Feb 8 – This morning we said goodbye to the Pacific.
We dragged our suitcases back down to the Pan American Highway, and had lunch at a truck stop while we waited for a bus.
We were just finished, and our bus pulled up – a big one with air conditioning! Yay! It was an easy two hours back to the Panama City bus terminal and an easy Uber back downtown.
Feb 9 – One more night at the Executive Hotel, then up at 5:30 for an early hotel breakfast and an Uber to the airport.
We encountered a new wrinkle in airport security this morning. After waiting in line to check in, and enduring the shoe removal and X-ray machines, we walked to our gate, looking forward to a sit down prior to boarding. The officials then rounded up everyone in the gate area and subjected us to an additional security screening, then cordoned us off so we had no access to coffee, water or bathrooms. Those in the know told us it was an extra security measure for those headed to the US, looking for drugs. Humph!
Four hours later we landed in Houston, had a six hour layover, then home to Norfolk by 10 pm.
It was a fabulous trip, and it’s nice to be home. Thanks to all who traveled with us!
Feb 3 – So, what makes a successful beach vacation? Swim, walk, eat, and repeat!
Jan 5 – Now here’s some excitement! We were running out of food, so got up early to trek up to the Pan American Highway to reprovision at the little market. We wanted to go before it got too hot. For the first time all week, I had to put on pants and shoes!
Even though it was early, it was still mighty hot. We made it back alive, and resumed our day. Walk, swim, eat, repeat!
Feb 1 – When Jim designed this trip, he divided it into three parts: a week of culture (Panama City), a week in the mountains (El Valle de Antón), and a week at the beach. You’ve traveled with us for the first two adventures. Guess where we’re going now?
We had one more scrumptious breakfast (and I did the dishes one last time in cold water) then we packed up, taking all our leftover food and condiments with us to our new apartment.
We wheeled our bags to the bus stop on the main road. Within five minutes a van pulled up with our destination on the windshield – San Carlos. We got in and watched as the 15 passenger van took on at least 20 people, then stopped wherever a person stood waiting to get on or signaled to get off, as we traveled down the mountainside. Although others paid with a dollar and received change, we were charged $2 each for the experience.
In about 45 minutes, we reached the beach (playa), and the bus let us off in front of the huge Playa el Palmar building – 28 stories tall and the only skyscraper around. We walked about 10 minutes in the broiling midday sun down a private road until we reached a security booth.
We had to show our passports to the security guard to get in, and the landlord left Jim a series of videos (in Spanish, of course) explaining the code to work the door and how to operate the state of the art appliances. We’ve never been in a place like this, ever!
Now, if you’ve been traveling with us for a while, you know that we are modest travelers who don’t go in for anything posh. So, everything about this place is just blowing my mind. Our bedroom wall is floor to ceiling glass, looking out at the Pacific.
The downside (and there always is one) is that this hi-rise is not near the town, and the commenters said it’s definitely not a place to stay if you don’t have a car. Jim took this as a challenge – there’s no place that we can’t walk! But the lack of shade and consistent temperature of 90 / feels like 95 every day will be interesting. Stay tuned!