welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

life in panama

god, I love it. I love this country. These days, we're trying to figure out our "long term" plans (that means beyond next week). Will we head for Florida in November like we've been saying? will we keep sailing and head up the ICW next spring? will we sell the boat this year? next? never? will we jump on the baby wagon? will we stay in Panama for years, with Allen working as a sea captain and canal pilot while I design exhibits at the not-yet-open Museum of Biodiversity in Panama City? Will I ever have hot and cold running water?

Heaven only knows what we'll decide over the next six weeks, but what I do know for sure, and I think Allen's with me on this one, is that I love this funny country so very much that I could cry just thinking about leaving here in a month.

It's like no other place in the world....all the randomness, warmth, and spice of the rest of Central & South America but with a totally different vibe, thanks to the canal and all the commerce, history and bustle that comes with it. This is a place one could actually be a functional, dialed-in, non-USA-hating expat and have a life. I love that we've had the opportunity to spend the last five months here.

It's funny to travel like this, where we're not Panamanian residents by any means, but we do, after all, have our entire house with us. Makes it interesting to host guests - we don't exactly know our way around like locals, but our home is here, for now. Strange, and wonderful. It's fun to have a community network here, much more than we would if we were just backpacking or traveling around. Last week when I went to Panama City, I bought the wrong size 22-foot-long zipper, and when I realized it, we were able to call up some South African canvasworker friends of ours in PC, and they bought it for us and put it on the next plane out here. Very cool.....

I've been listening to this great radio station out of Panama City while I work. If they had a station half this good anywhere in the US, I would listen to it 24-7. Hell, the salsa/reggaeton advertising jingles down here are better than actual songs they're playing back home. I kept hearing this song that I was just sure I was going to try to buy or download before we left and after a couple rounds I realized it was a Wendy's commercial. If they played this Wendy's commercial in CA, it would be the feel good hit song of the summer you would hear at the ballpark, like Who Let the Dogs Out however many years ago that was.

As for life in Bocas, it's slow-moving, but fun. Orders are piling up at Ute Canvasworks...in fact we have a waiting list of at least 6 boats. My sweatshop elbow is acting up again. It's a fun challenge, though. We are getting paid actual US dollars for most of our jobs, but also surf lessons, rum, nav charts, and homemade chocolate in some cases. Today this really nice Dutch guy came into my "shop" to ask about a repair. The funny thing about him was, he kept inserting Dutch words in his English sentences. But not in the way people usually do, in that "how you say" sort of way, but more like I would know exactly what he meant. "Oh great!" he said, "I bet with that schnarzen, you could really make a great heinhoufen," he exclaimed. "Yes, it's a good one," I agreed. "But do you ever have trouble with the schmezewistel?" he ventured. "No, " I said, "No, I don't".

He seemed impressed.

With a little luck, all these projects might just justify another trip to Panama City next weekend, in which case we'll take advantage of the opportunity to put on some blue eyeshadow and go see.....guess who? here's a hint.....

so lift your eyes
if you feel you can
reach for a star,
and I'll show you a plan.....

name that band..... ( no fair googling, you have to feel this memory)


Lightstation said...

Do we get a vote?
If so, Baby Wagon, definitly.

Anonymous said...

Air Supply? Isn't that Air Supply?
Wow - I thought they only played county fairs.

Sounds like a fun night out. I wish we could go with you. Have a bite at the Dr. Broners menu place.


Anonymous said...

I'm lyin' alone
with my head on the phone
thinkin' of you 'til it hurts....

Ute said...

you are right Evvy, and in fact, Panama is sort of like one big state fair, now that you mention it....maybe that's why I like it so much??

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful entry, Cora. I am sure that Panama loves you, too. If you keep writing about it like this you won't ever have to come home b/c everyone will come to you!- beet

JKB said...

Are you seriously going to see AIR SUPPLY in Panama city???? OH MY GOD! I miss you guys soooo much. Just reading your entry makes me miss you, your appreciation of life, environment, your humor, the beauty in everyday, extraordinary experience. You are living well - glad business is so good and your are so happy.