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  • Day170

    Panama City, Panama

    April 5, 2017 in Panama ⋅ 🌙 29 °C

    The inside of the oven. The fires of hell. The surface of the sun. None of these come close to the burning temperatures in the urban heat island of Panama City.

    Great Scott it's hot. The weatherman says it's 35°C but feels like 45°C and he's got to be leaning on the cooler side. There's a punishing sun, car exhausts and traffic and not a breath of wind. At times, I feel anxious - if there is a phobia of heat, I have it. Our only saving grace is that Panamanians actually appreciate that it's hot and have the financial resources and sense to install air conditioning. Phew!

    We're staying in Casco Viejo, east of the CBD in Lunas Castle hostel. It has dollar beers, unlimited free pancake breakfasts and air conditioned rooms - why would we leave? It also within walking distance of the old city which (as is true for all 'old cities' in central america) is actually the newest part of the city - comprising many completely refurbished heritage buildings, iced with Audis and Mercedes and attire fit for a ball. In this case, high end retail, restaurants and hotels occupy the area causing in influx of wealth and a resulting price bubble - $25 dollar mains and seven dollar beers. Hence our activities in this area were limited to drinking coffee and Canal museums. Fortunately for our pockets, the wealth deteriorates to poverty over the space of about a block. A dirty plate of rice and beans only metres from cavair and valet parking - how odd.

    Luckily for us, Panama has Uber and cheap taxis (all with AC) for convenient transport which we used to get around. We ticked off the canal (I'll give you a new footprint for that) on the first day with Mike and Char and followed it with a Panamanian baseball game. As professional as it appeared, there can't have been more than 1000 people there, most of which were pushing beer, popcorn or paraphernalia. The game was relatively uneventful save for a brawl (between the players) and the promise of catching a foul, which unfortunately never came to fruition despite our best efforts.

    The next days we spent wandering the city. We climbed to a look out point to experiment with the new camera and also walked the causeway - at the wrong time of day it appeared as we were the only souls there. We also spent time checking out the CBD and attempting a hotel pool crawl. Following information from a blog, we were able to sneak into two of the three pools we tried. This made for a great afternoon spent lounging around, finally able to appreciate the heat between regular dips.

    Our final hours in Panama were spent preparing for our boat trip to Colombia. Supermarkets, washing, repacking and cashing up were all necessary for the next part of our journey! It's coming up in the next blog but in the meantime I'll have you know we're safe and sound in Cartagena, Colombia. It's also time to say a more permanent goodbye to Mike and Char. They've flown out; Char to London and Mike to NZ. We'll miss them but not as much as they'll miss each other. But we know they both love a long haul flight so they'll be united again shortly no doubt. Ciao amigos!

    I'll also have you know I wrote a blog about the Panama Canal which somehow got lost in the etha. You'll be lucky to see that again. I feel your pain Char!
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