A very sad reality washed upon us while in Panama City on this year-long journey; this was where we ceased our footloose southern expansion in order to head north for home. The Drifters had another tender moment in the city of David as we started that dreaded northerly ramble; it was the one year anniversary of having to put down our dog, Scraps. On February 2nd 2014, with the Superbowl being ignored on our hotel room television, we sipped beer and pulled out the photos of Scraps we had brought with us. Twice on this trip our bags were soaked – along with most of our belongings – and somehow those photos were never ruined. Panama saw us in some sad moments indeed. Jerry was quite sick in Panama City for 3 days and was bed ridden. The name of the game was a fever of 103°, body aches and explosive diarrhea. All of this was quite a bit to put up with for the 10 days that we were in Panama. Getting into the country was looking a bit dicey for a while. We were almost turned away at the border. If all we had going on sounds like an insurmountable challenge, have no worry. We still had a blast here and once the tummy bug left, delicious ceviche was devoured and washed down with cold Balboa beer.
This was our second visit to the country. On Good Friday 2010, we flew out here for an all too brief 10 day jaunt. Can you believe we didn’t even see the canal on that trip? Our task was to squeeze in as much of the country as we could and sadly Panama’s biggest tourist attraction was going to be skipped. Who goes to Panama and skips the damn canal?
As mentioned, that first trip to Panama was for 10 days and our return visit on this year-long trip was for 10 days as well. Redemption was ours. Our goal was see that canal come hell or…high water! Seems we visit not a moment too late, for we are some of the last people to pay the $8 admission fee. The very next day it goes up to $15! Even the $8 price tag is a steep one for our feeble budget. The Miraflores Locks are amazing, and the visitor center and museum are top-notch. Worth every dollar!
What stands out the most about our trip to Panama this last time around is the ceviche and the overwhelming variety of it. Not only are there all the different types of seafood to choose from, but the sauces they are in seem to be just as plentiful. Seafood is king in Panama City, and we happily broke our budget each day devouring as much as we could. We let down quite a few people in Mexico when we declared Panama City as having some of the best ceviche. Mexico does a hell of a job with this dish, but Panama wins hands down.