Happy Easter, from the police station in Casco Viejo!
My run ins with the cops here- who are heavily accessorized with terrifying but nevertheless non-nuclear armaments- began when my taxi driver from the airport had the unmitigated gall to attempt to drive to my hotel.
Since my Spanish words are limited to “hello, friend”, “bathroom”, and “ham”, I sat in the backseat politely ignoring the authorities and deciding to be the kind of cool tourist who doesn’t overreact to being pulled over an hour after touching down on Panamanian turf. I thought this calmly as the cabbie popped the trunk, grabbed my luggage, and walked away.
I stared at him wide-eyed and gape-mouthed from the backseat until he turned around, put my suitcase down, and came back to open my door.
“Wake,” he said. “Walk.”
I joined the literal funeral procession up the hill to my room and went to bed. “Whew,” I thought. “It was only somebody dying.”
The next morning, oh glory! I woke up to this:
which is a lovely way to open your eyes, especially when paired with being not in jail. What’s up, Panama?
I hopped out and found the promenade nearby, which is this gorgeous 4k stretch of oceanside walking path dotted with colorful play stations, palm trees and greens, and enough camouflaged, gun-wielding keepers of the port’s peace to really make a girl feel uncomfortable.
I ran through them without making eye contact and decided to enjoy the pelicans instead.
Spent the rest my first day here dubbing around the old city and viewing the new one from a rooftop bar. Made keen observations like, “I can’t believe somebody dug a hole through this entire country” and “wow, look at all the Panama hats.” Slept the sleep of the pleasantly sunburned, but only on that hard-to-remember décolletage.
And today? Spent some more quality time with the local cops. It was only because a pelican pooped on me, though, and the police force had the closest building and some baby wipes. They were really nice to me, too, so we’re cool.
*But Nicky: that Nal’s sure got some reach, there, eh?