I am sitting in Mickey Dees in the middle of a residential area in Cartagena called Boca Grande. It's kind of like Ft. Lauderdale with street vendors. They torture you as you stroll down the street trying to sell you fake Rolex watches and tee shirts. Jerry is in heaven. This morning we went to the old colonial city which is quite nice except for the people trying to sell you anything and everything. The buildings are beautiful, all painted different vivid colors. The music is good, the weather is hot, sticky with periods of rain. Just like home. Lots of drug money. Nice condos overlooking the ocean, upscale shops, very homogenized. That is the trouble with the world today. Everything is the same. However, I do feel safe here. No hint of trouble and loads of police all over the place, making their presence very visible.
After today we have two sea days and then home to plan for the next adventure.
is a woman on this ship who is either a Russian opera singer or
actress or the queen of the Russian Mafia. I have named her Svetlana
Uspenskaya. She weighs about 300 pounds, dresses amazingly flamboyantly and travels with an entourage. I am fascinated by the
whole thing and cannot wait to see what she is wearing day. She is
a site to behold! Last night she wore a gown with a huge thing on
one shoulder which I thought was a monkey at first. But it was a
huge mass of material. It also had a train which she held out on the
side as she flounced around. She loves having her picture taken and
poses constantly. She is my own private floor show. I can't wait
rained all day in Colon but we were in Panama City for the major part
of the day. Panama City is the capital and about one hour's ride
from the port of Colon where the ship docked. We hired a private
guide and took off for Panama City at about 8:30 am in the rain. We
drove past the Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks on the Pacific side
of the canal and also passed Lake Chagres and into the rainforest.
City has two distinct parts. The new city is very modern with
beautiful glass skyscrapers and condos. There are many banks since
this is a world financial center and the largest free trade zone in
the world. In addition, the large freighters and cargo ships as well
as the cruise ships which transit the canal must pay cash and it is
far from cheap. It cost Celebrity approximately $350,000 for the
transit of the Millenium. So there is loads of money here. Many
Americans retire here and live like kings.
other part of the capital is the old city which dates from colonial
days. It is constantly being worked on. The architecture is very
interesting. Our guide took us into the presidential palace, the
offices of the vice president and many other interesting sites. We
had some fun with a group of high school students as well. Then it a
on to a huge, modern free zone shopping center. I didn't buy
anything. The ride back to the ship was harrowing, to say the least.
There was a torrential downpour and a horrible traffic jam. In
fact, it was the worst traffic I have ever seen. I thought we were
going to be swimming to Cartagena. However, we made it with a few
minutes to spare. I liked Panama and enjoyed the friendliness of the