Episode 155 – Sailing Past Nicaragua

January 3, 2022. 82°F/28°C

#myvikingstory

Our planned stop in Nicaragua (between Costa Rica yesterday and our arrival in Los Cabos Mexico on January 7th) was cancelled just after we left Florida, and not reinstated. On November 15th 2021, Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega was re-elected. On December 18th there was a 3.1 magnitude earthquake. Covid’s resurgence is not the only thing on Nicaraguans’ minds.

Instead of disembarking to visit the beautiful old city of León, and the UNESCO world heritage designated colonial-baroque Metropolitan Cathedral (also called the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption of León) we’re spending the day at sea, bypassing the northwest Nicaraguan deep water port city of Corinto which was named after the ancient Greek city of Corinth.

This means 4 sea days in a row – never my stomach’s favourite prospect, but as long as the ocean and I both stay “calm” there’s lots of onboard enrichment, an opportunity to do a bit of laundry, nightly entertainment, books to read, and of course always food! There were repairs done to our ship’s satellite antenna while we were in Puntarenas, so checking in with friends will also be easier during this stretch, and I took advantage of a (too) short FaceTime chat with my BFF in Hudson, Quebec. Note for my other BFF and faithful reader: you’re next!

As we sailed, Ted got some great shots of Nazca Boobies from the vantage point of our Deck 3 balcony. We were unsure as to whether they were Masked Booobies or Nazca, but Wikipedia suggested “In the eastern Pacific off the coast of Colombia and Ecuador, the masked booby is replaced by the Nazca booby”, so there.

Blue Pacific waters, and clear blue skies!

Today at 11:00 in the theatre was the first of Executive Chef Pascal Mullier’s live cooking demonstrations, assisted by pastry sous-chef Ernesto. Chef Pascal’s goal was to “keep it simple” for all of us, so he demonstrated Boeuf à la Bourguignonne while Ernesto created a classic tiramisu. Simple? I guess it’s all in the perspective. “If this sous-chef can do it, YOU can do it”, says Chef Pascal.

There are always lots of great hints when learning from a real chef. “No veal stock? More wine!” As always a big part of the show is the dynamic between the 2 chefs on stage: no Chef Ramsay style yelling, just good natured camaraderie and teasing. (“You think people at home have THAT?”, as the pastry chef pulled out his laser thermometer to check the temperature of his sugar syrup.)

The stage is set up with 2 induction stovetops, all the beautifully prepped ingredients, a stand mixer, and a rear table that doubles as used utensil storage and imaginary invisible refrigerator and oven that created much hilarity in their use. “Put it in the oven! The OVEN! Use a towel! It’s hot!” Plus there’s a huge overhead screen where key parts of the process are projected.

Top: the stage set-up. Centre L: the finished Boeuf à la Bourguignonne dish, ready to be enjoyed with rice, linguine or (my favourite) a crusty baguette. Centre R: Sous Chef Ernesto’s tiramisu – BEFORE Chef Pascal decided it needed to be topped “generously” with chocolate. Bottom: the large projection screen that allowed us to watch the chefs more closely.

Sadly, our noon update from Captain Lars confirmed 18 COVID19 cases in isolation: 13 passengers and 5 crew. Apparently even in the middle of the beautiful blue Pacific we can’t totally escape this pandemic.

In the afternoon, Ted and I joined another couple – Stella and Gary from England – for afternoon high tea. It’s so lovely to begin getting to socialize, even if we sit well-spaced apart.

Sunset was around 5:30. With the wind in my hair, and the sun at my back, It was impossible not to enjoy the cool ocean breeze.

After an uncharacteristically slow dinner service in the main restaurant, we left before dessert in order to catch our cruise director, Aaron Syfert, performing his vocal cabaret “Walk The Line”, singing Michael Bublé, Andrea Bocelli, Frank Sinatra, and Johnny Cash hits, accompanied by the Viking Band.

Texas native Aaron may have had way too much fun with his country medley, including George Strait’s “All My Exes Live In Texas”, even doing a quick two-step across the stage, but my absolute favourite number of the show was when he showcased his gorgeous baritone voice on “Ol’ Man River” from Showboat.

Another good day. Now if only Covid would wear itself out.

7 comments

  1. Hope the seas are cooperating with your tummy now, Rose! We’re trying to be hermits here in MO until we join you in LA. Thanks for sharing your positive attitude and lovely experiences.

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  2. You are absolutely right about the Nazca Booby. It also has an orangey coloured beak, whereas the Masked Booby has a yellowy beak.
    Great photographs by the way!

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  3. Oh, what a fun day! Your description of the cooking demo was excellent and I will forever remember the « out of veal » comment. The next time I invite the girls over for a 4PM « veal-social », I shall simply say that I ran out of veal – I am quite sure wine will do!!!!

    Bublé is my fav’; I would have enjoyed the evening performance as well.

    After two weeks, it’s inconceivable to me that COVID is still active on board. You and Ted seem to be doing well, though. Wishing for calm seas. XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

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