Another country, gal. This time it is Costa Rica, in the form of Puntarenas, its major Pacific port on the Gulf of Nicoya. It was to be a day of another transport too, gal, in the form of a dinky little Italian train.
But back to the beginning. Wake up in cabin 722 of Silver Cloud, fresh orange juice and Twining’s English tea arrive at six, with the ghastly-provincial Best of Britain newspaper (takes 20 seconds, no more, to read).
Up on deck, running the statutory three miles, the mind wanders. Twining’s, part of Tata Beverages, owned by the mighty Tata Group, owner of some of the best luxury hotels in the world… Taj Palaces, Hotels & Resorts…
But we are docking, pulling alongside a half-mile concrete catwalk that extends into the ocean. Later, once the tours have gone, buses laden with those who like climbing into them for hour-or-more sorties to a distant eco forest or similar, it is a good idea to try the catwalk.
It is baking hot, and humidity is high. At the far end we find ourselves in the small ‘town’ (can it really be called that?).
There is a supermarket, squash-court-sized, stuffed with bottles of water, beers and sodas and a few drugstore necessities. The most interesting shopping, however, is at the hawkers’ stalls littered among the rubber-like trees that fortunately provide some much-needed shade along the pavement that borders the beach.
The stalls offer brightly-coloured sarongs and white shirts – keep your sticky hands off, please – and delicate silver jewellery and platters of wood slivers glued together, dark next to light.
There is Authority all around. There are police on bikes and on foot, there are desultory youths with orange brooms sweeping beach debris into piles, to be collected by mini-bulldozers that hump the same up and into a grill-sided truck.
Even bits of tree trunk taken on to the beach by former picnickers are heaved up-and-over.
There is nice-ness all around. None of the hawkers troubles us, the picnickers are busy making salads by grating with big mandolins, cooking up something in big pots over gas burners.
A lot of these happy people have driven down from the capital, San Jose, only 72 miles away.
But the extreme heat wins, and we head back to cool Silver Cloud. We take the train, which trundles along the catwalk and does a spectacular U-turn at the far end, just missing falling into the water below.