Reaquainting with Panama City

Trip Start Nov 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 20, 2011

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Where I stayed
Eco Inn Avila Hotel

Flag of Panama  ,
Thursday, January 13, 2011

After an interesting shared taxi ride with a young american army dude...thank god he could speak spanish.....I was finally dropped at the Avila Hotel where my friend Louise would be waiting.  Louise and I work as mediators..when I work.... and she had decided to come to Panama when she saw a seat sale, direct from Calgary to Panama City for $199 return.  She had booked a couple of months to stay for a month. When she signed on to print her boarding pass this week, she noticed that the price had dropped even lower - to $159!!!!!  When she mentioned this to her friend Wayne, he couldn't think of any reason to continue with the minus 28 degree cold spell and decided to join her for a week. 

Louise and I had both been to Panama before, Wayne not.  Wayne and Louise met in Africa on a tour about 25 years ago where they learned that they were both from Calgary and have been friends since.  They had arrived the day before me and seemed to have met half the neighborhood.  Panama is a pretty friendly place.  So day 2 for me and day 3 for them, we recruited a taxi driver they had met ....first him and then he took them to meet his wife and basically were part of his family before I came along......and signed him up for a trip out to the countryside - to Cerra Azul.  He agreed to drive us around for $9 hour so it was a great deal.  I had heard of Cerra Azul from a real estate guy from Ontario I had met on my first flight to Panama a few years ago.  He was flipping houses up in that area and reselling them to Canadian expats. 
Our driving tour took us up into the hills - really lovely and the best part, for me anyway, was seeing the driver see a whole different part of his own country.  We climbed very steep mountain passes, getting him to stop everytime we thought there might be another vista.  At the top of the one of the mountains, his excitement was palpable and he admitted he had never been up in the mountains.  He was so excited he phoned his wife from the top to share his expereince with her.  So many times I have been able to share this joy - drivers getting to see something totally new in thier own country.  My motorbike driver in Bali who did not even really know how to drive a bike, he borrowed it from his brother and he learned as the day went on:  we saw some amazing things together, the young kid in Cambodia who took me to places he had only just heard about
, an old man in Vietnam that I rented by the hour:  we saw some amazing things together on his bike....these are the interruptions that are the most fun and the most memorable.

Pictures to come once I find my chip.....
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TheresaCalgary on

I love hearing (reading) about these 'eye opening' experiences that you share with 'the locals'.

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