March 29, 2022

Day 8 - Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

The alarm is set for 6:00 as our excursion is scheduled to leave at 7:15, as soon as the ship is cleared. Awakening before the alarm, and finding the ship still heading northerly at 19 knots I soon realize I missed the message that clocks were to be set back another hour during the night. Attempt at another hour sleep is useless.

Buffet breakfast and head to the theater. Bus number one, one of three headed for the excursion train, eco canal boat ride and bus tour of the countryside. Eight other buses are headed in other directions.

As we leave the pier, vaccination cards are checked, not passports. A sign of the times with covid still a worldwide threat.

I had taken this same tour many years ago. The train track was in such poor condition that the train could only move about 2 miles over the course of an hour. I'm not sure what to expect today.

Our tour guide is excellent and shares a lot of information about his country. All wildlife in Costa Rica is protected. Even areas where squatters have settled are clean. Roads appear in good condition, and there is construction activity. Employment taxes support health care and a retirement pension system.

The new shipping port is busy with ships loading containers. Prmiarily bananas and pineapple but also general cargo that is trucked across the country and then reload on ships. a small competitor to the panama canal.

On the eco boat tour we spot numerous wildlife including iguanas,  birds, monkeys and sloth.

Back at the dock and a free snack of ice cold water, a fresh banana, and chips  made from yucca are delicous.

Another half hour or so on the bus to the train. We board from the bus on the road directly onto the waiting train. No station platforms here. It is quickly obvious that the track has been replaced with new rail and concrete ties. A much needed multimillion dollar improvement.

The cars  have lost the old charm by being recovered on the inside with white plastic sheeting and new plywood floors. The original seats have been recovered, the worn out seat back flip hinge mechanisms remain.

We travel for about 20 miles past plantations and scenic coastline. Children are frequently seen standing by the tracks waiting for the train and waving at the tourists.

Back on the bus and in another 30 minutes we are at the pier.

In all, one of the best tours and tour guides. I have heard more about banana growing than I ever wanted.

Returning to the ship, about half a dozen crew members are painting  the scratches that resulted from the locks in the Panama canal.

Time for a shower and a late lunch, but first a stop at the spa. I know that those of you that know me are probably wondering what has happened to my mind that would take me to the spa.

My hand became covered with black spots. Paint spots from the gangway railing caused by drips from the painting crew.

An immediate attempt to clean off  with an alcohol wipe was fruitless as was a vigorous attempt with soap and water.

Next a stop at the spa and asking for a cotton swab soaked in nail polish remover.  The staff was a little perplexed at my request, but shortly returned with several cotton swabs and a container of what was basically acetone.

Within seconds I had removed the black paint. The spa technician was impressed and now had a story to share with her coworkers about her strangest customer of the day.

Safely on the ship, rain storms can be seen over the mountains several miles inland. We leave port and head north on a course that will take us past the  Grand Caymen Islands, west of Cuba, and along theh south edge of Florida towards Ft. Lauderdale for an expected arrival in two days.

Another average dinner in the dining room followed by a production show with the dancers in the theater.

One set of piano music and it is time to call it a night. Tonight I don't miss the fact that I need to turn my clock ahead one hour.

The seas are slight as we leave port, but are expected to build durning the night.

The next two days will be sea days.