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Old February 24th, 2009, 12:31 AM
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Default Day Six - An Intimate Moment with a Canal

Day 6 – The Panama Canal Transit on The Silver Shadow
You know you’re a classless twit when you can’t tell the difference between the telephone ringing and the door bell ringing. I was sitting on the balcony, ran through two doors to get to the final outside door of the Suite. I ripped open the door, to find an empty hallway, and the ringing continued. I picked up the telephone and said… “Hello, this is the dumb arse in Suite 602; can you at least be there when I open the door”.

Today we transited the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to Pacific Ocean. We’ve previously done several canal transits. I adore the transit from east to west, because of the three 25 hr. days.

Our transit today was far and away the very best we’ve done, and it was the best because we were on the Silver Shadow. During previous transits we’ve been on much larger ships, where passing through the locks, as we were lowered to the Pacific Ocean, we were looking down on the Mules and the Canal technology at work.

On “The Shadow”, from our Deck 6 forward balcony, we had the perfect and very intimate view of all the workings. We were so close to the Mules, we could talk to the operators.

When we entered the first set of Locks, the Holland America Zuiderdam entered next to us, in the lane-way to our port side. It was very telling to stare upwards at all her decks to the passengers looking down from her railings, and their balconies. I’d sailed the Zuiderdam last year, and it wasn’t until we were in the locks side by side, that the differences in size truly sunk in.

Today I felt a very personal connection with the Panama Canal; an intimate moment. And I’d bob and weave, and pitch and roll again - as we did last night - ANYTIME to repeat today’s experience!

I shot some video that I think gives a great perspective on all of this, but sending it from the ship is near to impossible; I tried. You’ll have to make do with some pictures until I back am on land, with high-speed Internet service.

More pictures available here

During lunch today, while the ship was between Locks, there was a pool-side buffet. The sun was shining, temperatures were high, and passengers were having a wonderful time. I’m getting used to this drinking thing, as I had two BBCs today.

As we sailed through Gatun Lake, Mrs. Kuki went to the spa, and got her hair done. She came back looking terrific; I like the cut, and so does she. However, she did point out that the Spa is operated by Steiner’s, who operate the spas on many of the cruise lines, and Mrs. Kuki felt she got the same “Steiner Experience”. Just as on the mass market lines there’s a very hard sell for products and other services. It’s most certainly out of place with the All Star treatment one receives throughout the rest of the ship.

The waters of the Pacific seem much friendlier (calmer) for us than the Atlantic was, at least for the moment. It was a beautiful night to be at sea tonight!

Six days in, and we’re like Silversea “professionals”… pre-dinner we stopped in to “The Bar” for Mrs. Kuki to have a glass of champagne, and to be part of “the scene” and then went to dine at “The Restaurant”.

Tonight’s “theme” was Mexican, of which I’m personally not a big fan, so I ordered entirely from the always available menu, and still had a fine meal. My favorite appetizer, and on the always available menu, is the Silversea Spring Roll- with Asian Slaw and Sweet Chili Sauce. They’re so good I ordered two(thinking I would skip salad), but only got one (oops), second course was Chicken Consume with Matzo Balls, and the entrée was Sirloin Steak, with Bearnaise Sauce (good, except I think the Bearnaise Sauce was left somewhere with my extra Spring Roll). But I ended the meal with the best dessert I’ve had yet, a sinful white chocolate cheese cake.

The always available menu is quite extensive on its own, including Shrimp Martini, Crispy Corn Cakes, Crispy Green Salad, Penne Pasta, Poached or Baked Salmon Fillet, and Grilled Chicken Breast, as well as all the items I mentioned above.

Tomorrow I’ll go into more details about the nightly menu. I’ve seen the menu for review tonight; the theme is Flavors of Panama, and it looks like quite delicious. We’ll report the results tomorrow.

This evening we had the pleasure of dining with one of the guest lecturers, Richard Cowley, and his wife Elizabeth, along with two couples we’ve previously met. One being the couple I wrote about meeting on the second night of the cruise, and being disappointed we couldn’t dine with them that night. This evening we got to make up for it, and had an absolutely delightful time dining together.

The others at our table were all British, and all had that dry sense of humor which I enjoy so much.

There was no show tonight. The entertainment in the show room was a movie on the big screen. And the cruise staff’s Liar’s Club was held in the Panorama Lounge. Mrs. Kuki and I checked out the shop, and spent an hour in the casino before retiring to the suite.
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