Part One: The many faces of Panama

2015…what looked like the worst year of my life ended up a new beginning.

2016…begins with a new adventure.  Panama, one month, mostly on my own.

I woke with the flu for my 4:30 a.m. taxi.  This was nothing new.  I had been sick for 2 weeks since my trip to Palm Springs for business.  I was determined to go.  Nothing would stop me.  So I packed up my snot rags and got in the van.

Deciding previously that this trip would be a mix of hostels and luxury hotels I headed for the Hilton Garden Inn Panama City.  This was somewhere in the middle.  The bottom floor smelled of sewage and I had a view into the window of an apartment bedroom 3 feet away.  I returned to the front desk for a room re-assignment.  In bed for two more days I planned my adventure and worked on my Spanish via TV.  There is no application for Telenovela Spanish in normal activity.  Now, if I wanted to bitch-slap the ceviche chica bien dotada dramatically eyeballing mi Juan Pablo while yelling “Soy pregnate con trillizos” it might play…but I digress.

I did not have the opportunity to do all the things perhaps I should have in Panama City but I saw enough to know that it is large and diverse and for the most part safe.  If you will join me on another slight diversion…

People ask me when I travel alone to other countries, “do you feel safe”?  The short answer is yes because I’m not stupid.  The long and short…stupid people are not safe and smart ones are.  That is my entire statement on safety in Central America.

Here are the places I saw and the things I did.  There was nothing I did not enjoy.

Walk along the water front for good people watching and beautiful modern buildings. My only tip is to look for the pedestrian overpasses to avoid being smushed in the highway.

Casco Viejo and the fish market is wonderful for a morning walk (it is HOT in the afternoon).  Have ceviche and beer for ($4) breakfast and walk the entirety of Casco Viejo.  Beautiful old colonial architecture on the water.  Click here for map and more info!


Parque Metropolitano is lovely.  Just try to say the name of this park without thinking of Janet Nepalitano (whom by the way I saw last year at the Santa Fe Opera in a neoprene truck and a horrible blue pantsuit).  A large and stunning park smack in the middle of Panama City can make you feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere.  Toucans, sloth and other wildlife easily seen.  Click here for directions and more information


After Panama City I took the Metro to Albrook (the “other” airport) and boarded the bus to Santiago for a quick connection to Santa Fe.  More on the beautiful mountain region of Veraguas in the next post.  Santa Fe was my favorite place in Panama.  You will see why!  Hopefully up-to-date bus schedule info for Panama.


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