Monday, June 14, 2010

Forced recovery

Nine days, no bike, and I couldn't have been happier. The timing was perfect to give the legs a rest. I've never really travelled to South / Central America, save a day trip to Mexico while living in SoCal. The trip to Panama was too easy. On the plane at 6am, on the ground in Panama City by 1pm. The crazy thing for me was that we were still on central time, the whole day was surreal.

Libba, who's been living at Venao for about a year, had our journey dailed with a driver meeting us at the airport and getting us to the Casco Viejo district for our first evening in the city.

Casco is bizarre as it's one of the oldest districts in the city that was abandoned years ago but is going through it's own revival. The presidential palace has always been there but now you have a mix of high-end apartments and old ruins with squaters living in them, side by side.

Thanks to the presidential guard it's one of safer areas of Panama City. We however highly urged to remain in Casco as just blocks away gangs control everythin.

The following morning it was off to Thrifty to pick up the rental car and our 5 hour drive south to Venao. With five people and luggage one cab was going to be a tight fit. The problem, people in the city don't really pay attention to addresses, including the cabbies. We flagged our cabbie, Libba gave him a quick chat and he said he knew where to go, sweet. He popped the trunk and...nice speaker box dude, where's our luggage go? Quickly decided we needed a second cab and flagged another. Then the fun began. Apparently we were in a no stopping zone. The second cab didn't pull all the way over and a cop freaked out from the four cars that were backed up. The cop made it worse and proceeding to write a ticket to each cabbie. You can imagine how happy they were. The bigger problem was Libba and I were now separated from Anne, Theresa and Troy. I had Anne's passport and we hoped that there cabbie, the original, knew where he was going, because it was clear that our driver had no idea where he was going. I started getting a little freaked after we stopped a third time to ask for directions. But, after 10 minutes of stressing out he found the Thrifty and more importantly, the other three were waiting for us. Relief.

Venao is pretty bitchin'. The purpose of the trip was Theresa and Troys wedding and as a group we weren't holding out. Libba had arranged for a chef and each day pretty much broke down like this. Roll out of bed about 7 and stroll to Libba's casa where breakfast was waiting. Then swimming or surfing for an hour or so following by 90 minutes of beachside yoga followed by more swimming. A quick rinse off before lunch and then it was siesta time in one of the many available hammocks. More swimming, hiking  or reading in the afternoon before our seven o'clock dinner bell. This is the routine that played out for the better part of 5 or 6 days, only to be broken by Theresa and Troys wedding ceremony which was extra cool.

You can however, only take so much paradise and I'm glad to be home. Congratulations to Theresa and Troy and thanks for including us. The journey was amazing!

The yoga deck on Playa Venao

Theresa and Anne on Isla Iguana

Our home away from home, Casa di Mango


The Douglas said...


speedomodel said...

Wow! that looks like it was a tremendous trip.