January 6, 2009

Vaca Recap Part 2

Christmas Day found us in Panama. We had booked a shopping excursion - but truth be told, there was very little shopping. First stop - Gatun Locks. We were lucky enough to be there when a ship was going through one set of locks. If you don't have locks where you live - you should find a way to see how they work. It's amazing. Essentially there is a series of gates creating different chambers where the water level is controlled. At the Gatun Locks there are 3 different chambers which change the water level (I think I remember the guide saying) 85 feet overall. What happens is that the water level is changed between two different chambers, once the water level is the same in both, the gates are opened and the boat (moving under it's own power) moves from one chamber to the next, the gates close and the water level in the current chamber is then brought up to match the level in the next. Amazing! The problem we found with excursions - is that you are on somebody else's schedule. So, while the guide took us to these amazing old ruins of Historic Panama we had no time to walk around and explore.
We next drove through Modern Panama. Amazing! All the huge high rises, new buildings being built all the time. The skyline was phenomenal. Our next stop really was for some shopping. We stopped in this amazing section of town. Their were views of Modern Panama. I know I'm going to get this wrong and either Cidell or Natalie can correct me, but there are 3 sections of Panama. One was called Modern, one Historic and one Colonial. Shopping was to be had in Colonial Panama. The buildings were incredible. We bought a few trinkety things from the street vendors, but nothing
The last photo op on the way back to the boat was this beautiful damn. The tour bus pulled off the road and JB shot the photo out the window (we weren't even allowed to get out of the bus - thankfully we were seated on the correct side of the bus to get photos!) We had 2 sea days before docking in Fort Lauderdale. It's amazing how after spending 7 days on a boat the world was still swaying when we got off!
Monday found us in Key West. It takes forever to get there. But it was beautiful. There are Roosters everywhere - just roaming the streets. On the left is a photo of ruins at the Key West Naval Base. I think they are just beautiful to look at - again, I wish we could have got inside and walked around, but apparently it's still an active Navy Base. Next, JB thought it would be funny if I knit in at the Southernmost beach. I had just started his Eagles socks (Dec. 29) so you can't see much knitting, but I was.
Occasionally he takes photos of neat trees and branches too. I have no idea what kind of tree this is, but it's pretty amazing looking up at it. Sometimes you have to change your perspective. I believe we saw everything there was to see in Key West. We ate at Blue Heaven (fabulous food, reasonable prices - go if you have a chance), we walked to the Southernmost point, through residential areas, in most of the shops on Duvall Street. We had dinner and watched the sunset at a marina. This lovely little bird decided that he would like to entertain us while the sun was setting. He made a lovely front to the sunset and was quite entertaining while we were waiting.
Tomorrow - Alligators! Friends! and what I learned on vacation.


  1. I have been to the Ballard Locks five million times, but that pic of the HUGE ship passing thru the locks, WOW!!
    LOVE the roosters...Fred and Henry were truly fascinated by them, too! Did you go to the dog beach? Did you see the performing cats at sunset? Key West is pretty darn neat, no?
    Next time, we will have to go with you so we can bring you onto the base. I talked to one of the sailors while we were there...such a scam, having THAT as your duty station!

  2. Beautiful! I still can't imagine shopping on Christmas Day. A tour, sure... don't ask. I can't explain...

    Love the rooster, especially!

  3. so very jealous. :) it looks exquisite.

  4. These are some great pictures, but I understand your disappointment at not being able to wander around. The rooster is funny. Did you see any Hemingway cats with extra toes? I have not actually been there, just heard about it. It must have been nice to have a beach break for a week, given the miserable winter weather.

  5. I LOVE Key West! My parents have wintered there every year for the last decade or so... in fact in one of those Naval bases. They're full time RVers and retired Navy. We try to visit down there very other year or so... next year for sure!
    (And if you get back again there's a truly beautiful, peaceful, walled-in garden down by that beach.)

  6. Oh, and I totally forgot... Blue Heaven? Best breakfasts in the whole entire world...

  7. Oh, yes...that drive to Key West is a doozy! Imagine driving it with the water nut, Henry! He was asleep in the car, and then i swear he smelled the ocean. I think he SCREAMED from Key Largo to Key West...he could not wait to go swimming! So, yeah...Henry made that 100 mile drive seem a LOT longer than it was!

  8. That looks soooo nice right now! I miss the beach. I miss being dry, too. lol


I appreciate you coming to see me. It may take me a bit to publish your comment - but I will get to them by the end of every day. If you leave a way for me to get back to you, I will. Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your opinions. g

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs