Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Panama, Schmanama

I was in Panama for exactly 2 weeks, and while it was not my favorite country by any means, I did have a good time and meet some fun people!
  • David- The first city I stayed in Panama, which provided absolutely nothing to do, which was just fine by me. I stayed at the Purple House Hostel, where literally everything was purple-walls, furniture, dishes, soap, lights, nail polish, everything! One other thing I did learn from David was the joy of Panamanian Fried Food!
  • Boquete- What I like to call the Estes Park of Panama, a pretty expensive touristy highland town, but with some nice walks and hiking around. There were tons of rainbows, and I read Like Water for Chocolate on the big comfy couch while it drizzled outside for on whole day.
  • Lost & Found- A lodge off the carretera between David and Bocas del Torro (which, no I did not go to, and do not regret one bit, I´m more for the mountains than the beach). The bus drops you off in pretty much the middle of nowhere on the side of the highway and it´s a seriously steep 25 minute hike up the hill with all your stuff to the lodge. It´s actually a hostel with a 3-level-bunkbed dorm, kitchen, stunning views, and tons of trails (and your 3rd night in the dorm is free, yay!). I did a 5 hour loop hike my first day with a kid from California, spent the second day trying to survive the rain and cold, and the third day on a wholly entertaining scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt took us to an enormous tree we had to climb around to find the clue, across a beautiful river with a rope to help, into the "hermit woman´s" cave (she did actually live in there until her 90s or something crazy), and all around. Turns out we missed a clue somewhere along the way, but still got a beer for the prize. That evening I headed to David to the cold cold overnight bus ride to Panama City.
  • Panama City- Oh, Panama City, you done me wrong. So, everyone warns that it can be a dangerous city and I believed it but generally felt safe. That is, until the 50 people in my hostel were tied up in two of the dorm rooms with zip-ties and 4 young guys with guns robbed everything they had on their person and then went throught the luggage in every rooms of the hostel, and also stole all the computers and money from the hostel itself. They woke everyone up, took they keys to all the rooms and everything, and I was one of the 3 they didn´t wake up or rob! They looked through my backpack at the head of my bed, but left me there sleeping-Amazing and lucky! But, hey enough about that.
  • Panama Canal & Caso Viejo- The Canal was nice and touristy, but I´m glad I went. The biggest suprise was how small it was. And Casco Viejo is the old part of town we spent a while wandering around, looking at churches, plazas, wooden balconies, and the ships waiting outside of the Canal.

The Best Part of Panama was that it was the begining of my sailing trip to Colombia!

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