How to celebrate a 70th birthday? Carol and I both have serious head and chest colds and were basically comatose on her birthday. My birthay present to Carol was a concoction of Tylenol and Vitamin C every 6 hours for the full day.
I also purchased her some front row tickets to the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch of the ARABSAT-6A satellite from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Centre. We had just been there in March touring LC-39A and were awaiting the lauch eagerly.
This launch was very historical in that all three boosters used for the launch were recovered and will be reused. Videos of the recovery are amazing. It is something that I never thought that I would see.
Finally some words to match the photos.
These photos were taken at East Beach on St Simons. It is one of the best beaches that I have ever seen - kilometers long, a couple of hundred meters wide, clean sand and people really enjoying walking, digging and exercising their pets. I really dislike walking on most beachs but this one was a great walk. The sand was firm under foot, it had a very gradual descent to the water.
I stopped to help some old folk with their group photos. They were happy to oblige and share their pleasure.
We are installed in a unit on Nettles Island. It is old and tired, unclean, and inhospitable. But for now it is home. We rented it based on photos on the internet and we will be a lot less likely to do that in the future. I have decided that we will not do any cooking in the place - I would not know where to begin. Joan saw the place before we arrived and warned us but it was all too late, we had made the booking and now we are living with it.
We are changing our plans though: there is a launch from Canaveral on the 13th and we will stay in Titusville for a couple of days to see the launch and visit the space centre and then we will head to The Villages to stay with some friends from Collingwood/Palm Desert who now own a home In The Villages. Our final stop will be with Marsha and Jamie on St Simon Island in Georgia - then we will head home.
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.
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.
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.
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 video is Maggie on the Tom Power radio show (CBC mornings - the best interviewer ever):