Today is my second day of travel. I left David yesterday by air. I got nervous on Friday when there were demonstrations and road closures so I bought a plane ticket. It’s expensive but at least I knew I would get to Panama City without incident, which I did.
It felt good to be in the city, especially since I didn’t have to do the driving. Panama is going to celebrate their independence day next weekend and the whole city is getting ready. One street was almost closed because school kids were practicing that evening for the parade. Flags and decorations are starting to appear everywhere. It’s the same in David. I’ve had to take detours a number of times because people were using the street for parade practice.
I stayed at the same hotel and the same nice desk clerk checked me in. I got to chat with him quite a bit this morning while waiting for my ride to the airport. He couldn’t find an available taxi that early (5:30 AM) so he called a friend to give me a ride. While I was waiting he made me a cup of tea. I practiced my Spanish and he practiced his English, which is better ever time I see him. Hopefully it is the same for my Spanish. Again though, everywhere I go in this country people are so nice, the desk clerk, the security guard, the friend who took me to the airport, seems like everyone I meet.
At the airport though I was almost embarrassed to be American. There was a gal at the check in counter having trouble with her reservation and she was whining and complaining loudly, and giving the guy at the desk a terrible time. We all know it’s frustrating when travel plans get messed up but giving the desk guy a mountain of grief doesn’t help. He was doing his best to solve the problem (in perfect English too). Then, in the security line, there were a couple young guys with backpacks. One in particular who was complaining (with colorful language) about the gal at the check in counter, waiting in line, the security requirements, pretty much everything that was happening. He said the few words he knew in Spanish sarcastically with terrible pronunciation, and seemed to expect everyone working there to understand English. