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Published: April 21st 2009
We arrived in Panama City with exactly one week left on this trip. Along with nearly our entire group from our boat, we checked into a highly recommended hostel in Panama City called Luna's Castle. Not wanting the good times we shared on the boat to end, six of us with flexible schedules decided to continue the party and spend a few more days together. This included Drew and myself, Adina and Linn from Sweden, Jonny from London, and Amy from Canada, who conveniently for us is well connected in Panama since she spends a lot of time visiting her retired parents here. Amy managed to hook us up with a house, which we all rented together, for hostel prices, in a beach town called Coronado an hour and half outside the city. We all were incredibly stoked with this opportunity and planned to head there the following afternoon.
So the following day we would all make our way to Coronado, but not before a quick visit to the oh-so-famous Panama Canal. Only Jonny, Drew and I were interested, so the three of us caught a taxi to the Miraflores Locks which is the big tourist destination on the canal,
complete with museum and gift shop. The canal is one of those things that is not particularly exciting to stand around and watch for very long, but I must admit, it is impressive. The ships that pass through it are the largest in the world and this man-made creation is able to not only allow them to pass 77 km across Panama from ocean to ocean, but it also lifts these vessels 84 feet above sea level and then back down again. We took our photos and watched 2 ships get lifted through the Miraflores Locks and then went back to the hostel to collect our bags and friends and head to Coronado.
We made the short bus ride from Panama City to Coronado where Amy picked us all up and drove us to our home of the next few days. Our collective jaws dropped when we drove into a gated community and up to a beautiful house with a pool and only a 2 minute walk from the beach! Wow, we had really scored, and we took full advantage of the house. We spent the next two days throwing cheap-Panamian-rum parties during which we consumed a lot of
cheap Panamian rum. Amy took us to Playa Teta in Punta Barca, a hot spot on the weekends for Panamians from the city, but empty during the week which is when we were there. She even hooked us up with surf boards so I was able to catch my first waves of Panama. Though the waves were pretty shitty and I got stung in the face by a jellyfish (pump your first Sonny!), it was a wonderful surf session at a beautiful spot in a new country.
After two days and two nights of partying, beach and pool in Coronado, we still weren't quite ready to head off in different directions, but we also weren't allowed to stay at our beach house for a third night. The solution - camping on the beach, of course. We packed up our belongings and stashed them at Amy's parents house, and then set up camp at Playa Gargona. We drank some wine and ate some cheese and crackers around a Bronstein-made campfire and a waning half-moon. (FYI: No campfire issues unlike my Wisconsin friends, Kyle and Burton, who struggled back in the Lakes District of Argentina... please see ). We went to
bed early under clear skies and woke up early to a beautiful sunrise. It was the perfect finale to our three days in Coronado.
After a few sleepy morning hours at the beach, we packed up what we had brought and went back to Amy's parents place for a quick dip in their pool and then to make our way back to Panama City, where Jonny, Linn, Adina, Drew and I were all heading before splitting up the following day. Over the next 24 hours and for the last time on this 7 month adventure, we said our so-longs to wonderful people that we shared amazing experiences with.
So then there were two, just like there was 7 months ago when Kyle and I first arrived in Lima. Drew and I spent the last two days walking around Casco Viejo, the old city area of Panama City. Doing a little last minute souvenir shopping, walking up Cerro Ancon for an expansive view of the canal and the city, and spending a little time downtown, specifically at one of the city's casinos. Our time in Panama has been very short, but ultra sweet.
Today is offically the last
of this trip. In fact, I´m on my way to the airport in just a few hours. It has been nearly 7 months to the day (arrived in Lima, Sept 23/leaving Panama City, April 20). It has been exactly 30 weeks and exactly 210 days. This trip has been absolute magic.
Love to you all one last time from Panama City. Back in Jersey tomorrow morning. Back in Kauai in June.
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