Friday, February 28, 2014

all work and no play

So although Panama had some bummer bumps, it also had some fantastic points.  We lived for the pool and beach.  We got much relaxing done, as well as drinking.  Max would not get out of the water for anything.  Maybe french fries, but before we could finish our lunch, Max was already saying, "more swim, more swim".  Can could you fault him.  It was super fun!  We hit a couple pools on the up and up, and some (only two) where we were less honest.  But what we didn't pay for in hotel stays, we made up for in drinks and lunch.  We hit three beaches, Playa Bonita, Isla Grande, and San Carlos.  All were nice, but Isla Grande took the cake.  The Caribbean waters are gorgeous and so warm.  The Island was a little funky but you come to expect that after a month of travel there.  But we did meet some nice people while on Isla Grande.  That is always a bonus when traveling.  Meeting other foreigners and getting there back story.

Playa Bonita 

Hubby doing some work
Bike ride on the Causeway

The happy couple
Isla Grande
Max didn't like the waves as much as the pool.
Caribbean waters


looking at fishes
A restaurant where you could jump into the ocean
after you
had a bite to eat.
He is so happy in the water
By the end of the trip Max had learned how to
hold his breath under water and
kick his feet to the surface.
So proud of him!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

and then....

These were taken on a tour we "fell into".  I have always been a big fan of the "hop on hop off" tours, which I probably stated before.  We on our way to the bus stop and I got turned around and had to ask for directions.  I asked a cab driver standing on the side of the road.  He quickly dissuade us to not take the tour, but to ride with him instead.  That he would show us his beloved Panama privately.  That we would be in control of the tour and he would take us anywhere we wanted to go.  And for ten dollars cheaper than the bus.  I was reluctant at first, but when I took into account that this might be better with Max, I reconsidered (in case we needed to leave early, or whatever).  We agreed and it actually turned out to be quite nice.  

He took us to all the hot spots, and let us stay or leave when ever we were ready.  Nicer than the bus, because once you got off, you had to wait another hour to catch the next.  We went to the Canal, or Mira Flores, Anton Hill, Amador Causeway were we saw a sloth in a tree and other creepy crawlies, and old Panama.  Old Panama was cool.  It was all ruins.  It was nice to step back into time, and to see what remains.

View of the city from Anton Hill
The family
a gross spider
termite nest, these were everywhere.
Cargo ship passing through the canal.

Panama Viejo (old Panama)
Where they originally settled, and were then set on fire after
Capital Henry Morgan had his way with then.
Coincidentally, no Capital Morgan Rum
was sold in Panama,

"Q" comes everywhere
was super big and gross
Plaza Bolivar, right where we stayed

Panama (ready for some pictures)

So we have been home now for two weeks and things are back to normal. We are back on a good routine and all is well in the world, aren't you glad?

Max loved returning home.  It was like Christmas.  He hadn't had his bazillion cars at his disposal so it was a pretty beautiful reunion.  It was sort of nice cause he wanted nothing to do with me so I could get straight to the business of unpacking.  I hate unpacking.

The weather greeted us with the same smug smile. And I think threw in a little extra rain cause he missed us.  I do miss the sun of Panama, but you can keep the stinkin' hot weather, and crazy humidity!
So here are some of the pictures we took while we were away.  I will put them in to a few different posts so not to bore you death.

fresh coconut water
Max drank it up!

view from Casco Viejo

I loved all the street around around Casco.

Diablo Rojo (as Max called it, Monster Bus).
We rode one of these during our trup.  Max loved it.  The take old
school busses and sup them up all crazy like.  Black light and loud music.  t
They are pretty cool.
Hanging in the mall to stay cool.  This
was an indoor train.  Not to shabby for this guy.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Livin' la vida loca

We have returned from our month long adventure!!! And it was truly an adventure.  Full of twists and turns, highs and lows.

It was our first overseas travel with a monster in tow, and I have to say, he did amazing.  We took him all over the place and he pretty much kept his shiz together.  Not sure why or how, but we were so happy he did.

