Instagram feed

13 March 2010

Panama: I Get Saved Again!

5:25 PM. In the Panama City airport.

This woman turned out to be one of the most helpful and caring people I could ever hope to encounter!

I wanted to head back to the bus terminal at the Albrook Mall - so when I saw a guy yelling out "Termina" as the destination for his bus, it seemed right. I got on, and waited for about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, several vendors walked onto the bus and tries to sell children's books, fresh tamales (I was tempted), and pirated movies. [Seriously, who needs to go shopping when you can buy most of what you need right on the bus?!]. The bus left, and it headed into the city. Then it got on the main promenade along the waterfront - Avenida Balboa - a wide boulevard with all the major hotels and fancy apartment high-rises on it. It was amazing - like driving through Vegas or (as I'd imagine) Miami.

It was a different route than what I expected, and when the bus got on the highway (aka Corredor Sur), I knew that it definitely wasn't headed back to the bus terminal at the mall.

And so, I knew that I had gotten on the wrong bus. Was I going to miss my flight?

I Had Made a Very Wrong Turn Somewhere

4:25 PM. Saturday, March 13, 2010. Just outside Panama Tocumen Airport.

She was begging me to get in a taxi for my own safety...

The past few hours have been yet another adventure:

I left the Albrook mall on one of Panamá's many festive buses to the plaza Cinco de Mayo, 10 minutes away. The streets around the plaza were alive with food vendors and people enjoying their Saturday. There was a pedestrian-only promenade leading away from the plaza, filled with vibrant shops and street vendors. I bought a small bag freshly-fried platano chips with hot sauce drizzled on top (yummy!), then I bought a cup of fresh coconut juice to cool me down from the sweltering day.

It was a vibrant and welcoming scene. I would soon find out that not all of Panamá would be as friendly...

The Last Night in Costa Rica and the Return to Panamá

Friday, March 12, 2010. San José, Costa Rica.
12:25 AM

"Welcome to the third world"...

Back from dinner, it was at an amazingly good (seriously, better than most places I've eaten at in the states) pizza restaurant/cafe. The pizza was fresh, crispy, cheesy, and all around amazing - imagine Cheese Board with meat! The restaurant is literally hidden down some railroad tracks - there's no street, just a small sidewalk (if you could call it that) along the tracks. And the crazy thing is - the tracks are still in use! Trains were passing by during our dinner (but not too often, and with the doors closed we hardly heard anything).