24 January 2001 (Colon, Panama)
I woke up early at sunrise and got a lot of work done. I inflated the dinghy and
rowed to the marina. The immigration (office, edit) and customs are in the same
building as(/at?) the marina, so you would assume that clearing would be
At the immigration office I was asked if I had any weapons on board. That I
didn't. But I asked if I would be needing them here, to which he replied that I
shouldn't be walking about, but taking a taxi (instead, edit). I had to go to
town to get a "cruising permit" even though I'm not to go sailing about down
here an I decided to walk there. When I passed the taxis they told me that it
would not be wise to walk. But they also had a business to run, so I kept at it.
You have to save money somehow.
When I made it to a bus stop, an old man who was sitting there waiting told me
that I shouldn't(/ought not) be walking there. That I should "watch out" since
there are a lot of criminals. And there were a couple of guys further down the
street who were scowling. At this point I eventually felt that this wasn't funny
any longer. What the f... is the matter with this place? But there is no point
in having(/you cant spend) money if you're dead so.... I walked back and took a
taxi, which turned out to be only 1 US$.
I walked around for a little while and couldn't find the office. But I did,
however, find the Danish consulate. I wanted to see the Danish consul to ask for
directions, but he wasn't home(/in). But it was explained to me where the office
is located. When I (finally, edit) found it, they sent me to another office just
to get more copies. Two copies of the customs officer's, two of the immigration
papers and two copies of the boat papers. And then I had to go to the bank to
buy revenue stamps.
Outside the door was a man who, very conveniently, sold revenue stamps cheaper
than the bank. "Are these really good enough? Can I take them to the office to
show them before paying?" (I have heard(/read) that Svend Billesbřlle at one
time bought ordinary stamps and paid plenty for them). But they were fine(/all
right) and he also showed(/told) me the way to get my copies.
I met guy who looked like "someone who knew where McDonald's is", and he did. I
have been having dreams of burgers and milkshakes for a couple of months and it
was "truly nice". 3.5 US$ for a supersize meal. As I walked the town I "got
used" to it and no longer was as worried. I think(/believe) they are
exaggerating a bit, but there is an enormous poverty here. It's one big pigsty
and there are "shifty" looking guys(/blokes) (hanging out, edit) on every
I was at(/went to) an Internet café but was unable to connect to HOTMAIL. They
were "down" so I had to create a new address(/account) at Yahoo, but damn!; all
my addresses are only at my Hotmail and haven't been written down. Whoops. I
wanted to call my dad(/give my dad a call) but the telephone charged 3.5 US$
just to ring up(/connect). Back to the internet café. - Yes, they had an
internet telephone at a price of 0.70 US$/min.
Back at the marina I met Clive. I had talked to him on several occasions, while
we were both trying to clear in at various offices. He's American and
lives(/resides) at Hawaii. He has bought(/purchased) his boat (up) in Miami and
was on his way (back) home. We enjoyed a cold beer and the air-condition. It's
very hot here and the humidity is high. We were in complete agreement that the
inward clearance was a "big joke" but this is not just the case here. They were
all very friendly, and after all didn't invent this system. They just conform
to(/comply with) the system, which we also had to do.
I have decided to make an alternate(/alternative) anchorage. When it gets "a bit
dark" I'll sail to the marina and drop anchor just north of the first bridge,
then I'll have to see if it turns out well - it's a fine, small berth at 5-6 ft.
of water with a fine turning berth for Trojka. It is(/feels like, edit) a
very(/really) long way in (there) when you have to row.
The view from my alternate anchorage in the marina at Panama: