Panama Canal (Day 17)

New Year’s Eve

December 31

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[This was Rita’s 75th birthday, the day before the Super’s.  We were hoping for a big birthday double header . . . ]

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[By now you should have gotten the hint that it was another beautiful sunrise . . . ]

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[It’s a holiday, so the ship was in full PAR-TAY mode . . . ]

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[Party central for the afternoon was the Main Pool and Wintergarden . . . ]

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[Shooting from Wintergarden out to the Main Pool . . . ]

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[Sometimes there are just too many choices . . . ]

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[Maybe I saw it out there?]

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[The Super’s probably looking for ice . . . ]

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[Oh my!!!!!!]

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[Oh my!!!!!!]

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[Let’s go to class to find out what this New Year’s celebration thing is all about . . . ]

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[You may have seen Dr. Lori on TV?  She was a hoot . . . ]

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[Joined by Heather for a toast . . . ]

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[And so on with the show . . . ]

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[Nothing for “commando”?]

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[Checking the Atrium before dinner . . . ]

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[A toast to the Trio . . . ]

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[Happy New Year!!]

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[And now for fine dining in Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant . . . ]

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[The Viking Bar in the Atrium.  That’s Ibe May on the right.  We had never seen nor met her before this photo.  We advised her she was in the photo – she said she photo-bombed us, identified herself in the photo, and requested to be Facebook friends.  We still hear from her in that mode because she continued on the world cruise – she’s still on the ship, somewhere past India now, eventually ending in London.  I can’t imagine still being on the ship, now three months since we disembarked!  I mean, don’t you eventually run out of underwear?  (Side note, and it’s true:  When I stood up here, my pants fell down.)]

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You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.  ~  Yogi Berra

Up Next:  Still cruising . . .

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Panama Canal (Days 15 & 16)

At Sea

December 29

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And now three days at sea as we begin the long trek to our final two destinations:  Cabo San Lucas and Los Angeles.

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[These are actually welcome days from the hustle and bustle of daily port visits . . . ]

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[Hard to beat a hot dog by the pool . . . ]

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[With a pro basketball game on TV – from Turkey . . . ]

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[Then on to fine dining . . . ]

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[Dinner?  Already?  It appears this was our first time at the “special” The Chef’s Table restaurant.  Reservations and pearl necklaces required . . . ]

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[Something tasty . . . ]

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[Something funny . . . ]

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[A different wine for every course . . . ]

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[The wines are stacking up – I was having trouble keeping up . . . ]

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[Then up to the Explorers’ Lounge for a little late evening entertainment with . . . ]

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[Yup, you guessed it!]

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December 30

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[Day 2 at sea – we’re here because this fellow’s T-shirt read “Follow me I know where the wine is” . . . ]

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[A much calmer day . . . ]

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[How about a class?]

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I much prefer travelling in non-British ships.  There’s none of that nonsense about women and children first.  ~  Somerset Maugham

Up Next:  The next place the ship stops . . .

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1,000!!!!

April 1

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Lest you haven’t been keeping score, this is the 1,000th posting on this blog!  By a show of hands, how many of you have seen all of them?  Really?  OK, let’s go back to the beginning, from the “about” column . . . 

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“It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show!  Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota.  We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day.  Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.”  It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion.  It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits.

So let the celebration begin!!!

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The first blog posting was on January 2, 2011.  I have averaged a post every three days since then – more often than George Will, but not quite at the Tweeter-in-Chief’s pace.  Now all I have to do is reduce seven years of blogging into a single comprehensive celebrative post.  Good luck with that.  In fact, here are the responses I got back regarding that possibility  . . . 

From Jami . . .

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From Kathy . . . 

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From Jo . . . 

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From Cliff and Bonnie . . . 

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From Cameron . . . 

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And it all started when . . . 

Accordingly, it was seen fit that I receive an award – well, a piece of paper – for maintaining the longest running blog on the SW shore of beautiful Lake Darling . . .

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I received a congratulatory handshake from Robert Reich . . . 

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The Super also got an award for putting up with all this . . . 

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Even Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar checked in . . . 

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And Bill Clinton . . . 

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Jo expressed herself on the top of my head . . . 

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Scarlett brought champagne . . . 

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I brought champagne . . . 

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LT gave thumbs up . . .

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(Her 1,000 career point . . . )

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Willie’s bewildered . . . 

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And Barb expressed her concerns . . .

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On family, it’s been good . . . 

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Jami and Danny moved in for a couple years while they prepared The Harn for habitation . .

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Grandson Tom graduated from high school . . . 

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Then from Purdue with Celia . . . 

