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

Dieting Italian style in the Cinque Terre (or "Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen...")

We have arrived in the Cinque Terre which is on the North West coast of Italy. The direct translation is "Five Towns" and the idea is that you stroll / hike from one town to the next marvelling in the sights of the sea and the beauty of the towns. And the towns are lovely - it is as if Walt Disney came here 80 years ago to get his ideas of what fairy castles etc should look like. Pretty as a picture We are staying in the most Southerly town inside the Cinque Terre - Riomaggiore. There are no real hotels inside the Cinque Terre and the books (Lonely Planet and the " Rough Rubbish Guide to Italy") advise staying with locals. Accordingly we found ourselves following a burly, and I thought rather scary, Italian man home from the station after we arrived. Despite initial trepidation we ended up at a lovely apartment with a view of the sea at a fair price and with a gushing landlady who is wont to say things like "you should-a make-a the hay while the sun-

What would Phileas Fogg do?

It is June 2022. COVID hove into view back in early 2020 and radically adjusted all our lives. Part of that was the ability (and ease) of travelling abroad. Like so many, the Reilly family were effectively grounded since then. We have made trips, but we never left England. So when life started to seem less restrictive, we made plans. We found ourselves camping in a place called Cavallino in Italy. It looks on a map, as if it is near Venice. Looks can be deceiving. It turns out Swindon has better travel links to London than Cavallino has to Venice. However, links it has, and links we have used. You can travel from Cavallino on the bus down to Punta Sabbioni and then switch to a boat for the trip into Venice (or rather "Venezia"). This is the Reilly family on Burano, an island to the north of Venice. Having left the UK, where pretty much all COVID related mask restrictions were lifted some time ago, it was a surprise to discover that they are still in force in Italy.

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