Monday, 18 November 2013

Hangovers, canals, cigars and skyscrapers

PANAMA CITY 17.11.2013
Got down into the city at about 11pm last night, the bar we were in started getting busy after midnight, they definitely don't like an early start here.  If ordering drinks in Spanish in a noisy club isn't difficult enough they like to confuse us a bit more by fluctuating the drink prices.  When we arrived a local beer was $2.50 and by the time we left it had inflated to $4 having briefly hit a high of $5.  We discussed a business idea of coming out again the next night and speculating on the market value of the drinks, buy low and maybe set up a mini bar ready to sell when stocks rise. 
This morning we went out to one of the locks on the Panama Canal and watched the enormous cargo ships pass through.  Its interesting to see the scale of it all but as is usual with the tourist spots when we reach the viewing platform over the museum there's a gaggle of noisy tourists spoiling each others photos, but not mine though because I'm tall enough and have lanky probing arms to get a good shot.  We went off then to a wooded hilltop nearby to get a birds eye view over the canal on one side and a skyline of sky scraping buildings on the other.  Its really really hot today so I was glad to make a stop at a nicely air conditioned duty free shop on a little off shore island and buy some rum and some fat cigars the size of baguettes while we were there.  Next we went over to the old colonial city, first we stopped for food at a 'traditional authentic Panamanian' restaurant which actually wasn't that at all, it was a Panamanian themed tourist restaurant but that's just me being cynical again.  It gets a mention anyway because the only vegetarian option they could offer me was cheese ravioli in banana sauce which I decided to try out just because it was an odd sickly sounding combo but actually it didn't make me puke, it was somehow reasonably tasty in a curious way.   We walked about around the old buildings which is all nice and scenic but personally I preferred the dilapidated run down buildings that were covered in graffiti, I like how they look and they take a good photo.  We could hear lots of load drumming and wandered towards it to find a big marching carnival procession, everyone around was dressed up in smart colourful clothes and the sound of the bands which mainly consisted of drumming was deafeningly brilliant.
Walking back along the waterfront there's great skyline views of the city giving enough distraction for us to get a bit lost in some dodgy neighbourhoods walking back to the hotel. 
Most of our friends leave for the airport tomorrow morning so it's our last meal out together and everyone's feeling a bit tired/hung over/sad to be leaving.  We've got another full day in the city though......

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