My intention of coming to Panama was to see its beautiful beaches and of course check out the Canal with the additional bonus of sweatin’ a few pounds off walking here to there and hoping for the pounds to just melt away in the 90% humidity. Well, travelling with Rocky and Camilla is always an aventura (Eng. adventure) that takes you onto paths not predicted, or predicted but not quite as foreseen. Let’s start with Panama City, no doubt a future Bethel Coach Tours trip.
Day One: Rocky suggests having dinner at Market, and according to him had rave reviews…of the steak. None of us actually ordered the steak (Diana ordered a chicken sandwich and Camila and I ordered chicken parmagiana) and were not completely satisfied. Go figure.
Day Two: Rocky suggested we walk from our hotel along the Cinta Costera until we see a taxi to take us to El Casco Viejo (Eng. the old, historic part of the city) but somehow ended up walking all the way there…still wondering how that happened. Perhaps the nauseating stench of fish as we passed the fish market erased partial memory of us dripping in sweat and sunscreen for the past 25 minutes. Or was it the maze like construction detours that are occurring around the city that made us think we were closer than we thought. Finally we arrived to Super Gourmet, a nice air conditioned deli with the comfort of American cafes but a taste of Panama…Panamanian chocolate to be exact. And off we were again to Plaza Francia, on the Casco Viejo peninsula, to do a little souvenir shopping-and more sweating. Many Kunas (indigenous people of San Blas) are commonly seen vendors dressed in their typical Kuna attire selling the much coveted molas and baskets. I didn’t covet because I couldn’t afford it L. And from there…standing at a little local plaza, well, something went amiss, or as Rocky better states it, “That’s when things got weird”. We caught a cab, and that’s how we met José, our beloved taxi driver who, I will later detail, remained our driver for the next three/ four days.
Day Five: (Yeah, day 5, I’ll explain later!) Me and Di went to Miraflores Locks to see the ships pass the Canal on the top deck bleachers. We were there for about 3 hours and finally got to see a HUMONGOUS cargo ship with A LOT of containers pass by. It was pretty cool! But the wait time was a little boring. I was able to take a power nap, eat an empanada, half a hot dog, a bag of chips, drink a coke and a bottle of water plus read about 10 pages of my Panama guide book and chew my nails while I wondered what would happen if the observation deck passed the human capacity (there were at least 100 people on there!!!) and we collapsed. Point is, take something to do while you wait. Afterwards, we headed to the Amador Causeway, a stretch of restaurants, walking and biking trails as well as shops, all with a view of the Pacific Ocean and some mega yachts. We were starving and a good lookin’ fella/waiter at the Panama Grill gave us a couple of recommendations so me and Di had a parillada (Eng. BBQ) and a maracuyá (Eng. passion fruit) caipirinha. After stuffing ourselves for 45 minutes, we decided to sweat and burn some calories so we walked, and walked, and walked all the way back to our hostel…and arrived to our room an hour and a half later o_O !!!
Day Six: Slept in ‘til 10 a.m. with the rain and exhaustion beckoning us to stay in. Later we took a nice, peaceful stroll in the Parque Nacional Metropolitano, with the hopes of finding some wildlife…in the city limits. It was just me and Diana. Time to head to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Keep hoping I’m sweatin’ the calories away while I stuff my face with lentils, patacones, and all sorts of good albeit fattening food.