We just got word that we will begin our passage through the Canal starting early tomorrow morning, Jan. 29. We don’t yet know if it will be a one-day trip, or two days with a night spent in Gatun Lake – which would be our preference. We’ll have a “transit advisor” on board, who is a Canal employee responsible for guiding us through the process. We have the required crew of five – Andy, Anita, Hannah, Syd and Birgit, and we’ll receive our four rented lines (7/8 inch diameter by 125 feet) this afternoon. Our most urgent priority for today is to ensure we have an attractive lunch on board for the Transit Advisor.
A couple observations: Panamanians seem to love cats! Totally unlike Costa Rica, where cats are generally unpopular. All over the area around the docks, and outside the Port Captain’s office, people set out water and piles of dry cat food for the dozens of semi-feral cats who wander in and out of buildings, parking lots, unkempt vegetated areas, and the open-air bar at the Balboa Yacht Club. One seems to have assigned himself guard duty at the entrance to the bar, scrutinizing passers-by and offering them a sharp-clawed swipe if they offend him in some, to me, obscure way.
The second thing is that it is apparent here how closely air conditioning is linked to the modern notion that people should work all the time. It is comfortable here in the mornings and the evenings, and only hot during mid-day. If we all stayed in the shade and took naps during the hottest hours, all the energy (contributing to global warming) used to generate cool air could be saved – leading to a cleaner and healthier planet.
The notion that we should all live at 72 degrees F at all times and in all places seems fundamentally linked to the boosterish notions of “growth!” and “hard work.” It makes sense to stay warm in, like, Minnesota in winter, but there is no such compelling reason for staying cool in the tropics. If people just took more naps, the world would be a better place! How’s that for a world view…?