March 15th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0

Crossing the continent today, taking the Americas’ first transcontinental railway to do it… even if it is only 50 miles.  En route to the station tho’, we took the time to check out the airlines, about a flight to Medellin, Colombia… not having much confidence in being able to find a boat, clearly.  That took some time, + the rail station was further away than we thought, but the fare wasn’t exorbitant, + there was a train sitting there waiting for us, so we were able to leap straight aboard.  The ride was pleasant enough, the track running more or less alongside the canal, + for once was both short + comfortable – the ride, that is. 

When we arrived in Colon, our first thought was to find ourselves a hotel, + fast – we’d already heard enough horror stories about how dangerous a place we were in – robberies at knife point in broad daylight, that sort of thing – + this was only confirmed when we got off the train + 2 guys, a local + an American, told us to be careful + gave us strict instructions about where + where not to venture.  On our way to the hotel, in fact, the American drove by + picked us up – he didn’t like to see foreigners wandering around, + when we happened to mention our quest, he drove us out to the Yacht Club – he just happened to be a Canal pilot, so thought we might have some luck there.

We certainly got drunk (or I did) since Hal bought me 4 beers, before driving us to a hotel.  He also mentioned taking us through the Canal on his next trip, but seemed either to think better of it, or just didn’t consider it as exciting as we did, + allowed it to pass.  That seems to be our luck with exciting ventures – ho hum.

We tried one steamship office in the afternoon, tho’ without success, + then ate a meal at a Chinese restaurant (keeping carefully within our designated limits), + then returned to the Yacht Club, mostly in hope of finding Hal, + pressing our suit.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t there, but we spent a pleasant enough hour or 2, chatting with various people – a Police Lieutenant, couple of yachts people, one or 2 others… tho’ none were very sanguine of our having success.

Continuing our quest to move our travel onward, and as yet, clearly willing to consider anything, Panama being something of a dead end otherwise.  And since Colon, if anything, seemed even more dangerous than Panama City itself, we were grateful to be taken under the wing of an American local… and to be bought beers, of course.

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