Day 7: (Jan 10 - Fuerte Amador, Panama)

Breakfasted in my room to save time. Had an 8:45 AM departure for today's tour. You know breakfast was good. About the only thing I could find fault with was that the toast was not warm. Picky, picky, picky! The cook did throw in some hash browns he thought I needed - perhaps to compensate for the cold toast?

-Wow, I'm listening to a video about the cruise and ship and I just learned that this ship produces its own fresh water from sea water! 150,000 gallons a day!

My tour today is to the Gamboa area (inland from here along the canal about 20 miles). Our guide gave information as we passed through the city and drove the road to Gamboa (on the way back too). We stopped at the 5 Star Gamboa hotel to link up with local guides for the actual excursion. We went to several separate attractions all in the same complelx. There was a native indian (there are actually 7 different indigenous tribes still in existence in Panama) area showing typical huts, etc and also crafts and souveniers. Then we went to a reptile exhibit - caimans, crocodiles, snakes, turtles, etc. There was a butterfly house - lots of butterflies, plants and butterfly feeders. Then there was the orchid farm. I know more about orchids than I ever wanted but it was pretty. Finally, and this was the main attraction, we went on an arial tram above the rain forest. Yes, Panama has one too. Two rain forests in three days. I'm feeling a bit of mildew between my ears! Actually it was pretty cool. We saw toucans, coatimundis and an egg laying turtle. Heard a howler monkey but couldn't see it. That's the way it is with rain forests I'm finding. There is so much vegetation you can't see the wildlife sometimes. It was still neat.

On returning to the dock area we had time to shop. My tablemate, Claire, had been on this tour too so we revisited our shopping spot from the night before. Today I indulged in a rare pleasure. I bought and consumed a coke! I know you think I have not had a coke in a week because I'm a cheap #$%^&* and they charge $1.95 per can of coke in the room and about $2.25 if you order one at dinner or at a bar on ship. The more or less truth is I don't drink cokes nearly as much these days. I stopped drinking them as much when I was losing weight about a year ago and have just not missed them. OK, it is easier to not drink them at shipboard prices. Oh, they have 146 calories (or 610 kJ of energy) here. That's 6 more calories than in the states. Same volume. Must be the sugar.

Had two new tablemates tonight. (I think I mentioned they assign us to tables.) They are a couple and the guy, Brian, was apparently pretty sick. He has emphysema, is hooked to oxygen, and apparently had some pneumonia and it is very serious when that happens. Anyway, we have new faces to look at while we pig out. Not sure if that is good or bad. We'll see.

Last observation. I found the toilet in my room wouldn't flush a few minutes ago. Called Guest Services and Jennifer (she and I are getting to know each other pretty well. The swim fin thing) responded to my information about the toilet with, "We do have a technical challenge with the plumbing. We're working on getting it fixed." I wonder what a "technical challenge" means but it just struck me as funny.

Well, that about gets you up to date. Not much exciting will happen for the next week or so. Well, I hope not anyway. There is nothing exciting scheduled. We have 8 days in a row of Sea Days. We have to travel about 3800 miles to our next port. I haven't read emails in about 3 days so I'll catch up on that and see if I can't get at least a few new pics up on the website for you guys.


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