Sunday, February 24, 2008

Panama Canal Vacation

This last fall we went to the Panama Canal on a cruise. On our cruise we stop in places like "Half Moon Cay," "Aruba," "Curacao," "The Panama Canal," "Colon, Panama," and "Limon, Costa Rica". Let me tell you about our wonderful experience.
We flew to Fort Lauderdale and spent the night at a hotel, we couldn't get on the boat until the next day.
The first place we visited was "Half Moon Cay". I decided that I wanted my hair braided by one of the islanders; she put orange and green beads on the bottom of the braids. It looked awesome and was so easy to take care of. Tom went on an excursion with his dad; they went on a bicycle tour. On the ride they got to see the island and go down by some sting rays.

Aruba, I love Aruba, the first thing we did was shopped. They had a whole block of little shops set up for the tourists to get there nick knacks. After shopping we decided to go to the beach. Our first adventure was to find transportation to the beach. We decided to take the local Bus System. The bus driver had the strongest accent. He felt pity on us and asked where we wanted to go, we told him the beach. He said "I'll take you to a good beach", on the ride to the beach we must have passed 5 beaches. At this time we were all wondering where the heck he was taking us. He took us to the least crowded beach on the whole island; there was a tiki bar, beach chairs, and tons of white sand and blue water. Me and Tom made a pathetic sand castle, and went swimming. Susan and Kristy hung out on the beach chairs and made fun of people. When we got back to the boat I had the biggest red spot on my boob, we found out a couple days later, I had been stung by a jelly fish. Man that hurts!

Curacao, was our third stop, here is where we went to the Dolphin Academy. At the Dolphin Academy Tom and I got to have a meet and great with a dolphin. His name was Copan. Here is a little History about Copan; Copan is a 27 year old male and the oldest and wisest at the Academy. He acted in "Flipper" (1996) and "Bermuda Triangle". Getting to touch and learn about the dolphins was my favorite part of the trip. I have always loved dolphins and always wanted to see one, but living in Utah makes that dream a little hard to accomplish, so when I found out that this excursion was possible I wanted to sign up right away. Everyone in the family decided to come along and have the chance to see me fullfill a little dream. It was awesome!!!
Panama Canal, the Panama Canal is truly a "Modern Marvel" it was really interesting to watch the water move a huge cruise ship over a mountain. The way the locks opened to let the boat in and then fill up with water was very interesting. Who would have thought that you could move ships with the combination of water and gravity. Still to this day it is still currently operating every day. Sense 1914 the canal has only been shut completely down three times, mostly for security reasons. I think everyone should go through the canal at least once in their life. It gives you a greater respect for imported items.

The fourth port was Colon, Panama. I was not impressed with this island. When we first arrived the first thing you will notice is the very colorful shopping mall and the locals were scrambling towards the dock just to see our boat and try to hustle some money from us tourists. When we got to the main shopping area we were hassled by guys they wanted to take us on a tour of the island. The kept following us and wouldn't leave us alone. There were soldiers on every corner loaded with fire arms. This really made us feel uncomfortable; we did a little shopping and hurried back to the ship. I was glad to be back in our room where I knew we were safe.
Our final port was Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. The unofficial characteristic is best summed up in the favorite local expression of perfection and joy - "Pura Vida!" which means "unadulterated (good) life" the people from Costa Rica are very laid back easy going people. They don't have many possessions but they always seemed to be very happy people. On average they make $300.00 a month that would be ruff!! Costa Rica is a rain forest so of course when we got there it was raining and had been for a couple of days. The bamboo on the island has been known to grow a foot and a half on a good rainy day. Here they have houses on stilts to help with the constant flooding. It was a little hard to drive around and see the way the lived, there houses were little shacks, with no windows or doors and there was garbage all over in the town. In Limon we went to visit a Banana Plantation, the Plantation that we visited was the company "Del Monte" but because of the rain they were not working. But, we did learn a few things about the banana trees. Every ten years they will plant new trees, the tree will only produce one bundle of bananas and a start for a new tree. They will harvest the bananas and cut the tree down and let the new one grow. The leave the trees on the ground to help fertilize the new growths. The one think I notice was the wonderful smell of bananas. After the plantation we drove to the "Dole" Companies little village. I was really impressed with Dole, they went in and built 20 to 30 homes with windows and doors for there workers, so as long as you worked for Dole you would have a place for your family to live. But, as soon as you stopped working there you had to move immediatley. The homes were so much nicer then any of the other homes we had seen. We then headed to a hotel were we shopped and had the chance to get a soda. I had been craving a Dr. Pepper for 8 days now and was giving up on finding one. I wanted to try one last time so I asked the guy at the bar if he had a Dr. Pepper, He said to me "what is that a concoction" No surprise he had no clue what one was. So, I settled again for a coke...

This was the first time I had ever been so far from home. It was a real eye opener to how people live in that part of the world. I found new respect for everything I use to take for granted. Like, running water, windows, doors, and of course Dr. Pepper...
I would recommend this cruise to anyone; it was full of adventure for everyone. I learned a lot and had a blast doing it.
I will never forget 10 o'clock cocktails by the pool. Why 10 o'clock you ask, because I knew that at 10 o'clock there it was 8 o'clock here and everyone was headed to work and we were chillin' by the pool drinking cocktails.

New to the "Blog World"

Okay, so this is my first post ever. I am new to the blog world. I think this is going to be really fun and a great way to stay connected to everyone.