Okay, let's try this again. First my cruise card wouldn't work in the reader for days. Then Blogger poops out on me after a 30 minute long post. Guess I'll be saving a lot this time.
After Cabo San Lucas, we stopped in Acapulco. Mom loved it. I hated it. Mom loved it because it gave her great memories of Daddy, and the time they spent there 20+ years ago. I hated it because there's so much dirt and poverty there, cheek-by-jowl with so much beauty and money that it would make your head spin. Clearly, Acapulco has never heard of a trickle-down economy.
Next stop, Huatulco. I fell in love. Huatulco is a relatively new resort area, and the government has gone to great lengths to make much of the coastline preserved lands. Mom and I took a catamaran ride and saw five of the many bays in the area. They're lined with pristine, unpopulated beaches. Gorgeous. We were really impressed at how the government has put restrictions on building, including requiring waste water treatment plants for all the big resorts. No waste water will be funneled directly into the ocean. Also, they've protected several beaches for the preservation of sea turtle nesting grounds. (And, yes, we did see turtles as we headed out of port.)
(In fact, I'm already planning to go back for a week in October or November of next year. Hotel rooms run from $60-$150 a night during that time, and you can get a direct flight out of Chicago, Houston or LA. The hotels will water taxi you out to any beach you choose, and run you home at the time you specify. Anybody want to join me?)
The fourth stop was Punta Arenas in Costa Rica. Punta Arena itself is mainly industrial, and not much to look at. We passed on going through the tree tops, and took a trip to Turu Ba Ri, instead. TBR is a new preserve that contains an orchid farm, a butterfly farm, a bromeliad farm, a working model of a Costa Rican farm complete with animals and sugar cane processing demonstration, and a dry rain forest. I got some truly lovely photos there. Next time I go (and, yes, I will be going back there some time, too), I plan on doing their zip line. Rather than whizzing through the tree tops in a seated position, you go prone, looking rather like Super Man. Whee! It really looked like fun.
The fifth stop was the Panama Canal. Hard to believe that marvel of engineering, and how old it is. I wonder if, even knowing the technology we have today, it could have been done any better. I really don't think so. Anyway, after the last lock, we docked in Panama. We did a little shopping in the dockside bazaar. Half a billion molas (a kind of reverse quilting, done in really bright colors), lots of kitschy, touristy crap, and lots of weird boozes for sale. Also some neat baskets done by the rain forest indians... who were wearing loin cloths with thongs in the back, tattoos, a little body paint and nothing else (the men). The women added necklaces, and skirts about six inches long. Needless to say, Mom was goggle-eyed.
Today we're in Aruba. The water is just glorious here. I went on a sail and snorkle this morning, and could have stayed out there forever. What's weird here is that we've seen mountains at every other stop, and Aruba is flatter than a pancake. A little jarring on the eyeballs after all that rolling scenery.
Did I mention that there was karayoke in my future? Well, I've gotten myself into the "Princess Idol" competition... and the finals are tonight in one of the big theaters. (Got home 2 days ago to a star on my door. Whoohoo!) Only six of us left. What a hoot. Mom has missed the earlier heats, and my onboard buddies have threatened to carry her there bodily tonight! Too much fun.
Anyway, gotta run and shower off the salt. Rehearsals are at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 10:30. Wish me luck!