Funny things happen when you have been traveling for a month. The smallest reminders of home become sources of great joy. The other night, we stopped in Colon after passing through the Panama Canal (again). This was our third time through the Canal. The entire crew was really looking forward to getting off the ship for some food ashore, access to the internet and some snacks from the Super 99 grocery store. It took a bit longer to get off the ship than we all anticipated, but we had about an hour to run our errands and get a bite to eat. We got some more canned octopus, crackers, peanut butter plus a few other snacks to share with our friends. Then as we were rushing back to the ship, we saw our friend Viki and she was eating a sandwich…. Subway to be exact. It sounded really good, so we asked her where she found it. Silly us, it was two doors down from the grocery store. So we ran over there and waited in a short line to split a Subway Club on wheet, Number 4, “Quatro”. At home, I rarely eat Subway because we cook at home so much… But I really enjoyed that the other day.
One of the strangest ports we have been to yet. Colon has a brightly colored square of building with many tourist shops selling sun dresses, native folk art and other small items. We poked our head in each shop just to see what was there. We really didn’t need anything that they were offering, so we just kept moving around the square. Best thing we found there was a grocery store called the Super 99 where they have alot of American products that reminded us of home. We bought a bunch of snacks for our room, laundry detergent, some wine and a bottle of champagne. Last night, we ate the best snack so far, a container of marinated canned octopus on some whole wheat crackers. It sounds funny, but it was just like eating a can of tuna or sardines. Since we like to eat alot of sushi and often have the octopus salad, the flavor of the canned Tora weren’t that far off what we were used to tasting at the Little Tree Sushi Bar in Royal Oak.
Being from Michigan and having spent quite a bit of time in the Upper Peninsula camping in the summer with my family, I have actually seen a locks system in action. I remember being a small child and standing next to the edge of the Soo Locks while large freighters passed through the channel. The system fascinated me as they raised and lowered the level of the water in each system to accommodate for the changes in depth between the two water ways. Having been on land and watching the process was one thing…
However, when we cruised through the Panama Canal that was a whole different experience. I was at a loss for words when I walked out on the promenade and saw the land so very close to the ship. It seemed as if there were only a few inches between the edge of the Canal and the side. If I could have stepped out from deck three, I certainly could have jumped across the expanse. After we went through one set of the locks, we decided to go out to the crew pool and check out the view from the front of the ship.