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Date: 22 Sep 2010 15:49:00
Title: Obaldia, boarder crossing 8:40.84N 77:23.89W

Arrival in Panama
 
At just over 5nm this was not the longest passage we've been on, but we are now in Panama and the San Blas.
We crossed from Sapzuro to Port Obaldia to check in.
 
We had been told not to bother with Obaldia but never wanting to listen to others we decided to do a quick check in and get it over and done with.  NO SUCH THING AS QUICK in Obaldia, and for good reason.  Electricity must be a bit of a premium so manual type-writers,  which only brings goosebumps out when thinking of my first ill conceived career option, me being a dyslexic securitery and my father suggesting strongley it might be a very worthy carear thus enbarking on a typing course, what a bloody disarrster.  Anyway as in the days of the 80's in the UK every single form has to be typed on a manual type writer and there seems to be at least 20 forms.  The official's whilst stony faced at first where a delight. It feelings alittle like a one horse town to us, 'local hero' on the panamanian boarder with the addition of a massive armed army presence.
 
You land on abit of rough old shingle coral beach get beconed by a beefy official looking guy and using hand signal informed that one needs to walk over a rather discusting wet brown spongey walkway,  all very random and not being able to understand basic Spanish isn't helping understand the formality.  Given that you are able to travel from Colombia to Colon and spend months before checking in, this all seems particularly heavy handed, especially as most boats by-pass this port so this sanitiasion process seems a little ineffective. 
 
We get our papers checked by the Army we then need to visit about 6 official offices, all sitting next to one another in the one horse town finally 4 hours later we are fully checked in to panama. 
 
  a small sample of the forms that had to be hand typed and the fistful of money that we need to get into Panama.  Took forever, just like typing pools in the 80's.
 
 
 
But we where allowed to venture down the road walk about a bit and sample Panamain standard lunch, the first lunch that didn't seem like a rip-off since leaving Catagena. We haven't gone down with any major lurge, so eating in ramshackle places is fine. The food is cheap no great culinary delight, just what the locals eat, but I don't have to use up precious supplies or cook and clear up for at least one meal in 30 million.
 
We are lead to believe it's war style rations once we hit deepest darkest Kuna Yala. So finding a supplier of beef ( the slow cook variety)  and 5 chickens was another bonus.  Due to the impending shortages we amputate the chickens and cook up the bones for soup, this can las a family of four least 4 days plus we have a massive supply of boneless meat packed in the freezer.
 
So with all the official stuff done, the customs man seems to be very ellusive once we had paid our dues.  So we are informed by one of his colleagues just to hop off.  Another Army checkout whilst new visitors are having there bags raked through another walk through spoungy dirty rain water  and we launch ourselves into Kuna Yala/San Blas. 
 

 

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