Like really cold. So cold in fact that I am thinking about perma wearing a snuggie around my house. That would be a cute picture, I’m sure.
Minus 15 farenheit with a windchill of 42 below. I’ll save you from my weather app capture – if you don’t believe me, weather.com baby.
It’s been snowing for 3-4 days, though it’s more blowing than snowing today. Offices, schools, restaurants are closed all over the city. You’d think that this is San Antonio and we’re in an ice storm. Ok, it’s not that bad. Target was open.
We ventured out to Target just to get out of the house. Luckily J cleared off the car and around our parking spot as much as possible yesterday before it got super icy. The 2 inches of snow piled on the car was much easier to clear than the 12 inches that he cleared the day before. Hmph.
I’m about ready to pack up and move to Australia for the season. I’m sure that I can convince Karma to host me in Sydney and she keeps taking beach pictures which I just don’t think is quite fair.
Speaking of the beach…
J and I spent 6 days in Panama over the holiday and it was 90 degrees. NINETY. I was hot. I am not sure if extreme hot is better than extreme cold or not. Maybe I should travel back and conduct that experiment just to be sure.
I didn’t take a ton of photos because me, hotness and my big camera don’t go well together, but I did capture a few. We were in Panama City and Bocas Del Toro. We arrived in Panama City on Christmas Day, so most things were shut down and we mainly stayed around the hotel though we did manage a walk near the beach that evening. On our way out of Panama we stayed for another day and a half in Panama and had a great time.
We stayed downtown near lots of restaurants. We didn’t think that there was much to do there but as soon as dinnertime hit the corporate life changed to night life. I swear that restaurants appeared out of no where. They were either boarded up or hidden during the day and at night they were vibrant. I know that sounds crazy but the same was true in Bocas. I think it’s a thing.
On our last night in Panama City we ate at a great restaurant called La Posta. It was Italian, though the menu was only in Spanish and the servers only spoke Spanish. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was great. The restaurant is set in an old house with bright tile floors and a ton of character. We wanted dessert but didn’t really know what anything was on the dessert menu. I asked the server for a recommendation and left feeling full of delicious caramel and chocolate. Perfect.
Aside from the food, which, to be honest, we weren’t too impressed by (having to steer clear of anything that may have been washed with unfiltered water and wanting to be very careful with our fish intake left us without many options at times), we enjoyed our last couple of days in Panama City.
Given the limited time we hired a driver so that we could see much more of the city than we would have on our own. He took us to the Panama Canal, Casco Viejo (old city) and to several sightseeing spots in the city. We missed out on a number of other highlights, but overall the driver was well worth the (in my opinion) cheap price for a private tour.
The next day we actually headed back to Casco Viejo to do more sightseeing on foot. It looks like a pretty crappy spot until you spend time peering behind doors into cute boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants.
Small tidbit: The Panama Canal is the only place in the world where a ship captain gives up command of his ship to another captain. Only specially trained naval captains are allowed to move a ship through the canal because of the narrow waterways and precise navigation needed.
The walls (locks) shown here are a snapshot of how water moves through the canal. The canal has several locks that open and close, raising and lowering water to allow a vessel to successfully move from the ocean to the canal.
It takes a vessel approximately 8 hours to move through the canal! Apparently the average cargo ship that moves through the canal carries approximately 15,000 cargo crates. (Look! Karma, your stuff!! :)).
I wish that I had good pictures of Casco Viejo to share, but again, heat and my big camera don’t go well. I have this one iPhone picture and J took a bunch with our point and shoot that I have been too lazy to pull off of his camera.
See, totally cute.
Here are a few of the (unedited because I’m too lazy) tourist spot photos that I managed to capture. We went to a couple of lookout points that were incredible.
I would go back to Panama City and explore a bit more. What we saw was great.
On our way out of town we wanted to look for some cool sneakers at the local mall. You agree that Central America / Latin America make cooler sneakers than the US, right? Seriously, it’s true. Anyway, we high-tailed it to a shopping mall near our hotel and walked away with some le coq sportif shoes that made J (and me too) pretty happy. We even hit a sale.
Bocas Del Toro:
We flew to Bocas from Panama City on the 26th and spent 4 nights at a Bed and Breakfast there. The B&B was good but not all that close to beaches. We liked Bocas for what it was (a mix of families, couples and backpackers just trying to enjoy a cheap beach town), but there were a lot of things that it lacked. Namely, the beaches were beautiful (specifically Red Frog) but required a short taxi or boat ride to get to. Nothing was “easy” there. We were picky about beaches and probably could have enjoyed the one right outside our B&B, but it was small and not what we were looking for. To get almost anywhere, unless you’re staying right in the town, you have to take a taxi. Though it’s only $1 per person and they’re fairly easy to find it just required a bit more planning and effort to get places.
There was only one ATM in town too, so when we found out that our B&B only accepted cash, that was a “fun” and unexpected excursion.
The island itself was ok, but I don’t think we’d go back. Our favorite activities were playing in the ocean at Red Frog and taking a Catamaran tour, but we spent a lot of time feeling like we were being haggled for tours and such. The restaurants in town are limited and the service is TERRIBLE. Muy mal, if you will.
We had a great trip overall (hello perfect weather and mainly just BEING TOGETHER) but were definitely ready to come home to our own bed, clean drinking water (so thankful!) and veggies. We were not, however, excited about the snowstorm that we landed in.
After customs and waiting for an hour for baggage we celebrated New Years Eve in a taxi and that was totally ok by me. I hope not to spend too much time in taxis this year, but I do hope to spend much time with the people that I love.
The last few days of vacation were solid – errands, cleaning, resting and enjoying time with family. Nothing better than that. Feeling organized and ready to start 2014 with a bang.
Happy New Year!
On a totally unrelated note, my cousin, Natalie Salzman, met her Kickstarter goal(!!) and she just released her first album. She is an amazing singer / song-writer – please listen and download if you like what you hear. She wrote the songs, is singing all of them and is playing harp throughout the album. She just graduated from the Jacobs School of Music at IU and is well on her way to being a famous musician. I love the album and I’m not just saying that because she’s my cousin.