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From the Straits to the Streets
...after weeks at sea, even the simplest street scenes are pure treasure.
A Cozy Curbside Bench in Portland, Maine.
This is quite possibly the coziest curbside bench in all of Portland, Maine.
Local street foods tickle my palate; Regional sounds caress my eardrums; With weeks at sea behind us, even the simplest street scenes are not only easy on the eyes, but also pure magic for all the senses.

The First Things You Notice

On almost every landfall I can remember–if not all of them–the first thing I undoubtedly notice is the smell of delicious food–and usually some kind of open fire. Now, if you’ve read any passage story, you know that we don’t skimp on eating. In fact, I usually eat better on passages than when I’m at home cooking for myself. Everything tastes better on a boat. Similarly, after weeks at sea, everything tastes better NOT on a boat.

After all the necessary boat things like securing and checking the dock lines, slogging through customs & immigration check in, and of course general tidying up of certain offshore disarray, the first order of business is almost always securing local food and drink.

The Mother of Invention.

On one of the main streets in “Bocas Town” in Bocas del Toro, Panama it seems that when covers for the sewers were in short supply, the ingenuity for marking the hazard was not. Kudos to the clever, resourceful Panamanian Pro who took these scrap pieces of lumber, tossed ’em into the hole, and hit the tips with some fluorescent orange paint. Well played, sir or madam, well pl—erhm….sprayed!

Without experimentation, a willingness to ask questions and try new things, we shall surely become static, repetitive, and moribund.

— Anthony Bourdain

Everything You Need at Your Fingertips

As we work through giving our sea legs back a land-lubber’s gait, walking the nearest town in any port plays a a big part. It’s not uncommon to be able to find great food and often anything you could possibly need right off the boat along the main street of any port town. Vendors take to the curbs on the streets of their stores peddling their wares and fighting for your attention amongst thick competition. It can be fun, while it can also become quite overwhelming quickly.

Just Go Three Blocks In

Go three blocks in. That’s what I always say–go three blocks inland from the main street. Here is where you’ll leave all the touristy flair behind and quickly become immersed in the true vibe of a place. This is exactly where the commonplace of familiar and repetitive touristy offerings slips into the delightful unknown of the actual place you’ve never visited. It is where the locals are comfortable in their place and are sure to give you a twinkling “you’re not from around here” second look as you wander by. More often than not, if you answer that second look with a word or two of your own in the local language, the pure magic of travel instantly begins to unfold.

A Stairway to Heaven
Already in Paradise

This looks exactly like a stairway to nowhere, but maybe that’s because we are already in paradise! This beautiful step-scape lies in one of my favorite places on the planet–Sint Maarten. Beautiful art and other surprises like this are surely lurking around every street corner. Which way will you turn?

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