Streets of Panama City to the beaches of Santa Catalina

I arrived safely to my new destination of Panama, a central American country located inbetween Costa Rica and Columbia. I have a day to play here before I catch a bus to my volunteering project that lies out of the city.

The budget hotel I’m staying at is nothing to boast of except it offers a free breakfast and complimentary ride from the airport. These two things eliminate a bit of stress, especially when first arriving to a new place.

After being served my complimentary breakfast of black coffee and dry toast (the usual around here) I decided to take my hunger on the road in search of fresh fruit or some other traditional eats that I could experiment with. After asking several people where I should go, the response was similar “Nada aquí” (nothing here) so I just decided to stroll in one direction to see what I could find.

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Clearly this neighborhood isn’t on the “must see” list of Panama city, but it’s where my feet where leading with fingers crossed there would be food around. Just a few blocks up the way, I see a glimpse of what could be breakfast!

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I decided on a plain yogurt from the mini market and this little baggie of fruit that I haven’t seen since Malaysia! Before I could stop them, they through the salt in the bag as the locals like it (not my favorite) and handed it over.

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The one thing that stood out to me about Panama city was the clear division between modern higher quality shopping and street side discount vendors.

After my morning snack, I headed in a different direction to see what was near the water. Less than a few blocks later, this is my new view.

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Perfect spot for the handstand shot!

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After the friendly woman snapped the handstand photo for me, I asked her with my broken spanish where I could go for local shopping. With enthusiasm she pointed me towards the bike path with directions to follow.

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Upon arrival, I realize that “shopping” was probably the wrong term to use, as what she was so excited about was the cities Grand Mall. Equipped with everything from Tommy Hilfiger to a McDonalds, you can imagine the amount of time that I didn’t spend here.
As if the mall doesn’t take enough cash from your wallet already, this place even has a casino inside.

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Back to the hotel for a nights rest as tomorrow brings a trip from Panama City to Santa Catalina with two buses, 7 hours and a sweaty ride.

Morning shines and now I’m off! Can you spot my adorable little blue buddy? This isn’t the first time my backpack has gotten to ride roof top!

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Pit stop in Soná leads me looking for a snack at the only store in town.

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Here’s what I found for the remaining of the trip, simply scrumptious.

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I took a picture of the only toilet offered here, but honestly the angle exposes probably more than you want to see. Well it’s in the journey, so just skip the next photos if you have a weak stomach.

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At the end of the layover, I look over to see what appears to be a volcano erupting! Wouldn’t you think so? Judging from the lack of response from the locals, I shrugged my shoulders as I snapped a picture and boarded the final bus. Apparently it’s very common for the Panamanians to burn just about everything they don’t want or need.

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The usual “out of the window” shots from the bus ride.

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Check out this other public bus I spotted along the way. They’re everywhere here! Can you imagine your kids being picked up in this on their first day of school? Priceless.

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I get kicked out of the bus (thankfully) at the bottom of a hill and pointed with the verbal command of “arriba” (up). Ok then, up I go holding fingers crossed that I’ll see some clue that my new home is this way.

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A sign! Cabañas Time Out is the hotel in which I’ll be volunteering at for the next 10 days.

I arrived just in time for this gorgeous sunset hugging the poolside with a ocean view.

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