After several weeks in Panama City, we of course went to see the Miraflores Locks and the “Panama Canal”. It’s not enough just to transit the canal? It was $15 dollars a person to go see the locks. I think we should have gotten free passes after paying so much to transit. It has a nice little museum detailing the history of the canal and a there’s a 3D movie so everyone can almost experience it, sort of.
In Panama city we’ve seen 4 movies in an actual movie theater. Four more than we’ve seen in the entire last year and a half.
We’ve spent hours at the mall, hours on public transportation, hours and hours walking the streets looking for stores with certain supplies, and even more hours fixing cleaning and or tinkering on Stray Catz. We’ve managed to get Kylan his next set of books for school. He is so excited. Anna contracted a rare tropical rash (writers embellishment), so she’s gotten to experience Panama City doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. We’ve walked an area of the city called Casco Antigua, which much was built pre 1700 after the original city was destroyed by pirates. We’ve experienced Carnival Panama City style. Eight hours worth. Unable to get any kind of reliable information we showed up at 10am for a 5pm parade. A long time to wait around, but we made the best of it by buying squirt guns and getting involved in many water battles. Some of the floats in the parade were quite elaborate, but for being the second largest celebration in Central and South America, I was a little disappointed. It may have something to do with the 7 hour wait, but I don’t think so.
Maribel left after the canal transit, but she came back for a week. She said it was to see us, but I think she wanted to see Carnival.
Our water maker quit and has been repaired. Our generator quit and has been repaired. All of the parts we ordered have arrived. And we managed to lose our new camera. Pictures will be hurting again for a while.
We’re all very anxious to get out of here, so we took a trip to the Perlas islands. Starting about 30 and extending to 50 miles from P.C. it was a good way to pass time waiting for parts. The islands were very pretty and very diverse from one end to the other.
The islands got their name because of the Pearls that were found there. We read about this village that you could buy Las Perlas pearls at a good price, so we anchored nearby and visited. The village was nice and friendly and they did have pearls, but they were tiny and expensive. One night we built a fire on the beach and roasted marshmallows. Tried SCUBA, but visibility was so bad we aborted. We rode an incoming tide up a river. In and out of the dinghy.
The trip also took us over to an area on the mainland called Darian where more tribes of indigenous Panamanians live. Similar to the San Blas and the Kuna tribe or so we read. We went so far up Rio Sabanna we were miles off any of our charts. There is a remote Indian village and we wanted to go. Glad we did. We were greeted by someone who helped tie up the dinghy and led us to someone else who understood us a little more who talked to us until the Chief or what they called the Presidente was summoned to come and greet us.
Louis the Presidente was very friendly and he showed us around the whole village. (we forgot any camera, so no pictures at all) After the tour he led us to the common area where he rang a bell and many women from the village showed up bringing their arts and crafts to sell. We were surrounded. We then went and toured a little more. Louis was expanding his house, so I offered to help shovel dirt for a bit while Anna got a temporary tattoo from his wife. She and another of the elder women ran around topless the entire time just like in National Geographic articles.
Louis sent us off with multiple kinds of fruit. Unfortunately we were enjoying ourselves so much we got a late start back down the river. With a 16 foot tidal range even this far up the river, at low tide parts of the river get very shallow.
So shallow that when Stray Catz came to a stop on the way back down, we shut down the engines and waited. After an hour, Kylan and I walked around in the shallow river and scrapped barnacles off of Stray Catz bottom. Eventually the tide came back in and we were off again down the river.
We went to another village from our book, but I guess since the book was written years ago, the village was much more modern now and tourist oriented.
Back in P.C for five days before we head north. We have to be in Mexico by summer, so we pick up the last parts, fix a couple more things, buy a bunch of food and head North by Monday.