Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Panama to the Punjab

My next door neighbour and I took a full three quarters of an hour to walk what would normally take 20 minutes, then knocked on the wrong door but it's OK were here now.

Tracy, the birthday girl, and Joy.

Adrian, chef and onion muncher.

Well, I'm just about over it now, but what an evening. French was the theme, all prepared by Ady, and I can hardly remember walking back if indeed we did? Thank you all it was an excellent gig!

Another day indoors for me as this evening it's my turn to cook and entertain my friends from Parley Green, Christchurch, so once again an 'All Our Yesterdays' post, hope you enjoy it.

In contrast to the picture of Angkor Wat Temple yesterday, which I described as the most magnificent man made structure, today the

Panama Canal becomes my favorite feat of engineering. At the Miraflores Locks the authorities have built a 3 story museum and viewing platform which I found difficult to pull myself away from.

To watch these huge vessels enter the lock from the Atlantic side, and then drop like a stone to reach the Pacific level is indeed an engineering miracle! The up side to all of this is, the Canal only operates because of the copious volume of fresh water available, and the fresh water is only 'on tap' (excuse the pun) because of the Rain Forest. Simple equation really, no Rain Forest, no Panama Canal and no one can do without it now.

Charlie Anderson in his recording studio.

The following day we hired a guide to take us into the rain forest and when we finished birding the guide told us there was no bus. Nil desperandum, we stuck a thumb up and within a very short time were picked up in a brand new 4 x 4.

The driver, and Rasta Man was none other than Charlie Anderson bass guitarist for the 80's chart topping (2 Tone Ska) band 'The Selecter'.

Accompanied by his wife Julie and their 2 sons, they asked where we were going and told them after a hard day in the jungle we needed to get back to Panama City to 'chill'. Julie said the best place to chill in Panama is our house, and that's where they took us and made us most welcome with plenty to drink (including Charlie's favourite white Jamaican rum) and a cooked meal. That's hospitality for you.

After dinner and a couple of hour swinging in a hammock in the garden, Charlie showed us around his studio where we had a few songs, then the children took us next door to see a Harpy Eagle that the man was nursing back to health after an injury. We well enough the bird was destined to be presented to the President of Costa Rica for release.

Harmandir Sahib, more commonly known as the

Golden Temple in Amritsa.

The Main Gate
The senior Sikh's bless the food which on a daily basis is given free to an average of 60,ooo people every day.

I also met a lovely family there who spent most of the day showing me round. The husband is the gentleman second right with the turban, and his wife, son and daughter are to my left.

As you can imagine there is quite a lot of plates, bowls, cups etc to dhobie but even this is considered a great privilege strictly for a select few. They even managed to get me elbows deep in dish water - wish I'd taken the 'Marigolds'. All the utensils are stainless steel, so you can imagine the clatter!

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