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minikin

Minikin's Journal

Routine Ramblings of an Occasionally Interesting Housewife


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Panama Canal Crossing
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minikin
Written on Tuesday night -

This morning, Flar was up with the dawn. I know, because he pointed out the sunrise over the Pacific. There's this kink in the continent that make the ship actually travel in an easterly direction to cross from the Pacific to the Caribbean. I took a picture of sunrise, but I was too sleepy to get enrobed and sit outside to watch the workings of the locks. Flar recorded much of it on his video camera, and I watched the ship channel on the TV while I was half drowsing in bed. A team of pilots came aboard the ship before we approached the first lock. They took over control of maneuvering the ship, and they also provided narrative about what was happening.

After we were through the first lock, Flar and I headed up to breakfast in Cagney's. The buffet was already closed down, but our server was kind enough to bring us the fruit we would have gotten from it, along with our menu orders.

After breakfast, Flar relaxed in the sun while I stood in the line for Canal souvenirs. There was a Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale on the t-shirts, so I picked out three, then I also picked out a photo album, key chain and nail file. We came back to the room and lazed a bit, then Flar lay down for a nap while I went to the pool. I got one of the airbrush tattoos that they've been offering poolside, sloshed around in the pool and then read in the sun for about 45 minutes.

Then I went to Bar City to participate in the indoor putting and bocci games. For putting, our target was a foam soda can holder, and it was hard enough to get the ball into it without either moving the whole target or have the ball roll back out. Our champion was a sweet lady from the Big Island in Hawaii.

I'd never played Bocci before, so I was really looking forward to it. The ball rolls fast on carpet, but I kind of got the hang of how much to put into the roll. Our team played pretty well, but at the end of it, the winning team was made up of an older woman who'd played Bocci in her youth and the Australian crewman running the game. Apparently lawn bowling is a family sport in Australia.

Flar and I met in the Great Outdoors for a late lunch, and watched as the ship cleared the last lock and sailed away from Panama. Then we went back to the cabin to relax and nap. Once we got all dressed for dinner, we went first to the casino. Flar handed me one of his $100 chips from his first night of gambling, and we sat down at the Roulette Table. I got mine in dollar chips, to spread out over the numbers, and Flar got his in $5 chips, to bet around the outside. I started out betting the 5-6-8-9 corner, the 16 and the 25, for our wedding anniversary and my birthday, and the very first roll was 25. Whee! As time went on I varied my numbers a bit. First to 2-5. 9-12, 16, 25, adding in Flar's birthday, then to 2-5, 9-12. 16. 25-26-28-29, adding in our first date, and finally 2-3-5-6. 8-9-11-12, 16 & 25-26-28-29, adding in the boy's birthdays. I hit on everything but the 16 (well, duh - but that's a different tale). But when I say I hit on the rest, I mean, I was winning more often than I was losing. When I got about $29 ahead, and I'd won several in a row, Flar suggested we call it an evening, so we did. It turned out I won about $8 more than Flar lost, so we more than broke even as a pair for the night.

I learned something on the cruise that I've never understood before about why Flar likes to gamble. For him, it's about the people energy surrounding the table. The more people that are playing, the more he enjoy the game, because he's participating in a group cheering and railing etc. about the roll of the dice or the wheel. Several times now, he's passed by the craps or roulette tables when they were open, but there was no one playing. He says it's no fun to be the only player at the table. It turns out that the enjoyment that Flar gets out of gambling is very similar to the enjoyment I get out of bowling or the silly games I've been playing in Bar City. It's all about social camaraderie.

We sat in Bar City awhile before dinner. Flar had a scotch and I tried the Neon martini. It had vodka, blue curacao and white creme de menthe in it, and it tasted like spearmint, a very icy minty flavor. We sipped and we talked and we just enjoyed being with each other.

We ate dinner in the Garden Café tonight. Their dinner offerings include the simple and the elaborate. The food I had was quite tasty and I barely scouted out a quarter of the buffet. For dessert, I got a fresh strawberry crepe with whipped cream. Yummmm.

We returned to the cabin for an early evening. Tomorrow, we're docking in Cartegena, where I'm going to throw myself into a bubbling volcano. In the evening, I'm looking forward to the reception to celebrate taking onboard Colombian emeralds. My bowling partner Danni, who works in the ship store, tells me there will be green champagne at the reception. Who can resist?
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O: I've always been curious about the Panama Canal. Do you have pictures???

Flar took most of the canal crossing pictures, and I haven't uploaded anything from his camera yet.

When we get back on land to truly high-speed internet, I'll make some facebook albums and link to them here.

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