Day 58 – Friday, August 23, 2013
We left our Price Smart parking lot campground in David, Panama this morning around 7:30 AM and headed towards Panama City. We drove about 435 kilometres today. Panama, and Costa Rica for that matter, appear more affluent than many of the other Central American countries. Both have more development and resort facilities and better economies, it appears.
Our Price Smart parking lot campground in David, Panama just after sunrise.
A couple of unknown buildings near a police checkpoint we were stopped at for a document check. No idea what these were used for but appear very secure. Too secure for an outhouse? Julie notes “Seems they were trying to camouflage them. Vewy interestink! But it von’t verk.”
We stopped at a roadside stand selling traditional dresses and bead necklaces and bracelets. Julie checked out the wares. Julie notes “Bonita colores, and hand appliqued. I had someone special in mind while I shopped. You’ll have to guess who.”
And we also checked out a cool spider web nearby. Julie notes “I took this picture from afar. I wasn’t interested in meeting the web master.”
Anyone want a banana? Julie notes “Or as my dad always said when he was turning down a food offering ‘No thanks, I just had a banana.’ Good thing we didn’t rear end him. That’s a lot of banana splits.”
The highways in Panama, for the most part, are pretty good. Today we travelled on mostly 4 lane divided highway. There are short sections that are the original concrete and pretty rough but those sections are less frequent than the good stuff. Julie notes “clickclack,clack,clink,clink,clank,ouch (trying not to chip a tooth on my metal water bottle while driving over the ‘pretty rough’ spots).”
Julie notes “Notice we have a new white butt in our road pictures now.”
We crossed the Panama Canal on the historic “Bridge of the Americas” and pulled into the canal administration area in Balboa. The area is beautiful and well maintained. It is full of landscaped boulevards and beautiful old buildings. This is where Julie thought we would be camping. Julie notes “Yay, at last, the ‘holiday portion’ of the adventure is starting!”
Not so fast. We camped in the Balboa Fire Department parking lot. It is in the beautiful Canal area but is the one and only building needing repair. This is what we got from Julie’s viewpoint. J
Julie notes “Okay, if I can’t say something nice I should just not say anything right? But really, are you kidding me?”
The people working here were great though and very friendly. They proudly showed us their modern equipment. It is some of the most up-to-date equipment anywhere in Central America. Both fire fighters (bomberos) and paramedics work from this facility.
Some of the staff were preparing supper when we toured through the building. They loved getting their picture taken and had some fun doing so. Julie notes “We didn’t get invited for supper but Brad cooked me up some turkey burgers which were nummy. His clever trick of trying to distract me with food.”
…over and out for today, the muleskinner and his sidekick
Julie notes “Seriously though, it is right next to a major thoroughfare where transports gleefully use their retarder brakes. Plus the other ‘surprise’ that our guide seemed to think was a bonus, is we’re close to the airport and also right under the landing and take off flight path of military and leer jets and planes, etc. Flying so low (and loud) that Brad has to practically duck and the camper actually shakes and all the car alarms in the area go off. For real. Okay, now I’m done. But honestly?”