Ill be hopping it to the bus station later this morning.
The last couple of days have been spent puttering around the city, not doing much of anything. I’m looking forward to Santa Fe, and seeing what a much smaller place is like.
Panama City does have a pretty nice subway. It’s a single line right now, but a ride is only thirty-five cents: any distance. The end of the line is Albrook, where both Shopping Mallzilla and the bus station are.
Ill be hopping it to the bus station later this morning.
Today I had planned to visit both Meriflores Locks on the Panama Canal, and hit the metropolitan park. However, when I started moving, always slowly, my back chimed in early—like immediately after going vertical — and deciding moving wasn’t exactly what it wanted to do, protested. I acquiesced to pain, and decided to forego the more strenuous visit to the metropolitan park, but still go to the Canal. I skipped wearing the ankle brace too. Worked out pretty well. Both the ankle and back don’t feel terrible, but I only walked about 3.5 miles for the day.
I got to the locks early (via a $5.50 Uber ride), within 15 minutes of the opening of the visitor’s center, and was rewarded with unobstructed views of a dry bulk ship transiting the locks.
After watching it and another ship transit south (Pacific) to north (Caribbean), I then spent a couple of hours visiting the onsite museum. I had a good time, but I’m a nerd.
Afterward, I took an Uber to Casio Viejo again, to see parts I hadn’t seen on my initial visit yesterday. Talked for a while with Nikolas, an attorney who works in both Catalan, Spain and in Panama. He was having lentil soup, I had an egg sammich and un cafe Americano for lunch. The coffee was as much as the food.
I may or may not have stepped into a pharmacy while walking around, and may or may not have bought some Viagra, because why or why not? I discovered it’s relatively cheap ($4/ea) and no script required. I figured I may or may not have a use for it someday. I may or may not have tried what I may or may not have bought, to see what it my or may not do.
Visited my local craft cerveceria again for dinner and tried four beers I didn’t try yesterday. They need to figure out their pricing, though. It’s $2 for 12 oz, and $3 for 16. I’ll never buy a 16; I’ll continue to buy the 12 oz, and save money.
Oh, and there was a cute momma dog.
After all the beers, I was more than a little buzzed walking back, and writing this post. So I can easily disavow anything here.
Some hot takes from my first full day:
1. I like it here.
2. The weather is decent. Warm and humid, but bearable, especially with the breeze that was constant today.
3. The local lager - Balboa - is decent when it’s cold and the weather is hot. Especially at only $2.50 per 12 oz. in a restaurant. I think it’s available for about $.75 per in a can in a store.
4. Uber is the way to go. My longest wait was about 6 minutes due to traffic. Cabs are prevalent too, but require cash - I’d rather not - and they are 50% to 200% more per trip.
5. I like it here.
6. They have food from everywhere. I had fried pork and an odd sort of tortilla for lunch. I’m guessing it was Panamanian. It wasn’t spicy, but it was good.
7. They do have craft beer. Sixteen ounce schooners are $3.00. I may just wade through the entire menu at the place I discovered. There are fourteen different beers.
8. People are friendly and have been gracious with my atrocious Spanish. Even knowing I’m from the US, they seem to like me.
9. Nobody has asked me about The Orange.
10 Ride a scooter, and die.
11. Did I mention I like it here?
I spent most of the day walking the Casio Viejo district and the Amador Causeway.
When not walking there, I took time to briefly visit the largest shopping mall in Central America - mostly just to walk through it to get to the bus station to get my ticket to Santa Fe to use later. Damn, but that’s a large bus station.
I successfully found where to buy the ticket I needed, and I was only ripped off a little bit. Oh, well. I now know a lot better. I also found a craft brewery within walking distance of my hotel. Decent beer, and good food. I will be going back!
Tomorrow is another exploration. I’m heading to the metropolitan natural park, and Miraflores Locks on the Canal.
Travel day started early, with a 3:30 am Uber to the airport. My motto has always been early is better than late, and this was no exception. It was a really short ride, and since I had no luggage, I hit the kiosk for boarding passes and made it to the TSA checkpoint before it opened. I’ll learn someday, maybe. At least I pack light.
