Tomorrow morning we leave for our trip home for the holidays. We are sharing an SUV taxi with Paul & Michelle & kids on BLUEPRINT MATCH. Their flight leaves about the same time as ours so it was convenient to share the taxi to
We have made a couple of trips to the supermarket in
Colon using the marina
free shuttle. One day we rode through
the town of Colon
while the shuttle dropped people off for various tasks. Everyone had warned us how bad Colon is, and they were
right. It is a dirty old town that looks
like no maintenance has been done in the past 100 years, or maybe longer. It is supposed to be very dangerous and the
marina and guide books warn against walking anywhere in Colon; you are advised to use a taxi even if
only going 2 blocks. Supposedly some of
the criminal element of the local population strongly dislike tourists and
outsiders. All that said, frankly I did
not think Colon looked any more dangerous than
the Fifth Ward in .
In fact, I would take my chances on the streets of Houston, Texas Colon before I would venture through Fifth
Ward on foot. Colon just looks exceedingly poor and old.
Last Saturday we took the marina shuttle over to
Panama City for a day of
shopping. We visited 2 marine supply
stores, an upper-scale hardware type store (sort of like Berings in Houston), and the Multi
Plazas Mall. It was an all-day
trip. The Multi Plazas Mall is a very,
very nice mall -- it easily rivals the Galleria complex in Houston.
On the exterior of the mall is located Riba Smith Supermarket, which is
by far the best supermarket we have seen anywhere in the entire Caribbean. Prices are higher, but what the heck; it is
worth paying more to shop there. I
bought ten 5-lb bags of bread flour; first time we have found bread flour since
I vacuum seal the flour and it lasts years. Wish we had more time to shop because we only
saw a tiny bit of the mall. But we did
manage to finally find a shop vac. Bill has
been looking for one since we moved aboard.
Each time we leave the marina we go through the Gatun lock of the
Panama Canal. You have to because that is the only egress
to the marina. We still have not visited
the lock for a tour, but what we have seen while sitting in the shuttle has
been interesting. One day we waited for
an hour and a half for the canal traffic to clear. It was interesting to sit there and watch
these huge ships rising up into the air above our heads as the lock filled with
water. Ships are built to fit the
canal. There is literally inches
clearance on either side of some of these ships.
The canal truly is a marvel of engineering. It is amazing to us that the engineers that long ago had enough forethought to build in the moveable road sections to allow motorized traffic to cross the canal. The road sections turn sideways and fold up into indentions alongside the canal separation partitions. Very efficient and utilizes the minimum of space.
Looking forward to seeing family and friends for the next 3 weeks.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year wishes to everyone.