Panama Land and Water - Monday 2010 February 8


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Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City
February 8th 2010
Published: September 23rd 2015
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Approaching Panama CityApproaching Panama CityApproaching Panama City

Cloud cover brings rain, essential to the canal
After over-nighting in a Houston Super 8, Joyce and I had a smooth flight to Panama. Tantalizing glimpses of Mexico (Playa del Carmen and Cozumel?) and Central America were swiftly obscured by huge, puff-ball clouds. Darker towering clouds obscured the Panama Canal as we flew over, yet we did see both the eastern and western entrances, identifiable by the ships at anchor waiting their turn to transit.

Immigration was very smooth, and we were met by a smiling young man on behalf of Caravan Tours. Then we had to wait about one hour for people on a Miami flight that theoretically landed just after ours. We grew impatient at waiting in the modest, air-conditioned airport and waited outside in the cloudy warmth – not quite overwhelmed by exhaust fumes from all the taxis and shuttle buses. Eventually we were escorted on to a full-sized bus for a half-hour drive to the city.

From a slight distance, Panama City is a real surprise. Very tall, thin condo and office buildings pierce the clouded skies, rising straight from the flat sea coast terrain, against a backdrop of hazy low mountains. Closer in, it resembles a small town that has grown very quickly – haphazard traffic
Panama CityPanama CityPanama City

Golden sunshine beneath the clouds
on modern roads with tracts of new development interrupted by (seemingly) old, pastel, crumbling, cinder-block dwellings.

Our hotel, the Marriott Courtyard, is modestly modern, thankfully not over air-conditioned. Directly next to it is a very modern mall with the ubiquitous American stores, restaurants and food kiosks. Joyce bought a Jugo Juice and took the opportunity to ask about buying water. With the help of a customer, we were informed about a supermarket in the mall.

We enjoyed looking around the grocery store – prices for meat were about the same as home, or somewhat cheaper. Wine from Argentina was $6-10 (US currency used everywhere) and local beer was 50 cents a can. The fruits and local vegetables, such as cassava, were much, much cheaper than home. Organic bananas were 37 cents per pound and huge papayas were 47 cents per pound.

To end the day we had a tour briefing (about 46 people on the tour), a tasty buffet dinner (fish, rice and beans and zucchini for me), and now I am going to swim (outdoor pool).

View initial map.


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27th September 2015

Aha!
Yes, it works for me now, too. Anyway, I find this super timely because we're going to Panama in January for a 3-day exposure to the canal - a transit, a train ride, and numerous expert lectures. Glad to hear that Panama City is better than it was!
13th October 2015

Hah!
Come January, we'll be the folks on that dilatory flight from Miami. Our tour is with Road Scholar, and sounds much the same, down to the reading materials.

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