Cruising the Panama Canal

January 19th, 2012Comments Off on Cruising the Panama Canal

By Susan Gillone

Our Silver Wedding anniversary was approaching. Throughout our 25 years of marriage, we had probably spent half of it together. A recipe for disaster for some; an excellent partnership for others. The reason for our 50-50 marriage was simple – Alistair, my husband, was a sea-going Marine Engineer.

Panama Canal

‘How do you fancy a trip along the Panama Canal?’ came the call. This was nothing unusual, as I had been lucky enough to travel to many far flung places of the world on board tankers and huge cargo vessels. The Panama Canal sounded fascinating, so after doing all the necessary paperwork, booking flights and medical checks, off I went.

The flight into Panama was long and dreary, and I arrived to be met by the company’s agent and taken to a hotel for the night. He was sorry that the hotel they usually used was full, but I would be comfortable in the one chosen for me, the only problem being that they didn’t speak English and my Spanish was non-existant. However, it was a lovely room on the ground floor, leading out into a beautifully lush garden with a swimming pool. That will be nice tomorrow I thought.

Feeling a bit peckish, as I hadn’t eaten since lunchtime, I thought I might order a ham sandwich for supper – I didn’t really fancy searching out the restaurant, and just wanted a room service sandwich and then turn in for the night. Of course, dialling the room service number caused quite a few language problems – nobody understood me, so they just hung up. On the 4th try – even using my fairly basic French – I gave up and went to bed hungry. I was told by the agent to stay close to the ‘phone
because somebody would come and pick me up later that day.

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