope to never have to use!

Nov 23 Boca de Valeria Port of Call. As you can see I have a Toucan on my arm. $1.00 per picture! These villagers come from a branch of the Amazon to earn money. I had 3 young ladies grab my hands and followed me as I checked out the villagers. Only one of of the 3 spoke a little English therefore I was unable to find out about them and their lifestyle.

Nov 27 Scarborough Tobago Port of Call. We were trying to find the Botanical Gardens when we came across this mural. I love it because it is so full of life. The garden was close by and took all of 20 minutes to visit. It was decorated I think for Christmas. Lights were hanging in many of the trees. This is our 90th Country we have visited. Wonder what country will be #100??

Nov 20  Port of Call Parintins. As we got off the ship, we are greeted by local students practicing their English. Delightful experience. We then walked the town to a lovely park overlooking the Amazon River. The gentleman on the right was calling us over. He wanted us to know about the hoodlums that were probably getting ready to mug us. We were already aware of the situation but I really appreciated the old man looking out for tourist.