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Then moved to Colorado to begin their careers . . . 

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Uncle Mo got his citizenship . . . 

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I had a couple of major birthdays . . . 

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The Super got a new car . . . 

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I got to drive Jami’s . . . 

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On health, got new eyes . . . 

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And ear obstructions removed . . .

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So now just sit on my ass whenever I can . . .

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We made our first trip ever to Worthington where Mom grew up . . . 

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I flew over the “new” hole on the golf course and our home on beautiful Lake Darling . . . 

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Lake Darling . . .

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Home, Sweet, Home . . . 

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We went to Colorado for Auntie Pearl’s 90th birthday . . . 

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Above with her five sons; below with two large nephews . . . 

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And we celebrated my 50th class reunion . . . 

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With classmates of surprisingly the same age . . .

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The boys reprise 50 years ago . . .

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As noted in the intro, Cardinals . . . 

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First, at Jefferson High School . . .

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Then Alexandria Area High School in 2014 . . . 

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And I made the first stage performance there . . . 

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To an audience of one . . .

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Then Jefferson was demolished . . . 

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Where Jefferson used to be . . .

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So, to coverage . . . 

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With Abby, whose hockey team got us rolling down this course . . . 

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And with hockey moms . . .

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And Super Fans who would go to cross-country meets with sub-zero wind chills . . .

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To follow the multiple times state champions . . . 

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The last volleyball game at Jefferson . . . 

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And then the first game at the new high school . . .

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And “The Voice” took photos of the event during his broadcast . . . 

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Going to all the state tournaments . . . 

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With required dining at Cossetta’s . . . 

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Homecoming parades . . .

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The internationally renowned . . . 

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The also renowned Noonan’s Park . . . 

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The 36-straight free throws made on Mom’s birthday . . .

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And yet I still shoveled and schlepped out the garbage . . . 

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And, we traveled – “to far away places with strange sounding names” . . .

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Prague . . . 

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Somewhere on a river . . .

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Somewhere on a bench . . .

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Canada?  With the Super’s sister Rita, our natural traveling companion . . .

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Montreal . . . 

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Anne of Green Gables . . .

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John A. Macdonald, the Abraham Lincoln of Canada . . . 

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St. Lawrence River . . . 

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“Anatomical” background feature in Canada . . .

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Paris, from the top of the Arc de Triomphe . . .

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Camp Brosius . . . 

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Quebec (I think) . . . 

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Ephesus . . .

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Istanbul . . .

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Mykonos . . .

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Sorrento . . .

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Rome . . .

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Pisa . . .

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Florence . . . 

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Cannes (I think?) . . . 

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Some place famous . . . 

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Venice . . . 

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It’s all 50 states, and I believe 35 countries . . . 

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Occasionally, you get covered by the local paper . . .

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Occasionally, there are issues . . . 

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On the arts . . . 

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The high school’s annual Christmas concert, of the combined choirs and orchestra . . . 

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Carlos Creek Winery . . . 

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Skilly & Duff, a/k/a Annie, Bruce, and Mikko . . .

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Theatre L’Homme Dieu . . .

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The winery . . .

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Rice Park, St. Paul . . . 

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The winery . . . 

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Bruce . . .

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AAAA, a/k/a Andria Theatre . . . 

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Lisa Lynn . . . 

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Paul Drinkwine . . . 

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Dan Mahar . . . 

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MOTU . . . 

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Patchouli . . .

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The Salty Dogs . . . 

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Harper’s Chord . . . 

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Josie Nelson . . .

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BAT . . . 

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Anthony and Jim Miltich . . . 

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What can I say . . . 

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Local coaches of note at the winery . . .

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Terry Kennedy . . .

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Julie and Matt Velline . . . 

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Anthony . . . 

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The winery . . .

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The Cheese Bots . . .

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Mel Lamar Trio . . .

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Tucker’d Out . . .

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Mikko . . . 

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The Super in Lakes Area Radio Theatre . . .

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SAWA, farewell . . .

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On fine dining . . . 

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On wunderkinds, Spencer and Sami . . . 

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And Josie . . . 

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On Authors, Jess Lourey . . . 

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Kent Nerburn . . . 

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Barb Grover . . . 

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Wendy Webb . . . 

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Jay Tunney . . . 

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William Kent Krueger . . . 

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Carl Hiaasen . . .

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Anna Quindlen . . . 

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Mike Troy . . .

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Cathy Wurzer . . . 

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And Western Minnesota newspapers . . . 

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On fine stuff . . .

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Granted, it’s just a diary – but . . . 

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Right, Jami?

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It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.  ~  Robert Benchley

Up Next:  Back to regular broadcasting . . .

