Panama Canal Trip Part 4

Sigh OK it’s been awhile since I last posted. I have been working a lot and have had quite a few deadlines I needed to achieve. I have some hard decisions to make in the next few weeks as well but more on that later. Good weather finally arrived here in Victoria it went from winter to summer almost overnight and then after 10 days of awesome weather back to winter again. Oh well. I have 2 more posts of the Panama Canal trip and then I will post some customer quilt pictures.

So once we were through the Canal we had a day at sea and then our first port on the Pacific Coast side which was Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica. Mom and I had both been to Costa Rica before so weren’t sure what to do there. There is not much to do at the port so if you want to see something you pretty much have to take a tour. Most of the tours were 6 or more hours and neither Mom or I were up for that so we decided on a 3 hour tour that took us to a small town where some school children put on a performance for us. We then went to a small market and just generally got to see some of the countryside.

When we docked in Costa Rica there was what looked like a beautiful beach (somehow I didn’t take a picture of it) and I was thinking I might walk down and walk the beach, however it was really hot so I decided not to. Our tour left at 1 in the afternoon and once on the bus we drove by the beach I could see from the ship. Oh my garbage everywhere it was really disgusting. The town was little more than a shanty town and I would have been a lone female walking by myself. I am glad I decided it was too hot.

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I didn’t take a lot of pictures in Costa Rica as I really don’t like taking pictures from a moving bus. Above is a shot of the children just before they started their performance. I did get some videos of them dancing. Unfortunately I can’t load videos on this website and I haven’t had a chance to look into other options as of yet. Costa Rica was nice enough but it is not a place I would really want to spend a lot of time in although I know people that do like it.

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Random picture of the Easter desert on board.

The next port was Puerto Corinto in Nicaragua. Neither Mom or I had ever been to Nicaragua. We learned that the port was really an industrial port with not much to see so we decided to take a tour to the city of Leon.

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A look at the admin building at the port. It was defiantly a working freighter port. I sat outside writing an email to Kevin while there and boy was it noisy.

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The drive to Leon was very comfortable in an air conditioned coach. The countryside was pretty but there was garbage everywhere. The picture above is of a market located in the main city square of the town. The main cathedral was also located in the square.

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Here I am standing by the fountain in the square with the Cathedral de Leon in the background. The fountain could have done with a good cleaning and the water was green and full of algae.

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You can see the green water and the garden that could do with a little bit of loving care.

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Here are two pictures inside the Cathedral de Leon in Leon Nicaragua. It is the largest cathedral in Central America and it was beautiful but it was also didn’t have air conditioning and it was like a sauna in there. There were so many groups of tourists from two different cruise ships you could barely move. The temperature outside was 98F or 37C with almost 100% humidity. All I know is that it was HOT!! I would have loved to explore the surrendering streets around the square but after the sauna of the cathedral Mom and I were both done and we hightailed it (along with about 50% of the other people on the tour) back to the waiting, running air conditioned bus.

Now for those who know me well, they know I hate being cold and I am usually not a fan of air conditioning, however it those temps it was very, very welcome.

The next port was Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. I have been there before. Again, there is not a lot to see at the port itself you have to travel an hour to the small city of La Antigua which is the colonial capital and is a UNESCO world heritage site. I LOVE this town. I loved it the last time I was there and I loved it this time also. I really, really want to go here some day and stay for more than a few hours and truly explore all the small city has to offer. The scenery up to the city is really wonderful and there is not near the garbage around like there is in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

The city is made up of cobbled streets with traditional walled buildings all which have wonderful hidden courtyards in them.  Since we were much higher up in altitude in Antigua the temperature was much more conducive to sightseeing.

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Here is a glimpse of one of the original tiled entryways. There are a lot of them around the city. You can just glimpse the courtyard oasis beyond.

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Here is a picture of the courtyard of the hotel that is right in the middle of the town.

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Here is another courtyard. In this one the indigenous woman have set up there hand woven clothing for sale to the tourists. In Guatemala 60% of the population are indigenous to the region.

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Another view of the blouses for sale. All hand woven by the woman. Aren’t they colourful?

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In La Antigua there is a really cool market that you have to know where it is as it just looks like a hole in the wall. Once you step in though you are greeted by all manner of wonderful handwoven treasures of the area.

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This was a hidden gem of a courtyard that I glimpsed as we were walking by as the doorway was open.

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Look what I found in that same courtyard. A patchwork blanket made of all those wonderful handwoven textiles covering a bench. Look at the wonderful tiled floor under the bench.

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Another view of the cobbled streets and a very old archway.

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I loved these wonderful doors. You can just image the secrets they have behind them.

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We had hired a guide to take us on a walking tour of the city. Our friend Tom who we had met on board the ship had joined Mom and I as his sister Karen had seen the city before. Here we are in a chocolate factory and Jose our guide is demonstrating something.  Notice the wonderful tiled floor.

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After a time we were very hot and thirsty so stopped in a small cafe where we got real fruit drinks that were heavenly. Here is a shot of myself, Mom and our friend Tom.

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The last picture for this leg of the journey is a sunset at sea.

So one more post to finish up and then onto more quilting posts.

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