Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A very intense week

On March the 28, I had left Papy Jovial to fly to Miami and spend one day with David and Miriam. This gave me an opportunity to update myself on electronics and go to Chile, still able to communicate from there.
On the 30th early Morning, I flew from Miami to Santiago via Panama where I arrived shortly after 8 p.m.
That's when it started. As soon as I arrived in the hotel, I got ready to go to a party organized by the Brothers of the Coast of the Santiago group (we call that a table) to celebrate their 60th anniversary. There was plenty of food, plenty of drinks and plenty of friendship and it went on late into the night.
Next day, there was nothing going on until the afternoon, so I went for a walk and lunch in town, but not too far from the hotel as I did not want to get lost. The official start of the 60th anniversary of the creation of the brotherhood took place at the Hyatt hotel where we all registered and then had a wonderful dinner, all of us dressed in the formal "uniform" of the brotherhood, consisting of blazer and tricorne. Again, the event went on well into the night before we were taken back to the hotel.
After a very short night, it was time to board a bus to go and visit a winery more than 3 hours south of Santiago. There was a choice between the english speaking bus and the spanish speaking bus, and I chose the latter, first because it was the one going to my hotel, also because I want to try and improve my ability to communicate in Spanish.
Wonderful day. The winery was very interesting, being a small winery compared with the "Concha y Toro" giant. Obviously, the visit had to include a "tasting" session, but I did my best to minimize the "tasting" to be able to get back to the hotel still standing !
We got back very late and after a very quick dinner of one serving of french onion soup, time to crash.
Next day was the big day. First, we were taken by bus to Valparaiso. First, we went to visit the house of the chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Then we went on to visit the Naval Museum after a brief ceremony in the yard of the museum in presence of authorities from the Chilean Navy. In the museum, a room had been dedicated to the Hermandad de la Costa and it was inaugurated by the Admiral who had been attending the visit. That visit helped me understand a little better why the history of the seafarers of the 17th and 18th century, particularly in the Caribbean, are viewed quite differently depending on what culture you come from. I am not sure that I would myself have put on the same level sir Francis Drake and sir Henry Morgan next to Captain Kidd and Mary Read or Ann Bonney. All depends whether you are used to being a target as opposed to being the agressor, legally or not.
From the museum we were taken to a very nice restaurant with a view over the harbour of Valparaiso for more food and more drinks, and more fun, and more camaraderie.
After that extended visit to Valparaiso and the return trip to Santiago, we neede a little time to get ready for the main event, wich was a gala dinner. The dress code for that event was Combat. For those who don't know, it means dressing the way movie makers, marketers and others unscrupulous historians want us to see the corsaires, privateers and pirates of the 18th century are portrayed. Actually, those people would dress any way they like using whatever clothes was available to them from the loot.
The net result is that those events in the "Hermandad de la Costa" which call for that dress code are always very colourful and are a lot of fun.
Again, that event went well into the night, the dinner being followed by music and dancing. The good news was that the next day, final day of the event, was not to start before 9:30 in the morning when the buses were supposed to pick us up at the hotel. The programme for the day was first a visit of downtown Santiago and then a dancing luncheon at a typical restaurant with a show of Chilean dances. The dancing then involved everybody and went on until 5 p.m.
That did not leave much time for me to pack and nap before leaving for the airport at 10:30 p.m. for a flight that did not take off before 3 in the morning. But I was told that you had to be at the airport at least 3 hours before the flight. Except that many people were confused being the standard time and the daylight saving time. I finally landed in Freeport around 5 p.m. and Ezio was there to pick me up.
I think I will need a couple of days to recover before resuming normal activities.

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