Today we finally get to the meat of this cruise and went through the Canal. All day long we were bombarded by information about the crossing until my head was spinning. I won’t load you down with facts and figures, but there are six locks, three that enter into a small lake, Gatun, and into a narrow gorge, the Culebra cut, then another one that leads to a much larger lake, Miraflores, and two more that end up dumping the ship (along with 55 million gallons of water) into the Atlantic. The property around the Canal is impeccably manicured and gorgeous.
The humidity is much higher on this side and the heat is pretty relentless, even when the clouds move in. Add that to the less calm seas, and it’s easy to understand why the Pacific is my favorite.
We took Sparky to the suite breakfast (after clearing it with Oscar) and we had a good view of the entrance to the canal. Unfortunately, the ‘we’ve done this a million times’ couple was there and had to keep pointing stuff out, thereby sort of ruining our discoveries. I was sort of happy when they left. The husband was bragging that they have been doing back-to-back cruises from Ft. Lauderdale to LA for the past two years and will be doing them for the next three years. My question is why? They don’t fly any longer, but surely there are other choices besides the Canal. I would think seeing the same stops twice in a short time span would get boring very quickly, but I suppose people could say that about Tahiti, too.
Anyhow, we passed under the Bridge of the Amercias at about eight and came out the other end at four. I think you can go through faster than that, but we had nearly four hours in Lake Miraflores. I lost TBG for a few hours, but Sparky and I watched from our balcony, well, I read and Sparky did her laundry (which was a brilliant idea because most folks were watching the Canal.
TBG got back to the cabin around 11, hot and flushed, so I suggested a swim before lunch. Something that no one protested. We grabbed our stuff, changed and headed up to a very crowded pool. It was nearly impossible to swim laps, but we did the best we could for about forty minutes before admitting defeat. After a shower, we had some lunch and went our separate ways to spend some time with Mr. Sandman… or at least everyone but me. I tried to sleep, but it wasn’t happening after 43 cups of coffee. Well, maybe not 43, but it felt like it. I finished my book and did some quilting – a challenge in this heat, but then I remember that Hawaii is very humid and sullied on.
TBG got up and used up the rest of my time on the Internet (he got more) and Sparky came by to watch some more Vicar of Dibley. She’s hooked on the series. We watched it until it was time to go up for dinner, so we hurriedly changed and headed up, because you know, it had been hours since we’d eaten… well, minutes actually because we are still eating leftovers from the party and then the head of Food and Beverage sent us a bowl of ice cold cherries. Yum! We got to the dining room and Roland, our waiter, announced he had a treat for us. Josco, the captain for our area, made an app for us. It was a basket of perfectly deep fried shrimp with a spicy tomato marinade on the side. Oh, boy! I amended my order when Sige (assistant waiter) came to confirm it.
Sparky had a salad and the duck, TBG had a wild mushroom tart (as did I) and prime rib. I had (thankfully) an app-size fettucine Alfredo. The tart was lovely, but after the shrimp, I could only manage about half of it. Then the dessert menu came by and it was Grand Marnier soufflés. Oh, yeah, three please! :D They were lovely and delicious and, no, I didn’t finish mine.
We headed back to the room and watched (hold your breath) Mamma Mia. The only problem was that it put me on such a high that it took me forever to fall asleep. It was not the best night I’ve had on board, but there are still more sea days and naps to fix that. How will we survive this hectic pace?