We had a perfect flight from LAX to Panama. An entire exit row to ourselves, free meals with real silverware, large selection of recent movies and amazingly nice flight attendants. And no, this flight was not 20 years ago but just last week. And did I mention it was the only non-stop AND cheapest flight available? We could not stop grinning every time they brought us another (free!) drink.
But all that ended as soon as we stepped into the airport in Panama and wanted to take a shuttle to a hotel downtown. The first shuttle kicked us out because we only had tentative reservations. So we used the free wifi at the airport, booked a room and hopped back on the shuttle. They took us to their other hotel near the airport and told us to get out. Remember how we had wanted to go downtown? After some back and forth in which neither side really understood the other, they took us right back to the airport. We ended up renting a car at 11pm and finally making it to the hotel well past midnight. Once at the hotel they did not have our reservation but were able to find us a room for the same price.
This is the mooring field where my parents and I stayed 26 years ago after our canal transit! Not much has changed around here.
After a couple of days in Panama City we hopped on a flight to Bocas del Toro and are currently staying at a small bed and breakfast nestled between the jungle and the ocean. We go to sleep to gently rolling surf, crickets and cicadas and wake up to tropical birds and screaming monkeys. And breakfast!
Bocas Town is just a short bike ride along a rapidly eroding shoreline. Most of the buildings in town are built over the water and at high tide the water intrudes upon the streets and splashes through the crudely built floors.