Panama Canal 2015 20 Feb. Day 1

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February 21st 2015
Published: February 21st 2015
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Terrible beginning to the trip, in that I had set the alarm for 5:30 am but somehow managed not to switch it on properly. We awake in a panic at 6:34 for a pickup by my son at 6:45. No time even to eat. The wife and I are not on speaking terms by the time we leave the house at 7:20.

The previous evening I had done the online check-in for our West Jet flight. For reasons that were mysterious at the time, the system would only allow me to complete the check-in for myself, not for Vi. When we arrive at the airport, we find that Vi has apparently been chosen at random for a comprehensive security check throughout the entire process. Bad news? No, because once we hit the very long security screening lines, we are bumped right to the front. Violet has to endure the full-body scan and having everything she owns inspected and swabbed piece by piece, but it means that we arrive at the departure gate in record time.

Uneventful non-stop flight to Fort Lauderdale. I haven't flown with West Jet for quite some time, but their relaxed, irreverent tone in their in-flight announcements is refreshing. They have toned down the crazy stuff, however; I remember a flight some years ago on the airline where a beach ball was let loose in the cabin.

Taxi to our hotel. Nice suite with a complete kitchen. After checking in, our empty stomachs are audibly complaining, so we cross the highway to see what we can find. A small hole-in-the-wall called Mama's Cuban Cafe catches our fancy. I remember once reading a list of do's and don't's for life that included the advice "Never eat in a place called Mama's". Oh well. We both have a "Cuban sandwich," which is ok and some sweet fried plantains, which are delicious. The Cuban coffee (basically espresso) is great, and Mama's home-brewed hot sauce is lethal.

We drop by a dollar store and a grocery store. At the latter, a Winn-Dixie, we decide to pick up food and wine for supper that we can eat in our room. The trick is to get the discounted prices, you need a membership card. This we find out from a store employee, who suggests slyly that when we hit the cash, she could swipe her card instead. She gets the points and we get the discount. Sounds like a win-win to us, since as far as I know, Winn-Dixie isn't moving into Canada any time soon.

Back at the hotel, we find out from an email that the ship is delayed, and our boarding time has changed from 12 noon to 3 pm. Kind of annoying, because that means we could have easily avoided the hotel stay. C'est la vie. We enjoy a relaxed evening in our room as we start to unwind. No snow here, by the way. Temperature about 20°C; a bit chilly, according to the locals.


22nd February 2015

I'm still giggling
Sorry guys but, as usual with Dave's writing, I am totally "there" when reading it! I can see Vi in the a.m.!!! Feel the panic!! It can only get better from here. Enjoy every minute. It has snowed non-stop here today - ugh!!!
24th February 2015

Hi you two! Enjoying the blogs as usual, thus far, and feeling a little envious....Looking forward to tomorrow's activities. vheers, Gail

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