Last in LA, first in Panama
11 August 2008
Stuff happened - good stuff - in Long Beach after I last wrote to yous all, but I haven't had a chance to put it down in words. We stayed with John Wegrocki and his wife Jeanine (thankyou!) for our last night in LA.
I set off in our rented PT cruiser to meet the Egyptian (thank you Ramsey!) to pick up the stuff - the GPS, radio, fishfinder I'd ordered, down in Belmont Shore, so I found myself driving through town down Ximeno to 2nd street, take a left, all by myself! A slow lunch with Rameses at the Lebanese restaurant, then he hands it over - all but one bit - and we head over the bridge to Westmarine to get the wind instruments. After that I'm counting out thousands of paper dollars into his hands in the cab of his truck. Now I had to find my way home to Rocky's. (Remember to go into the far lane when you turn left. Drive on the right.)
When I got back Marvin is there and he is wonderfully entertaining! He puts a huge left hand over that side of his face to register shock (dramatized as only gays can) but rolling his eyes upward first - and sometimes, to convey maximum shock, he uses both hands. We had a dinner there with Marvin, a very old friend of Adrienne's, who played with her since she could walk, or earlier, and who after having a wife and kids turned gay & having been a lawyer, quit. I wish I could remember his marvelous jokes; I do remember he said if gay marriage got to be legal he'd (rubbing his hands gleefully) practise again -think of all those gay divorces!! By the way I asked him if he liked Boston Legal, which I enjoyed, and he said it was the only lawyer show he could stand.
The next morning we headed early for the airport on the freeway doing seventy miles an hour on a 12 lane highway. And I was driving in the diamond lane. That topped it off for me.
At the LA airport, it was chaos - checkins overpopulated, queues going nowhere grumpy staff who couldn't answer your questions, hours waiting, self checkins that didn't work, overweight baggage (repack those cases!) extra $100 for the sailcloth, finally through and relieved of our loads, just carrying a banjo, a uke in Em's old violin case ("hey - are you guys in a BAND?") and our carryons having a coffee at Starbucks LAX and talking on my $15 cell to Dom in London, just home from work, and Gitte yelling Hi Dad in the background, all good.
Now today - since I typed that in - we got all ready and started the engine (almost totally out of fuel) and nestled up to the fuel dock, this floating pontoon which is so busy all day and most of the night too. I did good, steering the boat for the first time to a wharf, stopping just perfect and Adrienne did fine too throwing the for'ard line to the darkskinned Panamanian guy to make fast, and me throwing the stern line to Charlie who did a dive for us last Monday, cleaning the bottom of the hull, with his boy help. Some photos will go up as soon as I can upgrade this blog site.
So what did I do? I got the water hose after calling "agua, agua" and stuck it in the filler and A did our rehearsed bit down below, switching to another tank when first one full. And then I made a mistake. I picked up the fuelhose, dragged it across the deck hearing "amigo! Amigo!" behind me - that GASOLINE" he said grinning all over his wonderful black toothgapped face and now I was grinning too. He put the gas nozzle in a 5 gallon drip can. When I next looked there was a local guy standing next to the gas drip can, next to the sign saying NO FUME GRACIAS NO SMOKING PLEASE - smoking!!
A 6-pack of the local beer costs $2.75 at Super 99, and a cerveza only $1.20 at the bar of the club, and it is amazing hot here so we drink a few beers; local rum around $4 a bottle Bacardi $6 so you can have a rum punch as the sun goes down, we buy ice at the wharf. Gin $6 a litre, limes are cheap so the odd gin and tonic to sit in the cool of the evening.
I'm back on the internet at last thanks to Rick. Toothpick Rick gave me a Wireless Ethernet adaptor which connects our computer to the yacht club's internet, and he got it going too; he is never without a toothpick sticking out of his mouth even when talking and even when smoking a cigarette.
Since then we've had a blocked toilet and a broken water pump on the engine; the second one's fixed (yesterday): I go to fix the first now. Wish me luck.