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Monday, January 16, 2023

Martin Luther King Day at home, Crossing the Equator Day on the ship.

I will not repeat the entire story, but in 1957 I spent a week with Reverend King during Religious Emphasis Week at the Baptist all-boys prep school I attended. We had lunch and dinner at the Headmaster’s table every day and I heard his sermons twice a day in the school’s chapel. Obviously, this is before he became famous, but he was already so extraordinary that I still remember some of the things he preached.

Yesterday turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. We took almost an hour’s free bus ride from the dock into Panama City and then found a taxi driver to give us over an hour’s tour of the Old Town for $20. Barbara is my new negotiator. She says the reason she is so effective in negotiating deals about 75% less than the asking price is that she really does not care if someone refuses to make the deal she wants. She just moves on to the next candidate. The principles in Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” are still alive and well.

Money clears. If your toilet breaks on Sunday and the plumber says he does not work on Sundays, there is, if can talk with him long enough, a price he will take that you will pay to get the toilet fixed.

Panama City, which our driver referred to the “the Dubai of Central America," is quite a beautiful thriving city of about four million people. It has several five-star hotels, outstanding restaurants, and several large shopping centers with the top stores in the world. It is a place we could easily visit for a long weekend. It is a banking center, and literally several dozen banks from all over the world line a boulevard in very modern unusual buildings architecture-wise. We were told the city was built with cocaine money.

We then came back to the ship and watched three very good football games. The Dolphins lost but played great and I think got screwed by the zebras at the end of the game. I rooted for the Ravens, who also lost because their young quarterback went to Hallandale High just a mile or so from our house in Florida. I also root for Harbaugh who has managed to stay as head coach of one team for some 15 years. In this day and age, that is miraculous

We ate all our meals in the cabin. Room service, which tries very hard, almost got our orders right, but after a week plus with all but a few meals in restaurants, they are yet to get any order completely right.

We sent our laundry yesterday for the first time. We will see how well that goes.

Anyway, this is really a trip of a lifetime that very few people in the world are lucky enough to be able to experience. I say often that perfection is an aspirational goal so, unless something outrageous happens, my intent is to try to write only positive things and not mention that I really do not like the pear sorbet. (That’s a joke, people.)


Travel and Leisure magazine has picked the ten best cities in the world in which to live and not one is in the United States. Three are in Canada (Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto), and two are in Switzerland (Geneva and Zurich). Vienna is #1, and Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Melbourne, which we are visiting for the first time on this cruise, are also included. Osaka and Amsterdam are the other cities.


See you tomorrow. At least that is my plan.


Leave Santos.


Go Ukraine.

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