Day 110

Today we arrived in Brazil and took the Best of Santos excursion. This began with a tour of downtown Santos and a visit to the Coffee Museum, a tribute to the crop that made the southern portion of Brazil the wealthiest area of the country.

This grand building was constructed over a hundred years ago as the seat of coffee trading, with large growers and buyers determining the current prices of the beans, sort of a Wall Street south. Brazil grows Arabica coffee in several varieties. The beans used to be graded, weighed, and processed here as well. The museum contained old machinery, coffee pots, graders, scales, and other necessary items used to prepare the beans for sale. We had almost an hour to explore.

Next, we went to the Santos Football Club and Museum. This stadium holds only about 18,000 fans and is now only used for local and state games. Big soccer championships need to be held in 70,000+ stadiums. The famous soccer star, Pele, played for many years throughout the 60’s here, and scored over 1000 goals. We got to see the field and many trophies won by the club. There was also lots of information on many players, like our halls of fame. This was pretty fascinating. I thought our soccer-playing grandkids would really enjoy this.

Our final stop was the Botanical gardens and Orchidarium. Our guide led us through the gardens for awhile, pointing out coffee trees, cocoa trees, and other native species. This garden also had animals, such as turtles, macaws and monkeys. There were also free-range peacocks and agoutis walking around. We had about a half hour to roam independently. Since it was Saturday, many local families were here as well. Orchids were in a greenhouse on display. I enjoyed this very much.

After lunch back on the ship, we joined in a shuffleboard game on deck. It was sunny and about 85 degrees, so we only played for a short time. We did well in mensa, but fell short again in trivia.

We were able to redeem most of our Regent points today. We chose a few more t-shirts, golf balls, tote bag, and umbrella. We will need a separate suitcase for all our Regent prizes.

Sette Mare had swordfish on the menu tonight, so we ate there. It was very tasty. We actually walked away from dessert this time.

Stargazing was scheduled, but the cloud cover blocked out any stars. We could, however, see a bright, full moon. Sergei and Vlad began explaining about the sextant and other navigational tools again, so we quietly left, since we heard it all last time.

Reuel performed his second piano concert at 9:30. He did a great job playing I Dreamed a Dream, Lara’s Theme, Pirates of the Caribbean, some Tchaikovsky and other songs I can’t remember now. He will be leaving in Rio.

Tomorrow we will be in Rio de Janiero and will overnight there. About 200 people will disembark and 300 will get on. The ship will be full for the final segment to Los Angeles.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac