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Archive for the ‘Panama’ Category:

Panama Canal Passage

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

On Saturday, Crystal Blue Persuasion passed through the Panama canal with 9 people on board. In addition to the regular crew memebers, there was Lee and Rick, from Viking Heart. There was also another couple, Leah and Les, who had been through before and have been living in Central America for a few years, specifically Portobello. They were very informational. Finally there was Charlie, who will be making the passage on Tuesday with his boat and wanted to do a trial run.

This first image is of Puente de Las Americas, which used to be the only land link connecting North and South America. The bridge is one of Panama’s icons, much like the Golden Gate is to San Francisco.

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More Panama

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I spent the rest of my days in Panama crossing things off the usual Panama to-do list. I’ve been to the Canal Museum in Casco Viejo, a couple of blocks from my hotel. I hiked around Cerro Ancon and the Parque Metropolitano. I took a cab to the other side of town and visited old old Panama, aka Panama Viejo. I’m staying in the area that was built after Captain Henry Morgan burned the city in 1671. There are a few stone ruins left from this first settlement, most noticably the cathedral tower which looks more like a lookout tower than a belltower.

Last night I went to a British pub in Calle Uraguay, then to a rock club that had a 311 cover band playing. Although she never made it out, one of Rachel’s friends was in the band. I noticed one of the singers from the first night I went to Indigo. They played songs from 311’s whole discography: Omaha Stylee, Don’t Stay Home, Transistor, Amber, Down, and more.

On my way to go out, I was almost mugged. I stopped at a food stand by Santa Ana Park, just outside Casco Viejo. As I’m ordering, this crazy guy stands next to me, only a few feet away, and flashes a knife under his jacket. It was rusty and jagged and looked homemade. I was a little confused that he would be mugging me in front of the attendent, the 3 guys eating and other random people about the street. I got the fight or flight adrenaline and took a few steps back, still trying to figure out the situation. Flashing a knife is a pretty clear signal of your intentions, but it seemed as if he wanted me to go into a dark alley, elsewhere, so he could rob me. He argued with the attendant for a while and then walked off. The attendant said, “He wanted to rob you. You better go that way.” Pointing towards the well-light and populated pedestrian Avenida Central. It was what I was going to do anyways. I walked down the street, eating my food, glancing back every so often. Then I got into a cab. On my cab ride home I made sure I was dropped off right in front of my hotel instead of a few blocks away like usual.

Crystal Blue Persuasion is scheduled to go through the canal tomorrow. I’m going back to the boat this evening. Gary said it may take two days depending on whether or not our pilot is late, as they are rumoured to be. Lynne, he told me in an email, is going to jump ship on the other side to make it home by Christmas, which means it’s just Gary, Larry and me to Majahual, the end of the line. I’m hoping to stop in Rio Dulce in Guatemala on the way. I hear it’s beautiful but it’s recently infamous for a fatal pirate attack.

I’ve finally uploaded some photos from the whole trip, instead of the spase ones amongst my rhetoric. Click “Photos” above or click here.

Panama

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Cabin fever is begining to set in. I don’t know if my crew mates and their idiosyncracies are truely annoying or if I’m just hyper-senstive and insane. One example is the way in which Larry asks for things. When he’s at the helm, he’ll say things like “a glass of water sure would be nice,” which means somebody should get him a glass of water. I don’t know why he does it. Maybe he does it so that if someone gets him the water, they’ve volunteered it rather than been requested. I’ve taken note of this, and so have the other crew members, and now it’s a sort of a joke. When he asks for something is this manner, I reply, “Do you mean you would like me to get you a glass of water?” When I force him to acknowledge his latent desire this way, out of stubborness, he still sticks to his guns and says “Sure, that will work,” kind of emphasizing the fact that it’s your idea to get him water, not his. When someone else asks me to do something, I’ll repeat the request, Larry-like, just to be funny. Gary will say, “Hey, Sean, can you help me lower the main?” and I’ll say “It sure would be nice of someone could drop the main.” I spend more and more time in my bunk in an effort to prevent my attitude from festering.

Larry and I also got into an argument about my leaving of personal items in the public area of the salon. He’s always finding things and putting them away¬†and getting on our cases for leaving things lying around. What’s worse is he’ll find something of his and then ask me “Why didn’t you say anything?” I understand the need for a tight ship. Because of this, we’ve developed a system: I put all of my personal items that I want to keep in the salon on the counter, above the stairs to my bunk. Everybody else does the same, each with a separate pile in different corners of the salon. My pile usually consists of a book or two, my camera, my ipod, my shirt if I’ve taken it off and my toothbrush. I’ll admit that my pile can sometimes grow large but it’s in a designated location with sufficient room, not out of order by any means. The stuff I keep in the salon are things that I frequently use and don’t want to have to go downstairs for, or things I intend to take downstairs the next time I go down. I think what really bothers Larry is my toothbrush, maybe because it’s the epitome of a personal item. Nobody else has any use for my toothbrush.

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