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The A/C works best when windows are open & taxi is moving

Tropical Taxi Tour in the Rain


View 2008 Panama Canal on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

December 1, 2008

Even though the island time was the same as Eastern time, they kept the ship's time on Central time. This was silly. They should have just kept the ships time the same as Eastern time in Costa Rica and not changed at all.

We were to have a tour of Ilsa de San Andrés, which the port talk indicated was to be in a taxi taking four people. The phrase of interest on the tour list was

"The air conditioning works best when the windows are open and the taxi is moving".

This was a tender port, and we tendered in to a dock 8 miles south of the town. So you more or less had to take a taxi to get anywhere. The information we were given was that they would take the 'most reliable' taxi drivers for the tours, but there would also be other taxis available for those that didn't take tours. Obviously those were the less reliable ones.

The breakfast special was a marshmallow pancake. We didn't get that. As we assembled in the Van Gogh theatre we were informed that it was pouring rain. And it was.
Meeting the the Van Gogh theatre

Meeting the the Van Gogh theatre


We got stickers for group 5 and were among the last to get onto a tender of our group. We were sitting under an area where water was dripping so we were wet when we started.
Island from the tender

Island from the tender


Bob had gone back for my folding umbrella but there was a problem folding and unfolding it. I mostly used it to protect my camera and relied on my hat to protect me since I do not have an sensitive electronic circuits and will not melt in the rain. We got into taxi #52 - I jumped into the front seat.

Our taxi driver was a native - i.e. he was a descendent of Jamaican slaves and spoke English. He did not think much of the Colombian government. He - like many of the locals or natives thinks of Colombia as an occupying power.

The black population of San Andrés were brought there by English early in the seventeenth century. For the next two hundred years the people of San Andrés led an existence described as close to idyllic. Then in 1953 when Colombia took over - things changed and not for the better. Our driver complained that the locals had to learn to speak Spanish - he felt that people coming to their island should have to learn English.

The official population of San Andrés numbers about 60,000. Unofficially the population is well over 100,000. The natives are now about 40% of the people of the archipelago. The Colombians brought with them a number of social problems such as drugs, garbage, slums and violence. Gas prices were higher than they would be if Colombia allowed imports from Venezuela which is closer to San Andrés.

The tour was to be a hour, but actually took two hours. I asked a lot of questions so we got a lot of information that we might not have gotten otherwise. Two ladies with accents were in the cab with us. They complained that they hadn't been told that it was to be a taxi tour, and Bob and I said simultaneously that they had told us. At least the port lecture did and it was on the tour tickets

There were many of this kind of lighthouse around the island.
Faro Hoyo Soplador from the taxi

Faro Hoyo Soplador from the taxi

On the mainland, people are warned against taking local buses, but it seems to be OK to do so on Andrés.
Bus in the rain

Bus in the rain


In addition to lighthouses, one of the things I usually do when traveling is to look for cemeteries to document how people handle the deceased. Taking photos was difficult and the only cemetery that I got any photos of was San Luis
922675684382356-San_Luis_Cem..n_Andr233s.jpgCemeterio de San Luis

Cemeterio de San Luis


The driver said the Colombians were Catholic,
114885254382365-Parroquia_Ca..n_Andr233s.jpgParroquia Catolia, San Jose

Parroquia Catolia, San Jose


Daily Mass Schedule (English and Spanish)

Daily Mass Schedule (English and Spanish)


and the uneducated Colombians (some of whom the driver said couldn't even write their names) were Seventh Day Adventists.
Seventh Day Adventist Church

Seventh Day Adventist Church

We stopped at the First Baptist Church (founded in 1844) which the cab driver was very proud of. He said the wood was brought by horses to construct it. We went into the church from which, on a good day, you could have seen all over the island the driver said.
4382220-Church_in_the_rain_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgFirst Baptist Church

First Baptist Church

]4382223-Sign_outside_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgSign and Parking outside the Baptist church

Sign and Parking outside the Baptist church


One of the ladies in the cab commented that they didn't have a schedule for Mass, and I said that Baptists didn't say mass. She was astonished - even more so when I said that they didn't have priests and didn't baptize babies (Baptists don't do baptism until you are older). So we had a mini-religious history lesson.
Altar area

Altar area

Wet tile floor

Wet tile floor

Pews and windows

Pews and windows


The next day, I saw the women we were with on the taxi tour, and they are from NYC but originally from Poland. (Someone asked me how they could not know that Baptists don't have priests or say mass. But apparently some people don't know much. My sister says that Catholics are not encouraged to inform themselves about other religions). The driver had to get a voucher stamped at the church so he would get paid.

