Our excursions from this cruise have been generally disappointing to me. Yesterday in Ocho Rio we had a great excursion.
We had opted for the VIP beach excursion complete with beach chairs, appetizers, lunch, open bar and entertainment. It was everything that it claimed it would be. The appetizers were good and plentiful, the meal of jerked chicken and lobster was very good, and there were ample opportunities to get yourself plastered. The entertainment was not outstanding but it was entergetic.
If there was one complaint it was that they were serving a local bottom shelf rum in their drinks and my guess was that it was refined by Sunoco - head-shakingly strong. After pouring the 1st drink into the sand I decided to show the bartender my last name on my shipboard card. He got very excited and made me a rum punch using Appleton 151 - still strong but it did not give me whiplash. He kept the bottle under the counter just for Carol and I.
The staff were very good, attentive to every need and eagerly interacting with the group. Both Carol and I were grateful for a good final excursion to the cruise.
Carol and I are Panama Canal veterans. We have now travelled from the Atlantic through all of the locks to the Pacific. The 1st three locks were aboard the cruise ship and they took 90 minutes. The last 2 sets of locks into the Pacific took 10 hours (6 hours by bus, 4 hours by boat). Just saying.
Here is a picture of Carol and I studying the lock from insire our cabin. It is funny that the camera perferred to record Carol and I looking at the lock rather than the lock itself. It is an overlaid selfie I guess.
We decided to take the Hop On/Hop Off bus through Cartagena. Although it is a beautiful city with a terrific old walled portion of the city, it was overrun with stret vendors trying to sell sunglasses, tablecloths and bottled water amongst the usually locals crafts. I swear it was the same tablecloth vendor in each square and side street.
There were not many opportunities for photographs but here are a few.
Swimming in the shadow of the Island Princess and some old tub that was grounded in a hurricane.
Princess Cruises allow one bottle of wine per passenger in the luggage. Spirits are not allowed. We had been told by others that if you just stick a bottle of Scotch into your bags it will probably go through. We thought that if we could smuggle a bottle of Scotch on board that we could probably smuggle a bottle of Scotch and a bottle of good Gin too.
The 1st sign that things were not going as planned was when all of the luggage without contraband showed up but none of the luggage mules. Hours passed. Then the remaining bags showed up without the Scotch and without the Gin. Each bottle had been replaced with a really well written card explaining that the laws of the sea left the cruise line no choice but to claim the bounty and destroy it.
This morning I check the onboard Duty Free to see if they had been out on the shelf for sail.
Tomorrow we are in Grand Cayman. If I see a liquor store I am going to try again. I will beat these guys yet. Interesting that I no longer drink.
We are on the boat and heading to Panama. A couple of days ago we had a decent scare when an email arrived saying that they had a few cases of Norwalk in the previous cruise that they were taking a couple of extra hours to sanitize the boat. We were asked to show up two hours past our scheduled arrival so that they could dedicate their time to getting the boat ready. We did.
First thing that I did was to weight myself in the gym to create a record of my weight. I hope to get off the boat in 10 days weighing at least that much.
I have watched this video a couple of times lately (and lots of other videos from Maggie) and enjoyed it both times. She is very talented. This is the moment when she meets a famous music producer, Pharrell Williams, in a university class and plays a song that she had written 8 days earlier. You are able to watch him discover her talent and her reaction when she thinks that he is telling her that it is not very good.
Another interesting vide is Maggie on the Tom Power radio show (CBC mornings, the best interviewer):
I have always been a fan of Morgan James, she is an internet star but tours constantly across the US and Europe. This winter she came slumming to Ontario and played London on Sunday night. Concert was held at the London Music Hall. The 1st indication that something was wrong was when I received notification from Ticketmaster that the show had been moved frm the big hall (1000 people) to the small hall (350).
It was a nice drive into London - exactly 60 minutes, the hall is a gorgeous little room with a good bar and very good viewing. Carol recons that 60 people showed up for the show.
The 1st half of the 90 minute set was very good with Morgan and her band playing many songs that highlighted her amazing vocal talents. Then it went south. Morgan announced that it was the 59th anniversary since the release of the Beatles "White Albumn" and that they were going to finish the show with an homage to the Beatles. I was never a Beatles fan - especially Dear Prudence and Back to the USSR. Very disappointing end to the performance.
Still, we made it back to New Hamburg and were in bed by 10:15. A very successful concert evening.
Top marks to the venue, its location, the bar and the 1st half of the show.