Mike&Sue

MikeandSue

Mike&Sue

Well, this started for us to blog about India in 2008 and has been used several times since. Then, Sue went to China in 2011 and helped the girls move around the Southeast in 2012. We'll keep using it to capture pictures and travels!
Then: Ireland and the Isle of Man, summer 2017, bicycling in NYC with Road Scholars in Sept 2018.
Now—the Panama Canal, again with Road Scholars, March 2019!



North America » United States » Virginia » Harrisonburg March 30th 2019

Well, of course, everything was very well organized for our departure from the hotel (6 a.m.) and delivery to the airport. The line to check our luggage was a good half-hour (but nothing compared to the Passport line at Dulles). Passport check was quick and easy as was Security until they caught Susan's arsenal on the x-ray. This bag of knitting equipment has been on any number of domestic and international flight (it had to get to Panama somehow) but these agents were extra careful. I think the woman was trying to tell me that I could go and talk to someone at the customer service desk (and maybe they would have found a way to get the items home) but I didn't want to risk another 30+ minute wait. So, they kept it all. Nothing ... read more
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Central America Caribbean March 29th 2019

Started the day at the Melia Panama Canal with Howler Monkeys greeting us at sunrise. Did sound right creepy and I was glad we knew about them ahead of time. Mike went with Beny, one of the tour guides, a nature expert, on an early-morning walk to look for birds and animals. Mike was also trying out his new camera. He got a picture of the Nocturnal Monkey and several birds. Beny has a camera with a lens that's about a foot long and also knew what he was looking for/at. Howler monkeys: look like a double chin but the hyoid bone, what becomes in men the adam’s apple, huge, just to amplify the sound. Low calorie, high fiber diet of green leaf. Rather than marking their territory, they howl to avoid fighting. All about energy, ... read more
Melia Panama Canal ceiling
New Locks
New Locks gates


This is the day!! Breakfast at 6, on the bus at 6:30, on the boat at 6:45! We were to have our luggage outside our door by 11:30 the night before to be picked up by the bellboy and loaded on the bus to be driven to Colon, where we'll exit the boat. Luckily, we left the knapsack to pick up after breakfast and noticed that our luggage (and that of other travelers on the same hall) had not been picked up! Took the bus out to Flamenco Island and saw the sunrise over the Pacific. What, Susan, you have that wrong! No, the bay curved around so that the point we were on was actually facing East. Boarded the Islamorada, a 100 year old boat that used to belong to Al Capone! From url=http://www.canada.com/travel/Gangster+Capone+running+yacht+ferrying+tourists+Panama/9360023/story.htmlhttp://www.canada.com/travel/Gangster+Capone+running+yacht+ferrying+tourists+Panama/9360023/story.html... read more
boat
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Mike Touching the Wall

Central America Caribbean » Panama March 27th 2019

Day 3--up and out at 8 a.m. after breakfast at the hotel. We'll be on the bus over half the day as we tour and learn about Lake Alajuela, Madden Dam, Gamboa Rain Forest Preserve and the Miraflores Lock Visitors Center. First stop, the Administrative Center of the Canal which, of course, was originally American. The building's central foyer has a capital-type dome with murals of the construction at the base of the dome. Philadelphia artist William van Eagan (not sure about the spelling) was paid .25/square foot for these and they were transported down and put in place. In side grottoes, there were busts of Ferdinand de Lesseps (the french con artist who coordinated the French attempt at the canal), and Teddy Roosevelt. Notes from on the bus: When the Canal Zone changed hands, people ... read more
Bust of TR
Madden Dam and the Lake
Camino de Cruces


Day 2--first full day here--After watching a cruise ship, the Coral Princess, float by, started with breakfast at the hotel and an orientation meeting where we met our guides, updated the schedule, and learned the ground rules. Basically, no one in Panama pays attention to time but we are to be on time for the buses. This morning we went to Panama la Vieja, the original part of panama city, the section destroyed by Morgan when he sacked the city (more later). First, a trip through the Panama , Canal Museum, then a short time to wander, then a walking tour of the old city and some plazas, ending at the French Plaza and a bus trip to lunch. We were divided into 3 groups today because the old city cannot accomodate a big bus. Notes ... read more
Light House
Altar de Oro
French Embassy facing French Plaza


Spent last night at the Dulles Marriott so we didn't have to try and get to Dulles at 8 am on a Monday--worked very nicely. The shuttle had us there in no time, we checked our bag and got our boarding passes (scored TSA pre-check!!) and made our way, via the new underground trains, to the gate and the plane. The plane was not packed to the gills and we ended up being the only two in our three-person half-row. Flew Copa Airlines and it was very pleasant--good food, nice stewards, videos in the seats, etc. Stepped off the plane into the walk way and felt the 91 degrees, got our luggage and found the transport to the hotel--was a 40 minute drive so we were even more glad we arrived in time to take advantage ... read more
Panama City skyline
Front of Hotel
Hotel Hall


So, for those not in the loop--We're going on a Road Scholar trip to the Panama Canal March 25-30 (https://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-adventure/9901/grit-and-glory-exposing-the-panama-canal) for details. Mike's got a camera and Panama Bird book; we've decided on clothes, etc. to take--Susan still needs to get a hat. Think we'll make it with one suitcase (it is only 5 days, after all!). We leave March 24, spending the night before at Dulles. Good news--our flights are close enough to the Road Scholar-provided ones that we'll be able to ride to and from the airport and hotels in Panama City with the group and won't have to arrange our own transport. The dollar is the reigning currency in Panama and we've tested our ATM cards to be sure they work and we know the PIN! Still need to call them and warn ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama Canal February 18th 2019

Well, it's a month away but we were able to choose our seats on the plane to Panama City from Dulles, got a reservation for the airport hotel the night before the flight down, have the Panama City hotel information, and am gathering other things (mainly making lists, of course). Read the book about the canal construction and got very good feedback about the trip from a colleague at another Virginia community college. As usual, taking a few minutes to refresh myself with the blog page and how it works. Created a 'trip' for the week; still not sure how that works, different from just posting.... read more

North America » United States » New York September 9th 2018

Well, as we feared last night, Susan had to bow out of today's riding tour. After some thought, Mike decided to stay back too. Since the Polish deli for lunch was scheduled for today, we wanted to meet the group there. Richard provided us the name (Pyza) address (118 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn 11222) and location (on Nassau between Manhattan and McGuiness) so we could get there. It was already raining and in the '60s... After breakfast, we bought a couple tickets to the Downtown Hop On Hop Off bus, to see Times Square, the Empire State Building (a little closer), the 911 memorial. We did that online and got a confirmation code. We successfully rode the Subway from just outside of the hotel down a couple stops to the bus departure area. We found the right ... read more
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North America » United States » New York » New York » Brooklyn September 8th 2018

Saturday in NYC means some of the subway lines aren't operating or are on different schedules. We left the hotel for the subway stop right near the door. Got off and walked a bit to the Tenement Museum which was a great tour. We had seen a piece on it on Sunday Morning a couple months ago and were looking forward to it. Great stories, good guide. Then wandered over through one of the four Chinatowns in NYC, making our way to the Fulton Market and the waterfront. Was quite a bit like China at several points--the people playing music and games in the park, the open fresh food markets and lots of wares in lots of little shops. Great meal at a restaurant that I thought I took a picture of from the outside but ... read more
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