The day didn’t start off too well. I was up about 5:45 am and crept out clutching my book and parked myself in the Horizon Court but somehow, between there and the return to the cabin, I managed to lose my prescription reading glasses. Frustrating, so if mi tipin isn’t az gud as normul, yule no whi.
This was one of several World Cruise ports we hadn’t really heard of and were happy to experience with an open mind. Berthed alongside was a massive US Red Cross ship that has been in port for several weeks, doling out medical treatment to the locals. It is an aspect of the US involvement in World affairs that generally goes unnoticed.
We took the lazy route of a Princess sightseeing tour, a low key coach trip that encompassed a village with a charming dance display by a group of school children, plus a few craft stalls. The people were always charming and friendly and this is in sharp contrast to places like Egypt and India where you are hassled mercilessly. The local craft work is extremely colourful and one of the main exports of the country is coffee, so we did our bit for the local economy and bought a bag of coffee beans. Without tasting, buying coffee is a bit of a gamble, but having successfully mixed various beans before, it won’t go to waste – and my section of the wardrobe does now smell rather nice.
Our only other stop was one of these tourist friendly places with a mix of emporium and food facilities and immaculate toilets. In this instance, there was free juice and coffee samples and some fresh fruit, which was much appreciated. As usual, I wandered over to look at the cafe menu and it was extremely reasonable, with all prices in USD. A full American breakfast was $8. Probably expensive by local standards/wages.
An early return to the ship and chance for a wash and lunch, then we wandered along the narrow pier to the fore shore, having been warned by our morning guide to turn left, not right, as it would be safer.
Several stalls along the waterfront selling fair variety of local stuff including ‘made on the premises’ a local version of the pan pipes. This was quite impressive as the stall owner carefully sanded each pipe to length and tested it against an electronic tuner. The other local tourist instrument is an Ocarina, often shaped and painted to resemble a bird. The small cheap ones only have three holes and the better ones, a few more. (I seem to remember Dad had an Ocarina but it was more egg shaped and made out of either Bakelite or plastic.)
We also managed a couple of wide brimmed hats before returning to the ship and of course – “Trivia”. With 15/20, it was good score but not a winning score. This was followed by a rare visit to the gym for some time on the shoulder pull equipment before a dip in the pool and the spa pool. As is often the case on port days, eating from the buffet was the preferred option before coffee in the Atrium.
A pleasant low key day which suits us as it allows a taste of the country without getting too tired. Interesting, but not the sort of place we’d rush to return to. The necessity for barred windows on even the tiniest of houses is a sad indictment on the crime rate. The neighbouring Nicaragua is a poorer state, so tomorrow will also be interesting.
Meanwhile, on the TV, the ‘Reflections’ video of the cruise had this short glimpse of our sodden heroes, gamely trying to hold our poster together on the Panama Canal. Paula is to the right, trying to keep dry.