A final shop and laundry before the transit
02 May 2021 | 09 22.025'N:79 56.642'W, Shelter Bay Marina, Cristobel, Panama
28th & 29th April
09 22. 025 N
79 56.642 W
Weather; hot and humid, wind n/a, waves n/a
Today was to be our last chance to stock up on anything we might need for the up-coming transit. Although I'm sure we have most bases covered there is always something else that we think we can't manage without. Gerry had put our names down for the morning bus which meant that we had to be at the bus at 8 am - not my favourite time of day to be doing anything, don't even think of chatting to me before 10 am as I need to ease into the day and have at least a coffee inside me before I can think straight or answer stupid questions civilly, luckily for Gerry he has lived with me long enough to know not to bother asking anything. In order to be at the bus in time I had to forego the coffee which made for a very quiet start to the day! We did the temperature checking and had our names crossed off the list then boarded the bus with our masks suffocating us to death in the dense heat of the day. Almost to a man we removed our masks once we were seated (socially distanced) and breathed in the air conditioned cool air. There wasn't even a full busload of 10 this morning, no one likes the early shopping bus! I had thought that the morning bus took us into Colon and the "big" shopping centre, but after dropping 2 people off at the bus interchange for a bus to Panama City our driver continued on to the shopping centre that we had previously visited nearby and dropped us there. It was of no great consequence to us as we knew where the supermarket was along with the hardware store and the chandlery. It was only just coming up to 8.30 am and guess what - nothing much was open apart from the supermarket until 9.30. The bus driver had told us that he would be picking us back up at 11am so we had some time to spare and really didn't want to start doing grocery shopping this early when we would just have to wait with things potentially getting hot / melting or defrosting. We wandered along to the chandlery which was just opening and had a brief browse around and purchasing a couple of bits that weren't essential but might come in useful down the track but as far as chandleries go it was really a fisherman's dream store, not so much a sailors delight. I have never seen so many different types of lures, lines, hooks etc in one place - I'm sure that if we had been so inclined we could have found THE perfect bit of gear to ensure we catch at least one fish this trip! Nah, who am I kidding we are destined to be meat eaters for ever more, fish comes either frozen or in a tin! So with our couple of products in hand we headed to the hardware store which was also just open and they had a long line of men waiting to buy stuff for whatever their current work project was. Everything was behind a counter and you had to ask the assistant if they had what you needed, by the time we got to the front of the queue we were pretty certain from scanning the shelves that we could see that they didn't have the waterproof wood glue that we needed and sure enough we bombed out but it killed a few more minutes waiting in the queue! It was still too early to start the grocery shop so we made our way to a small bakery that seemed to be very popular, bought a couple of donuts and a bottle of water and found some seats nearby where we sat and ate and waited for a while before heading into the supermarket. We did the usual tour of the place and tried not to miss out on anything, not that we thought we needed much but we still managed to fill a trolley with stuff. Our bags were just big enough to hold everything, they were heavy as we had included 24 cans of drink along with a couple of bottles of wine and the real essentials of potatoes, carrots and onions. We made it out of the supermarket with about 10 minutes to wait but the bus was already there waiting for everyone so we boarded and waited for the final stragglers before setting off back to the marina. The stagger under the weight of the bags back to the boat seemed to take far too long and the unpacking and stowing just about finished us off for the rest of the day. Gerry started up the engine to make sure that everything was working and there was no last second issues that we needed to sort out. I started on the stowing of things that might be in the way and made sure that there was enough room to sleep the extra bodies. It's funny how you get use to having an amount of space and how resentful you get about having to give some of it up to accommodate extra people even if it is only for 2 days and 1 night. With all the spaces sorted and re arranged we couldn't be bothered to do much for dinner and had an early night, worrying about things that we haven't anticipated.
Once again it was an early start as our name was down for the laundry at 8am (I bet you can guess who put our name down and if you need a clue - it wasn't me!) That didn't let me off the hook though as I had to strip the bed and gather up everything ready to go. Gerry did the walk to the laundry and came back after throwing everything in the machine, and was told to return in an hour and a half when it would all be ready for him to collect - none of this him having to put it in the drier and then fold it as it dried, unlike when I had gone there - must be to do with being a male! I had a busy enough morning planned as I was preparing a lasagna and baking a cake ready for the transit. Gerry went back for the laundry before I got around to making the cake and he came back saying that the towels and blanket weren't quite dry and we needed to go back for them later and whilst I was at it I might want to check out the Haus wind as there were two Kona ladies there selling Molas today, one of whom was in full national dress. I finished up with preparing the lasagna and emptied a money packet into my pocket before setting off to collect the last of the laundry and visiting the Kona ladies. The last of the laundry was ready and I headed to the Haus wind where the 2 ladies were waiting with their embroideries on display. Gerry had got it half right, both ladies were in national dress this being a sort of sarong worn as a skirt and a blouse which has a Mola (these are the embroidered pieces they are famous for) worn as a sort of cumberbund over the blouse. The older lady also wore a red head piece /scarf which appears to be part of the national dress for older women and her arms and legs were covered in row upon row of strings of tiny beads (in my youth we knew them as love beads and if the string broke the darn beads would go everywhere and you would be finding them months later in every conceivable nook and cranny - our mothers hated them as they meant a lot of hard work to clean up even with a vacuum cleaner). The younger woman didn't have the head piece or the beads but the rest of her dress was traditional. The older woman reminded me of the woman that I had dealings with at the Panama Yacht club on our last trip and when she said her name was Lola I wondered if she was the same lady, I tried to ask her but between us we couldn't find too many common words so I resorted to going and finding my blog from last trip and showing her the photo of the lady that I knew as Lola from last time around. Both of the ladies shook their heads, she wasn't the lady in my photo and then they both pointed at my photo saying that was of Amelia, not Lola and they both knew her! They were very interested in the embroideries that Amelia was selling in the photo and I'm sure that was partly how they identified who she was. So the older lady that I was now talking/ gesticulating to was wearing a necklace which had Lola carved into it so I'm pretty certain that she is called Lola and the younger lady introduced herself as Blanca and she did tell me her daughter's name (she's in the photo) but for the life of me I can't recall the daughter's name - shame on me! I spent a while looking over their offerings for the day and came away with another 4 pieces of intricate work that I will have to somehow work into a display quilt once I get home. Oh and I bought an appliqued face mask which speaks volumes of the trip undertaken during the Covid pandemic.
I got back in plenty of time to make a cake for the transit team tomorrow and by the time dinner came around we just had to go to the restaurant for a last supper. The place was heaving for a change but we ate and ran, needing to be on top of our game the next day.