March 17th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
The Yacht club at Colon

A dreadful night.  It was hot, the fan had a dreadful screech, + worst of all, I was just so excited at the prospect of a sea voyage, keeping turning over + over in my mind what it might be like, I couldn’t sleep.  To pass the night away, I read, finishing “Barnaby Rudge”, + still I couldn’t sleep.  Tho’ I did in the end.  We both woke exhausted, Val having fared almost as badly as I.

Breakfast, then bank, then the moment of discovering our fate, down at the French Line office…  The man was very nice about it, but it made things none the better for all that.  I felt very low, I must admit, just wanted to go back + mope, but we did make a mournful tour of just a couple more of the offices, now with no hope of success at all, the cup having been dashed from our lips so soon.  We were right, of course.

Val persuaded me to go down to the Yacht Club, to ask a few people actually out on the boats, + I rather grudgingly trudged along.  And then, one almost on top of the other,  two opportunities… or half-ones anyway.  We met a guy who told us of another guy, over in Balboa, who had been looking for passengers.  And we were also directed to an Aussie, Lesley, a rather abrupt person, who could also do with some help.  2 problems with him tho’ – first he was doubtful about our inexperience, + second he wanted $10.50 a day per person for the 6 month trek to Australia – that left us a thousand short.  Anyway, that was left in the air – we said we’d be in touch, since he wasn’t leaving for a few days.  In the meantime, I took the train straight over to the other side to see if I could find this other guy at the Balboa Yacht Club.

A stupid accident getting off the train – don’t get down off a moving train, even a slowly moving one, when facing the wrong way.  I did, + hurt my wrist, cracked my head, + bruised my pride.  A smart walk thro’ the lush suburbs of Balboa, + after some asking, to the Yacht Club.  The main disadvantage of the place, especially from my point of view, is that the boats are not moored there, but out in the causeway, so it’s difficult to contact anyone.  (I was told the answer was to swim out, but I think that’s beyond me.)  Found several notices on the board from Kelly, the guy I was looking for, + it seemed from them that he was tired of waiting for crew west, + was going to Jamaica instead.  And tomorrow, as well, which rather put paid to my hopes.  Still, I wrote him a note, just in case, + then back thro’ Balboa, + in perfect time to catch a train… the journey is certainly becoming tedious tho’.  All the way back, the prospect of a South Sea crossing kept throbbing thro’ my mind, + I kept thinking of ways to raise the money.  We simply must get on this trip, if we possibly can.

Back at Colon, Val + I got together some food for a not particularly nutritious dinner, + then, once more, out to the good old YC.  Met Lesley + his son Paul, about 10, in the bar, + told him of our keen interest, yet financial embarrassment.  Once again, he voiced his worry – our inexperience.  But anyway, we arranged to meet Friday morning, presumably when the verdict will be pronounced.  We’re not encouraged.  Home then, to reading, writing, + cards.

So, one huge disappointment, immediately followed by two possibilities; such being the way of things when on the road, when you are making it up as you go along.  My suspicion is that such travel is rarer nowadays, with the option of being able to plan everything out in advance… but maybe that is just the way Val and I now tend to travel.

The getting off the train incident still lodges in my memory, especially getting a good telling off from one of the rail employees.  And quite right too.

And by way of “housekeeping” – it appears that I have slipped a day behind with my posts.  It can only have happened recently, but I don’t know how or when.  But to get back on track, two posts today.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    That’s the difficulty and the freedom of making it up as you go along–you’re open to so many possibilities you aren’t when you do the plans in advance. And then, serendipity can happen, and something, better than you ever dreamed, can show itself to you, and you’re off in a direction you never planned! I love that way of traveling, but it’s long in the past now, with all the digital traveler’s aids. They’ll never know what they missed…

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