Month: February 2018

Hawaii

The bus transfer from the Coral Princess took me to LAX where I had several hours before my flight.  The flight left on time and arrived in Honolulu at 7:30PM local time.  After a long walk to baggage claim, I found a taxi and was on my way to my hotel, the Outrigger Waikiki Beach located across from the International Market Place on busy Kalakaua Avenue.

The next morning, I was up early since my body clock had no idea what time it was.  I had time to take a few photos of a rainbow peeking out from between the buildings in the view offered by my partial ocean view room.  My high school friend, Judy, who moved to Hawaii after she graduated from college, picked me up and treated me to a great breakfast at a local restaurant.  We had time for a lengthy chat during which we discovered we were born two months apart in the same hospital in the small town of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  Talk about a small world!  We never have time for a private conversation when we attend our class reunions, so it was great having time to talk about our lives during and since high school.

Shortly after I returned to the hotel, my friend, Glenn, texted me that he was at the airport and would see me soon.  He was ready to eat so we strolled next door to the Royal Hawaiian where we took a table at the bar on the beach and enjoyed a view of Diamond Head.  This was his first time in Hawaii, so we had lots to see and do.  We ordered “Lobstah” rolls and sat watching the surfers and passing showers.  Just as we finished our lunch, a shower was approaching so we quickly made our way back to the cover of the nearby shops.  It came quiet a downpour and we watched the local shopkeepers squeegee the sidewalks to prevent the geysers coming out of the drains from getting in their shops.  As it often does in Hawaii, the shower soon stopped, and we continued our exploration of the area.  Our friend, Tom, texted that he was at the airport and would see us as soon as he picked up the rental car and made his way to the hotel.

That evening, we walked around for a while and decided to have dinner at Herringbone in the International Market Place.  Tom and I decided to try the friend Octopus and Glenn had the Shrimp Curry.  We finished our meal and took Tom to the bar on the beach at the Royal Hawaiian for after dinner drinks.

The next morning, we decided to drive around the island and headed toward Diamond Head.  I was disappointed when we discovered that Hanauma Bay was closed on Tuesday.  We made our way to the Blow Hole for photos and continued our drive stopping occasionally for photo ops.  We decided to visit the Byodo-In Temple since Tom is interested in Buddhism and I had never stopped to explore the site on my previous visits to the island.  We found the site interesting and I got some great photos during our stop.  We continued our drive experiencing occasional showers along the way.  We stopped at a food truck billed as the Shrimp Shack and enjoyed our lunch while sitting under the overhang of a local store along with other food truck customers.  The weather wasn’t co-operating so we didn’t get to visit the Waimea waterfall.  We stopped to watch the surfers at Sunset Beach and managed to get a few photos before the rain sent us back to the car.  By the time we neared Pearl Harbor, the sun was out.  Such is the weather in Hawaii!

That evening we ate appetizers sitting at the bar under the huge banyan tree at the Surfrider, the oldest hotel on the strip.  The food was good, but a patron who had too much to drink kept interrupting our conversation, so we finished our drinks and I headed back to pack for my early flight to Melbourne.  Tom and Glenn decided to explore the area before turning in.  It was a short but fun time in Hawaii.

 

Waikiki Rainbow
Waikiki Rainbow
Diamond Head from Royal Hawaiian Bar
Waikiki Sunset
Blowhole
Glenn and Tom Looking at Blowhole

 

Glenn at Byodo In Temple
Byodo In Temple

 

Buddha at Byodo In Temple
Koi at Byodo In Temple
Dove at Byodo In Temple
Cat Watching the Koi
Black Swan

 

Waterfall with Koi
Toad in Pond
Turtle
Byodo In Temple
Maka Pu Point

 

Sunset Beach Surfers
Sunset Beach Surfers

 

Surfrider Banyan Tree
Waikiki Sunset
Waikiki Sunset

 

 

Guatemala

I had an eye infection and didn’t take the scheduled excursion when we docked in Guatemala.  In the afternoon, I decided to go ashore and visit the vendors in the small shopping area a few yards from the gangway.

The area was shady and my eye, which was sensitive to light, didn’t bother me.  I wandered in the little village and purchased some tee shirts and a nice runner for my dining table.  I watched a local band perform and enjoyed the colorful displays of the various shops before heading back to the ship.

We set sail for Los Angeles shortly after I returned to the ship.  The next few days were sea days spent relaxing and taking a few sunset and sunrise photos as well as a few photos as we passed Los Cabos.

Shopping Kiosk
Guatemala Sign
Local Band

 

Los Cabos Sunrise
Guatemala Marina
Los Cabos from Our Balcony

 

 

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

After docking in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, we boarded our tour bus for the trip to view the Andalusian horse show at Rancho San Miguel.  Our tour guide, Percy, was an interesting and lively Costa Rican.  He indicated that the colored flags we were seeing along the way were their equivalent of our yard sign since each flag represented which Presidential candidate they supported.  He showed us the ballot for the upcoming election with 13 candidates vying for the Presidency.  He explained the election process in detail indicating that the forth coming election would be what we in America call a Primary election since it would identify the top two candidates for the General election to be held in a few months.  He also circulated a handout and discussed native reptiles and snakes.  Stopping at a local roadside market, Percy exited the bus and purchased a cashew pod to show us what one looks like before it produces the nuts we enjoy so much.  He also purchased and circulated a passion fruit he cut open for us to view up close.

