Published: December 26th 2011December 25th 2011
Reflective Bee cap
We were on the rooftop where the pool was located, and we were all alone! It was around 65´ fahrenhet (18´ celsius) and the views were breathtaking.
Christmas in Panama! The shoppers are no less driven to find the best deal than anybody at home bac in the States. Stores are open for long hours; there is free christmas wrapping; there are all kinds of shiny things: new bikes, toys, tools, electronics. And the grocery stores have long lines and carts are full of rice, beans, meat, beer, wine. Many prices are pretty comparable to merchandise at home, and so it would make sense that many people are calling Panama City a first world city, after all. We did not entirely escape the pre-Chrismas craziness however, this just had a different smell and flavor to it, as it were -the smell around the meat counter was nauseating. Naturally, I would have enjoyed spending Christmas with my family, but it's cold in Seattle, and warm - and around 70' fahrenheit, or 21' celsius - here in Boquete. Besides, it's good to get out and see how the rest of the world experiences holidays. And isn't it nice to get away from the mayhem once in a while, which is our oh so commercialized Christmas?
Here there are many clear, cold, and incredibly pristine rivers (over thirty in the
Hallway de muerte
Remeber Barton Fink with John Tururro and John Goodman?? I thought I smelled smoke...
Chiriqui Province) and streams, as well as an abundance of beautiful flora including evergreen trees, and tropicals such as hibiscus, orange trees, bogainvillea, croton, spider plants, banana-take a look at the picture of reddish-pink immature bananas. The fauna was not so evident--The soil is excellent for growing a large variety of fruits and vegetables, including some darn good coffee beans! And so I find it ironic that two of the places we ate at here in Boqete provided instant coffee when we asked for coffee with our meals.
We were 'ok' with Panama City, and David (the city!) was a step-up - but Boquete is fantastic (more about Boquete later.
We arrived at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, Panama at 10:30 AM after a six hour flight from LA, not to mention the additional couple hours it took to get from Seattle to LAX. That is really not a long flight, when you compare it to the 17 or so total hours flight time it takes to get to SE Asia, for example. What do you do with the inflight time? You can only read, play 'Angry Birds,' or write for so long-so what else can you
Hotel room Panama
We paid $66 for a rather crummy room. Amazingly high considering how dumpy the neighborhood.
do with your time? This is why it is always comforting for me, to sit next to someone native to the destination (or perhaps more familiar than I), who has an excellent command of English and can provide a little insight regarding your destination-it adds a bit more to the sense of 'feeling prepared.' The girl I sat next to was 22, Colombian, and born and raised in Maui. She made her money repairing surfboards and had a seriously dark tan. She was going to visit some of her family members in Colombia for five weeks? When was the last time you vacationed for five weeks, or two for that matter?
We had been served a pretty decent meal gratis and it was a bit more international than what you might get (read 'have to pay for') on a domestic flight in the US. Why are some other foreign airlines able to provide free meals and maybe a drink or two, when all ours will provide are a bag of mixed nuts, and something to drink?
Bee was able to sleep on the plane, but I get too excited and won't allow myself to sleep. It isn't about
Panam City Waterfront
They had this wonderful waterfront park marred only by the numerous secirty guards and gun-toting police riding around on Quads.
what I can see from the plane at night so much as it is the excitement of traveling to a new place and all it's possibilites, with maybe a little bit of anxiety thrown in for good measure. We had booked a room ahead of time so all we needed to do was see if the shuttle bus had arrived, as requested-and it had. We took our room which had an air conditioner-always helpful if it is a hot place, and you are exhausted and need all the tools available to help you sleep soundly. We visited the in-house restaurant for a bite. Panama hasn't quite accepted the idea of a healthy, and tasty salad, in my limited experience. There was greenish red tomatoe, iceberg lettuce, onion, and some other cut-up stuff I did not want to know about, and dressing. There is alot of chicken, rice, meat, and some beans offered, but not much vegetable at the restaurants we visited. Surely there were other restaurants more oriented to the Western palate who provide what we demand-but that is not what I want-I can get that stuff at home anytime. I have been at this console for two plus hours,
Looking south towards the historic district, and the entrance to the canal.
It was not as stormy as it appears.
so I will take a break and write again later.
There are more photos below