Wal-Mart in Mexico? What?

Last night's view from deck of our ship, the Celebrity Century, overlooking another ship in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Over the years, we've chuckled that we aren't the best photographers.  Our subjects are usually off center, blurry and often unrecognizable.  Laughing about our lack of photo taking skills over the years, we've depended upon family members taking photos of memorable occasions, storing them helter-skelter on our computers, marveling at the fact that they are actually there.

As an otherwise digitally adept person, I've always accepted that my lack of photo taking skills was purely a result of a lack of interest as to how a camera works.  Tom, not particularly handy with digital equipment in general, followed suit.
As our blog has grown, we've both agreed that we must make an attempt at photo taking and editing photos as needed.  Mistakenly, we have assumed that our new digital phones could suffice as a photo taking medium for our travels, having taken a number of reasonable photos here and there.
Live and learn.  With poor Internet connections on the cruise, XCOM Global not always working near land as hoped, the former ease we'd experienced uploading photos from our phones to our laptops, we realized that we needed to buy a camera now as opposed to waiting until we get to Europe, our original plan.
As our ship the Celebrity Century, an under 2000 passenger ship small enough to fit into the Panama Canal, makes its way from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean via the Panama Canal six days from today, the scenery will be worth sharing. 
Yesterday, as we neared the pier in  Puerto Vallarta, we saw a Wal-Mart!  Ha!  Here we are on the first leg of our worldwide adventure on our first outing off the ship and there within walking distance was a Wal-mart.  Good grief!
Not Wal-Mart shoppers in general, we were suddenly excited about the prospect of walking to the store, about 1/2 mile from the pier to purchase a new camera.  Surely, they'd have familiar brands and, it would be a good experience for us to make a purchase in a non-English speaking country.
No English indeed.  Not a word.  The busy store, jammed with locals and few tourists had price signs in pesos.  Oh, oh, I didn't bring my phone with my money conversion app.  We found a bank inside the store asking the conversion rate to discover that about 12 pesos was equivalent to a US $1. 
The camera selection was limited.  My brain was scanning through my memory of the hundreds of cameras I had researched online and their prices. 
We decided to buy a familiar brand at a low price.  If we didn't like it, we'd replace it when we get to Europe in April.  Our purchase, a 16.2 mp Samsung ST66, digital, 5x zoom, 4.5-22.5mm, 1:2.5-6.3, 25 mm.  I have no clue what some of these numbers mean.  We'll learn.  We have all of the time in the world. 
Walking around Puerto Vallarta wasn't ideal.  The cab drivers continually barked at us to take a cab downtown to the shopping area. With no interest in shopping in general, let alone after the hour spent in the Wal-Mart waiting for the camera to be rousted up from their "warehouse," we were ready to walk back to the ship with unruly traffic whizzing past us as we walked the narrow sidewalk.
Thirsty and unable to find a cold drink without ice (we were skeptical of the local water), we made our way back to our ship, sweaty from the heat and anxious to cool off with a cold icy drink inside the air conditioned comfort of our cabin. We charged the new camera, took a few photos, showered and dressed for dinner.
In any case, we were glad that we'd ventured out, proud of our purchase at US $102, pleased to find the familiar USB and electric plugs inside the box along with instructions in English.
Again last night, Tom ventured into foods unknown and tried the shrimp and scallops risotto.  Having heard Chef Ramsey extol the virtues of a well made risotto, he was ready to give it a try.  I had made it a few times over the years with him thumbing his nose at the prospect of a single taste.  Last night, he marveled at the exquisite taste.  I bear no resentment.  He's stepping outside the box.  I'm thrilled.
Tom's risotto.  He loved it!

After the delightful dinner in the Grand Dining Room, at 10 PM we attended a hilarious comedy show in the Celebrity Theatre as the ship rolled from side to side. 

After dining on a big meal of Caprice salad, braised lamb shank, wedge salad and Tom's uneaten Brussels sprouts, I felt queasy for the first time since boarding the ship, resting my head on Tom's shoulder from time to time during the show.    
My Capresse Salad. 
We both had a fitful night's sleep.  By 6:30 am Tom was showered and dressed ready to head to breakfast in the Island's Cafe while I languished in bed trying to muster the energy to get up.  How could I be so tired? 
I haven't exerted much energy these past four days, other than two high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions in the ship's health club and the approximate 10,000 steps we've walked daily according to my on-body FitBit pedometer. 

It must be the winding down after many months of preparing to leave, both the physical and emotional toll or perhaps, just a poor night's sleep after all.
Forcing myself to get up after Tom left for the restaurant for coffee and to read his online daily newspaper, I managed to meet up with him a short while later, still sluggish but ready to enjoy the next two days at sea.
By 1:00 PM, we'd managed to attend two classes, the second in a series of five informative and well-presented sessions on the history and culture of the country of Panama and the building of the Panama Canal.  Our second course was by geology/paleontology professor, Dr. Connie Soja on the Coral Reefs of the Mexican Riviera. 
How enriching, during this time of new discoveries in our lives to be learning about our world? Our mutual interest in these and other such topics all become relevant to our travels.  We couldn't be more content.
With yet another 12 days on this cruise followed by another 8 day cruise to Belize, we are comfortably settling in, not into a cocoon so prevalent in our past but into a wider scope of wonder, experimentation and new experiences.
It's good.  It's very good.  Photos will follow.


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