Panama City

Trip Start Sep 30, 2013
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Trip End May 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
Hostel Mamallena Boquete
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Panama  ,
Monday, December 23, 2013

3 nights (including Christmas) in Panama City

 
 
 
Monday 23rd December, 11pm Hostel Mamallena, Panama City

We arrived at 7pm having left our hotel in Bocas del Toro at 6am this morning. The journey was easy. Everybody on the way  -  taxi drivers, bus conductor, restaurant server, man on the street...was laid back and helpful. The bus was severely air conditioned, but I had my high altitude trekking coat on so that was OK. For the first few hours the country side was mountainous, jungly and varied, but after we joined the pan American it turned into more of a mono culture. The towns and roads were well ordered - could easily have been in the USA.

All in all a typical good days traveling.

Tuesday 24th December, 8pm Hostel Mamallena, Panama City  

Yet another good day!
 
 
 
 
Messing about on water is always good fun and watching others do so is equally entertaining.

We took a taxi to the Panama canal visitor centre at Miraflores and it was so interesting we spent 3 hours there. Ships rise just 26 meters to transit 48 miles between the the Pacific and the Atlantic. 2014 is the canal's centenary and there is a massive project underway to build new locks at each end to enable the canal to accommodate ships 3 times the current maximum size. We watched one vessel go through the 2 locks at Miraflores. It was a large tanker, but not massive  - I have seen bigger in the English Channel. However I reckon there was only 2 feet clearance on each side. It was eased through the locks with the assistance of 3 locomotives on each side and pushed out by a tug.

Later, in the evening, I persuaded Marian to come for a walk with me around the neighbourhood. We are in Perejil just off the Via Espanana. It used to be very up market, but is now just a friendly middle class area. We passed loads of flats with Christmas decorations and parties going on and people said 'Buenos' or 'Feliz Navidad'. I was aiming for the local church where we arrived just as they finished their Christmas eve service. We went in for 15 minutes or so. It was a nice family occasion.
 

 
 
 
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Wednesday 25th December, Christmas day  

What an odd day! So hot! 
We had pancakes for breakfast and then spent an hour using skype to call various family and friends. Lovely to see M&K and Jed and Ari and Sue et al on the screen. They all looked a bit blobby, but I think that was the internet bandwidth rather than an excess of Christmas cheer. It was about half 3 in the afternoon in Europe.

Then we went for a walk to the old colonial town of Panama and saw some lovely old buildings, most of which are in a very poor state of repair. At the Cathedral they were finishing 12 o´clock mass and handing out presents to each other. Another nice family occasion.

 
 
 
Feeling a bit faint in the heat and humidity we sought refuge in a local cafe where we had lunch. I have never before shared a pizza for Christmas dinner but it was just the job. While there the heavens opened and I realized why these colonial towns have such high kerbs and sidewalks as a river suddenly appeared on the street. After the storm the air was slightly cooler and fresher.  
 
 
 
 
 
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N.B. On boxing day we leave early for San Blas and spend 4 nights on a 56 foot catamaran Jacqueline.
There will be no blog updates nor text messages till New Year's eve.


 

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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Comments

Viv Sullivan on

We enjoyed a similar Christmas dinner once in Vietnam, somehow when you are travelling, the day loses its meaning. Love the fact you've 'upped' the anti on the picture front.
Our ruck sacks are out!! We are going to need a list of all these amazing places you've stayed...contact details xx

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