25 Feb Panama City – A canal and a best friend
On to Panama City and I felt like I was back in the United States! Skyscrapers galore and every American enterprise you can imagine. We stayed in the Beverly Hills of Panama City and the luxury was great after a few weeks of roughing it.
You know how when you travel with someone it either makes or breaks your relationship with that person? Well this trip with my friend Amanda to Panama City made our friendship. I always loved her – a couponing, liberal, CU buff just like myself, but this time I felt so much closer to her.
Three weeks prior, I was texting with her and asked if her if she wanted to be spontaneous and meet me in Panama City. I was floored when she said yes! She bought my car when I left the US and she came to get it the night before I left. I was surprised when she started to cry when we said goodbye. We had been good friends, but I didn’t know she was going to feel that way when I left. We booked it all one day and I was looking forward to this time together so much.
This was both her first international flight and big trip out of the United States. I did my best to prepare her, but you can imagine my fear when more than an hour after her flight landed I was still standing at pickup holding a sign for her with her Instagram name AMANDA COUPONS on it. I started thinking ok what if her passport wasn’t valid, maybe she didn’t bring a copy of her return ticket, maybe she is lost? I didn’t even have her parents contact information. I thought oh great, I can’t even call her parents, her mom follows me on Instagram so I’ll have to send her a DM – hey just FYI your daughter never showed up, xoxo love Whitney.
Finally after an excruciating 90 minutes she came out of customs, she forgot to fill out her immigration form! I missed this detail of international travel so when they were handing out the landing forms she opted to not take one. LMAO, I was freaking out for no reason, also, that was hilarious.
The first night, we hit the town – not that there was too much happening in Panama City on a Wednesday night – but nevertheless we drank, danced, and I threw up in a sink. Remember that surgery I had in January? Well I really need to take it easy with certain things – including alcohol. I felt like I was at my limit, but when in
Rome, Panama City! One shot too much, and I waved for her to come to me with the bathroom. This is Panama, and nothing would go down the sink. She said is this like America where we can just leave this mess for someone else – oh how I wish. Boss friend that she is, she just went to town on the paper towel machine and helped me literally soak up my vomit and throw it in the trash. Then of course she told me I totally looked completely fine – lies – but a true friend indeed.The next day, after a very rough night, we stumbled to our private full day tour of the city and canal. Our guide Alex could’ve only thought we were a couple of hot messes, I couldn’t focus on anything he was saying and he kept saying girls, girls. I am fairly certain in his head he was thinking girls, girls, please get it together. Alex was the hero though, he just followed us around and let us take our time, lounge and get coffee, eat a full lunch. We redeemed ourself on the drive home when we could talk about US politics with more than basic knowledge.
I was excited to see the canal, I had seen it from the sky on my flight in, but honestly I didn’t think I would care that much at all. I enjoy natural vistas and adventure travels, but I’m not typically chasing engineering marvels. However, I was floored; this was absolutely so cool. We watched a ship move through the locks, one by one, the ship moved up 27 feet. These ships were figuratively crossing land. I was flat-out impressed.
After our day with Sr. Alex I told Amanda I was going to ‘take a nap’ at 4pm. I slept until 4am, whoops! I asked the next morning what she did while I was sleeping? She said she woke up at 9, ate dinner, then decided to watch a movie on Netflix. She had a lot of time, so she watched all of Schindler’s List. I couldn’t have thought a better pick me up after such a great day together!
I started calling her the latina gringa, she has Spanish roots with a matching last name, but she is a gringa like me, only she doesn’t speak Spanish. So while she looked like she fit right in down south, the struggle was real. Mi querida latina gringa.
On our last day we took a day trip to a nearby island for some beach, sand, and swim. I was really not on the ball this trip and I decided to check the morning of what time the ferry departed. Crap! It was 10:12am and the last ferry left at 11am. We booked it out of the hotel, ran to the ferry, and made it just in time, high-five to us! We spent the day sauntering in the sun, swimming, and eating fried plantains. That night we came back to the hotel, ordered Pizza Hut, and watched Cartel Land on Netflix. Let the American in us shine!
We left early the next morning, I saw her off to her flight and I departed Panama with a full heart, so lucky to be living my real life, and to be surrounded by people and friends that love me unconditionally.
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