Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cruise thru the Panama Canal: part 1, the West

This year, we took a two week Disney cruise through the Panama canal. The kids missed four days of school, but they did most of the homework in advance over the summer. We flew into San Diego the night before and stayed at the Wyndham Bayside, literally across the street from the dock.
Dinner was a delicious visit to the Cheesecake Factory. When we booked the hotel through Priceline, it was supposed have breakfast but they wanted to charge an absurd amount for it. Since we could start eating as soon as we boarded at 11:30, we went with a quick snack from a local 7-11. This also provided an excuse to by 20 oz pop bottles for later use on excursions. The local Fox news station was covering the opening of cruising season and interviewed our friends, the Bleesses,

On the ship, my teenage son Pierce disappeared almost immediately. We occasionally spotted him by the ice cream machine on deck 9. My daughter became a pin-trading ninja and scavenger hunt pro. My wife started crocheting a "hippie" wrap during the sea days. I discovered the Marvel movie channel on the TV and outlined the next story in my series The Quantum Chronicles.

We've been on the Magic about 5 times, but this was our first time on the Wonder, We didn't see any real difference until dinner, where we met Ariel for the first time on a cruise in front of Triton's restaurant. Our only regret was that special orders of creme brulee dessert came in sets of four, We were repeated reminded of the YouTube video entitled "First World Problems."
Tammy made our shirts on her embroidery sewing machine.

The entertainment was interesting. Tammy and I both got to participate Shawn Farquhar's magic shows. I got to meet author Ridley Pearson several times and attend a writing seminars. The most popular lectures, though. were by Captain Ken Puckett, a retired canal pilot. He related several personal anecdotes over lunch and pina colada flavored ice cream.

In Cabo San Lucas (a cape) we were tendered in to shore. The cliffs we gorgeous. We saw lots of fish, but we'd missed whale season. The local Diamonds International offered free cab rides into town and impressed our women with their tanzanite. Pierce asked for the WiFi password immediately, and I found the husband chairs. Tammy has a black belt in haggling and made some of the vendor cry. We walked back to the docks in the tropical heat, about 90 degrees. Minnesota was 65 when we left. Thankfully we had brought our refillable pop bottles.

Puerto Vallarta was more scenic, but had 95 percent humidity, Pelicans were everywhere. At the jewelry store that gave us a free taxi ride, Pierce found a push-button combination safe that contained a gem that was yours if you guessed the combo. He had tried about ten before the clerk told him one guess per adult customer. Emily found some free breakfast lemonade that turned out to be tequila. The road work outside was being done manually by men with cobblestones, sand, and rakes. My favorite landmark was the mythical sea nymph sculpture that the birds liked to perch on.

Tammy got all eight of us back to the docks at a bargain rate of $24. Pierce finally showed interest in his surroundings when Tammy spotted a glassblower making dragons in his shop.

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