Day 127

Having left the canal, today is a sea day before Costa Rica. I got up early to do some final organization of all my photos from yesterday and transmitted the daily narrative and photos. Breakfast was great for Pat; she got her sticky bun.

Terry’s talk today was on “The Spaniards who went native.” After some repeat of old Spanish history, he began in 1511, about a simple voyage from Panama to Santo Domingo that got blown off course, sunk and only 17 made it into a lifeboat that floated toward the Yucatan, an area never before seen. After several Maya attacks, only two men survived, Gonzalo Guerrero, a sailor, and Father Geronimo de Aguilar. They did bring small pox with them. They lived among the Maya and Gonzalo married the chief’s daughter and had children. He was also a successful warlord. Rumors got back to the Spanish about these two. Expeditions were sent in 1517 but where driven away, but returned with stories of a rich empire. Cortez in 1519 sent a letter with the hope it would reach them. Father Geronimo received it and asked the chief for permission to leave and got it. Gonzales refused saying he had roots there. Father Geronimo became a translator and scout for Cortez. In 1527, a Spanish invasion of Yucatan came up against stiff resistance from the Maya. In 1531-1535, a second attempt captured Chichen Itza but the Maya, under Gonzales, drove off the Spanish to Honduras. The Spanish continued other attacks in 1542, 1618, 1624 and 1695 losing time after time. They tried again in 1697 finally taking the Itza of Petan, the supposed capital, and burned all the ancient knowledge in the Mayan library, believing it contained lies of the devil, and destroyed all the Mayan statues and idols. The native Maya were and are still resisting Spanish domination. Father Geronimo was eventually released by Cortez and spent his last years in Mexico, dying at age 50. Gonzalo could have been killed in Honduras by the Spanish. There is no grave but he did get a statue that exists today.

I went off to a ping pong tournament and scored some points, returning to meet Pat during the second lecture, in progress, on North Korea.

Rob spoke about North Korea this morning, beginning with a brief history of the Korean War, from 1950-1953, and ending with an armistice declaring the 38th parallel as a dividing line between North and South Korea. After a cold war period, the North, although it had coal and other resources, had only an $1800 per capita income, compared with South Korea with an average of $32,400 per capita and a ten year longer life span. The Kim dynasty ruled for over 70 years, beginning with Kim Il Song, and later Kim Yong Il and his son, Kim Jong Un. Kim Jong Un has only been in power for six years, but has consolidated his position by killing his uncle and step-brother. He seems to be willing to talk to the U.S. and other powers because his economy is suffering under the U.N. sanctions. There will be a summit in Singapore on June 12 to discuss nuclear disarmament in exchange for economic aid and other items. We all hope the summit will be a success for all involved- U.S., China, N.Korea, S.Korea, and Japan.

The Captain gave his usual noontime status report over the PA system, but today had some bad news. Because of political unrest and public demonstrations in Nicaragua, the Miami home office has decided not to stop in that country. We will have a sea day instead and a slightly longer visit in Costa Rica tomorrow. We played the noontime card game of 31 in our group and won a couple of points. The Pool Deck had a Paella lunch buffet.

After lunch, we walked the deck for a mile and I went off to the slots tournament and did poorly again. I had agreed to meet Art and Harris at ping pong. We took turns playing each other. Art left after 45 minutes; Harris wanted to keep playing me for the next one and a half hours. I returned for a quick shower and proceeded to Mensa and Trivia at 4:15pm. We did well on both today, even getting second place in Trivia.

There was a 6pm cocktail party and special entertainment provided by the Regent show staff for the Upper Tier Passengers. The cast performed some dance numbers (including tap) and songs and dances from The Great Gatsby, Little Mermaid, and South Pacific. Some of the cast even did a lovely tango.

Lauren and Jackson performed a cabaret tonight, singing several duets from musicals. They designed this program themselves and did a super job, even including the Cabaret song.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac