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Uncle Markie out and about.

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Apr '10

Day Five: Danger, Will Robinson.

I love it when Oneil (our guide whose name isn’t really Oneil, but it’s close enough to the real thing and easier for the white tongue to pronounce) says that we are having a late morning departure… in organized tour speak, that means on the bus n your seat by 9am. Which for me means out of bed at 7, luggage to the door a 8 and try and get something in my stomach before 9.

The morning excursion is back to Gamboa (the jumping off part for the canal tour yesterday) to catch a river boat for a tour of a local indigenous village. We were prepared with “they might not be wearing many clothes”, but it wasn’t the National Geographic of the 60’s experience that I was hoping for. The village is inside a preserve, so there are lots of modern-day rules applied to the Indians who continue to live in their traditional village – in exchange for those rules, host tourist groups and explain about their culture, and sell locally made items. The way Caravan does it is that they rotate among the villages, but providing each of the villages upgraded dock facility and a covered meeting area.

It was an interesting visit, this village had lots of massive temporary purple vegetable dye tattoos (last 8-9 days) traditional to their culture (and offered for $1 to our group for smaller ones). Looked at the crafts didn’t buy, looked at the tattoos, declined.

Because of a gastro-intestinal incidence with one of our tour members we were delayed in getting headed to Playa Blanca (a resort) – and further delayed with an extra in-route stop for a further episode. Got to the resort about 2pm – and that was our lunch location. Oddly enough, with the heat, I wasn’t totally starved considering breakfast was at 8.

So what is the meaning of “Danger, Will Robinson” in the blog post title? It seems that we’ve been upgraded (again) – we have wrist bracelets that not only cover food, but wine, beer, soda – and the real upgrade, any well drink. By 5pm – my how this tour group had changed when free drinks are flowing (in a good way). Even the non-drinkers were having a beer.

Went for a swim with a Pina Colada, then switched to a Margarita (bad choice) before trying to get another Pina Colata only to find them out. Off to the lobby bar to switch to scotch and soda and chat with two sisters from Hamtramck which is a traditionally Polish, but now Syrian enclave outside Detroit.

The other free upgrade is free internet – but beware free. Free for 20 timed minutes per logon code. Luckily my room is close enough to get the signal from the lobby, but at twenty minutes, no new video/photo uploads until I get back to Panama City – only getting email at this point since I’d have to go back to the counter every twenty minutes. I broken system if you as me (and as I will tell Caravan).

A quiet dinner at the buffet restaurant (planning on making reservations for the sushi restaurant tomorrow night) as it’s big enough and there are two-tops in the recesses to avoid the tour group —- I can only be social for so many hours a day.

The “show” tonight – 10pm, after many scotched and red wine with dinner, was actually better than any of the cruise ship shows, or maybe that’s the liquor talking.

Tomorrow at early day – on the bus by 8am.


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