Saturday, January 24, 2009

24 Jan 2009 Saturday

24 Jan 0839 – We are anchored in Lake Gatun for a couple of hours waiting our turn to enter the locks at the Pacific end of the Panama Canal. Yesterday was a day at sea and just as mellow as that sounds. We read, hit the gym and attended a lecture by former astronaut Rusty Schweikert – he was on the Apollo 9 mission. He spoke of that mission and showed a lot of interesting photos. Brian and Clyde were fascinated – Mary was filled with ennui. He is also involved with a group that is focused on protecting the earth from future strikes by asteroids – and that will be the subject of a future talk. Last night was a formal night. Clyde went to the dining room and only needed a bow tie to supplement his natural tux. He also enjoyed a little casino action later.

We were up bright and early this morning to see the Royal Princess enter the Panama Canal at 0645. We had a champagne breakfast out on the balcony – many thank for that to our intrepid travel agents Kern and Judy.

While sitting in the locks we saw a little everyday Panamanian scene play out. There is a road that is parallel to the canal there. First a yellow school bus pulled up a parked. Then a truck with a cage on the back containing a huge Brahma bull pulled up and parked about 150 yards from the bus. We had the sense that the bull was on the way to see a girlfriend. He was loose in the back of the truck and seemed very relaxed – looking around and occasionally changing postion. Papa and son got out of the truck and walked to the bus – sonny got on. A small motorcycle then arrived – same deal. Then a car. Apparently this is a gathering point and parents bring their kids to the bus.

The ship’s photographers have a gimmick here to sell more photos and videos. They provided materials yesterday for people to create their own signs for the canal passage. The photogs got off the ship prior to entering the canal and shot pics of the ship with the signs displayed over the side. Clyde got into the spirit of things (see photo).

BTW Clyde is becoming very well known on the ship and has made lots of friends.

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