Skip to main content

Well the tone has certainly changed!

Hola Amigos!

Well, last time I mailed you it was from the comfy environs of Antigua where pelicans woke us each morning as they fished for food outside our villa. Times have changed!

We left Antigua after a week, handed in the keys and caught a plane to Puerto Rico. Pleasant enough place, despite it being officially a "US territory" not that many people speak English (problem since that´s all we can speak!) Despite that we packed in some fun-filled adventures:
  1. we explored "Old San Juan" - a very picturesque place
  2. we hiked through a rainforest
  3. we went to the Bacardi factory where they make all the rum - essentially this was one big advert in the name of Bacardi but the drinks were free... Shame I don´t like rum
Now some of you may know that Lisette and I decided not to take our wedding rings with us when we went away in case they were lost or (more worryingly) stolen. But rather than travel "ring-less" we hooked ourselves up with some wooden wedding rings - well to be more accurate Lisette wore her wooden engagement ring and I bought myself a 3 dollar wooden ring which I was really rather taken with.

We caught the plane last night to Panama and landed about 7pm. We caught a taxi from the airport to where we were staying that night in Panama City - an area called "Condida". The hotel looked a lot worse than it had in the picture I saw when booking. The room was the very definition of "barren" - basic furniture, curtains that wouldn´t open, windows that wouldn´t open, no hot water. All in all, a bit depressing.

So, to lift our spirits, we decided to go out to dinner. After 3 minutes of walking we´d realised that we didn´t like the neighbourhood that much. No streetlights, bars on every door and window, worrying people looming in the distance - scary. It´s worth bearing in mind that I lived happily in Brixton for 4 years or so - an area that many don´t regard as salubrious. This place made Brixton look like Butlins with balloons.

I´d like to tell you that things improved in the clear light of morning. They did not. It´s some measure of the way we now feel about Panama City that we consider it´s probably unsafe to wear even the wooden wedding rings now.

And in fact we have decided to cut and run. I type this missive from inside the Gran Terminal bus station just outside Panama City. We´ve got tickets for the 2215 overnight bus to David (pronounced Dah-veed). We´re leaving and we´re not coming back. Consider this an all points bulletin on Panama City - if you have any love of life and love of self then I recommend you avoid this place like the plague. We were lied to by the travel book - we can only hope that Boquette (where we go after David) is an improvement on this. I do have high hopes - it is coffee country and apparently we can visit the plantations.... fingers crossed!

Adios,
John and Lisette

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mr Ow Much and the steam engine

The bodies lay upon the ground in the field. They were dressed colourfully, each kitted out in varieties of neon outfits that shone in the sunshine. "They're very still" I said, by way of summing up the situation. "They all died" said Lisette, who was also taking in the view. Because I'm a slightly gullible fellow (and, well, you just never know) I watched keenly half wondering if it might be true. They were very still. After a surprisingly long period of time, the figures started to move slowly. It turns out that yoga in a field can, temporarily, be indistinguishable from death. Camp Wowo We were staying at a campsite named Camp Wowo in East Sussex, England. It's a campsite I have stayed at many times over the years. Initially just myself and Lisette. More lately, having got past the initial intensity that results from the arrival of children, we've come to taking our boys to camp together as a family. It's never been without incident. The

The Gorgon

As I have grown older, I've become aware of a characteristic of mine, which I don't much like. It's not casual racism or a prediliction for keeping a lap dog in a handbag about my person. It's more complicated than that. It's my face. Or at least: that's where it starts. I have a resting facial expression that gives off a vibe. A hostile one. Not intentionally; it's just well... It's a thing. My face at rest looks like Vinnie Jones thinking "you don't get to talk about my mum". I get it from my father, who got it from his father, who in turn... All the way back to Cro-Magnon man. Somehow my family line has managed to maintain the same physical characteristics as the European early modern humans of 15,000 years ago, almost without compromise. I used to joke about this with people. Then one afternoon, in a moment of boredom, I decided to google what Cro-Magnon man looked like. You know you get those artists impressions of long dead spec

Cable Cars and Credit Cards

I proferred the binbag. "All the rubbish; in here please". Conor turned to his right, "Una, will you climb in now?" Una grinned and mimed throwing objects into the sack. "There's my hopes and dreams right there Conor." Conor, Una, Lisette and I have known each other for half our lives. Well; Conor's not quite there - he's the elder statesman of our group. We met when we were working for British Airways as students, and living in Hounslow's finest dodgy digs. Since that time we've been scattered to the four winds; Una to Ireland, Conor to Switzerland. Lisette and I, well, maybe 3 miles tops to Twickenham. In seeking a mutual meeting place we found ourselves reaching for the logistically logical location: Italy. (I know; like a stepladder where you least expect it.) In keeping with how we first got to know one another, luxury accomodation was not our priority. We decided to camp. Can there be a fuller way to challenge your fear of