Aboard the ms Veendam: Montevideo by Geezer Bus

ABOARD THE ms VEENDAMYesterday, Sunday, was a sea day, always a experience in individual self-discovery. Everyone made themselves busy with ship activities or their own projects as we sailed from Puerto Madryn toward Montevideo, Uruguay.

Plaza Independencia

I for one discovered that I was not in good enough physical condition for the shore excursion I had booked for today: “Montevideo Architecture & Old Town” had a graphic symbol with three hikers alongside the description – triple difficulty – yikes, a “walking tour!”  My arthritic knees were hurting and on top of that, I had come down with a very annoying cold.

So I swapped that ticket for the kind of tour I never take and one I generally don’t recommend. Only one hiker was in the graphic symbol for “Montevideo Highlights,” and it was offered for same price: $74.95. This is the kind of bus tour that’s often described as just a ride in the park. It was designed for those getting on in years and who want to or need to keep physical activity at a minimum. I had always pegged this kind of tour as the “Geezer Bus.”

I hastily add that I now claim to be qualified to use that title myself. I turned 80 recently, and if that isn’t a geezer, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, this time the Geezer Bus turned out to be a really great tour. The guide,  a Montividean woman named Pilar, was friendly, knowledgeable, and loquatious – obviously well qualified for the job. The bus made several 10-minute photo stops at points of interest, and many of us got off to click away enthusiastically. Others preferred to stay on board. I was moved to give Pilar a good tip at the end of the tour.

Tango Dancers

This evening we’re on our way to Tango Country – Buenos Aires, Argentina, the last stop and the disembarkation point for our two-week cruise. I intend to use it as a sort of overnight staging point to repack for the plane. The only problem may be the political rally that is planned for tomorrow in the capital. No one knows how that may or may not affect flights arriving to and departing from the city.

Anyway, last night the Veendam’s show lounge featured one of its better entertainments. A pair of Argentine tango dancers had come on board in Puerto Madryn, and then put on an excellent after-dinner performance.

And so tonight is the packing gamble. Checked bags are to be stashed out the cabin door by midnight. And you hope that everything left in the stateroom will fit into the hand luggage you carry off yourself in the morning. Always a traumatic moment for this geezer.

I’ll let you know how all this works out.

Photos by Robert Bone

November 19, 2012

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