Panama: Arrival and Day 1

So, finally. My trip.

Above you’ll see the map I made outlining the basic route.

We arrived in Panama City on Sunday, and went straight to the Trump Ocean Club. The room was awesome, the only downfall was that some genius decided that the toilet would be placed in a glass box that basically amplified your tinkling, etc. tenfold. But holy cow, the view was awesome.

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Panama City is filled with high rises. Some are legit, and others are half finished, vacant and will never be finished or occupied as this is some sort of money laundering thing where money is put into buildings to make it appear legit. It seems complicated, and like I have no real understanding of how one would launder money. In any case, there’s a lot of high rises. It kind of reminded me of Hong Kong.

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The first day we went to the Panama Canal to see the Miraflores Locks in action. Do you know how slow they move? Really slow? Glacially slow? Still, the fact we found most titillating was that a toll for the average shipping boat costs $400,000. That blew my mind. B tried to argue that this was insane, but I pointed out that going around the tip of South America would likely cost more than $400,000 in fuel and a man’s sanity. Who’s the econ. major now!? (just kidding, I don’t even know if this joke was funny)

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Then we went to check out Casco Viejo, which is the old part of town. It’s in the middle of a revamp/gentrification. We couldn’t figure out why it was so desolate. About 5 days after the fact someone filled us in that former President Jorge Illueca had died on the Thursday prior to our visit, so the day we were wandering around like fools and couldn’t figure out why nothing was open, was because the mayor of Panama declared that day a holiday and there was to be no lively music/boozing/general naughtiness. We felt less like morons once we were given this piece of information.

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Still, Casco Viejo was beautiful.

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A lot of the buildings are just facades, with empty interiors. We ran into what I presume were some Americans, who were making a documentary about the unfavorable adoption rates in Panama. They had just done a chalk drawing on a wall, and the torrential downpour was about to come so they asked if I wanted to come take a picture. I said sure.

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Then it rained. It rained like crazy, and we went back to the hotel and loafed around like two sloths and prepared for our next day adventure to Boquete, which is east of Panama City towards Costa Rica. And why yes, we did see sloths while we were away (photos to come!).

There are more photos on my flickr feed if you are so inclined to check them out.

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