For the first time, I actually started listening to the announcements over the intercom: “You are also reminded that any inappropriate remarks or jokes concerning security may result in your arrest.” I’m glad the TSA Nazis weren’t at our family Easter dinner – I made a few jokes worthy of jail-time.
Then something really morbid occurred to me – that dystopian future I was thinking about on the drive to the airport: it’s here. Now. It snuck up on us like a 30th birthday. This might actually be it – the beginning of the nightmare. Some sick combination of Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and Slaughterhouse 5. Hunter S. Thompson wrote about it. Some of the same social criticism is seen in Henry Miller. And even in my latest re-reading of Walden, Thoreau was making similar arguments about “progress.”
The good news is I was leaving this place. It’s the poor souls that are stuck here, (many of whom are also repulsed by what we’ve created) that I really feel bad for.
This isn’t some pity-blanket I’m throwing over the masses. Rather, it’s me remembering, just a few months ago, that feeling – of being trapped in indentured servitude. Just a rat in a maze, with little hope of ever living a meaningful life. Without the possibility to affect my own destiny.
I remember that feeling, it’s not pretty. I’m leaving this place, hopefully far enough (and fast enough) to keep that feeling at bay.
I like this place. At this point I feel as at home here as I do anywhere else in the world. Time slows down – people are simpler. At some level it’s like stepping into a time machine.
Finally found my ride – so we’re off to provision for the sailing trip. I’m pleased to find Tino has a taste for good wine and cheese. I have a feeling we’ll get along. Driving is a little nuts, and the scratches on the sides of the cars are evidence of an encounter with a motorcycle. Clearly a losing proposition for the motorcycle rider.
The hotel was nice, and relatively inexpensive – $50/night won’t break me quite yet. We’re waking up early for a drive across the country to the Caribbean side. But we need food and I need a beer to wind down from traveling.
Despite being really excited about finally getting aboard my boat and sailing to San Blas – I don’t know if I’ve ever slept so well. Morning comes, we drive. Panama is just coming into the rainy season now – in a month or two it’ll be raining nearly every day. And the clouds are proof of it.
The drive takes us through the mountains, which, by my account are really beautiful. Everything seems lush, and the towns – though dirty – have some relics of old Spanish buildings and castles. Tino knows a bit about it, so it’s a lot like being on a tour.
My boat is moored on a mooring ball in a remote anchorage. The only thing there is a small village and a small restaurant/hotel (4 rooms) catering to the local sailing community. There are stray dogs and trash washed ashore – but I’m perfectly content there. Quaint isn’t the right word, but it is remote and has a locals-only feel to it.
My dinghy was parked at the restaurant, so we transfer our provisions to the dinghy. I also managed to pick up a used sea-anchor (equipment to manage storms) for $200 at the restaurant. Easy decision. Then we’re off to my boat.
Seeing the boat moored here was a really great feeling. Not the biggest, not the nicest, but mine.
Loading provisions left both Tino and I drenched in sweat – humidity was ridiculous. It was also a stark reminder of how out of shape I’d become. It turns out commuting and an office job don’t suit me. Who’d have guessed?
Finally loaded we checked all the systems, set up the electronics, and unhooked from the mooring ball. We motored out of the anchorage, the wind was refreshing. Finally, I had the boat and I was only my way to sail San Blas.