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Panama Canal (Day 14)

December 28

Guatemala

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[Sunrise approaching Guatemala . . . ]

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[Central America’s signature volcano ranges . . . ]

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[Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles . . . ]

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[OK, we’ve apparently aready sped by any port activities and are on the road to Antigua.  Puerto Quetzal is Guatemala’s largest Pacific Ocean port. It is important for both cargo traffic and as a stop-off point for cruise liners (Wikipedia).]

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[Speaking of volcanic peaks, I believe this one is Agua . . . ]

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[When you come to the fork in the road, take it . . . ]

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[This pair are Fuego and Acatenango – I  believe Fuego is the smoker . . . ]

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[Guatemala has 33 volcanoes, of which three are active.  The  Agua, Acatenango and Fuego volcanoes: are possibly the most photographed Volcanoes of Guatemala, these three peaks guard the wonderful colonial city of Antigua Guatemala (aroundantigua.com).]

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[These volcanoes reach elevations above 12,000 feet . . . ]

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[We thought these were volcanic vents from a distance.  They were actually small fires.]

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[A peek here at the traffic – full blown bumper-to-bumper reflecting the holiday season.]

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[Why yes, I did take a photo every time I had a clear shot . . . ]

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[Meanwhile, back in traffic . . . ]

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[Oy, took forever with this truck in front.  The trip from port to Antigua takes about an hour and a half, depending on traffic (of course) . . . ]

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[Finally, an opportunity to pass.  With that monstrous load of bricks, he was going about 10 mph up the hill . . . ]

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[Poincianas or Spathodea campanulata?]

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[Ken Kesey and his Merry Band of Pranksters at a supermarket?}

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[This way to Antigua . . . ]

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[You figure it out . . . ]

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[Never pass up a volcano shot, here going through the back streets of Antigua . . . ]

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[In Antigua, looking for parking . . . ]

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[Guatemala shares with Myanmar (formerly Burma) the distinction of being one of the world’s major sources of this fine stone.  Jades S.A., now Jade Maya, made the decision to re-establish a jade carving industry in Guatemala and opened its doors in the 1970’s and remains the largest jade operation in Central and South America.  Jade Maya is a totally integrated jade company founded in 1974 by archaeologist Mary Lou Rindinger and her husband Jay Ridinger. We mine fine jadeite jade which is found mainly in Guatemala and Burma, but valued throughout the world. The source discovered and used by Jade Maya, are the same used  by the Ancient Maya people of Mesoamerica. The jade is cut and polished in our factory by native Guatemalan workers who are recovering and preserving the carving traditions of their ancestors (jademaya.com).]

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[This is Mary Lou Rindinger . . . ]

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[The “factory” . . . ]

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[Ms. Rindinger calls this large chunk of jade her “retirement account.”  If she said it’s weight or worth, both unlikely, I don’t recall . . . ]

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[Convento de Santa Clara . . . ]

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[Cathedral of San Jose . . . ]

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[Preparing to march on Antigua’s Plaza Central Park . . . ]

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[Antigua is a city in the central highlands famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  At the time of the 2007 census, the city had 34,685 inhabitants (Wikipedia).]

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[The college courtyard – we were subsequently hustled out of here . . . ]

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[Back to the plaza where “the joint is jumping.”]

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[It’s a major tourist attraction which attracts the local vendors . . . ]

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[I think it rather amazing that I have two high school classmates who go to Guatemala annually on separate missions . . . ]

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[Remember, never pass up a volcano shot . . . ]

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[Transactions are taking place . . . ]

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[I am at a loss to explain how this photo fits here?  Stuff happens?]

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[Meanwhile, back at the plaza, the vendors have their eyes on the Super . . . ]

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[And they got her!!]

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[The plaza where the following are located . . . ]

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[Birds of Paradise . . . ]

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[We made a special stop here, identified in the 4th photo down.      ]

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[The Chapel of San Jose el Viejo, a school is situated next to the ruins of the chapel of San Jose el Viejo (3 blocks away from the Central Plaza of Antigua).  The school building, used to be part of the church.  Around 1736 a modest chapel was begun in the Tortuguero District of Antigua.  It was intended to house the splendid statue of Saint Joseph, which was the work of the great sculptor Alonso de la Paz.  The little hermitage became the house of worship of the needy people of this populous district (sanjoseelviejo.com).]

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[Back on the ship, it somehow seemed appropriate that we had a “volcano” for dessert.]

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Cars will soon have the Internet on the dashboard. I worry that this will distract me from my texting.  ~  Andy Borowitz

Uo Next: 1,000!!!!!

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