Archive for March, 2010

Sunday at another Restaurant

Sunday afternoon we went with Frank and Shirley and Lisa to an interesting restaurant – The Pangaea Club – with live music.  There was a nice quiet trio playing guitars when we arrived.  Nice quiet music for visiting over glass of wine, which we did.

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Shirley, Lisa and I took a look around the restaurant at the interestingly decorated rooms.  Some had you sitting on a sofa, others on soft chairs or benches, but all the rooms were decorated in a different motif from the East.

Eastern Rooms

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Then the band that we had come to hear arrived and we enjoyed our dinners with their great music, some Argentinean, some Latin ballads and some French folk music – including a sea shanty that both Bill and I were familiar with in its English version.     There were 5 musicians in the band but they took turns playing in smaller groups and only did a few numbers as the entire group.

Swap Meet at BYC

Sunday morning the cruisers got together at the BYC restaurant, which does not open until noon, to trade and sell items that have been accumulating in our boats bilges.  The old adage that one person’s junk is another’s treasure applied here as items exchanged hands.  Most of us were hoping to lighten our load and raise the water line some but most when home with as many items as they arrived with.  Bill and I managed to return to Lanikai empty handed but then we arrived with very little to trade. 

IMG_8362Bill working at selling some of our “treasures”.  It was hard sell to even sell free items.

Ocean to Ocean Race Celebration

Each year they hold an Ocean-to-Ocean canoe race thru the Panama Canal and this year the race was this last weekend. This race was the last of a series of cayuca races (the first race was in early January; starting and finishing here at the Balboa YC).  Last Saturday night, with the Ocean-to-Ocean Race half over,  there was a celebration at the Balboa Yacht Club with a concert by the group Shorty and Slim .  The guys grew up in the Canal Zone when still part of the US; their music is all original and recalls little bits of the life and times of the ‘Zone’, it’s people, it’s surrounding.  This musical group always brings a big crowd – but this Saturday the crowd was even bigger than usual (about 300 people!).  We enjoyed the evening with a group of our friends.  Bill and I arrived early so that we actually had a table.  The place was so full at its peak that there were people in the parking lot with their buckets of beer enjoying the concert.

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This is the back of the T-shirt that celebrated the event.

A week of Fun and Projects

Another busy week of activities here in Balboa has passed too rapidly.  Saturday morning, while Bill worked on his computer, I ran off with Shirley to a women’s lunch.  There is a group of ladies that get together about once a month at a local restaurant to enjoy each others company and visit while eating a light lunch.  The day got quite hot and humid  so after I returned we took our computers up to the shady bar where it was cooler under the palm thatched roof.  Bill has been working on our blog so that he can have an area on it where his two programs can be downloaded from.  He says that it will be much easier to update to new versions of the program than his old web page.

Last Sunday we woke, finally, to a fairly calm wind-less day.  I pulled out to bo’sun chair and went up to the spreaders on both masts to spread linseed oil.  They were so dry that they soaked up lots of oil and it took about 45 minutes each mast.  I was lucky in that we only had to hold on for two fast passing ship wakes.  Since we found the oil here in Panama I have been oiling much of the exterior wood.    Then in the afternoon we got a nice rainstorm and I spread soap on the deck to start getting rid of the linseed splatters on the deck from the mornings projects.  Sunday afternoon while we were enjoying beers at the bar, Frank and Shirley invited us over to their condo for lasagna dinner.  We visited and watched a few shows on TV returning to the marina.

Monday was book exchange at the Yacht club and a large group of cruisers gathered this week for the event.  It was another hot humid day so we were already up at the bar typing on computers when the event started.

Tuesday we spent on the boat.  I was into a great book and Bill was tied up with his computer so we never made it to shore.

Wednesday was dim sum for breakfast at a local Chinese restaurant.  The cruisers and some of the local expats meet at the restaurant to visit and enjoy the yummy Chinese dumplings with all sorts of interesting fillings.  Bill and I boarded a local bus after the breakfast and headed to one of our favorite grocery stores – Machetazo; they have pretty much everything and the prices are much less than some of the more “up-scale” chains.  We didn’t buy enough to require a taxi to get ourselves back to the marina, so we walked to the ‘Cinco de Mayo’ plaza and took the local mini-bus the rest of the way.

Yesterday, Thursday, Bill hauled 80 gallons of diesel in jerry jugs to fill up Lanikai’s diesel tank.  It took him three trips to the fuel dock but we are now filled up.  We get fuel in jerry jugs so that it can be easily filtered and inspected as we put it into the tanks.  The fuel here is very clean, but we have run into fuel occasionally from rusty dirty tanks and it is easier to catch the crud before it gets into our tanks.

Emberá-Druá Village

Yesterday – Monday –  a group of cruisers made the  trip to the Emberá-Druá Village up the Chagres River.  Bill and I have made this trip several times in the past and it is always an enjoyable time.  Bill opted to stay on the boat with his computer while I made the trip.  Several of our friends have cars and they drove 16 of us to the launch point where we boarded cayucas for the trip up river.

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It is about an hour trip up the river to the village.  About 2/3 of the way we made a stop to hike up to a pretty waterfall with nice swimming opportunities.  In the past there was enough water in the river that the cayucas could get us almost to the waterfall, but the small tributary was so small this season that it was about a 30 minute hike to the falls.

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After the visit to the waterfall, we encountered many shallow spots in the main river; our guides had their work poling us thru the shallows with some help from the outboard motor raised until it was just in the water.

At the village we were greeted by the natives all dressed up for the occasion.  The men wore beaded skirts and the women had beaded tops over their traditional bright skirts.

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It was the first day of school and school was “out” soon after our arrival in the village.  The children cleaned the school and washed down the front porch.

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After a lunch of fish and patacones, the women preformed several traditional dances for the tourists, while some of the men played music on traditional instruments.

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The trip down river was much quicker.  We returned to the Balboa Yacht Club – tired but happy after the interesting fun day, just in time for the Monday night Cruisers’ Book Exchange.  Shirley was presented with the dancer’s flower head ornament from one of her friends in the village.  She wore it home and to the YC book exchange.  It was still pretty even though the flowers were beginning to wilt.