28 March 2017
Panama City is quite large. A quick google check shows it has almost 1.3 million people. The currency here is the US Dollar or Panama Balboa, which are both equal. A taxi drive into the best grocery store passes high-rise office buildings and condos right up alongside shanty towns. There is the old Colonial town of Casco Viejo which is quite pleasant to walk around. This area has nice restaurants and tourist shops selling Panama Hats, of course. We have bus passes for the bus that passes by the marina and takes us into town for .25 cents. There is also Uber which is always much nicer than the taxi’s that are all over the place, and cost less.
One night, we heard there was a Beatles festival in the park downtown so we shared a cab with another couple and headed downtown. We finally found the park only to find the movie “Yellow Submarine” playing on a couple of portable movie screens. A security guard told us that there would be a band afterwards so we went for some ice cream and came back to check it out.
The band opened with a beatles song and then moved on to the Rolling Stones, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. Turns out it was more of a British music festival as there were also songs by Adele, and other British bands…not so much the beatles. Kinda funny.
In two days we will be aboard our friends’ sailboat to make the crossing thru the Panama Canal as line handlers. A sailboat needs four line handlers aboard, plus the captain. In addition, there is a Panama Canal authority on board, an Advisor. It will be good practice before taking Uhuru through ☺
There are three sets of locks. From the Pacific side, there are the first two beginning at Miraflores. After the first two locks, there is Gatun Lake, which is about 20 miles across. It is not uncommon for a sailboat to spend the night here before completing the passage through the last set of locks in Gatun. The advisor does not spend the night on the boat, but gets picked up and then in the morning, another advisor is brought aboard.
Making the passage in one day would be great, but spending the night on Gatun Lake does sound like fun.
We are scheduled to make the crossing on April 2nd! There are webcams @ http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html. I will post the times that we are scheduled to go through the locks on the Uhuru FB page if you are interested in watching.