Saturday, February 09, 2013

Big Birthday Blast

My big birthday required a suitable celebration, a diversion from the thought of having lived 6 decades. We decided to visit the Panama Canal, a trip our son had made by land in his van "Gunther", the year before he went to Heaven.
Here Joe is saying farewell to land. A very tiny Fort Lauderdale is on the horizon.

Our cabin "living room" on the Coral Princess, from the vantage point of our bed.

I really like violin music...this violin-guitar-piano trio kept us entertained for the whole 10 days. 

Spectacular ocean and sky sunsets every night.

Our reflection in our cabin mirror.

Touching land in Aruba after three days at sea. Why is the ground moving?

Next stop: La Popa Monastery in Cartagena, Colombia. Way up high, overlooking this beautiful city. Colombia is experiencing a wonderful resurgence, thanks to the hard work of their people and the US helping to rid them of the FARQ drug cartel that was brazenly murdering innocent people in the streets. 

St. Pedro de Claver Church in husband takes a cool catnap in the shade of the gallery breezeway.

The Spanish Jesuit priest,  Pedro de Claver,  is the patron saint of slaves and quite a hero by any standard. Cartagena was a hub of the slave trade, and he devoted his life to ministering to and protecting the slaves from the cruel conquistador slave traders. 

Goodbye to the port of Cartagena. Now on to Panama,  fully equipped with a new Panama hat.

The Panama Canal is truly the 8th wonder of the world. Next year it will be 100 years old. It is hard to imagine how they cut through all the earth to create it. It is spectacular. 

It is gripping watching these gates open and close, the water raise and lower,  and the enormous ships passing through while just barely clearing the sides.  It was also very moving personally to be in the place where our son had been, five years before. 

The US built the canal at a huge cost of money and lives, then returned it to the people of Panama in 1999. When the US owned it, there was no charge to go through it. Now Panama charges each ship $400,000 to pass through, but it is still apparently cost effective for the ships.  Panama is currently building another set of larger locks for mega- ships to pass through. 

After Panama, we moved on to Costa Rica, another place our son had visited. CR relies on eco-tourism and plant exports as the mainstay of their economy. It is beautiful. I brought home some Costa Rican coffee--of which they are appropriately proud. 

Our son ziplined in CR, so we did too. My husband  is swinging through the trees, and I went next.  This was an absolute heart-pounding thrill.

Our last stop was in Jamaica,  at one of the beautiful gardens and  limestone waterfalls in this country. 

Happy Birthday to me,  in memory of my beautiful son. I felt his smiling presence with us on this trip. 


GrahamForeverInMyHeart said...

Happy Birthday to you! What a great way to celebrate a big day. Thank you for sharing the photos, it makes me want to travel as well.

Anonymous said...

I love every minute that you had. You are the best couple in the whole wide world. I am glad you shared your trip with me. xoxo Sharon

Daisy said...

Happy belated birthday, Karen! Wow, what a trip.

The Panama Canal must have been quite a moment for you both. Wonderful that you could get there.


Jeri said...

What a special way to spend your birthday! Thanks for sharing.

Gberger said...

I'm so grateful that you and Joe took this trip. What a wonderful way to celebrate your birth, and to see and learn about places that Joey visited, firsthand.

I love reading about your travels and adventures. You and Joe truly have a living love-match. It's such a blessing.

Liza said...

Zip Line is fun, I am glad and Joe did it!