Saturday, September 24, 2016

Panama Canal Cruise part 3: Caribbean

Once we passed through the canal, the Disney Wonder had a pirate party with fireworks. They swerved to avoid a rainstorm and had to turn the ship around 180 degrees so the wind wouldn't carry the ash over the ship. By now, we've seen all the movies at the theater. Light between the Oceans was slow and depressing. The meals are still fantastic, but we start walking up 8 floors on the stairs to shed the extra calories. The ship is days from being disassembled for a refit and we notice things that need repair: the shaking elevator, the smells lingering in certain places.

Sunday, we stop in Cartegena, Colombia. In the heat, we bargain for a cab driver for the entire day--$40. The gold and chocolate museums are tiny, but Mr. Emerald was awesome. He had quality stones at a great price. My daughter, Emily, wanted to hold the sloth at the shopping center. I had to use pantomime and high-school Spanish to describe the creature. The clerk's face brightens with recognition. "Ahh, perisoso!" We check three possible locations, but the sloth never shows. Everyone is nice, including the man selling coffee.

Everything in the walled city is ancient, reminding me of the oldest parts of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Most of Centro is barricaded to keep cars out and the tourists safe. The cab driver needs to give a payment to people who reserved the parking space. I heard that they live off something like $10 a day, but they all have cell phones.
We came back early and spend a long time taking pictures of all the birds. The ice cream on deck 9 tastes good after walking so far in the heat.

On Tuesday, the kids take a set of photos we entitle "best first day of school ever."

We sign up for a body composition analysis at the spa, but the sales guy is overly aggressive and wants to charge $1232 in seaweed pills. We refuse. When I can finally access the Internet in Cozumel, I research the product. People on cruise bulletin boards were almost entirely negative. People on Amazon were split, but those with positive feedback had more regular bowel movements, not more rapid weight loss.

I bought a classic Star Wars shirt at Del Sol, and we picked up a really soft set of bamboo sheets and bath towels. We turn down all offers of tequila, cigars, or massage.

On the last night, I took the time to listen to one of the performers in the lounge, an awesome guitarist, Rodrigo Figueroa. Playing Time After Time One of the other performers sat down beside me for the whole set and whispered, "I wish I could play like that."

On the last sea day, I trade one of my paperbacks for another sci fi book in the Quiet Cove coffee shop. This gives me something to do on the long bus trip to the airport and the flight home.

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