30 Km/hr

30 Km/hr


Then we drove to the main town. The town square and shopping area had the Christmas decorations up. It wasn't the usual candy canes or snowmen. Instead there were big crabs with presents in their claws.
150508934382199-Central_shop..San_Andres.jpgCentral Shopping area and Luggage shop

Central Shopping area and Luggage shop

Christmas crab

Christmas crab

4382198-Another_gift_crab_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgCrabby decoration

Crabby decoration


I tried to get pictures, but it was hard to do in the rain while the cab was moving. Here he had tickets to get out and shop and have a Sprite or something. We all said no we'd stay in the cab and keep going. Since this is Columbia, apparently Colombian emeralds are a good buy. There are also duty free shops.

The same with Morgan's Cave. Which was one of the things we were supposed to visit.
Looking in the gate from the taxi

Looking in the gate from the taxi


In common with other Caribbean islands, these islands were visited often by pirates. Between 1670 and 1689, the English corsair (Henry Morgan) took over the islands and used them as a base of operations and, according to legend, as a hideaway for his much acclaimed treasure. We decided not to visit here because it was rainy and it didn't look very appealing. There would have been no place to park and we would have had to walk a long ways.
4382389-Road_past_the_cave_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgRoad past Morgan's Cave

Road past Morgan's Cave


It was a very narrow road and hard to turn around.The driver got his voucher stamped here too.
Turning around at Morgan's Cave

Turning around at Morgan's Cave

El Hoyo Soplador or Blow Hole is a sea water geyser at the southern end of San Andrés. But there was no surf at all so there was no water in the blowhole.
4382118-Sea_with_no_surf_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgEl Hoyo Soplador with no water spout

El Hoyo Soplador with no water spout


4382119-Beach_area_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgFormer fishing boats?

Former fishing boats?

Fishing from the breakwater

Fishing from the breakwater


Waterfront in the rain

Waterfront in the rain


4382432-Extra_Pictures_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgHotel

Hotel

Restaurant in the rain

Restaurant in the rain

The Statendam from shore in the fog and rain

The Statendam from shore in the fog and rain

Lighthouse in the fog from up close

Lighthouse in the fog from up close


The taxi did not apparently have any kind of defroster, and we had to keep the windows closed because of the rain. So the windows fogged up - the driver (and I) kept clearing the window off with his hand so he could see, but that resulted in as many water drops inside windshield as outside from the rain. Also my glasses and my camera lens also kept fogging up, and that made it difficult to focus.
4382411-Traffic_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgTraffic through the fogged windshield

Traffic through the fogged windshield


Rolling down the window to take a picture

Rolling down the window to take a picture


518904054382336-Compound_fro..San_Andres.jpgEntrance to compound

Entrance to compound

This was - picture taking wise- not a very good day.

To compare -
Half Moon, where we didn't go ashore - 51 photos
Grand Turk - 139 pictures of which 15 were Bob's
Santa Marta, Colombia - 205 pictures - about 20 of Bob's (all we did here was hire a taxi for an hour)
San Blas Islands - 67 pictures (Bob didn't go)
Panama Canal - 187 pictures - all mine
Panama City - 60 pictures - 9 of Bob's (tour guide did not turn up)
Manta, Ecuador - 229 pictures -25 of Bob's with a total of 32 (mostly mine) which weren't very good
Trujillo, Peru - 332 pictures (about 80 of Bob's)
Wildlife tour in Callao - 296 pictures - 25 of Bob's
Gold Museum tour - 258 pictures - 35 of Bob's
Lima Highlights - 271 pictures - 25 of Bob's
Guayquil - 284 pictures - 70 of Bob's - this was where I got back on the bus so most of the tour outside the bus were his.
Manta (2nd visit where we just walked to a museum) - 86 pictures - 15 of Bob's
Panama Canal (2nd time) - 196 pictures - all mine
Costa Rica - 300 pictures of which 55 were discarded and 75 were not much good. Bob took 23 pictures
San Andres - 165 pictures during a 2 hour taxi tour of which 59 were not good. Bob didn't take but about 4 or 5 from the boat.

When we got back to the tender dock there were Colombian police and a Colombian Navy destroyer next to the ship.
Military at the tender dock

Military at the tender dock


763113044682852-Colombian_Na..th_America.jpgColombian Navy ship

Colombian Navy ship

28387314382347-Colombian_na..San_Andres.jpgColombian Navy ship

Colombian Navy ship


At the dock, there were some little craft stands set up, but I didn't look at them very closely, so I don't know what they had available.
213253434382217-Another_view..San_Andres.jpgShip landing shopping

Ship landing shopping


My brother-in-law who is retired from the Air National Guard says that they are not allowed to fly over San Andrés
100_9682.jpg
looking back at the tender dock

looking back at the tender dock


We were back in time for lunch. I had the
Chilled Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup

Chilled Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup


and Bob had the
Fruit Medley

Fruit Medley


Then I had a
Spanish Frittata

Spanish Frittata


and the
coconut cream cake

coconut cream cake


The weather cleared up in the afternoon and was nice.

