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Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.

Alright we are 2.5 weeks into Paradise. I am learning the names of the various marines in the area and which do what. I go to one for; garbage, fuel, pick up for church and watching the world cup. And cheep beer. I go to another for cheep but fantastic lunch, expensive beer and to buy meat. It is also the closest and we can catch the buses to St George. That is an experience.

The mate went into St George last week to get her hair cut. They did a great job. And I mean that. She got the bus and transferred. The ride she found traumatizing. Today I did my first bus trip. For the first mile I would agree, then we got behind a truck, and had to do a reasonable rate. The roads are two lane very narrow strips of asphalt. Vehicles stop in the middle of their lane and talk, let people off or anything else. There are very few guard rails and the drop can be hundreds of feet. There drainage system is a ditch made of concrete at the edge of the asphalt. It is about 1.5 feet wide and 2 feet deep. When crossing the street you must jump them. When walking on the sidewalk, you are the other edge of the ditch. Sidewalks are wide enough for one person. The vehicles many times put some of their tire over the edge of the ditch to have room to pass, all at 40+ miles an hour.

The buses are 15 passenger vans. They would be 9 passenger in the states, but they add a couple rows, put in 4 people per row and have no problem putting 20 people in them. And that does not include any kids that may be held. The roads have no yellow lines. In fact, they have no lines at all. Therefore, you may pass at any place. And the bus drivers do, on corners, blind hills, etc.

Another interesting thing is there are roads that come up a hill so steep, a vehicle can not stop before entering the more main road. No problem, just blow your horn and pull out. The other cars seem to get stopped or maneuver around without to many deaths.

Sunday on the way to church we passed a 3 car accident. All were able to get away without a visit to the hospital. A van, a BMW and a small stake truck. Messed up a lot of sheet metal.

Another interesting thing is they have a driver and a helper. He open the door, collects fair, flips up jump seats, hangs out the window trying to get anybody interested in taking their bus. If he is successful, the bus slams on it poor brakes and stops for the person.

One last comment. If you are young, attractive and female, you get taken to your front door, no matter where it is. If you are an old graying, American, they get you somewhat close, ½ mile let you out tell you to turn left at that intersection and stay on that road till you get there. They are a very friendly, courteous people, but they really did not like getting invaded by us. They admit that things were going down hill quickly, but they believe they could have worked it out.

On the mates return from the beauty parlor, she told the bus driver the wrong stop. Big mistake. You can not even get a bus to the marina she mentioned because of construction. They dropped her off and said it was at the end of the trail. When she is off shopping by herself, she takes the hand held VHF radio so she can call when she wants picked up. This day she call right on the edge of its range. She is out of breath from climbing this hill. She says the road kept getting smaller and then it was a dirt trail. As I am consoling, she reaches the top of the hill and says she can see the bay. A few seconds later she says she can see the marina. I jump into the dinghy and speed off to pick her up. By the time I get there she in on the dinghy dock, and is not a happy camper. Like I told the driver where she wanted to go or that she had to walk over a hill to get there. Good thing she was real happy with the hair cut. Helped block out the other parts of the day.

Tomorrow she is going shopping with an organized trip with one of the cab companies do 2 days a week. She will go to the bank and the IGA for some groceries and then back to the marina. Same van will take her and bring her back to the same marina. This should work.



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