Saturday, February 23, 2008

We found a temporary home in Panama

Yesterday and this morning, I completed arrangements so that we will have a place to stay while Solstice is on the hard in Colon. Our temporary home will be at a bed-and-breakfast called Pequeña Paraiso. We don’t normally do B&Bs, as you who know us know well, but this one seems special. First, they meet our requirements: air conditioning, Internet access, and reasonable price. Plus, of course, they allow pets sometimes and have agreed to our pet. As you’ll see from their website, they’re ex-pat Canadians. Bonuses are Anita’s gourmet cooking for breakfast and the swimming pool. It’s also on the way to Colón from Panamá City, but John will need to take a taxi to the bus stop back in the city in order to get the express, air-conditioned bus.

Other very exciting news is that I’ve been able to connect with a classmate from my time at the University of Arizona. The little bit of address information I had for Yadira Cuevas (formerly Montilla) wasn’t finding her for me, so I contacted Elaine Lim, the department assistant at the U of A, who was, fortunately, still there and, even better, had a recent e-mail address for Yadira. Yadira and I have now talked via e-mail and my new Panamanian cell phone, and we’ll be sure to see each other face-to-face at least once before we sail on.

Otherwise, today we did what we needed to do: got provisions to feed our transit crew and topped off our fuel tanks. That’s just two things and probably sounds easy to those of you with cars in countries where your language is the one that most people speak. It took us about six hours here. The shopping actually went quite well. We’re no longer looking for taxi drivers who speak English, but the one we got did, after a fashion. It was a bonus. But despite our keen eye on the situation at the fuel dock, we managed to arrive there just after a Moorings 41.3 boat (I provide this detail for Uncle Dick, who’s a real fan of Moorings) had tied up, taking the whole dock. We tried to ask them how long they would be, but they just shrugged and waved. It didn’t really matter because going back to our mooring for even an hour didn’t really make sense. So we spent up to an hour circling outside the fuel dock, avoiding the launches that take people from the moorings to the shore and the shuttles that take crew back and forth to ships in the canal. We about lost it when it looked like the Moorings boat was going to use the fresh water at the fuel dock to wash their boat while we waited. Apparently, someone else advised them that wasn’t appropriate because they finally left.

To celebrate our accomplishments of the day, we went looking for Mexican food. I got a craving after watching the Noble Rot video featuring Mike and Sydney as happy diners. It reminded me that Los Baez is near there. So I looked them up on City Search, and despite their recent dismal ratings, got a real Jones for good Mexican food. We saw a taco place on our shopping expedition, but the taxi driver told us about a better place (Mi Ranchito) down the causeway from here, so that’s where we went. The food was good, but we decided that Panamanians must not like Mexican food because the restaurant wasn’t Mexican at all. Oh well, it was good, but I’m still craving chili rellenos.

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