Monday, January 23, 2012

Shopping Panama City

Let's start by saying, "we hate to shop." Neither of us enjoy going to malls. We much prefer the rustic, local veggie markets or fish markets to air-conditioned mega-malls. But, we needed some stuff before we head across the Pacific. Over the last week, we've been shopping...and spending.

On Thursday, we did some provisioning for our guests arrival. We took the local 25 cent bus to "Transmistica" where we'd hit 'Mega Depot," "Abernathy's" and "Riba Smith." Mega Depot is a sort of Sam's Club or Costco, but you don't have to be a member. They have the best prices on beer, wine and liquor as well as cases of items like tinned vegetables, meats and dry goods. We burnt through about 3 boat units here. Michael walked to Abernathy's, the local chandler, for some parts to install the new solar panel. Then Tony, a local cab driver, picked us and our cases of stuff up. Barbara got dropped off at a grocery store, Riba Smith, for grocery shopping and Michael and Tony headed off for multiple stops. Besides oil and fuel filters, the big search was for some aluminum bars to mount the solar panels. This required a pretty intensive search with many stops at machine shops, metal dealers and finally a window and door manufacturing company where they hit the jackpot. The day ended at El Tapiz, a fabric store where some sunbrella, vinyl and texteline was purchased to remake the dinghy cover (get ready Lorna!)

It was an 8 boat unit day! Ouch. And a very wet dinghy ride back to Astarte with all the stuff.

On Saturday, we went via local bus, to Albrook Mall. Now this is one huge mall. And on Saturday, it seems to be the place everyone goes. Families, teens, singles are here to ride the rides in the mall and shop. It is a huge mall with every conceivable store – two huge hardware stores, about eight large department stores, shoes stores galore, furniture stores, drug stores, clothing stores for men, women and children, wedding shops, a giant grocery plus a food court with at least 50 options, a movie theater, carousels, trains and rides and lots of banks, western unions and loan places. Our list included new water shoes for Michael, bed sheets, frying pans, bed pillow, paper, pens, reading glasses (for gifts), butane, mineral spirits, acetone, dremel bit, 2-gallon jug, leather anchor gloves, copies of passports, visa photos, etc. The list was long and varied But this was the place.

We started early and it was a non-stop trek. We crossed a lot off the list and spent a bundle (at least 5 boat units). We ended the shopping day with a treat – ice cream. We cabbed back with all our goodies – not wanting to fight our way onto the crowded local buses.

Sunday, we are putting things away and Michael is installing the new solar panel so that Dave and Lorna will have a place to sleep in the V-berth!

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