Our Hotel in the Upscale 16th Arr
With Mona Lisa
Jazz Club Etoile, Inside
Grilled Chicken at Babylone
Deluxe Room at Regencia
Bonjour mes amis! or should I be saying “Hola amigos” since in a few days our group will be on our way to Medellín, Cali, Cartagena and Palenque in South America but duty calls. Most of you know how seriously I take my hotel contracts as I strive to give you the absolute best travel experience. I’ve had a last minute cancellation for the Stroll Through Black Paris May 7-14, 2020. It’s a share with a lovely, well traveled lady, that if not filled will seriously impact what I have going on.
You can enjoy the following: 7 nights lovely accommodations in an upscale arrondisement, daily breakfast, 3 dinners: West African, French West Indian, and Classic French, a day with Ricki Stevenson’s Black Paris Tours by private bus, Paris by night in a limo, airport/hotel transfers, the Louvre Museum, a shopping excursion, an afternoon with author, Jake LaMar – sharing tales of his life as a black man living in Paris some plus 25 years. In addition, you will have 3 full days to explore and do your own thing; travel to Amsterdam or the Champagne region.
Price slashed to $2,000 plus your plane ticket – use your miles or buddy pass.
Let me hear from you sooner than later.
Our 14 night Antarctica cruise is nearly reaching its end, It’s been an amazingly educational and relaxing experience. Seeing the icebergs and mounds of ice was an unbelievable sight even as the results of global warming was seen and felt. It was warmer there in certain parts than it was in some of our home towns at this time of year. The activities, entertainment and dining options have been top notch. The Jamaican Executive Chef, friend of another Executive Chef friend of mine on another Celebrity ship; even blessed my table mates with some succulent ox tails, rice & peas and plantains one evening. We celebrated the birthday of Janis Kyle of DC, the anniversary of Phil & Katrina Peoples of Southern California and the 50th wedding anniversary of Howard & Irene Gillis of Baltimore. A grand time was had by all.
As we headed back to Buenos Aires, we stopped in a place that I’ve been curious about since I was in elementary school. As a matter of fact, it was one of the longest words I learned to pronounce in geography; Montevideo (mont tay vi dayo). It has the flavor of the beaches of Rio and the broad promenades of the French Riviera.
After having spent several occasions in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the past and never seeing a person of color; it was surprising to learn of the African presence in Montevideo, Uruguay There is actually a thriving community, “Mundo Afro”. Angela Davis and Danny Glover have been involved in various projects here in the past. Currently, Montevideo is well into their Carnival with nightly celebrations exhibiting drumming, and their Afro rhythmic dance, “candombe” ( can dome bay) not to be confused with the “candomble’ “ religion of Brazil. I’ve learned the country of Uruguay is ranked first in democracy, peace, low perception of corruption and it is first in South America when it comes to press freedom, size of the middle class and prosperity, It’s the safest country to visit in South America, It stands out in Latin America for its high per capita income, low level of inequality and poverty. In 2009 they became the first country in the world to provide a lap top for every primary school student. In 2013 Uruguay became the first country in the world to fully legalize marijuana.
Would I return? Absolutely! As a matter of fact, I cannot wait to return to Montevideo.
End of the World Train
Rounding Cape Horn
Phil, Elegant Chic Night
Katrina, Elegant Chic Night
Lump Crab Cocktail in Blu
Going Through Schollart Channel
Wild Horses at End of the World
We sailed 4 days before reaching Ushuaia, Argentina. Since I missed it last year I was so looking forward to the End of the World Train ride here. Ushuaia is known as the southernmost city in the world. We were all prepared for the cold weather with jackets, hats and scarves. Oh were we surprised. It turned out to be a very warm and sunny day as we boarded the train that took us through the forest of Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Our guide gave us the history. We learned about the tribes of indigenous people living there hundreds of years ago and with the arrival of European settlers as usual, they brought sickness and disease. Between 1850 and 1910 the 6500 indigenous people had been reduced by 90%. We were told about the prison system of which there is now a museum. The prisoners looked forward to spending time outdoors. It was interesting to know that any small infraction meant their punishment would mean not being allowed to go outside. No matter how cold it was, they didn’t care because it gave them a sense of freedom. After arrival in the park we saw the lovely La Macarena Waterfall and as we left Tierra del Fuego, we the most beautiful herd of wild horses running free in their own habitat.
