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Friday, May 1, 2015

The Hemingway Experience: Day 2

Here are some things I have discovered about Panama City.

  1. Crossing the street is like taking your life in your hands. To complete this epic task, look for literally any space between traffic more than a car’s length, and give it hell. This includes 2 lane highways. 
  2. There is construction everywhere. Every other building has scaffolding, cinder blocks on the sidewalk, or a wheelbarrow ramp up the steps. 
  3. I am one of 2 white people I’ve seen, and I’ve met 2 locals whose English is fluent to help me in time of need (4 if you count the lady at the pharmacy and the man that runs the hostel). Straight up the most helpful people. I only wish my Spanish was more on point
  4. Fuck the guide books - you need Spanish. Whereas I have 10+years of French knocking around my head, Spanish is just similar enough that I can make do by reading, but speaking is god damn insane. 
  5. As soon as I get my backpack with all of my clothes, I am throwing these boxers away.
  6. Having no phone is a godsend. It’s great to do your own thing, and I’m glad I brought my camera out for my wander this morning. 

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For my Instagram people, this isn’t news, but I got my stuff around 5pm. I can’t express how good it is to wear shorts instead of jeans (screw off, Vancouver was chilly when I left). Tonight is Labour day for the Panamanians, and I can already hear the party in the street celebrating the long weekend. Music and barbecue just on the corner from my place. Looks like I’m gonna have to break out the big guns for my clothes tonight - I’m spoiled for choice now. And at least if I didn’t know where something was before, I could just check my pockets. But hey - clean socks and button up shirts.
I will say, it’s nice to have the phone back up and running. Another big shout out to Peter at Casco Bikes (again) for helping me out with all Spanish instructions. Don’t worry, friends: I thanked him in the Whistler style with a cold 6-pack. 
Ugh god it feels so nice to shave again. One tap means cool water from every angle - kitchen, sink and shower (the latter is a thing of beauty in the afternoon). So I get to boil it on the stove, an awesome throwback when you combine it with my shaving gear of choice.

As it happens, the party doesn't start till 10 or 11, so it's perfect timing for me to grab a bite somewhere. And that place was Mojitos (don't fix what ain't broke).

If I opened a bar, it would be Mojitos.

 Just a simple burger for $6 was all I needed. Home for a nap (long stressful day) and back to the party at 11.30.
Mauricio wasn't kidding - it was a totally different bar scene! It took some acclimatising to not jump behind the bar and help out, during which time I felt like a cop. Wasn't talking to anyone, killing beer before it could get warm in the bottle - Mojitos boasts the coldest beer in town, that's how hot it is at midnight. Eventually, I get talking to some guys I recognised from the hostel while I was waiting for my bag. It turns out they're Canadian, an hour outside of Saskatoon, and it was their first night. Shot the shit with them for a bit and they took off to another bar. I met an Englishman and a Kevin from Vancouver, who's travelling around the world for a year before Med school. The drive of some people fascinates me sometimes. Then, somehow, I got talking to a group of girls - Latin America all of them, and various ages. The one from Mexico City was the chattiest, and we had a ton of things to talk about. But trying to find her on Facebook is like looking for a John Smith, there are hundreds, if not thousands of them.
Tomorrow's plan: find coffee, and sandals. My shoes are fly, but I want to keep them that way. 

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