Manamana Panama

For Christmas this year Caleb and I decided we needed to get some sun, seeing as how the sun cruelly abandoned us to the clouds, rain and darkness for the winter. Thanks Mr. Sun, thanks.

So right before Christmas we fled south to Panama.

There it is, the Panama Canal in all its glory.

There it is, the Panama Canal in all its glory.

Christmas day we spent at someone’s house we found through AirBnB.com, which is my most favorite site when looking for places to stay. Usually much cheaper than a hotel, and nicer too.

The house we stayed at belonged to an expat couple from California. They actually bought the land and had the house built there overlooking a big valley. It was in the mountains of Panama, which means that it’s not too hot there, it hovers around the 70s most of the year. What I really loved about this house is that the terrace was very much a part of the house. Almost all of the terrace-facing doors were always open 24/7.

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Onwards we went from there to Playa Venao. This was the only part of the trip where we took a bus, and that’s only because the bus system in Panama is probably the best in all of Central America. However, it all went awry in the trashy town of Penonome. Eeeeeeevil Penonome (read pen-oh-no-may).

We had to take two buses for this trip. One from the mountains to Penonome and then from there to the beach. Well, the first bus driver told us to wait at the wrong spot for the Playa Venao bus. So we waited for three hours. Three I say. On the side of a horribly hot, dusty highway with not bathroom and little water. Staring at the crest of a hill about a half mile away, watching for the coming of the bus we needed. Of which three drove by and didn’t stop. WOE.

So eventually we did end up at the right place and got on the right bus. We also arrived at our destination about 5-6 hours later than I had hoped. Oh well.

Fun fact: The buses pretty much in every Central and South American country play loud mariachi music and the like. For hours. Thank goodness for headphones.

Anyway, we made it to the beach after dark. We checked in to our $30/night room and headed to the restaurant and got some fried fish and ahi tuna steak.

Our room was worth exactly $30/night I think. It was just a double bed with a rough sheet and a fan in a claustrophobic room. The lock was a chain through the door with a padlock. Cute.

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But this place was totally worth it, mosquitoes and all. We ate amazing seafood every day, lazed in hammocks by the beach for hours and Caleb took a couple of surfing lessons.

This was also a place where we basically didn’t sleep hardly at all. The howler monkeys started yelling, “THAT THE SUN WAS UP! THERE IT IS! EVERYONE GET UP NOW!” at about 5 or 6am every day. And of course it took awhile to fall asleep because we didn’t have air conditioning here, so it was humid and hot.

One morning we just got up right when we heard the monkeys start rustling about and went and found them. It was a nice little hike and Caleb got to see monkeys in the wild.

Another fun fact: we could drink the water there. Yep, in the middle-of-nowhere Panama. In fact, we could drink the water almost everywhere in Panama. Apparently this has something to do with the Americans putting in the water system in lot of places. Though this place on the beach had clean water because they had their own well and filtering system.

So that was Panama! It was hot and lovely, and we’d recommend it to anyone. We probably won’t go out of our way to go back, but it’s still a beautiful country. Though the people were rather rude in my opinion, but that’s besides the point.

Next time I’ll talk about a few of the pictures from El Salvador below…

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