Thursday, January 16, 2020
We docked early this morning at Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico. Again, the skies were clear, promising a beautiful day in this little bit of paradise.
As we left the ship this morning, the crew was in the midst of a fire drill, so they were all lined up at various muster stations. We preferred to think they were simply there to wish well as we left for shore.
Crystal’s “You Care. We Care.” Program offers volunteer-focused excursions. We participated in one a few years ago in Alaska, where we helped clean shelves and learned more about the salmon industry at Sitka Sound Science Center.
Today’s excursion took us to Tangolunda, where there is an arts crafts display and workshop, supported by the Bacaanda Foundation, represented in Huatulco by El Sueño Zapoteco (The Zapotec Dream.) Bacaanda means dream in Zapoteco. This organization, certified in both the US and Mexico, states that their “DREAM is to make a difference, and we believe the best means to do so is through EDUCATION.” They do this by working with local communities to assess their needs, and together with them develop a solution. They have built 24 new schools, and renovated or remodeled 8 existing schools, plus they’ve built libraries, playgrounds, community kitchens and more. They have also brought internet access to several communities.
Local children are taught how to make crafts, using natural resources such as seeds, grasses, and gourds, that can be sold in the center. A centerpiece of the shop here is a large replica of Noah’s Ark with pairs of animals that represent the handicraft here. BTW, there are 119 pairs of animals in this ark.
After learning about the organization and its focus – establishing rural schools in remote villages in the region – we participated in a craft activity, similar to what the local children might do. You can see from the photo below that Mark is the one with artistic talent in our household.
We dined tonight at the Churrascaria, which is a carnivore’s dream. You begin with salads, vegetables, relishes, breads, etc., then wait as waiters come by with grilled meats. Selections include chicken, sausage, pork medallions, short ribs, lamb chops, shrimp (I’m sure I’ve missed something), on a spit from which they will slice whatever you want, as much as you want. The highlight tonight, though, was the grilled pineapple with cinnamon, served with vanilla ice cream. I want that for breakfast!!
Tonight’s show was fabulous, as we’ve come to expect on these cruises. Filip Wojciechowski is a classically trained pianist from Poland, who has won many awards at piano competitions. His love for jazz has inspired him to write jazz arrangements for several classical pieces, including compositions by Bach, Liszt, Mozart, and even Gershwin. Watching his fingers fly across the keyboard was almost as entertaining as the music itself. The Crystal Band did an outstanding job of accompanying Wojciechowski.
This evening, Crystal Serenity hosted a White Extravaganza, with dancing and music. Guests were encouraged to dress in white for the event. We didn’t bring white outfits, and didn’t think bathrobes would be appropriate, so we skipped it. We did enjoy the decorations in the Crystal Plaza though.