Being home is weird.  I have woken every morning in a slight panic.  Like, where am I? Whose bed is this? Is this Panama? I hope that wears off soon.  Also, not speaking Spanish is a head trip.  The first restaurant we went to I greeted everyone with Hola, and said Gracias more than once when my water or menu came.  I miss speaking it everyday.  I know if I am not careful I will lose the little bit I've gained.

But back to the adventure part.  Like most vacations, there are highs and lows.  This trip was no different.  However, it seemed as if our highs and lows were tighty entertwined.  For everything that happened that was "low", something "high" would happen almost simitaneously.  Or visa versa.  For example.  We took a fun boat trip where we relaxed, finally ate decent food, and saw monkeys (GOOD) to come home to our house being broken in (BAD).  Or being stuck on an island with no others, and no good food (BAD), to then meeting some lovely Italians and Londoners to converse/commiserate with (GOOD).  Another one, walking to a tour stop, and asking for directions (NOT TOO BAD) to only have a taxi driver offer his services to take us all over the city for a personal tour (GOOD).  So, even when things seemed to be a bummer, we were able to find a silver lining somewhere in the mix.  There we many more, but I wont bore you with that.  Like the hotel full of hookers.....oh maybe I will save that for another post :).

Now I am not one who likes to complain, that much, but Panama challenged me on that front.  I feel like I am easily pleased.  I don't need much.  I am not too terribly fussy in my travels but there are a few things I like to surround myself with.  #1 good food.  I am a sucker for food.  Put me among good food or drink and I am happy as a pig in shit.  The hubby often tells me he can tell when I haven't been out for a good meal or treat.  I guess I get a little crabby.  And I enjoy the whole experience with eating.  The menu, the ambiance ect.  Now Panama isn't really a country that is known for its cuisine.  And I read this.  But to experience it first hand was terribly different.  How sad I was by the end of our trip.  How I craved a good meal.  We did find some places that were ok, but man I craved some comfort food.  We ate in a lot.  My culinary skills were put to the test.

#2 I enjoy good company and conversation.  This wasn't the norm here.  Culturally I wasn't sure what was going on.  Perhaps small talk didn't exist here, or eye contact for that matter.  I know this to be true in some counties, but I wasn't expecting it here.  I would constantly try to strike up conversation and failed miserably.  Not even a smile.  Perhaps because I was American.  Or annoying.  I guess I will never know.  But in talking to some, local and not it was pretty much common that you weren't really going to get a warm welcome.  That was hard to get used to in a country you are spending a month in.  But I didn't give up.  I still tried.  I actually made friends with a cabbie whom I would try and converse with (he spoke no English).  He was very sweet and patient.  We called him a lot when we needed transportation.  And our neighbor.  Chefa.  She was a sweet grandma who would always greet us with a big HOLA, and she loved Max.  So I am not saying Panamanians are rude or anything. IT was just our experience that breaking into the friendship circle was like breaking in to Fort Knox.

And I am sorry if this post is coming off as whiny, I just wanted to get my experiences out there.  But like I said, with some of the misfortune, came....fortune.  Max fed a monkey, I saw a sloth (and in the wild, not in a cage).  We got killer tans, Max learned to hold his breath under water, we got to spend a lot of time with Robs sister and Brother in Law, we learned a massive amount of Spanish, we meet a great friend, Diego, who was our teacher, we saw some beautiful sights, and we got to spend some real quality time together as a family.  All which is priceless!

So in all, Panama wasn't a bust.  It was an amazing experience, as it always is when we have the opportunity to travel internationally.  I just wish the food was better,  DAMN!

flight in
our apartment
first day

Panama City

One of the many Plazas
Watching the Seahawks playoffs from the laptop!!!
HardRock pool
Panama Canal
Max feeding a monkey

for some reason he was really diggin the plunger.
Date night!

P.S. These pictures are all from my phone.  Another bit of misfortune.....I left my brand new camera and lens on the plane when we landed in LA (BAD).  THANK GOD it was found and is being mailed back to me (GOOD).  I will be posting more from my camera later :)