Chance Calls

Chance Comes Knocking
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This morning at eight saw us venture on the free marina bus to visit the supermarket in Colon. How it reminded us of the Chicken Buses in Guatemala. You have to put your name down but somehow there were not enough seats and a couple of lads at the front had a massive backsack across their chests for the journey and Dee had to sit on Eric’s lap. Carol (crew member on the catamaran Vision) a seasoned shopper filled us in. We were to get out at Rey’s and would be picked up at 11:15. If we spent more than $250, the shop would deliver or if it was too much of a bun fight to get on the bus for the return trip, we could always get a taxi back for $20. We were happy to give it a go this first time, but I was warned my eggs may not arrive in the same condition I bought them in.....
After about fifteen minutes of road surrounded by jungle, we actually pulled to a halt and watched as a container ship was hauled into the Panama Canal by mules (mechanical ones). Oh Wow. Carol said you can get held up at this point for over half an hour, no complaints from me, just too exciting. All done, we crossed the canal at lock height and saw the massive gates to the first of the Gatun Locks. I was a child in sweet shop heaven.
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Crossing the canal we saw a cruise ship coming in, a massive crane at work in the far lock and the “Welcome to the Panama Canal” sign. YeeHa. I may feel the need to bring a picnic here and just sit and watch the ‘goings on’.

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Another fifteen minutes after our excitement at crossing the Canal, we did a U-turn across the main road and pulled into a big shopping area. The bus leaves here and stops at a different set of shops and then on to the bus station where you can catch a link to Panama City. We’ll leave that for another adventure. The boys had at first thought to get off at the second stop but the men sitting in the back told them that here they would find most of what was on their lists, but the chandler didn’t open until ten. With that advice the four of us extracted ourselves. Bear and Eric went off and Dee and I found ourselves in Rey’s a pretty big supermarket with all we needed.

When I arrived at Shelter Bay I had very much admired a German lady’s yellow and black flip flops. I had had one of my Beez Neez coloured Crocs fly off in the wind in Bequia and had made do with a variety of sub standard colours since. I warned said lady that if she ever left hers ‘hanging about’ I would have to “flop-flip-nap” them. She told me she had bought them in Madison’s (the green department store). After checking out of Rey’s, Dee took charge of the trolleys and off I went.


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A resounding success with go faster side blobs. At $6 - two pairs bought. When I got back to the marina, I found Yellowman and showed my new friend, smiles all round. To keep the pressure on when I saw her later, not only was she wearing hers – she had painted her toenails yellow. Clearly the bar has been set at a new height. I know I have yellow but I’m going to have to find some black nail varnish – this is turning into a European competition........ Mind you the foot massage bits are a bit harsh to get used to.


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Never mind the scare stories about Colon not being safe, as soon as I saw a Mack truck pass by AND found this bug taxi, all was well in my books.


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A new number plate to the collection


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The bus journey home was every bit the squash Carol had promised us, she had told us that very often many seats were taken by locals cobbing a lift to work beyond our stop at the marina. I found myself sitting beside a very large lady which resulted in me only being anchored by one cheek, a bit hairy on the sharp corners. Three big pieces of plywood held me a little and all we needed was a chicken and Bear would have called “house”.


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Shopping safely home, eggs surprisingly intact, we got back to our chores. Bear had just nipped off to the marina store when I heard a knock. Were we “available to line handle this coming Monday”, were we ever – and “did we know another person”. I suggested Eric and Dee who funnily enough were off this afternoon, helping True Blue through. I nipped down to Sirena and “yes, why not”. Gary and Kate had an original slot to go through the Panama Canal in two weeks, plenty of time to get themselves organised, but a slot had come up and put them in a flat spin. We were invited to Toodles (a fifty foot Beneteau) for sundowners. When we arrived, poor Kate had done a massive shop this afternoon and now had the big job of stowing all their supplies for their Pacific crossing home to New Zealand.


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Gary and Kate. This lovely couple had needed three extra pairs of hands, so maybe I will get the chance to take pictures of our first experience.......


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We left Toodles and had a wander down C dock. A motor boat near the end had quite a name. We passed Scott Free (also on this blog site), but no-one home, we had met Steve and Chris in Beaufort, North Carolina and hope to see them before we leave.


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A look at D dock. En route back to Beez we met the full crew of La Boheme, the fifth member Peter (Greg’s brother) has just got in from Sydney, they have a transit date for the 8th, we all feel a leaving do may have to happen before then. Our new prop is in production and fingers crossed will be shipped Tuesday evening, as soon as it arrives we can email Erick the Agent and get our very own date. Beez Neez will get her first taste of the Pacific Ocean - YeeHa.


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Home to E dock. Prawn and avocado salad and baked potato. This full and interesting day was only marred by my backgammon loss. Grrrrrr.




                     MONDAY HERE WE COME