Rio Grande do Sol

We had a very relaxing stop in this relatively prosperous yet modest city. The port is medium sized dotted with cement plants and an oil refinery. But the air is clean and humidity lower here. There are some large farms inland and a lot of gauchos (gowchos) cowboys. However we saw no evidence of this.

We were greeted by local dancers and then bussed in to the town centre. A labour demonstration was underway in the central park. But there were very few police in sight. Everything was respectful, passing cars honked their horns in support of the workers.

We found a pedestrian only street full of shops. A nice church and a gothic like cathedral. Dave found a nice Our Lady of Aparecida icon for a bargain. She, a black madonna, is the patron saint of Brazil.

We found a Hotel de Paris with free weefee and caught up our emails. We had our lunch on a nice shady bench. Marie continued browsing the shops while Dave strolled through a large park with some monkeys in cages and large eucalyptus trees.

People here are less coloured than up north. There was apparently a lot of German settlers. No one payed any attention to us tourists. People seemed very calm and happy. We bought some local wine and then headed back to the ship after a relaxing time.

This cruise is much more relaxed. We are no longer doing excursions other than getting off and walking around. The average age must be closer to 50 instead of 70. A lot fewer Americans, and more South Americans (Argentinians I think). Even the staff seem more relaxed as there are fewer on board than the previous cruise.

We have become quite close to Ravi, a waiter supervisor (main dining room and tea time) from India. He tips us off about the best foods and teas to choose. Very helpful, professional and friendly.

Looking forward to Uruguay but apparently there will be a 2 hour time change back tonight. Weather is superb, sun, sun, sun.

Marie says this is the best trip ever.

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