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Published: January 21st 2010
The bus stopped so we could see this monkey.
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal
From Isla de Providencia we sailed to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. The day was sunny and quite warm, but not unbearable. We took a tour of two banana plantations. The first was Del Monte. We were able to walk around among the trees or rather, plants, and see up close how bananas grow. Each plant produces only one bunch of fruit and then it dies, but not before sprouting another shoot. The plantation allows only three shoots. When the mother plant has produced, workers chop down the stalk which looks strong and sturdy but is actually mostly water and bark. Bunches of bananas are covered with blue perforated plastic bags to ripen. Then they are strung on wire cables, cut down, and workers pull maybe twenty bunches at a time to the plant where the bananas are separated, washed, sprayed with a protective coating, sorted, tagged, and put on belts for packing.
From there we had a bumpy ride to the Dole plantation. The one main road from the coast to San Jose is well maintained, but secondary roads wash out during the rainy season and are not as good. Dole
Bunches are tied with plastic for protection.
has created what amounts to a Company town. They provide housing, schools, a church, hospital, soccer fields, and other amenities for their workers - as long as they work there. If they lose their job, they have to leave. I don’t know how the pay compares to Del Monte, but the area at Dole is very attractive. It was here that we sampled liqueur of banana, coconut, cacao, and macadamia nut. Interesting, but very sweet stuff. After that stop we headed to a resort hotel for “shopping”. Lots of t-shirts, wooden things, banana paper products, and just about everything “Banana” one can think of. Bruce, the non-shopper, actually bought a t-shirt.
Our guide was very good and made the trip interesting and enjoyable. We returned to the ship in time for a late lunch and a rest. As we left port around four, the clouds started to form, and we looked like we were heading right into a storm. Dinner was calm, but in the evening it became difficult to get around, so we headed to our room. Last night, Wednesday, the seas were really rough. Doors were slamming and things were falling off shelves, making it rather difficult
View taken from our balcony toward the bridge.
By morning the storm had passed, and the sun came out as we entered the Panama Canal. Today (Thursday the 21st) we are lucky to be on the shady side of the ship as we go through the canal so we can sit on our balcony and watch everything. Since we’ve been through before, seeing the mules and the locks opening and closing once is enough for me. Bruce the transportation guy on the other hand, loves it all. We have a Canal expert aboard who gives talks as we go through telling us the history. This can be heard outside.
We anchor outside Fuerte Amador (Panama City) this evening and can tender into Fuerte Amador tonight, but tomorrow the tours begin. We will also have our first “event” night with a BBQ on deck from 5-8. So we can skip the dining room tonight.
I have to end with the saga of Bruce’s “old” trousers. In Ft. L., when we ate crab at the Rustic inn, Bruce’s bib caught the grease from getting on his shirt, but not his pants. Yesterday, he said maybe he should throw them away. I said why not send
These two cars, or mules, pulled our ship through the lock.
them out to be cleaned, and if they couldn’t get the spots out, then throw them out. So, as we were going into our room, our neighbors heard us, and she said why not try using paper towels and ironing the stain out. We said that’s an idea. Don’t think the Tide stick will do it. We went out, and when we returned, He (neighbor) wrote a note saying we should try alcohol, and if we didn’t have any, we should use hand sanitizer. No comment back from us. This morning Bruce was having coffee and saw them sitting with another couple, and they got into the discussion, too. One of them wondered why the trousers still fit if they were old. Our neighbor patted Bruce’s tummy and said his waist had moved, that’s how! Now, the pants are in the hands of the crew and we’ll wait and see how well they do. I’ll keep you posted as I know how interested you are in the outcome.
On that note, I’ll close for now.
Tot: 0.109s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 12; qc: 56; dbt: 0.0238s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
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