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post #11 of Old 01-30-2012
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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San Blas Islands - military and kids

We happened to be a town in the San Blas when there were about 300 members of the Panamanian army there for training. These guys have a pretty tough life with one month assigned to patrol the jungles along the border with Colombia - Darien Gap, not a nice place. There also was a fokloric festival going on and the army was doing its best to connect with the locals who are helpful in fighting against drug importing. These two guys were making balloon animals for the Kuna kids.
BTW, when we there the army caught one of the Colombian trading vessels that ply this coast with 700 kg of cocaine onboard - a big deal, it was even on CNN. To help with getting the support of the locals all of the trade goods on the boat, flour, rice, housewares, etc that were piled on top of the cocaine were given to the the village.

Our strangest cultural interaction in the San Blas was being asked by a family in a dugout canoe if we could charge their two rather old cell phones. There is quite cell coverage there but no electricity.

After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.
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