After Trivia (which we didn't win) we went out on deck to watch the sail away and take photos of shore now that it was better weather
Little village on the shore from the ship

Little village on the shore from the ship


532469274382461-Lighthouse_p..San_Andres.jpgGreen Lighthouse from the ship

Green Lighthouse from the ship

600190854382463-Lighthouse_p..San_Andres.jpgSan Andreas, Columbia lighthouses from the ship

San Andreas, Columbia lighthouses from the ship


415425624286913-Another_one_..n_Andr233s.jpgPunta Evans (Cove Verde)

Punta Evans (Cove Verde)

182491044382462-Lighthouse_p..San_Andres.jpgEl Cove (Cove Rojo)

El Cove (Cove Rojo)


4382407-Home_on_the_water_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgTour bus circling the island from the ship

Tour bus circling the island from the ship


4382297-Island_Sports_Isla_de_San_Andres.jpgSmall boat

Small boat

100_9734.jpgRetrieving the lifeboat/tender

Retrieving the lifeboat/tender


and watch from above as they put away the last tender and folded up the platform.
They are gradually decorating the ship for Christmas, but they still have the big and small flower bouquets everywhere.
x100_9707.jpg
I like the flowers better, but I don't much care for the Christmas decorations on this ship. They seem a bit old fashioned.
x100_9715.jpgx100_9775.jpg

For dinner we had fruit cup,
and I had chilled red grape and cranberry soup and
pork chops

pork chops


and Bob had
salmon

salmon


Then we had blueberry sundaes as we watched .
the sunset

the sunset

Tomorrow we will be at Sea on the way to Grand Cayman

December 2 - Sea Day

The special at breakfast was Blue Cheese Crusted Tenderloin Steak with Eggs. We didn't get that.

Someone must have complained about the San Andrés tour because we got a refund for it. They did it in a very funny way - they refunded $79.00 and then charged $39.50 back.

We got our 50 day pins, and attended the Mariner's Brunch in the dining room and we both got the Mariner's Bay Shrimp Cocktail

Mariner's Bay Shrimp Cocktail


(which had proper cocktail sauce this time), and I had the
Cheddar Quiche

Cheddar Quiche


and Bob had the poached salmon. I had some large pieces of unchewable onion skin in my quiche, but it was otherwise good. We both had the
Banana Peach Strudel

Banana Peach Strudel


for dessert, and I didn't think much of it.

We ate with a couple from Canada who did Machu Picchu, and a man who is a Jack-in-the-Box franchiser and his wife. At one point I said I had a grandson who was 28, and both couples looked astonished, and one of them said their son was only 28. I took that as a compliment.

We went to trivia and were tied for first with another team. For the tie-breaker we had to guess when Nevada legalized gambling and we considered 1930 and 1941, and picked the latter, but the actual year was 1931 and the other team was closer with 1932.

Someone down the hall who had complained about the stinky room got a $250 refund (or shipboard credit). We (also complained several times including in writing) got nothing.

For dinner we both had the
pineapple boat

pineapple boat


and I had the
Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Asparagus


and Bob had the Marinated Scallops. Then we both had New England Clam Chowder and Chilled Coconut Soup and no entree. The guy who seated me put me at the end of the table away from the other people and I moved over into the middle. When I reached for my glass of ice water, I accidentally knocked it over toward Bob's side of the table and soaked the tablecloth there. So no one else came to sit with us - we were with the lady who was the youngest of 11 children and her husband - her name is Marie and they live in Jupiter now.

Bob had the
Pineapple Sundae

Pineapple Sundae


for dessert and I had the
Engadin Swiss

Engadin Swiss


which was a kind of chocolate cake.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 18:53 Archived in Colombia

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Comments

Love the title of this blog! The design of that First Baptist Church reminds me of the ones we saw on Chiloe in Chile - https://toonsarah.travellerspoint.com/34/ (which we also visited in the rain!). It is a shame though about the bad weather, and ironic that it cleared just as you had to leave - I like your photo of the little village on the shore.

by ToonSarah

Yes the title afforded me a lot of amusement. I also liked that they were using the 'most reliable' taxi drivers. I am almost at the end of this trip. I hope I get it finished before I take off to go to Tanzania

by greatgrandmaR

I hope so. And I'll look forward to reading about Tanzania. I'm off to Iceland next week for the VT meet and will be in Africa (Kenya/Zimbabwe/Botswana) in July :)

by ToonSarah

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