When we arrived at Rancho San Miguel, we were greeted by its owner, Jose Fererro and his family.  We were taken on a tour of the stalls where head trainer, Adriana, introduced us to the horses and gave us a brief history of each horse.  We were then taken to the arena where we viewed the trainers and family members as they performed with the horses.  During a short intermission, we were served tapas and refreshments before returning to the arena for the second part of the performance.  Jose Fererro narrated the performance giving us a history of each act and the background of the various trainers.  The young trainers were especially skilled for their age in managing the horses.  We thoroughly enjoyed the entire performance and the gracious hospitality of the Fererro family.

We made a brief rest stop at a local souvenir shop before heading back to the ship.  As we approached the ship, we had a good view of the crowded beach in Puntarenas.

 

 

Roadside Market
Our Tour Guide, Percy
Costa Rica View
Brahma Cattle

 

Andalusian Horse
Head Trainer, Adriana
Jenny and Adriana

 

Andalusian Horse
Performance

 

Performance
Performance

 

Performance
Performance

 

Performance
Performance

 

Side Saddle High Five
Performance

 

Performance
Jose Fererro, Our Host

 

Take a Bow
Puntarenas Beach

 

Panama City, Panama

The morning after our Panama Canal Transit we anchored off shore in Panama City.  We boarded a crowded tender for the trip to the marina dock. The bumpy ride was hot and uncomfortable. We were happy to get off the tender and board the large bus that would take us on our tour to the Old City.  Our first stop was the Miraflores Locks where we toured the Panama Canal Museum and took photos from the observation deck.  We watched a short video about the Locks and then boarded our bus once more for our next stop near the Old City.  Patricia, our tour guide, led us on a walking tour through the crowded narrow cobblestone streets making several stops along the way at interesting landmarks pointing out the churches destroyed by fire and the Spanish colonial and French architecture.  We visited the beautiful old St. Joseph’s church to view its ornate golden altar.  We gathered in Cathedral Square at the end of our free shopping time and followed Patricia back to the bus to begin our return trip to the Ship.  We boarded the tender for another bumpy ride to the ship.  We had a bit of heart-stopping excitement when our tender driver had difficulty trying to dock with the ship.  We were glad to finally be safely back on board the ship!

 

Panama City Skyline
Panama City

 

Bridge of the Americas
Carol and Tour Director, Patricia

 

Coral Princess Tender at Marina
Miraflores Locks

 

 

Panama Canal Museum
Panama Canal Museum
Panama Canal Museum
Panama Canal Museum
Old City Tour

 

Old City Tour
Cultural Institute

 

Old City Tour
St. Joseph’s Church Altar

 

St. Joseph’s Church
St. Joseph’s Church
Yacht in Panama City Marina
Street Entertainer

Panama Canal Transit

Carol was up before sunrise and opening our drapes as we approached the entrance to the Gatun Locks, the first of the three sets of locks we would travel thru during our 11-hour transit of the Panama Canal. The 80-kilometer interoceanic waterway was completed in 1914 and in 2010, the historic millionth mark was reached when the bulk carrier, Fortune Plum, transited the canal.

Our cabin on the Starboard side of the ship provided the best view since we were going thru the lock on the right.  It also afforded an excellent view of the New Canal built to accommodate large container ships.  I was able to get some photos of the red-roofed buildings across the way that my friend, Chuck, who had been the Special Forces Commander in Panama, had told me about.  I also got some good photos of the new bridge currently under construction as well as the failed French attempt at building the Canal.  As we neared the first locks, we saw the locomotives known as “mules” that would power our ship thru the locks.  Our ship had only 16 inches clearance with the side of the lock we were in.

The ship’s photographers had gone ashore to take photos of the passengers from our balconies and to record the transit for a DVD that would be sold to those wanting a documentary of their transit.  The bridge provided commentary throughout our transit to let us know what we were seeing on shore and update our progress.

We finally exited the last of the three Gatun Locks into Lake Gatun, a large man-made lake.  We spent the next few hours in the lake and navigating the Culebra Cut, the narrowest part of the canal, before reaching the next set of two locks, the Pedro Miguel Locks.  This time, we were on the left lock and had an excellent view of a large Chinese ship from Hong Kong, the Melati 5, as it transited the canal entering Miraflores Lake with 3 sailboats rafted together.   We also had an excellent view of a huge container ship as it transited the New Canal. Our final set of locks, the Miraflores Locks, took us into the Pacific Ocean.

What an entertaining and educational day!

One the Way to the Canal
Pilot Boat
Tug Boats
Mule

 

Captain on the Bridge

 

Mules Attached to Our Ship
Lighthouse
New Bridge
New Bridge

 

Ship’s Photographers
French Canal

 

Frigate Bird
Mules and Lock Gates

 

Practice Target
Lake Gatun

 

Pedro Miguel Locks Opening
Chinese Ship Entering Pedro Miguel Locks
Gates Opening for Sail Boats
Chinese Ship and Sail Boats

 

Container Ship
Sailboats with New Canal in Background
Smithsonian Research Center
Culebra Cut
Dredge
Another Ship Approaches

 

Bridge
Miraflores Locks
Miraflores Locks