The day started early – 5:30 am. That was when the ship approached the locks of the canal. When Anne got on the deck, it was still dark. As the sun rose, we passed through the canal. It was neat to see and amazing that this thing was ever built. It also gave me a chance to try out the movie mode on our new camera.
Panama Canal Locks
Panama Canal Mule
Soon after we transferred onto small boats to get to shore and board a bus to ride a train and then another bus as part of a Panama Canal tour. Some of it was informative. Other parts were purely commercial and promotional. At the Miraflores locks on the Pacific side, we watched this 10-minute propaganda video about how well the canals were being run by Panama, how valuable they are and how we should invest in Panama, complete with bad reenactments of Balboa discovering the Pacific. I’m not sure tourists on vacation are the right target audience for this.
We stopped at a point outside Panama city for restrooms and shopping. I found an internet terminal – $1 for 20 minutes or 10x cheaper than on the ship. It was my first fix in almost a week. I checked on things at work and at home. Meanwhile, Anne was getting into some trouble on her own. She took a solo walk out to a levee and was stopped by a security guard on a bike who said it was a work zone. He escorted her back to the shopping area.
The back half of the tour was a rather long drive back across the isthmus. I nodded off. We were dropped off at the port in the middle of a bunch of shops. I found the business center in the back and got onto the internet for 45 minutes or so, enough to get through all the important email and send some IMs. I walked out and towards the boat to find an exasperated Anne looking for me. She couldn’t find me and was starting to assume the worst. Because you swipe a card whenever you get on or off the ship, she found out I wasn’t onboard yet, even though there was still a few hours before we were to depart for Costa Rica.
We talked to a waiter later about if people often miss the ship. She said it doesn’t happen often and couldn’t remember it happening in the last few months. That night we left late though and heard it was because they were waiting for a few people. Thankfully, they weren’t waiting for me.