The Spanish word for enjoy, delight, to take pleasure in, is disfruta! I believe this sums up our stay in Panama so far.
I am not going to lie and say I have not had certain pangs of homesickness or at least a sort of visceral response from being extracted from my comfort zone. It quickly passes though and I get excited about doing something new, meeting someone or eating something fabulous. I can tell you it would be much worse if I was not able to connect with my family so often. I love that Viber App and our amazing internet connection.
So I just finished the laundry and am settling into a month long stay at the Country Inn and Suites on the Amador Causeway in Panama. It sits on the pacific mouth of the canal where we can watch tankers, container boats etc. traverse the canal. It is weird staying for a whole month at a hotel. This one, however, has some amazing amenities. This beautiful room was $63 a night, with a balcony and a great view. It also includes internet, TV, an amazing pool where I am sitting right now working on this blog. It has a great workout room, and every morning a massive buffet breakfast with fresh fruit, yogurt, coffee, eggs, pancakes and they even had tacos one morning with all the fixins. None of those pre-prepared deals you see in most free hotel breakfasts. Also, free shuttle service to the enormous mall (biggest in Latin America) when we need to stock up on supplies. We are near a bike shop and a Friday’s, (in case I get homesick for potato skins). We thought instead of renting an apartment, it was a good solution.
Close by is a little slice of mariner lore called the Balboa Yacht Club. It seems this Yacht club has been around for 100 years in some form or fashion. Hard to believe as it looks like a really large palm covered hut. Sailors and shipping coordinators from all over the world mix with tourists and locals to relax and swap stories. Yesterday, A group of Aussie and Italian sailors were discussing their travels. At another table, an older English gentleman was sipping beers while coordinating two ships, one running East, one running West waiting their turn to be piloted through the Canal. Really cool to be sitting here in this historic location. Also on any given night you can get amazing sea bass, seafood ceviche, sandwiches and delicious local draft beer for $2.00. If you happen to get there for happy hour, which is 5 to 7, you can get them for $1.50. Perfect for two people on a fixed income.
Also, close by is the Ferry to two of the Pearl Islands, Contadora and Taboga which are absolutely on our list for exploration. I also saw a local guy with a Survivor Crew t-shirt. It seems 2 or three seasons of Survivor have been filmed in the Pearl Islands.
Have got to say the food is absolutely amazing. Fresh and delicious. Sam and I have both vowed to stay in the best shape possible. Yesterday, I bought a Yoga mat, we are walking around like crazy exploring, we plan biking on the approximately two mile long walkway by the ocean. We are also eating the healthiest food you can imagine. So far, so good, except for the beers and sangria which are hard to resist.
The days are starting to have a little routine which I like. All these lifestyle changes can be awkward but I think we have a good handle on expectations. As always, we keep them low and are usually pleasantly surprised.