Saludos desde "down south"
Panama City Travel Blog› entry 32 of 33 › view all entries
So I finished my teaching contract a little over a week ago and headed down to Puerto Viejo with my gringo crew for a few days to experience some Caribbean flavor. It was a great few days, as we biked along the coast, swam in the sea, ate good food and stayed in an awesome bungalo. From there, my gringos went home and I headed further south past the border, to Bocas del Toro, an archipelago of islands on the northern Caribbean side of Panama. A beautiful beach destination especially catering to backpackers, I was in good company when I met a gringa ex-pat who deals Texas hold-em in Puerto Viejo, and two German girls on the way there, all of us traveling a solas.
After spending a few days living in a treehouse at Mondo Taitu, the premier backpacker's place in town, I left my amigas and took an overnight bus to Panama City, where I am now staying at the Mondo's sister hostel, Luna's Castle.
Yesterday I went to the Canal which was a definite must-see just because of all the history behind it. You can just feel the US influence in this country, due to their use of the dollar as currency, more American businesses than I've seen anywhere even in Costa Rica, and of course, all the history behind the Canal. But since 1999, the Canal has been completely in the hands of Panamanians, and they're in the midst of working on a huge transformation and expantion of the locks, due to be completed in 2014.
I'm about to head out with some new friends to the Baha'i temple (the only one in all of Latin America) and then making a good dinner. Panamanian food has been one thing I'm not too impressed with (although I'm sure I'd feel differently if I weren't on such a budget in backpacker's digs). Maybe one more exploration tomorrow and headin' home to Guanacaste within the next day or two.
I love traveling (obviously), but I realized I could never be a wandering soldier (contrary to what some of my family members may believe). I've been on the road for a little over a week and I'll be ready for that to end soon. I need a homebase, and for now, I'm pretty satisfied with mine.