Sunday, May 8, 2016
TIME FOR A CRUISE - Part 3
Thursday April 7th
It is another day at sea. We are on a leg from Cozumel to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, 782 nautical miles. I don't have a lot to report other than these two items:
We watched an amazing glass blowing demonstration on deck 15 where we gained a whole new appreciation for what is involved in this art form.
I attended an evening stage performance by James Stephens III. This guy is a stand up comedian, a singer, an actor, a concert pianist and he also happens to have a law degree. He was born into a black family of seven kids on the east coast and when his dad died when James was 7 years old and his mom couldn't afford to keep and raise all seven, James was adopted by a white couple in Portland Oregon. While James had a lot of "black / white" humour in his routine (and other racial stuff too), it became abundantly clear he is deeply appreciative of his adoptive parents and his upbringing and he holds strong convictions on the need for all parents to teach their children tolerance and understanding of all citizens of the world. He got this message through to the audience with his jokes, his singing and piano playing. He is the real deal and well worth seeing.
Friday April 8th
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. This is our second day in port. We had looked at Celebrity's shore excursion line up, however, there were only two choices left. The other dozen choices were all sold out. I guess that shouldn't have been a surprise as there is somewhere around 3,000 guests aboard.
We walked off the ship around 9am thinking we'd see what local tours could be arranged there. It didn't take long. Fifteen minutes later, we and 18 other Equinox passengers were aboard a large van heading off to explore some local, favourite destinations under the expert leadership of our local guide Randy, a very, very proud Costa Rican. First up was a jungle boat trip down the Tortuguero Canal where we saw monkeys, great blue herons, egrets, caymans (reptiles from the alligator family that grow to about 3 feet long) and more. There are apparently sloths and toucans as well, but they didn't show themselves to our boat.
Next was a visit to a banana plantation. We learned there are about 10 varieties of bananas in Costa Rico, but not all varieties are exported as some ripen too fast to make it to foreign markets. Some interesting facts:
-9 months for bananas to grow and be harvested
-bananas are covered with blue bags while they are growing to prevent the birds from eating them. Apparently birds can't see / distinguish these blue bags for the sky, so they leave them alone
-initially bananas grow with the bananas pointing down. The. Late in the ripening cycle they turn up towards the sun. Mmm. Who knew!
Next stop was at at a roadside fruit stand where Randy arranged for us to sample all the locally grown fruits - pineapple, coconut milk & coconut meat, sugar cane, cocoa bean, two varieties of bananas and more.
Then, we were off to a local beach and restaurant to get a refreshment and check emails on a free wifi. And finally, on our way back to the ship, we made stops at a pharmacy and a grocery store for folks to pick up stuff they needed. Puerto Limon is certainly not a wealthy part of Costa Rica, but the people are very friendly and helpful and we had a great tour guide in Randy and a great driver named Omar.
At the Banana Plantation
Sampling all the local fruits, roadside style.
Costa Rican birds nest.