Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Cruise

Cabo San Lucas

I am quite sure I have entered full retirement mode this year. First of all, we have spent so much time having fun that we are just plain worn out and tired and don't want to have any more fun for a couple of weeks.

The 2011 Southwest Road Trip (about 2,300 miles)
The month of visits to family and friends in the Northeast, the two-week drive through the the Southwest, the cruise through the Panama Canal, a couple of nights in Coconut Grove in Miami and the day-and-a-half flight home have left both of us recalling that old gag that our get-up-and-go just got up and went.

The cruise was fun, and you are only finding out about it now because the second part of full retirement mode kicked in:  I went cheap when it came to posting. Actually, at about 65 cents a minute for slow satellite Internet access, I don't think it's so true that I was cheap but that I refused to pay outrageously overpriced services. (And justifying being cheap is, I believe, the third part of full retirement mode.)

When I was working, I had to be in touch with the office so I booked all those expensive Internet packages when on a cruise. That package let me also have the time to upload posts and pictures so people could follow our travels. Of course, part four of the full retirement mode is wistfully recalling the abuses of expense accounts but since we are still within the statute of limitations, I won't say much more about that.

I am only going to write about a few highlights of the cruise for two reasons. First, I seriously doubt that anyone wants a travelogue of "Our Central American Experience" that goes for more than three paragraphs. Second, not having wasted money on the Internet on the cruise, I decided we had more than enough to buy lots of drinks. For some reason, this seems to have diminished my recall about a few of our days aboard.

There is no question that the highlight of the cruise occurred midway. No, it wasn't the Mexican ports of Cabo San Lucas or Puerto Vallarte. Not Guatemala or even Costa Rica. It was actually aboard the ship on the night we sailed to the Canal. For that was the night (cue Eric Clapton) I not only shot the captain, I also shot his deputies.

I was one of four passengers who had qualified to play poker with the captain and three of his officers. I had tried to convince LK, Shirley, Walt and Terry to come down to the casino and cheer for me. After several drinks, the best cheer we could come up with was "The Captain Sucks", only it was quite a bit cruder, but never mind. No one from Team Kennedy managed to get there to cheer me on.

Didn't matter. With a fairly large crowd looking on I quickly became the Captain Lou Albano of Crowd Pleasers by knocking out the captain within the first five minutes. Frankly, he wasn't all that cordial and it was all I could do to not say to him, "I hope you drive this boat better than you play poker."

Over the next half hour I knocked out the Food and Beverage Manager, the Hotel Manager and the Environmental Officer (who didn't look anything like Leonard Nimoy). By the end, it was me vs another guest and he went all-in with a weak hand. My prize for winning was a t-shirt, a certificate and a trophy that had a little plaque saying "Tournament Champion". If you lifted the plaque up, it read "World's Best Mom". But that's all right, it's my first trophy for winning at poker and I will cherish it forever. Well, I would cherish it forever if I hadn't thrown it away when we cleared out of the ship.

But enough about my triumphs, what about the rest of the trip? Well, since I'm running out of time (which is to say, I am just about at the end of wanting to write anymore), here's a few snapshots:

Our great friends Walt and Terry made the cruise a lot more fun

How beautiful is this Costa Rican girl, part of a student group doing folk dances for us tourists

Checking out the Panama Canal

If I were an engineer I might understand what you are looking at enough to explain it

Closing one of the locks

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