Monday, January 7, 2013

Sunday, December 23, 2012 – Colon, Panama – Partly Cloudy – 84F – Chance of Rain

Distance from Cartagena to Colon: 264 Nautical Miles

A warm day in Panama…

  20121223_ships position (Small)

Our expectation for Colon (the longest stay of all of the Ports of Call) is that there has been a good deal of new commercial development around the port.  There is an enormous Ramada Hotel that has been there for a couple of years now – we are hoping that other stores have popped up around this hotel. 

Also docked in Colon today is the Grandeur of the Seas.

20121223_Colon Grandeur of the Seas (Small)

Grandeur of the Seas from Century Deck

20121223_Colon walkway to shopping (Small)

Walkway from pier to shopping center

The shopping center is right next to the dock and you get there by crossing a bridge.  On the bridge, a lot of people including crew seemed to be on some kind of WiFi system.  I connected with it but the sign-in was unsuccessful after many attempts.  So we proceeded to the shopping center.

Once into the center, you are, of course, besieged by tour folks and taxi drivers.  The stores in the center have not changed much since our last visit. 

We inquired at the Ramada if we could use their WiFi – while they let us last time, this time they said if was for guests only.  At the back of the hotel, we spotted a sign for the Colon McDonalds.  Although the neighborhood did not look all that inviting, the McDs was in sight about four blocks away.  We decided to walk there – along the way we saw these “Free Zones” which were stores and shops behind large locked gates – like fortresses.  They reminded me of Movie Studio Sets – cities behind security gates. We will need to find out more about these free zones.

The McDonalds was like an oasis in a desert of run down buildings.  The store was clean and crisp and they did have free WiFi and we were able to catch up on things.  I guess no matter where you are the McDonalds standard is upheld. As soon as we finished we hustled back to the ship. 

20121223_McDs in Colon (Small)

McDonalds in Colon

We are going to be a little more careful next time we are in Colon especially in light of the sign posted on one of the shops (below) (that’s me reflecting in the window).

20121223_Colon Free WiFi but no handguns (Small)

Well, we didn’t check out the WiFi in that store.

We spend the rest of the day on Deck 6 – it was not uncomfortably warm and the view was pretty nice – there were occasional showers that cooled everything off.

20121223_Raining in Colon (Small)

Ellen on Deck During a Shower

While we were unsuccessful logging into the WiFi on the bridge, we did sign in while on Deck.  This gave us a chance to check e-mail again and live chat.  After a while, we signed off and just spaced on the deck.  I am reading “Brimstone” by Preston and Childs – this is Number 5 in the Pendergast series and unfortunately, I have been reading them out of order (I didn’t know they were a series with linkages).  When I finish this novel, the only one left in the series for me to read is Number 9.  It’s like that movie, “Memento” – the novels are running backwards.

We ate dinner in the Grand Cafe at our nice table.  There was little on the menu for me so I asked our waiter if the chef could rustle up some spaghetti marinara and that’s what he did.  It was good and a change from the general menu items.

We did not take in the show tonight – instead  we spent a good deal of the evening in the Rendezvous Lounge listening to the Celebration Band (below) and later in Michael’s Club with Eddie C.

20121223_Celebration Band in Rendezvous post show (Small)

Checking the schedule for tomorrow, I saw that I was speaking at Noon in the Theater – it was a very nice advert in the Daily but I am not sure how it will work out with the transit schedule.  We’ll see.

Tomorrow – Daylight Transit of the Panama Canal

Pedometer: 6147 steps / 2.91 miles / 301 calories

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