Eight months ago I left our beloved land of comfort and landed in a hot fiery hell known as Panama. The goal was ultimately to take a break from life in the U.S., relax on a lot of beaches, meet new people and have an incredible adventure. Why I chose Panama as the starting point, I will never truly understand, but I do know that because of Panama I can now begin to take pleasure in the simple things in life in the U.S. of A. – such as: a cool breeze, feet that are free of agonizingly itchy bug bites, a stroll into town where not one whiff of poop crosses my path, and food on a plate that doesn’t stare back at you with a slight doubt of the potential for parasitic infestation. Ahh Panama, the day I left you behind for Brazil was perhaps the best day I spent with you. Here are a few words of advice I have managed to gather after spending around four months in the country:
- Avoid being in the capital for more than a day, any more than that and you are likely to miss-step into a 30 foot, uncovered sewage drain – thus sucked into the depths of the underworld never to be seen again. For that matter, don’t ever take your eyes off the ground anywhere you go in Panama as this scenario is likely to happen at any given time – especially on the day you feel like Panama ain’t such a bad place after all.
- Don’t bring anything except your bathing suit. Seriously – you will live in it.
- When on the beach in the evening, you will most likely be mauled by the local variety of the sand flea. This tends to take away any remaining pleasure of being in the tropics on a beach watching the sunset, so – bring pure coconut oil, the suckers won’t be able to hold on to you long enough to bite.
- Watch for poop floating in the water in Bocas Del Toro. If you don’t believe it, I saw it with my own eyes ( see post here ).
- When the power goes out in Bocas, don’t buy meat for three days.
- Don’t ever get your hair cut by the American lady living in Bocas, you will end up getting two extra haircuts to fix the damage ( see post here )
- The Spanish school in the mountains is a great place to meet the ladies, ahem.
As a closing note for Panama, don’t go there. Avoid at all costs. Keep going south.