. We must have a valid passport on us to enter the ship. Finally the hotel manager called us on my cell phone and again told us there was nothing we could do so at this point I said we would never travel on HAL again and Mary Ann said to take our luggage off the ship and we would go home. I also told him all the important people we knew etc,etc saying anything to get him to change his mind. it was then that I offered to have a neighbor go in our house and Fed Ex the passports to the next port and they would be there upon our arrival. After 30 minutes of arguing we finally got his approval and we were allowed to board with the proviso that we would be deported if the passports were not in Panama by Wednesday Jan. 9th
. Immediately we called a friend Pat Styron and asked her to go to where we knew the passports to be. You can imagine our surprise when we heard from Pat that she was unable to locate them in the usual place. We called our son Chris to see if he could go up to our house from Boca to try and find them. By this time Mary Ann and I were totally stressed out and after dinner we went to our cabin and tried to relax. I had a fitful nap and awoke just before midnight with a new thought as to where they may be. I immediately called Chris and told him that I had made copies of the passports before Christmas and maybe they were still in the printer. Fortunately the cell phone connection was still working and he contacted Pat the next day.
Sure enough they were there and Pat sent them out first thing Monday morning.
Tuesday we docked in Cartegena, Columbia and walked to the bridge to old town "Centro" and back looking at all the sights and there were many tropical birds as well as monkeys in the trees. On the way to our cabin we passed the hotel managers office and asked about the progress of the Fed Exed documents, he said they were in Miami and would hopefully be in Panama tomorrow where we arrive, if not he again said we would have to leave the ship and wait for them to arrive and catch a plane to the next timely port. I hope all of you will say a little prayer that they arrive on time.
We had breakfast at the hotel and were transported to the ship via bus to wait in very long lines to check in finally arriving at the agent we were told our passports expired. "How can this be" I said I sent copies to our travel agent for their records and they were fine then. Well these are not and you can not board. You can imagine our aggravation after all this time and preparation were not allowed to join the ship so we stood there as our friends walked aboard. Let me speak to the manager I shouted and a pleasant shapeless lady approached and asked what she could do. "Get me aboard the ship for starters" I"m sorry she said only the purser can do that and he is out. So we sat waiting for his return as passenger after passenger passed us by to board. After an hour he returned to tell us that without a valid passport we could not board, but I said we have one and the copies of our passport show that. Again we got a sorry from him. I asked to speak to the hotel manager who is directly under the captain and in the meantime we called our travel agent who confirmed what everyone was telling us