September 24, 2012

So, like I said here and here and here, I went vacationing in Panama and planned to blog all about it. After procrastinating while I mentally edited and reviewed all that I had to say, I realized there's no way to write more than just the highlights. Here they are then, along with some photos that I finally managed to un-lazify myself enough to upload.

- We spent the first couple of days in Panama City, soaking in the flavors (bajjis! bondas! roadside food! Except, of course, they call them other things. Still. Felt just like being in India. My stomach rejoiced.) and doing all the touristy stuff we'd been told to do.

Here's a picture of us at the Panama Canal. We're blocking the canal because we were slightly more interesting than it. Seriously, I thought it would be really dramatic, I mean, humans had shifted land and fused oceans and ships would be carried between oceans. It took half an hour and was kind of like watching the bathwater run out when you pull the plug. I felt more awe at my queso empanada.

- The next two days were spent at one of the lesser known San Blas islands, population: however many people were staying at the five resort cottages that week. What. A. WOW. Here's the Playon Chico airport where we landed, and that should give you a sense of exactly how rustic the place was. We were asked to weigh ourselves before boarding the flight (which, incidentally, made pitstops along the way, just like a local train), security consisted of sniffer dogs, we had to take a boat to go anywhere (including to the resort) and the whole thing was just too cute.

Irony though: 1. The indigenous Kuna village of Playon Chico had wifi and huge TV's, and our resort didn't... shows you what visitors want! 2. It was easily the best-run resort I've ever been to, bar none. Excellent food, three courses served promptly at each  meal, two tours a day to different islands, a trip to the mangroves where they let us hold ocean creatures briefly (not that I volunteered, eurgh), all-inclusive price, I can't rave enough about it.

- We took the boat-flight-bus over to David (pronounced Dhaaveeerd). The bus part was super interesting - we were the only non-locals on the bus, and there was this awesome salesman who gave out freebies for quiz questions, got everyone's attention, and then sold hard. Respect. We kept going out and getting lost in David, so we ended up seeing quite a bit of the city.

- We spent a day on the highlands at Boquette, which I was very excited about because I'd heard of three fantabulous restaurants there. When we got there though, I got distracted by all the trees - there were fruits growing from every tree, you could make yourself a dessert bowl! It made me very happy, so then I skipped up the hills and sang Bollywood songs because it felt like the right atmosphere for it, and my husband was very embarrassed because I finally managed to beat him at something, even if it was only Antakshari.

- Last two days (thank God for that, this blog post is getting annoyingly long now) were at Bocas del Toro, the most popular island, though I can't say why - there were sand flies and about 5ftx25ft of sand, and extremely weedy water, and two restaurants with touristy prices, and, and this annoys me the most - everyone spoke English. For the rest of our trip thus far, we'd had to communicate via Google Translate screenshots which we'd saved as photos (no wifi anywhere!) and we spent our time at Bocas missing San Blas very much.

I'd write a concluding paragraph, but I think this post has gone on quite long enough, so I'll just say this: go to Panama. Where else can you get a 3-course meal for 2 people for $5? Grazie, senor.

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