Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Balboa Yacht Club, Panama City. October 26th, 2010

The drive from Santa Clara to Panama City was an easy 90 minutes through some pretty countryside as the road wound through mountainous areas and then dropped to sea level where we could espy the ocean. Our destination and the place we knew we could park the RV overnight is the Balboa Yacht Club which is located at the base of the Puente de las Americas (the Bridge of the Americas). We had seen photos of the bridge but nothing does it justice. I was reminded of moving to California and the first time I saw the Golden Gate Bridge. The view as you make the approach from 19th Avenue is unbelievably beautiful and the approaching road to this bridge did not disappoint us. I was squealing with glee as the bridge came into view and then we were crossing it. This is the start at the Pacific side of the Panama Canal and we could see boats, large container cargoes, small personal vessels and everything in between lined up out at sea as far as the eye could see waiting for their turn to pass through the canal to the Caribbean. We found the yacht club with little effort and decided to drive down the causeway. Throughout the drive, my gaze kept returning to the bridge and the boats in the waterway. We got back to the club and after parking the RV we went to the restaurant with it's outside patio facing the water and the bridge. As we ate dinner we just could not stop marvelling at the view. We walked Winston on the promenade that lines the approach to the canal and again I reflected on how fortunate we are. Today, Tuesday our first steps were to contact Joel again and finalize the RV paperwork. We are in almost constant contact with Joel and were able to accomplish everything by phone and email. Afterwards we hired a cab to take us to a post office (we have been carrying postcards and a small package for our youngest niece since Costa Rica) and it is definitely past the time to do mailing. We have discovered that post offices are few and far between and that from some they recommend that you don't mail packages so we have been careful but Panama does have a fairly good post system. We had planned on leaving Balboa in the afternoon but decided to take advantage of the club's facilites namely a washer and dryer. Our taxi driver/tour guide informed us that the club has very nice showers and a laundry room on site. We have not had the opportunity to get laundry done in a while and this was the perfect time and place. As we were waiting for our wash and having a beer at the restaurant we were rewarded with the sight of a huge cruise ship, the "Island Princess" coming out of the canal and sailing under the bridge. Totally awesome! And as I sit here tonight with Tom and Winston, looking out over the water those are still the two words that describe my feelings. Since we now have time to kill until November 22nd, we plan on returning north to the beaches for the next couple of weeks. For tonight, watching the boats sail by while a warm Panamanian breeze blows sipping on a glass of Chilean Merlot is perfect.

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