I left Panama City this morning on a bus headed northwest to David (pronounced "Dah-veed"). It was a 7-hour ride, and I had planned to transfer to take the quick 1-hour bus to Boquete, but I was done riding buses for the day so I stopped here for the night. Not a great idea, since this town has nothing to offer tourists (lessen ye' be a farmer), so I will be on my way to Boquete early tomorrow morning. I'm staying at a decent place that's centrally-located, and has cable TV and air-conditioning, for $40 a night. I didn't plan on spending this much on a place, but I got here late and I didn't want to mess around finding a place to stay so I grabbed a room at the first place with availability. Now, with my belly full of a sandwich that could have adequately fed a family of four, I'm going to watch some TV and get an early start on tomorrow. This place has AXN, which regular readers of my blog will know as my favorite Latin-American cable channel.
Now, for pics:
Here's the neighborhood of Casco Viejo that my hostel was located in. It's a historic visit, and the streets are crowded with old farts on walking tours during the day.
There were also great views of the Panama City skyline, which juts out on a stubby peninsula away from the mainlain, as does Casco Viejo.
And here are the pics of Panama la Vieja (a.k.a. Panama Viejo). Just to reiterate, it was the precursor to Casco Viejo, established by the Spanish in the 1500s, and burned to the ground by the Welsh in the 1600s.
And, like in Casco Viejo, there were great views of downtown Panama City from the top of the cathedral at Panama Viejo. (Panama Viejo is on the other side of downtown Panama City.)
And that's what has happened so far. I haven't taken any pictures of David, and I probably won't because it's just a city like any place you've been in middle-America. Tomorrow I will be on my way to a place that I'm really looking forward to.
And just for some quick thoughts, I don't think I've ever quite articulated this, but I've always felt out of place when I go on these trips. People like me don't do what I do. Maybe that's because the places I go are a bit more off the beaten path than the travel destinations of the rest of the Zachs around the world, but I've yet to find a fellow traveler I can truly relate to. Firstly, the vast majority of people I find here are seniors and are doing their best to wring every last bit of enjoyment out of life. Secondly, when I do find folks my age, they are backpacking hippies that, frankly, I do not care for. They come to these places, contribute next to nothing for the local economy, and walk around shirtless, in flip-flops, and wreaking of the stink they haven't washed off in days. Meanwhile, even the poorest Panamanians wear a button-up and a hard shoe. I percieve it to be a lack of respect for the local culture, and so do the locals. It's also gross. I don't need to see your nipples while I'm eating. I don't expect them to wear a suit and tie, but at least dress like you would at home where you care about the people in your community.
So, as not to leave on a negative note, as I traversed Panama today (by bus), I saw some of the coolest landscape mine eyes have ever consumed. It was tropical and mountainous, and reminded me of Jurassic Park. I wish I could walk everywhere and take it in at my own pace, but unfortunately time does not permit.