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May 21, 2017
Many Happy Returns

Our cabin door on May 21, Russellís birthday

Following so many sea days, we had two port days in a row. On Friday, May 19, we were in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. On Saturday, May 20, we were in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. We arrived late (9:45 am) but we would depart late as well (7:00 pm).

Early Saturday morning, Gail got these spectacular shots of a dolphin playing beside the ship

We have been here before as well, but it was nice to be back. On a very hot and humid day, we took the long walk along the causeway from ship to shore, where we encountered an especially large gamut of street vendors. Gail wanted to buy some local spices, so we walked three blocks into town to the local grocery store.

The long causeway at Puntarenas, Costa Rica

The non-touristy part of Puntarenas, where we found the local "MegaSuper" grocery store

Everything was in Spanish. We donít speak Spanish. Fortunately, a Kleenex distributor was very helpful and had a phone with Google translate. Gail kept giving him Spanish words from food labels, and he kept giving her the English translations. We bought some spices, coffee and snack foods to bring back home. (The grocery store coffee was half the price of the street market, even though it was the exact same thing. We suspect that the street vendors simply go to the grocery store, buy the stuff, then mark it up for the tourists at the pier.)

Gail gets some help with the local spices

Back at the pier, we walked through the street market but didnít buy anything. We bought drinks at a local cafť to use their wifi. We walked along the beach. And we went back to the ship.

Later in the afternoon, Gail wanted to walk back ashore one last time for the exercise. She was thrilled as it was much cooler and windier. It started raining during our walk back. By evening, we were treated to pouring rain and a spectacular lightning storm.

Gail got this spectacular shot of a lightning strike off the bow of the ship

On Saturday night, Gail was pulled from the audience as a volunteer at the magic show (note sheís wearing socks!)

Sunday, May 21, was a sea day. It was also Russellís birthday, and Gail made sure that the day was a memorable one. Every time she saw Russell, she would exclaim ďItís your birthday!Ē, prompting people to spontaneously break into song.

Gail also taped a post-it note to Russellís back without his knowledge. He wondered how people he had never met before all knew it was his birthday. And Simon, the Assistant Cruise Director, stopped the Panama Dance Party that evening to have everyone sing to Russell.

Gail secretly taped a birthday message to Russellís back

We are now more than halfway through our 17-day cruise. Russell has had one of his most memorable birthdays ever. And tomorrow, we will go through the Panama Canal!

Sammi the Cruise Director gave Russell a chocolate rose for his birthday


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