RatSoap at Sea

This ship is a different one but of the same line as the one we took in 2006. Both are a lot alike. We have even seen some of the same workers as last time, like our counselor from the kids’ room, who no longer takes care of kids.

Her nickname on the other ship was “Ninja.” Now, she translates announcements from English to Spanish on the loudspeaker. This time, we can speak to her in Spanish.

Even some of the same performers are doing the same shows as the last time. There is the Italian magician (we saw him again last night). He speaks a mile a minute in four languages and is really funny. And there is the German juggler.

We have left Chile, and who knows when I will visit again. We are at sea, on our way to Peru. This will be my first time there.


Today is my birthday. I don’t know if I’ll get any cake or presents, but after breakfast this morning, there was a piece of paper on the cabin's door---a birthday greeting from the captain!


Dad’s family is mostly from Chile, and he was born in Santiago. My Chilean grandmother’s parents were both born in the north of Chile, and our ship just happened to stop in the cities where they were born---my great-grandmother in Iquique, and my great-grandfather in Arica.

We saw a monument to Arturo Prat, who is a Chilean hero of the War of the Pacific. I studied the “Guerra del Pacífico” in history class in Santiago, and I remember that the most important battle took place in Iquique.

There is a beautiful long beach in Iquique...

...and a lot of old wooden buildings that were built by wealthy British families who made lots of money from the nitrate mines in the desert nearby.

Iquique is very dry with palm trees and cactus in the plazas.

Behind the town are steep sandy mountains with nothing but a windy road going up the dunes. It almost never rains in Iquique.

Somewhere in this city, Dad thinks my great-grandmother was born in 1897. This is what she looked like:

After Iquique, we stopped in Arica. Dad dragged us around town first to the civil registry to find the document that recorded my great-grandfather’s birth, and then we walked through the city looking for the street where he was born.

We found out at the library that the names of the streets had changed over the years. We finally found the street...

...but could not find the house.

This is my great-grandfather, born in Arica in 1897:


If we’d had time, we would have climbed the “Morro” of Arica, which is a giant rocky cliff with the Chilean flag on the top that overlooks the city. It was windy, too, and we were too tired.

We did go inside two buildings that were built by the same man who built the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. One is a church...

...and the other one the old Customs House:


Last night, Dad showed me the Southern Cross in the sky. He says that, as we travel north, we’ll see it farther and farther to the south, until it goes over the horizon and we won’t be able to see it again until we return to the Southern Hemisphere.


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The RatSoap™ Project is a work in progress, 2006-2008
Copyright © 2006-2008 by Sun on Earth Books




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