Panama City Day 3

Published: May 17th 2011
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Mercado de MariscoMercado de MariscoMercado de Marisco

The local fish market.
Today I drank my usual numerous cups of coffee until Geoff woke up. Then we made some egg sandwiches & headed out to mail our last box home. Today was a very long day solely devoted to mailing that stupid box. Before we left we had to pack up all our stuff & move to the dorms for the night. Our room was reserved & we didn't mention that we were staying until this morning so we're S.O.L. & in the dorms tonight. Oh well! Hopefully tomorrow night they'll have a room for us. I booked our tickets to San Blas this morning. All on the phone. It always makes me a bit nervous conducting business all in Spanish on the phone. But I did it (the woman helping me did have to repeat things a few times for me, everyone talks so fast on the phone for some reason) & we are flying out Thursday morning.

We took our first bus to the area that we were told was the post office. It happened to be in one of the same areas downtown that we had walked through yesterday. However, today is a normal workday & wow, the difference
Inside El Mercado de Marisco.Inside El Mercado de Marisco.Inside El Mercado de Marisco.

Where the vendors display thier catch.
is incredible. There is soooo much traffic & sooooo many people everywhere. It isn't a ghost town today, it's a hustling bustling big city. It was good to see it in action.

At the first post office we arrived at we found out that we needed a copy of our passport to mail the box. We, of course, did not bring our passports with us. Shoot! We were also told that this particular post office doesn't mail boxes as big as ours, we had to go to a different one. Also, we were told to leave the box open because they needed to look through it. Okee dokee.

We bussed to post office #2. We bought some packing tape, because they don't sell any at the post offices here & made our way to where the P.O. was supposed to be. However, in it's place is a brand new empty building. The security guard told me that yes, the P.O. used to be here but now it's moved. I asked where another one was & we were off to find another bus. We are happy that the buses only cost 25cents. This bus dropped us off in a really random part of town with lots of sketchy, dirty apartment buildings. Awesome. We don't look conspicuous at all carrying around a big box & constantly looking at our map to figure out where the heck we are.

I ask in a furniture store where the P.O. is. The lady tells me that it has also been closed. Yikes. I showed her my map (as I had done with numerous others) & got a similar response. She took some time to figure out where we were at that moment. Asked a couple other people for help finding where we wanted to go & eventually pointed to a vague general area on the map where another P.O. was located. I don't think people use maps here. That's what I'm gathering.

In the middle of all this we went & had lunch at the fish market. It's just off the end of the dock where all the fishermen bring in their catches & sell them right there for you. We bought a huge filet, 1.5 lbs, for $3 & 1/2 a pound of shrimp for $1.5 then we took it upstairs to the very very basic restaurant that cooks the fish for you any way you like it. The cost is per pound of whatever you bring to them. It was fun. The lady told us it was going to take an hour so we walked back to our hostel, got our passport, & headed back to the market. The market was pretty near our hostel but it is still a million degrees today & we've already been on sweating on buses all day long. Fun fun! The food was good & so fresh. We really needed food at this point so our moods improved immediately.

At this point we took a cab because we hoped maybe the taxi driver would know where we wanted to go. (Oh, at P.O. number 1 we left our Leatherman behind, Great!!). He just happened to drop us off in an area where we had been earlier so I was skeptical. But he drove us up to a point where I could actually see the office. Then we got out. Unbelievably by now it's 3:45 in the afternoon. We pay him & go into the office. We get in line & are so relieved to finally be there. There's an Australian couple in front of us, also mailing & they chat with us when suddenly this guy yells at us from one of the windows that we can't mail our box today. I said, why? He said, Because (really). The sign on the door said they're open until 4:45, which I reminded him of. He said too bad, we could come back at 7 am & mail the box. They won't take it. I begged & told him how we'd taken multiple buses, a taxi, been all over town. He said no, because there were too many people in line. ARGGG!!! I said I would just stand in line & see how far we got by 4:45. Then a few minutes later a lady yells at us from a different window that there's basically no way they will take that box today & we may as well just leave. I begged her. She walked away. I started swearing in English just a bit. What a bunch of jerkys! (That wasn't the exact word I used to describe them, but anyway, I'll keep the story PG). Then I started crying. I never cry but I was soooo super frustrated & angry it was the only thing I could do. Then, while standing there after being yelled at by all the post office crew, another lady who's at the front window now (we were only 2 behind her & it's only 4:20 now, annoying) tells me that the girl at her window just told her that we need to have our box wrapped in paper to ship it. The lady in line was nice though, she had argued our case with the first guy who yelled at us telling him that he should lock the door if they're not accepting more people. After that he stood by the door & turned people away. Well actually after he stood at the window & stared at us & did nothing while the line just sat there while they only had one window open. So, the kind Australians gave us their leftover paper so that we could wrap our box & told us to go get a cold beer. I felt like such an idiot crying (I wasn't sobbing or anything, there were just tears) but I could not help it. I was so pissed. So, we wrapped our box there watching the line dwindle & left the building before 4:45 & they had helped everyone in front of us & a few people behind us. Seriously, I understand the idea of Going Postal now.

Then we walked back to our hostel. Traffic was ridiculous now & our hostel actually wasn't too far from the P.O. plus I think we needed to walk & release some steam. Back at the hostel we showered off the day off buses & walking & relaxed. We read & played on the internet. I was asleep by 8:30. What a long crazy day. But, at least we know where to go tommorow. Although we are a bit scared that they might sabotage us & our box after all the kind things we had to say to them. I wonder how much they understood. I don't think we were too bad. Geoff actually really kept his cool, which is usually my job, but it's always best that one of us remains calm in those situations. But really what could we do. Nothing. Plus I think the guy started feeling bad when I was crying. Not bad enough to actually help us but he had a very guilty look on his face.

Before the sunset we went & had another Gelatto. We deserved it. I wanted to try another flavor but I stuck with the chocolate orange, it was too good. Geoff got mint chocolate chip & it was really minty but good. Seriously, what a nutso day.


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