All the girls creatures and I took a taxi into Coloń for groceries this morning. We also needed to stop by the post office to mail off the kids homeschool exams. Here’s what 4 gorgeous girls in the back seat of a taxi looks like…
Our driver was Rodger, and spoke English quite well, and especially likes the words ‘complete’ and ‘listen’. Every time I spoke Spanish to him, he’d say, “listen….” followed by the correct way of constructing the sentence I just attempted. It was awesome! We had free Spanish lessons all day long.
In order to get to Coloń from Shelter Bay, one has to cross over the Panama Canal. As we approached it, we could see that the gate was closed, meaning that a vessel was passing through and we had to wait until it was in the next lock. It takes quite some time, so we got out and watched. I explained to the girls how the whole canal process works, and they were fascinated as they saw it in action. This container ship is at sea level, approaching the first lock.
The Panama Canal is 48 miles long and consists of three sets of locks, with Lake Gatun in the middle, which covers 180 square miles. The lake is 85 ft above sea level, and the canal provides a much faster route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. The longest ship ever to transit the canal was the San Juan Prospector which was 973 ft long with a beam of 106 ft. As we continued on, we passed construction on the new canal which will be complete in 2016.
Rodger decided that he wanted to show us a few interesting places in Coloń before hitting the post office:
This is a mosque on the edge of town.
Coloń was founded by Americans in 1850 as the Atlantic terminal of the Panama Railroad, then under construction to meet the gold rush demand for a fast route to California. At that time it was named Aspenwall, although the Hispanic community called it Coloń.
Driving in the city of 78 000 was busy and fast. All of us got motion sick because we aren’t used to things moving by so quickly. Many of the buildings are extremely run down.
This is an American built museum that is no longer in use. We climbed the stairs to the roof and looked out over the Pacific. Jude had to climb down and collect a few rocks and shells for her collection.
There large murals on a couple of the walls that surrounded the property.
He also took us to the famous Washington Casino Hotel, where Theodore Rooseveld stayed.
It is still used as a hotel today, and is beautiful inside.
We finally reached the post office, which was down a interesting little alley way. I felt like I was going in to deal something naughty on the black market.
Rey’s is the store we shopped at, and the girls were excited to be in a big grocery store. I had texted them each part of the grocery list, and we set out to gather the goods.
While Rodger loaded all our bags into the boot of the taxi, the girls ran over to Dominos Pizza to grab some for dinner tonight. We were all so excited to see a Dominos. We also passed a McDonalds.
Skyler almost went crazy on the way home with 4 large pizzas on her lap. We were all starving!
Once reaching Tanda Malaika and the manly creatures and my Sweetheart, we ate pizza and began the interesting task of packing everything away. In order to do this, it helps to be good at playing Tetris, since storage space is limited. We remove all labels from cans after writing on them with a permanent marker and discard any cardboard. We also empty bags of flour into ziplock bags and add Bay leaves to the bags to keep weevils away. The paper and card board have tiny eggs on them, just like everywhere else in the world, it’s just that living in the tropics provides a wonderful climate and environment for them to hatch out and infest your boat.
It’s been a fun but busy day, and this evening Tanda Malaika’s crew are all worn out, full of pizza, and ready for bed. (We did all come to the same conclusion on the pizza though – we are so used to eating fresh, unprocessed food, that we felt gross and sick after the pizza.)