We booked this cruise quite a while ago, a bit of a repeat of the South America cruise we did a few years ago, but that's fine with us. We were leaving from Santiago, Chile going around Cape Horn and making our way back to Fort Lauderdale. We are travelling with Barb and Ed, our cruising friends whom we met on a China cruise in 2005, and then cruised again with them from Australia to Los Angeles in 2007.
We started off with a little fear and trepidation. We were in Las Vegas last week and Jim developed a cough shortly after our return. After our African cruise that ended early in December, I was very nervous about heading into foreign countries with a sick husband.
But away we went! We booked a sweet deal through a Cruise Critic contact…3 nights at Hotel Galerias in Santiago, pick up at the airport, a tour of the city on one day and a winery tour on the next day, and transportation to the cruise pier in Valparaiso—all for the amazing price of $400 per person.
The flag of Chile....
Here we are with Barb and Ed enjoying our first meal together at the hotel.
The band and the guards left and it was back to normal in the Square.
The next morning he was feeling pretty good, but decided not to do the winery tour. The rest of us headed out to the Concha y Toro winery. I was quite excited about this as we often buy their wine at home.
We stopped here for a photo opportunity. Henry, our driver, with a person who nicely clomped on by on his horse…
All of a sudden, our tour was cut short when Claudio got a call saying that Jim was in the hospital and would be there for a couple of days. What the heck??!! He wasn’t that sick when we left! We took the highway back to the hotel and a driver took me to the private clinic. It turned out that Jim had gone there looking for oxygen and got more than he bargained for. The doctor admitted him as his oxygen level was at 77, dangerously low.
Jim was determined to get on the cruise the next morning, but the doctor wasn’t too pleased with that idea as he had determined that Jim had pneumonia. Oh dear…this was becoming déjà vu of Dubai, only we didn’t speak the language this time. They started Jim on prednisone and antibiotics and it was a waiting game to see if his oxygen would improve. After a restless night, the doctor agreed to let Jim go once he signed a waiver saying it was against the doctor's wishes. They took a $20,000 deposit…oy, what a nightmare! But the best thing to come out of all this was that Jim bought an oxygen concentrator.
So we got the hotel driver to take us to Valparaiso to meet the cruise ship. As an aside, the hotel was amazing. They offered to let me stay for free for as long as Jim was in the hospital. Amazing, amazing people.
We couldn’t get to the ship fast enough! We whizzed by more wineries…
And at last, we were on the ship. I was never so happy to get on board. Our view of Valparaiso from the ship...the San Francisco of Chile!