Crazy Stuff

Sailing blog

I was surprised to find a mural in English

My brain just gave me a presentation. I had no idea it had access to PowerPoint. One of the slides it emphasized was stating I had 125 days this year where I was sleep-deprived. I disagreed. I said it was 126 because having this conversation in the middle of the night wasn’t going to help. I was then told if the slide were changed to 126 days this would throw off the data in the rest of the charts on the remaining slides. Yes, this was a dream. I have no earthly idea where this came from. Since chucking the alarm clock and going sailing, sleep depravity is no longer a part of my life as it once was. The inside of my head can be a very scary place. I mean, who else gets PowerPoint presentations from their brain while sleeping?

We are back in Panama after a fabulous time in Argentina. Reality has set it. We need to get our act together. Our next passage is not an easy one. It is not easy in many respects. The ridiculous amount of paperwork and enormous distance to sail is daunting. A lot of preparation is ahead of us in the upcoming weeks.

Panama City, Panama

French Embassy

Cindy spent, and I’m not kidding when I say this, three solid days preparing for our appointment at the French Embassy in Panama. She has the patience of Jove when it comes to this stuff. Me, not so much. I get sidetracked on small details. Perhaps it is the ADD or the curse of the forever-curious mind. Silly things like place of birth amuse me. Have you ever wondered why people need to know where you are born? I tend to question things like this. I can’t help myself. Can someone explain to me how it matters that I was born in South Africa 60 years ago? I am applying for a long-stay visa for French Polynesia in 2019. Do you think if I wrote in North Pole, they would deny my paperwork? I think I could write anything I wanted in the space allotted on the form. It’s not like they ask for proof. They didn’t require a copy of my birth certificate. If they questioned me, I could show up at the embassy wearing Christmas Elf attire. This is why Cindy doesn’t let me touch the paperwork. I am the sort of person who would write in North Pole just to see what happens. Needless to say, the outcome would be a permanent ban for entry to French Polynesia.

Another thing on a form that drives me crazy is when I am asked my date of birth and the next box is my age. I feel like writing in, “do the math”. And, what happens when I have a birthday and then go back to the same place? Am, I expected to update all the forms I previously filled out? After all, the information is now incorrect. Now do you understand when I say, the inside my head can be a very scary place?

sailing blog

I’m allowed to park here because my car perfectly matches the street decor

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We still get excited when crossing over the Panama Canal via the Bridge of The Americas

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A memorial sits just off the bridge serves as a reminder for the Chinese who lost their lives during the construction

Sailing BLog

Las Brisas de Amador – A popular anchorage for smaller boats waiting to or have just transited the canal

I know I have touched on this before but I travel with a British passport. This week Britain is a part of the European Union so if we arrived in French Polynesia today, I’d be welcomed with open arms. But wait, there is this thing called Brexit. It is the most screwed up self-inflicted debacle in the history of all governments on the entire planet. The latest: it seems the UK is willing to sell off Northern Ireland and Scotland to leave the EU. Keep mind the name of my country is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is actually the longest name of any country in the world with 56 characters. This is an honor once held by the Libyans whose country used to be called: Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uzma. It was shortened to Dawlat Libya. I can’t say I blame them for changing the name. Even with an acronym, it was AJAAALASAIAU.

After AJAAALASAIAU , shortened their name, the honor of having the longest name then went to the UK. And apparently, we don’t want the honor either. There seems like a pretty good chance, if Boris Johnson (aka BoJo) has his way, the UK will consist of England and Wales when he is done. It would be very difficult to continue calling our country The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after Northern Ireland is spun off because of something called the Irish Backstop and Boris’ complete and utter disrespect for the people of Northern Ireland.

Scotland is making it very clear they wish to stay in the EU. Bye-bye Scotland. Thanks for staying with us all these years. And Scotland, please remember, you do not need all the violence of Braveheart like the first time you tried to leave, you just need a referendum. And Scottish people, while you are at it, rebuild Hadrian’s Wall.  Europe is going to require some sort of hard border. This isn’t a big deal.  I bet you could get the Italians to pay for it. It’ll be easy to do. Ask Donald Trump how to do it. Apparently Mexico is paying for his wall. The check is in the mail.

So if all of this crazy stuff happens and the UK changes its name, the longest country name in the world will then pass to the Sovereign Republic of Kiribati. This is so ironic because in 1979 they gained their independence from the UK. If they had been forward-thinking at that time and wanted a spot in the record books, they could have taken Northern Ireland with them back then and called themselves: Sovereign Republic of Kiribati and Northern Ireland.  This would have done the trick.

Sorry about all of that. I got seriously sidetracked. Let’s rewind back to the part where I said I have a British Passport. At our French Embassy appointment in Panama, the lady looked at my passport and said there is nothing she could do regarding the issuance of a long-stay visa with an EU passport. I do believe she even went so far as to utter the all-time favorite French phrase “It’s not possible”.  She explained how it just will not go through the system. We explained in December, the UK is having an election. We explained we plan to sail the 30+ days to French Polynesia leaving in December (ish). We also explained we planned to stop in Galapagos. This means we would arrive in French Polynesia in February/March. Due to the length of the journey and the stop in Galapagos, it is entirely possible if BoJo wins the UK election, he could leave the EU with a no-deal Brexit. The UK could be a part of the EU when we leave Panama and not a part of the EU when we arrive in French Polynesia. If we arrive and England is not a part of the EU, under current French law we cannot apply for a long-stay visa while there and would be limited to 90 days. Isn’t it amazing how politics still continue to play a role in our lives, even in the middle of the ocean?  [Sigh]

The holidays are here! I’m talking about the Panamanian holidays. In November, Panama celebrates Independence Day, Flag Day, Separation Day, Colon Day and Los Santos Uprising Day. They also have a Black Friday. Needless to say, not much gets done in Panama during the month of November. It might be easier to say which days are not holidays in November rather than list them out. Most businesses close (except retail) and it’s hit and miss on smaller stores. We also discovered that on some of the public national holidays we are not able to purchase alcohol. This was learned at our favorite Mexican food restaurant when I tried to order a beer. I forget the holiday. I was too traumatized.

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Cholo’s Mexican Food – Cholos doesn’t translate well

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Inside of Cholo’s, it has a surfing theme

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Shopping at PriceSmart (very much like Costco) for bulk items for our long upcoming journey

The bottom line, there is a lot going on in our lives right now. We are keeping track of the holidays so we can provision, watching Brexit so we can understand any travel limitations, working on Galapagos paperwork fees and visas and trying to buy a beer. This is all wearing me out. I would like to take a nap. However, I am afraid of any other Microsoft software my brain may have access to.




Categories: Funny Stuff, Pacific Ocean, Panama, Sailing Blog, Shorts and Musings

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