Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cue the Hitchcock Music

For the record.
For the long-delayed record.
For the taking-for-frickin'-ever-to-transcribe record, heading into the Panama Trip, my plan was to incorporate as many New Things into this adventure as possible!

I’m fully aware that this goes against a 50 New Things Rule that I may have mentioned at the beginning of this adventure. Something vague and fuzzy about how I wouldn't be squeezing multiple New Things into a single event.

I think my exact words can be found HERE.
They read something like this.....

·         I will try to keep from 'lumping' multiple New things into one event. 

  • For instance, if I play my first round of golf, do a Jello shot at each hole, tag the golf cart with graffiti and put the whole thing on YouTube.....that is NOT 4 New Things. Feels like 'cheating.' 

Also, for the aforementioned record….. (disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer)
the trip to Panama happened with just five weeks left until the end of my Year of New Things.
Five weeks!  Tick, tick, tick.  
And I was only on the 34th New Thing. Count them.....34!
That meant ...... (math in my head) ....... that I'd need to accomplish sixteen ... SIXTEEN ... New Things in the next five weeks. That's more than, let’s see…. (more math)… um, three New Things per week. Yikes. This felt insurmountable.
Have you seen the pace I've allowed myself thus far? I'm the proverbial hare resting under a tree, painting her nails and giving little care to the dead line up that's about to fly by ......whoosh!

I hereby confess. 
As I was about to leave for my first international trip and wearing a fierce anxiety about my ability to accomplish sixteen New Things in the few weeks left until my 51st birthday, I did willfully and deliberately plan to include at least two additional New Things while in Panama.
And the two I knew for sure that I'd include were: 1) Swim in the Caribbean Sea and 2) Surf  (Or, at least attempt to surf. Hell, I was prepared to settle for just standing on a surf board, preferably on a body of water. As opposed to atop a 1948 Ford Woody. Although that would have been a New Thing, as well.)

So, as I packed and prepared for my trip, I thought "Off she goes.....adventure and multiple New Things directly ahead!" 
Panama, Swimming in the Caribbean and some form of Surfing that involved water. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

34th New Thing (cont.) ~ Panama - Our trip to "Costco"

At some point, we cross the line .... into ridiculous. Honestly. But time does fly, when you're having .... (fill in the blank with something wonderful)!!

Because there are so many pictures of this New Thing, I’m breaking Panama down into manageable segments. Kind of like ‘square-foot blogging.’

Square One:
Air travel and arrival
Atmospheric acclimation
Abundant appreciation for the awesomeness that is ..... Sequoia

Square Two:
Traffic terror
Toll-booth trauma
Terribly and tearfully thankful for traveling mercies

Square Three:
Cautiously contemplating Costco chaos
Crazy-ass confusion
Comical misconception cleared up

This is Square Three....

Upon arrival in Panama, we begin to plan the days of our stay. Where we'd like to go and what we'd like to see. Unsurprisingly, there are many options to consider. Some we will indeed get to; some that we won't.

But from the first day, one thing is certain....we will definitely go to Costco. It's one of her favorite places, Ciara tells us.
I swear on a stack of library books, for days I think she's saying that she can't wait to take us to Costco. And she talks about it like this is going to be the highlight of our trip.
My internal dialog sounds something like....."Okay,whatever....I'll just go with the flow. Maybe Costco in Panama is something really special, right??"

I've never told this to Ciara.

On a different but not unrelated subject: One of my many sweet ninja skills will never be having an ear for the audible nuance of a foreign language. (Or even just a strong accent.) Very important auditory subtleties and distinctions elude me.
Four years of French and it still sounds to me like Voule vous coucher blah blah blah, blah blah.

I mention this because in all fairness, it was two words that Ciara was saying. It was definitely Costco something.  Costco Vee. . . blah blah blah. I figured it was just Panamanian Spanish for Costco.  

On Day 5, with much anticipation because we're finally going to Costco, we load into the van and head to Casco Viejo.  And if you're wondering how to pronounce 'Casco,' it sounds just like Costco.

Casco Viejo is Panama's historic "Old Town."

Our first stop is a beautiful roof-top bar with a great view of the downtown Panama skyline across the waters of Panama Bay. Capital Bistro Panama has three levels: A casual outdoor bar on the top floor, an upscale restaurant down one flight of stairs on the second level and another bar, more nightclub-style, below that. 

We're  dressed in tank tops and sundresses, so the roof-top bar is a perfect spot to begin our adventure.

Look how happy I am to be somewhere other than Costco!!

So...as previously mentioned, there is at least one tremendous downpour everyday, during our time in Panama. It's simply a matter of where we are when it hits.

On this day, the storm approaches as we sit at the roof top bar.

This is mid-afternoon. Ominous clouds over the city-scape but one minute we can clearly see the skyline. Then we watch as the details of the buildings fade away and we know what's headed straight for us.

Tut tut, it looks like rain! Or en Espanol, "Tut tut, parece lluvia blah blah blah!!"

There are a few patio umbrellas on the roof and we try to stay dry under them. But Sequoia wants to reach out and touch the rain.

The rain is a warm one but a nearby waitress covers Sequoia with dry napkins.

Eventually, the weather gods laugh at the puny patio umbrellas and they become no use at all. Trying to remain dry is an exercise in humor.

Our only option at this point is to celebrate the ridiculous and glorious downpour. 

If you can't beat 'em........!

The Panama Pretty Boy Waiters wait patiently for the daily storm to pass...and when the rain finally stops, their job is to wring the water out of the cushions. All in a day's work.

As it does pretty much each day, the rain ends, in a screeching-halt style. Traffic and pedestrians begin to move about again. So we set out as well, dripping wet, to explore the colorful sites of Casco Viejo.

We stop for Bajareque Coffee. (I can't find a website for Bajareque but here are some reviews .)

Sufficiently coffee-charged, we walked and shopped.

She shopped and walked.

We make a stop for authentic Panamanian appetizers and cocktails. (I'm not exactly sure how authentic the cocktail is, but after Jackie and I are done with it, neither of us really care.)

We started our Casco Viejo day at Capital Bistro Panama (roof-top bar). And then, in a pleasingly symmetrical manner, we end our day back at Capital Bistro Panama (restaurant downstairs). 
The quiet, dark, serious restaurant is a bit grown-up for our all-day, soaked to the skin, souvenir-toting, sun-dried, wind-blown band of casual restaurant crawlers but we are too tired to care.  

Due to the language barrier, we fail to figure out what this chilled, creamy, pink stuff is....exactly. But Sequoia seems to like it.

This picture is an example of me being completely focused on photographing Jackie and Sequoia, 
not at all distracted by the table of Panamanian men behind them. 

Thank you to our 'Costco' tour guides.

Casco Viejo is now my favorite of our Panamanian excursions, but by the end of the day, we are exhausted. It is good to climb in the car, traverse crazy Panama City traffic and race back home.