Monday, February 20, 2012

Full Circle

The “mysterious” dish in my previous blog is called “kielbasa a la Wojo”, a meal one of Mark’s fraternity brothers in college – Wojo – prepared for his friends. He was very proud and excited about his “exclusive” meal, but nobody else shared those feelings. Instead of being savored, the sausages went airborne and an interesting food fight ensued. Ah, the good old days. On Irie, chorizo purchased in Nargana (San Blas) was used instead of kielbasa. They tasted pretty gross and came in plastic casings, which we found out the hard way… Thanks for guessing, everybody. The prize goes to Keith Kinch, who won an all-inclusive stay on Irie! When can we expect you, Keith?

By now, Mark and I have temporarily left the San Blas islands to run a bunch of errands on mainland Panama. We stopped at Linton Island for a few days to check the place out and considered basing ourselves here for the time being. The only thing the anchorage has going for it, though, is decent WiFi and some funny monkeys on the island. Buses to stores, fuel stations, Portobelo and Colon run infrequently; the bay is quite choppy and there’s basically nothing there but a friendly restaurant (Casa X) with $1 beers and fresh juices. So, a couple of days ago, we sailed on to Portobelo, the other protected bay in this area.

Portobelo is a relatively nice town, with old fort walls spread around town and the bay, an efficient bus service to Colon and jungle all around. We wake up in the mornings with the roar of howler monkeys. Town offers a few Chinese run convenient stores and free water is available at the dock. On shore, Captain Jack’s is offering a whole bunch of services for cruisers and there are many other establishments to have a (local) meal or freshly squeezed juice or smoothie. There is even a bank machine, but no fuel station. We are now officially in Central America, which means dirty streets with lots of garbage everywhere and affordable goods and meals for sale.

Portobelo is special to us for a different reason as well. This is the point where Mark, Kali, Darwin and I turned around on our yearlong camping trip through Central America, six years ago. We drove our truck camper all the way from California to Panama, over the Canal and Portobelo was our most southern point. Our Caribbean circumnavigation is now kind of completed: one half was done over land, the other over water. When we walked the ruins again, we couldn’t help but think about our precious dogs and the good times we had together. Who would have guessed that we would be back, one day, by boat this time and without our pets?

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