Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I am not doing this again

Awaiting restoration
Well I suggest that if you want to see Panama City you do not go through the airport. 

It was excruciatingly awful as we waited for two hours to get through immigration - where they fingerprinted and photographed us - and then x-rayed our bags. I am not  sure why they do this - and perhaps if the local Minister for Tourism responds to my letter I may find out. 

But then it is often like this in the USA and travelers just put up with it. But it was easy on the way out and we almost forgave them. 

Old Panama city is a bit like Roman ruins. Many of the old buildings have been gutted - and are awaiting restoration. But the ones that have been restored are quite wonderful and in 10 years time it will be an astonishing place. 

The new city is something of a shambles. There are many unoccupied buildings - and many that have been abandoned half completed - and we are talking very large buildings indeed. 

It is very hot and the taxis are very small. We went to the fish market where we were permitted to pay large sums of money for very average food while loudspeakers blasted the atmosphere with horrendous music. This is apparently what the locals like. I have discovered that in Mexico and South America the population likes very loud music non-stop - and particularly at meal times. 

We also had some very nice meals and heaps of wine.

We had one really bad meal - and it was our most expensive one - and were served by someone who could possibly have been a waiter - but may have been a drunk who wandered in off the street to get cool. He may have also been the one who was responsible for the meal as he disappeared for long periods. 

We decided that we like Panamanian coffee a lot but after an initial brush with Geisha coffee - which is extraordinarily expense - we decided that it tastes like diesel oil. But that may be because they pour hot water over the grounds rather than putting steam though them. At $9 per cup it clearly has something going for so we have brought a small bag home to give it another chance. 

We decided that we did not make the trip there excruciating enough - the getting up at 4:00 AM part - so on the way home we stopped overnight in Washington and got to the hotel at 12-ish and left at 6-ish. This was because when we got to Washington the last flight to Indianapolis had departed. 

I am not doing this again. 


  1. Sounds like a wonderful trip. When I was 23 I went to the USA by ship, and we had a few hours ashore in Panama. It was extremely scary for a naive young New Zealander. We were warned to stick to a few of the main roads, and not go down any side streets. It was my first experience of seeing truckloads of gun-laden police driving around the streets. I was pleased to get back to the ship, and Fort Lauderdale, where we disembarked, felt extremely civilised by comparison!

  2. Last night I had something delightful at Cheddar's restaurant. It was Key West Chicken & Shrimp with my choices of rice and cole slaw for sides. I see there are a couple of those in Indy. I had not ate there in about seven years but I don't know why, it seems reasonably priced.

  3. I've always heard that in Central American and Mexican towns the food is safe as long as you see plenty of dogs running around. No dogs, not good.

  4. Wow, and here I thought you were going to the other Panama City. More on the food please.

  5. Alexia: There are still lots of police - and a few places where you should not go - but it seems to be very safe - unless you go to the restaurant we did - in which case your life may be in danger.

    esb: I have never heard of Cheddar's - but in any event I will never get Cate to go there. I may try it myself when she is away.

    SK Waller: Plenty of dogs in Panama - no cats though - that could be a problems.

    fmc: Not much to report. We only had one 'Panamanian' meal and thinly new things was plantains - which they have with everything.