While friends and family were in the grip of record-breaking winter cold during the 2019 polar votex, I was basking in the sun and sea breezes on Panama’s Azuero peninsula.
(That’s a picture of the beach – crowded because it was a Sunday! – where I stayed.)
If you listened to the latest Anywhereist Podcast (and if you haven’t, why not???), you heard my concerns about the difficulties of getting from Panama City to where I planned to stay.
You see, I arrived in Panama in the midst of the World Youth Conference, an event that drew hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world.
Finding a hotel room for my arrival night was a big challenge, and because the Pope was also attending this event, there were plenty of forces at work to disrupt a non-involved traveler like myself.
The next couple of days were full of surprises!
Because of one of the Papal events, the Corredor Sur, the main highway from the airport to the city, was closed on Saturday when I arrived. That meant my driver needed to take surface streets.
I was expecting bumper to bumper traffic resembling a parking lot, and was pleasantly surprised that we moved along well. I had anticipated it might take me as long as 2 hours to get from Tocumen International Airport to the Hotel Milan, where I had booked a room for the night. Instead, we were there within 30 minutes.
I had also been warned that traffic out of the city was likely to be very slow on Sunday.
My plan was to meet up with friends who live in Panama, and hitch a ride with them to the Azuero. We connected around 4:30 in the afternoon. We got on the road pretty expeditiously, and much to our surprise, traffic out of the city was very light.
I had expected heavy traffic, and that restaurants, stores, and gas stations would run out of supplies. Instead, we whizzed right along, and got dinner at a restaurant in Penonome with no difficulty.
From there, we encountered no obstacles and actually made very good time. I was unpacking my bags at the B&B where I’m staying before 10 PM.
So altogether I had a much easier time of it than I had expected. And I’m all in favor of travel that’s easier rather than harder!
What’s On My Agenda?
I reconnected with friends from the time when I lived in Las Tablas, walking on the beach, and got a little work done here and there.
Coming up, Jackie Lange has invited me to join one of her Panama Relocation Tours for a few days, ending up in Boquete. I’ll visit there for a couple days, and then head over to Puerto Armuellas for a couple of days before returning to my temporary home base near Guarare.
After that. . . we’ll see what develops.
Dateline: February 9, 2019