Day 6: (Jan 9 - Panama Canal Transit)

Set my alarm for 5:45 AM. Ouch!!!

We started the canal transit at 6 AM. I have video, etc. proving I was awake at that unholy hour. Alright, alright, I know I am leading a pampered life here but I have never been a morning person. OK, so I fell asleep for about 30 minutes during the afternoon. We were in the lockless part of the transit and it was kinda boring. At least I had the decency to nap in my cabin. I saw one passenger nodding off earlier in the day at a lecture about the culture and societal values of latin americans. No it wasn't me. I went to my cabin for a bit and made the mistake of lying down. About 30 minutes later I woke up to the Captain's voice. No he wasn't in my cabin. They have a tv channel which shows the view from the front of the ship and I had that channel on so I would know when more locks were coming. As we were nearing a lock he started his commentary. Fortunately that woke me. I wanted to video each lock passage or at least watch it from on deck. This makes more sense if you understand that it took us about 9 hours from one end of the canal to the other. There are three locks close together on the Atlantic side. Then you move about 40 miles until you reach the first of the three locks which lower you back down to the Pacific. On the Pacific side the locks are farther apart. Something about the tides on that side being higher seems to be the reason the three locks are spread out more. At least that is what I think I heard. I was pretty sleepy. To the ship's credit they had coffee and Panama Rolls on deck for us when we woke up. (Panama Rolls have a strong resemblence to jelly donuts by the way. I think the center was peach jelly, a little unusual but delicious. Come to think of it all the food so far has been delicious. Someone may have to come wheel me off the ship when I return. Or maybe a forklift? Hmmm. Better try to work out more or something.)

We anchored in Fuerte Amador (it is the port for Panama City. It is close but in an area away from downtown. The name comes from the past when a real fort was in the area.) early in the evening. One of my dinner companions, Claire, and I went to shore (in a tender) to look for postcards for some friends who don't get email. While shopping for postcards and stamps I asked one of the clerks (in Spanish - everyone doesn't speak english around the world despite some Americans' opinions) if Panama had any good beers. They pointed to the soda cooler and said there was some there. It was hidden behind the coke! Cerveza Panama was the not too original name. The beer was better than the name. Pretty good for a fairly light beer. At the moment I'm saving the can for a souvenier. Not sure how long it will survive the needs of packing space and small cabin crowding.

I returned to my cabin and wrote postcards to friends. Waiting for me in my cabin was a new pair of slippers courtesy of the cruise line. I love this life. I must find a way to do it permanently. Just kidding. I'll be home in time for the Sun Bowl Tournament Neddie.

No comments: