Causeway islands, Panama
A stinky flooded bilge provided the excuse to spring for a hotel room. Luckily, the post-Carnival rates glad-handed us into booking two nights. Plus, Justin has thrown out his back and needed to sleep in a proper bed. Onboard, we have 4 inch memory foam over a series of modular waterproof, leather-like hard cushions. The super soft and the super hard manage to create a decent comfort medium (and anti-microbial, washable factor) , but we've learned its less than ideal for back problems. He's wearing a brace.
We met Lucia from New Jersey on the balcony who told us she had returned for her birthday, after spending 30 years away from Panama. “The skyline,” she said, “And all you see around you in the causeway islands was not here when I was!”
Now these islands are teeming with stores, hotels, and American chain restaurants. Why travel all this way to go to a TGI Friday's or Bennigan's?! But most of the area was built up with Panamanian vacationers in mind, and due to the United States influence, the country seems to have followed in some of her footsteps. As someone stated, “It's balls hot here and locals are wearing skinny jeans!”
After Nick's heroic organization of the decks, lines, and gear, we took him out to dinner. As we ambled along the causeway, we noticed that most restaurants were closed for their post-Carnival hangover recovery. However, we did happen upon a Lebanese restaurant on the water called “Beirut,” where we spent the entire evening eating some of the best food we've had in months. The restaurant ships everything in from Lebanon, including sesame seeds, and they make their hummus from scratch. Heaven. After dinner, the manager offered us free desserts, tea, and an apple flavored hookah. For three famished sailors who spent hours stuffing their faces, we got out of there for less than it costs Justin and myself to eat a normal meal for two.
Locating a working post-carnival mechanic has proven fruitless, despite the fact our friend, Mark, who we met in the BVI and ran into here on the Pacific side of Panama (!!) provided us with a 40 page cruiser's information packet, compiled by fellow cruisers and passed around to fellow boats. In it were about eight mechanics and their contact information.
Of course, tonight we're getting take-out from Beirut and spending it in bed so Justin can get off his back. “Looks like you'll be doing the heavy-lifting to get us out of port,” he says.
I can't wait to show him up.
After recovering from our food comas, Nick bid us farewell and headed for the airport. We were sad to see him go. He was a wonderful, unexpected, last minute addition to the rally and to our boat. We're looking forward to seeing what he might do with his newly-revived love of sailing.