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 :)

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