Panama Canal with Windstar

Travel days are daunting on a good day, even for the most seasoned travelers.  The 3am wakeup is just plain ungodly. By now, all of you should know that besides loathing buffets, I am NOT a morning person.  Nope, nada, never have been. My idea of a good cup of coffee is when no one is speaking, especially to me.

We are heading to Panama City, Panama for a Windstar Cruise. This time on one of the new yacht style ships, Star Breeze.  In order to make our connection in JFK, we needed to take the first Delta flight at 5:45am. This is also winter break and the airport is under construction, enough said.  We board quickly, it’s a two by two configuration, and settle in for the short flight.  So, what is the daunting part you ask????    Directly behind us was a gentleman approximately our age, who’s first remark to the window seat occupant was “so I guess we’re seatmates”.  Captain Obvious comes to mind. His tone screamed “Yippee!!!”  It is now 5:20am. For the next 90 minutes straight, Captain Obvious was grilling, philosophizing and pontificating his world view with a kind gentleman from the Ivory Coast. Mr. Ivory is a French interpreter and has been in this country since 1986. Captain Obvious felt the need to demonstrate his poor French in addition to explaining both philosophers; Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. His conclusion is that anyone who is “rich” is bored, has no purpose, doesn’t help others and is unhappy, verifying why wealth distribution is the answer to every problem. Ivory Coast man did his best to stay interested and humble, as he travels home every year.  While I would have preferred sharp sticks in my eyes than listen to C.O., Tim can turn off his hearing aids and sleep.  Mr. Ivory needs to learn the subtle techniques of “please STOP talking to me” that one can use while flying.   Or the not so subtle one “put a sock in it!” as my daughter Devan used to say.

While I can respect all views, I do not want to hear them at that hour of the day, let alone as a trapped audience.  Situational awareness people!We arrive in Panama City around 2pm with our carry ons.  Yes, only carry ons.  It can be done. Waiting for our included transfers, Tim and I are resembling Zombies, sporting dark circles, glazed looks, rumbled clothes and slumping postures.  We barely focus on the others that are gathering at the same location until one by one, they stride right over, right hand extended saying “Hello! I’m Sid and this is my wife Deanna! We are from Houston.  Meet our friends…..”   I was very impressed. This reminded me of how Skippy gets to know everyone in mere ­ nano seconds.   We have now been adopted by at least 8 Texans, in their 70/80’s, who took pity on the New York Zombies.

Pre-cruise night is at the Bristol hotel, old and elegant.  Bar food, wine and bedtime by 9. (hey that rhymes) Hasta Manana.

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