Flight to Denver was smooth and uneventful, and having an empty seat next to me was nice
In Denver, since I had a three-hour layover, I grabbed the best breakfast burrito in any airport at La Cantina: upstairs in the center of the B concourse. I got carne asada and eggs—no potatoes, thank you—foregoing the equally excellent chorizo.
While noshing, I double checked my boarding passes. United has changed the itinerary from RNO-SFO-IAH-PTY to RNO-DEN-IAH-PTY, and in the process added layover time at the first stop, and significantly decreased the time in Houston.
Looking closer, I saw my arrival time was 1558, and boarding for my flight to Panama City started at 1550, with departure at 1528.
Thirty minutes to get off one plane, traverse who-knows-how-many concourses and gates to board the next.
I checked in with the gate agent to get reassurance that the was, in fact, a viable and reasonable thing.
She paused and suggested she get me a seat closer to the front, so my odds would be better.
But, true to her word, I was moved from a nice window seat in row 28 to a middle seat in row 8. First one outside of first class, in economy plus. The people on either side weren’t plus, so that was good. And nice legroom.
As it turned out, we parked at the single most disadvantageous gate possible…but, we arrived 10 minutes early. As soon as the doors opened, I legged it.
I made it with 10 minutes to spare, and wasn’t even the last person to board. I didn’t quite run, but pushed hard. Maybe my ankle will heal.
I also had an empty seat next to me on this flight. The flying gods liked me.
Pretty simple passage through immigration and customs and I was on my way. Picked up a SIM with 2 weeks of data. More than I expected: $50. But the postings gotta go, right? Hit the hotel by 8:30 and the bar by 8:40 and my room by nine. Priorities, y’all.
It’s a quiet place. Seems most rooms are empty. Pool looks nice. Tomorrow is exploring.
It's been a while since I last posted. After finishing up the 6th race, I decided to step back and downshift for a few weeks to let my body heal. Time passed, but things still hurt. This wasn't good. I struggled through June, trying to run as I usually do, popping Advil like Skittles. Summer in the Sierra is a wonderful time to be out on the trails, and I really, really wanted to be out there, but every step was literally a pain. Ever since rolling my ankle in January, it's always been a bit tetchy, but I was able to partake in a Cortisone and Go program twice in the spring to get me through my races. However, my supplier said no more until an MRI showed what was going on. X-Rays had been negative, but the pain was persisting for far longer than it should. Of course, "should" is a term I try not to use, since I "should" have stopped running.
July 4th was coming and I couldn't break my streak of annual Forth to Fourth (of July) Lake, for the Fourth (of July) runs. This would be the fifth consecutive, and the seventh overall. I figured I could grit it out with a few others. I did. Barely. Holy Roots, that hurt. The whole return was a fog of pain. I vowed then that I would hang up the Hokas until I found out what was going on.
The first appointment I could get for an MRI was in early August, so I dialed back, stopped running and started cycling. That didn't cause problems on the ankle. I cruised up to about 80 miles a week -- I do need to maintain my figure, you know -- and waited patiently for MRI day.
MRI day came, and results were disappointing. Newly sprained and existing torn ligaments have combined to become pernicious pain generators. Prognosis: a month in a brace, walking only on flat, smooth surfaces and a revisit in September. That really sucks, since it essentially co-opted my entire summer of trail running. But, if it's going to get me back out there, I can do it.
Fast forward to last week (does that even make sense?), and I'm back in the podiatrist office. He asks how it feels. I say it feels better, but still hurts. He has me sit, and take off the brace, and he'll manipulate my foot around and see what's what.
He pulls and pushes and rotates, and I levitate off the chair. Holy fuck. White hot pain. I'll admit I probably squealed like a little girl at one point. Apparently, old, stupid men like me don't heal particularly quickly, so it's another month in the brace. Unfortunately, I am heading off for a two-week vacation of scramble-hiking and walking, and I will *not* be deterred. Yes, it may set back my running another month, or six, but I can live with that. In fact, I've reconciled myself to the eventuality of never running coming sooner rather than later. If my last run turns out to be my last run -- on the Fourth of July -- I can live with that.
See ya in a couple of weeks. From Panama!
Just a guy out exploring the world. Former world-class never-was endurance runner.