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Vacation Day 2
Saturday, January 24th
Arrival in Chile and Departure on the Cruise

The flight was uneventful with dinner and breakfast served. Because of the delay at JFK the plane was about an hour late in arriving. Once there the $132 (US) reciprocity (as Holland America calls it) fee has to be paid even before you get to passport control. They make sure they get your money the second you set foot in the country whether or not they even let you in.

Passport control was the typical mile (sorry kilometre) long line. Many of the international flights seem to arrive at the same time so there are hundreds of people. At least they have two areas so not everyone is in the same line. Their customs form asked for your first surname and your second surname which confused many of the non Chileans on the flight. I asked and apparently in Chile many people have two surnames. Apparently it is a cultural thing. All was well and they let me in. So far so good, but it was not to last.....

I got to the baggage area, and after a long wait, no baggage. Neither did any of the other people from Toronto. This was not exactly a surprise to the group of us who were pulled of the plane in Toronto. After all, it seemed rather unlikely that American was going to go through every piece of luggage on the plane (full, with about 150 people on it) just to find ours. Since there were 17 people involved, all going on a long (at least 21 day) trip, there were likely 25 or 30 pieces involved.

Things got confusing as to who should deal with it, but ultimately LAN took up the challenge since we had flown all the way with them (even though we had been checked onto their flight with no baggage). Forms were filled out, and one claim was created to cover all the people from Toronto. American's people there somehow came to the conclusion that the bags would be on their flight to Santiago from Miami that arrived at 1:00 PM. Arrangements were made with Holland America's ground staff at the airport to get these and then we were transferred to the ship.

The transfer to Valparaiso took 90 minutes. The weather was warm and humid. I managed to get a few pictures along the way. These were taken through the bus windows with the small camera. The are not too bad considering. Here are a few of these. I am creating this in chronological order so we will continue with the luggage saga shortly.

Santiago Airport
The one and only picture I was able to get of Santiago Airport.
Fruit trees, could be oranges or lemons.
Car Vendors
Vinyards 1
Remember the craze for selling stuff at stoplights through car
windows? This is where it began. Here it is cookies individually
packaged in groups of 3, amongst other things.
Some of Chile's famous vineyards.
Vinyards 2
Eucolyptus Trees
More of the vineyards.
Most of the Chilean forests are of various species of evergreen
trees. The bluish coloured ones here are eucalyptus similar to the
type in Australia.


The arrival and check in at the ship was uneventful. The cruise ship terminal is a long way from the ship so after completing all the formalities, including an airline like carry on bag check, you are bussed to the ship. Once there the staterooms were not ready yet but were very shortly. I was on board the ship by 1:20PM. There was nothing much more that could be done about the baggage problem until we found out if the bags made it to the ship before it departed at 5:00. In the mean time, here are some pictures of Valparaiso taken from the ship.

Valparaiso 1
Valparaiso 2
The dock, with one of the luggage trucks unloading.
Looking from one of the upper desks of the ship towards downtown
Valpariso 3
Valpariso 4
There was another cruise ship there for a stop. These passengers were getting boat tours of the harbour.
One of the tour boats, on its way out.

Valpariso after sailing

Downtown Valparaiso after the ship sailed.

The last baggage truck arrived at the ship 15 minutes before the ship sailed at 5:00. It took several hours after sailing for the ship to be sure that most had not arrived. Four or five of the bags involved were there but the greatest majority were not. There was nothing much more that could be done until the next day when all the paperwork would need to be filled out.

It is a strange feeling going to bed knowing that when you get up the next morning you do not have anything other than what you have on to wear the next day or for how long. This saga will continue tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Created: January 27, 2009 on the MS Amsterdam off the coast of Chile.
Last updated: February 26, 2009 2:28 PM

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