Colon, Panama

Colon, Panama

My love affair with Journey has come to an end. I was sure it would last, at the least, another five days, but no. Journey broke it off this morning with no warning. Perhaps that’s why they call ships, “she”.

I woke early prepared to take photos and to watch us enter the Gatun locks. We made our way slowly towards the locks, and then turned to port to Pier 6. There were dancersdsc00098.JPG and drummers welcoming us, not to Panama, but to their long mall. dsc00092.JPGOur gangplank goes from deck through the mall door to duty free stuff.dsc00102.JPG

Our cruise information which we received with our cruise documentation specifically stated that we would pass through the locks into Gatun Lake. There we’d disembark those booked on tours, and Journey would go back through the locks to the pier. For me, the canal was the highlight of the trip. The brochure went on to state that although passengers on tour would be returned to the dock, no tours would operate from there.

I asked the front desk, the Guest Relations Manager, a ship’s officer walking the hall, and Becky, the Cruise Director. No one seemed to know what happened. The closest we could get was that marketing had printed the brochure, but not informed the Captain. We were promised an answer from “the main office” in Miami by the close of the day. This may be one of those never solved ambiguities that remain just that. My instincts tell me that, if Azamara solved it, if would oblige the line to offer some sort of ship board credit. There were more than a few upset passengers.

Michael and I cabbed it ($3 and no squabble) to the much touted Zona Libre or Free Zone where there were no taxes or duty charges. This is about a four square block of shops of all kinds, but mainly jewelry and clothes.img_2559.JPG The shocker was that most of the stores were wholesale only, and not all of them told you with signs in front. In, look around, admire something, salesgirl, sorry no single items available, out.img_2560.JPG

One thing I must say about Zona Libre, wholesale or not, it is much more fun to window shop there than in Canyon Country.img_2556.JPG

One of the non wholesale stores was Diesel. They had both a shirt and a jacket that I loved. Oops, both small, and only one in stock. The other store was Tommy Hilfiger where I surrendered. Michael feels guilty about leaving the grandchildren when we take a trip. To ease her pain she promises them presents when we return. We have six to please. Michael is a very loving Grandmother so here’s the question. What do you get when you combine guilt with love? Answer: another suitcase, in this case from Tommy Hilfiger.

Tonight we’ll give Prime C another shot. Becky the Cruise Director will join us, and I am looking forward to knowing her. She is full of energy, very friendly, and an excellent CD. Tell you all about it tomorrow.

Oops! I thought the dinner was tonight at 6 PM. Michael thought it was tomorrow night. Problem contact Becky with 35 minutes to go before 6 PM. The desk said they would contact her. I didn’t trust a quick response, so I went the length of the ship to Prime C. They did not have reservations for her for tonight — …or tomorrow night. By the time I got back, Becky had called and it is tomorrow night that we shall eat. Cool, tomorrow is broadcast day to KION, and to The Cable Radio Network www.crni.net, so I’ll have something to talk about.

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