Back on the ship with more days to enjoy what the Eclipse has to offer. One of my gifts to the group was a private wine tasting in the Master Cellars with the head Sommelier. They all seemed to enjoy the tasting while I sipped on my Seagrams tonic water.
Being the foodie that I am; I must keep it real with you. The Main Dining room fare has left a lot to be desired. I was the guest of Phil and Katrina in their exclusive Luminae restaurant. The cuisine and service there was over the top and when I felt like it I headed to BLU, the private dining room for those on my deck.
Ushuaia is 750 miles from Antarctica and we were now getting closer as we rounded Cape Horn, Chile which marks the northern boundary of where the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans meet. Going through the Schollart Channel was amazing. Seeing floating icebergs and ice covered islands was truly a sight to see. The captain could not stop mentioning the favor we had with such beautiful weather for perfect viewing considering the last 2 cruises were quite foggy and rainy through the channel. From here we sail towards the chilly waters of Paradise Bay, an inlet carved out of Antarctica’s mainland.
I may be in Antarctica but my mental is on what I do…arranging tours. Our 8 day Morocco May 2021 will be most exciting presenting: Tangier, a train ride, 1 of 2 lunches in Chefchaouen, 6 amazing dinners, Casablanca, ending in Marrakech and tours galore. Those not already on this long “interested” list will surely miss this adventure but not to worry, if you haven’t experienced our Dubai/Abu Dhabi tour; you will have another shot – February 2021. Paperwork for both will be available in a couple weeks.
In closing, a heartfelt thank you to those that helped Donte reach his goal in the short time we had. He is most thankful and appreciative.
Until next time…
On my balcony
Katrina in the window of her Sky Suite
Phil and Katrina’s Sky Suite
Delta Soror Karen Wheel Carter with Delta Dears Dorothy Morrow and Helen Adams
Dinner at Le Petit Chef
Images Projected on our table
Le Petit Chef Dessert
Lobster Projected on table setting
Why would anyone want to visit Antarctica? It’s the coldest, windiest, and driest place on earth. There are no shops, piers, beaches or tourist venues at the Antarctic ports of call. The crossing from South America, Africa, or Australia can be a rough one. It’s a mysterious continent, people often misunderstand or don’t know much about. Despite the negatives, it’s on many traveler’s lists of “must see’ destinations, For most of us in the group it will be our 7th Continent.
We flew to Buenos Aires, South America where we spent one or two nights before boarding the ship, the CELEBRITY ECLIPSE. It’s been 4 days now since I last saw land but that doesn’t bother me one bit. This being my 90th cruise (including 4 on the Nile river), it’s all about the rest, relaxation and pampering I get when cruising. It is my plan to spend as much time in the Persian Garden and the Solarium as possible and to dine in the exclusive BLU RESTAURANT only for those in Aqua class desiring healthy fare.
This is another KATTRAX. reunion, with 20 in the group, only 3 are new travelers. I’m so happy to see our 2 DELTA DEARS, Dorothy Morrow and Helen Adams of North Carolina who will be turning 88 this years. Wow! Such a blessing. Shout out to Silk Screen Savages of Oakland who did the dang thang on our tee shirts. They truly make my vision come alive. People literally want to buy the shirts off our back.
Last night I joined Phil and Katrina on one of the most unique dining events in the world. It’s a 3D dining experience projected onto each expertly placed table setting. Those dining watch as he creates each course of their meal. When he’s finished the waiters bring out the real thing for the passengers to enjoy. Our delectable menu consisted of: Bouillabaisse, Lobster, Filet Mignon followed by an ice cream sundae.