Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Few Last Comments and Pictures About Our Vacation*


I'm sure you're tired by now of hearing about our vacation. But hey - it's my blog, and I feel like reliving the joy of a good time. If you're tired of it all, come back tomorrow, when I'll be back to my usual sour and curmudgeonly self (aided immeasurably by the teeming legions of ass clowns trying to get you to vote one way or the other). This is the last vacation post. I promise.

We sailed from Los Angeles (actually, the port of Long Beach) shortly after 4:00 PM on Thursday, September 20th. On the way out of the port, we cruised past the latest addition to the tourist attractions in the Los Angeles area, the battleship Iowa ...


All things considered, I think the food and accommodations on the Coral Princess were superior, although the Iowa had somewhat better armament.

I mentioned in the earlier posts that there seemed to be bazillions of butterfly farms everywhere we visited, with the exception of Aruba (which had an ostrich farm, go figure). One of the best butterfly farms we saw was the one at Gamboa in Panama, and one of the most beautiful denizens was this fellow, morpho achilles achillides ...


There were also glorious rain forests for those butterflies to occupy, in addition to the butterfly farms ...


And orchid nurseries ...


We also learned the differences between a caiman (indigenous to Panama) and a crocodile ... although when one or the other is giving you a baleful and hungry look like this fellow (he's a caiman), the difference is probably immaterial ...



Speaking of Panama, I didn't mention that the canal will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, and is in the middle of a huge expansion project that will add new, larger locks to improve capacity and accommodate the much larger ships of today. This is a picture of one of the construction sites ...


The expansion is supposed to be finished in 2014, but most people we talked to seemed to think it will take another year or two beyond that.

One reason we took this particular cruise was that it included a lot of time actually at sea (seven of the 14 days). While a lot of people might be bored out of their minds at that idea, we enjoyed the sea days because they allowed us to completely relax, without the pressure to be anywhere or do anything at any particular time. We spent a lot of time lying on deck and reading, or getting our exercise walking fast laps of the Promenade Deck ...


And, of course, there was always the opportunity to see beautiful sunsets at sea ...


And to be greeted by a magnificent sunrise on the otherwise sad day of our arrival at Port Everglades, Florida, at the end of the cruise ...


And there is always one other thing that makes such a trip worthwhile ... the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. By the merest chance, on the morning of September 20th, as we waited at our hotel for the bus to pick us up and take us to the ship, we met Marcel and Vreni from Lucerne, Switzerland, who became our good friends and dining companions during the coming weeks, and who took joy in confounding me with the vast differences between their Swiss German dialect and the German I thought I'd learned in school ...


And that, Dear Readers, was our vacation. I will leave you with this item of hard-won advice:

If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair**, but if you're going anywhere in Central America, bring along a 55-gallon drum of SPF-10,000*** sunblock.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.

Bilbo

* No, really!

** With apologies to Scott McKenzie.

*** At least.

5 comments:

The Mistress of the Dark said...

Beautiful pictures!

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Nothing like a relaxing cruise to recharge your batteries. The orchids, butterflies, and sunsets are gorgeous; the caiman is impressive; and in his saurian way, handsome!

I enjoyed your descriptions of the Panama Canal, Carthegena, and life while on a cruise ship. Have a wonderful day!!!!

Big Sky Heidi said...

Your pictures are wonderful, mementoes of a wonderful trip!

Mike said...

'..to be anywhere or do anything at any particular time.'

This is called retirement.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Great pictures!

We have a similar vessel to the Iowa anchored in Mobile Bay, the USS Alabama.