So those expats weren’t kidding when they say you get a lot less done in a day in Panama. In our case we got pretty much nothing done, despite a day of trying. Our plan was to go to the mall, get my phone and Haley’s phone working, and then head over to the visitor’s center for the canal and do the tourist thing. We are 0 for 2. The 3 other members of the fam slept until almost 11. Not terribly surprising given the week we’ve had getting out of Gilbert. So we got a late start and got to the mall around 1. We had lunch (note: we have only had expensive American fast food so far. Not at all what I want but at this point we are trying to just eat familiar and fast. There will be a lot more time for trying new things once we know what’s around us and have a mode of transportation).
After lunch we headed to the phone place we went to yesterday. That sounds easy but this mall is BIG and the map is confusing and we criss-crossed it about 3 times before finding the right place. We get there and the gal insists she does not speak English (this cell place is in the main bus station in the city. Really? I kinda doubt she speaks no English) but I managed to muddle through with my Spanish enough to learn we had to go somewhere else to see if the phones were unlocked. We went to the somewhere else and muddled through enough to learn that the iPhone 6 will not work here (although this was contradicted later – never take the first answer you get, I’m learning) and Haley’s is locked and won’t work either. Oooooo K. If we want iPhones here we have to buy them here. Ooooooo K. Dan’s phone is acting like it isn’t happy being relocated either.
By then it was like 4 p.m. and we decided to find a ball for pool play and some rain ponchos because we heard that our next destination is rainy. That took about 2 hours and we only found umbrellas. No ball, no poncho. We did find some granola bars just to have in the hotel in the event we miss a meal like we did today.
So tomorrow we will lower our expectations. Get phones, get cell service, send off our luggage to be delivered in Boquete the next day and meet up with my AFS colleague Plinio. Sounds ambitious but only two of those things involve dealing with stores so hopefully it will work out. We might get an earlier start too.
At this moment we are all a bit fried, and feeling wet. This hotel overlooks the water but I’m pretty sure that wetness is the by product because we didn’t feel this wet at the mall. It will be interesting to see how it feels in Boquete, where we will travel to on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to 1) having a car 2) being in a place with more than one room 3) being in a small town 4) meeting up with two different expats that we met online, one of whom has similar aged-kids! I am excited to return to Panama City sometime to be a real tourist but at this point we need to settle in and spread out, if only for 3 weeks.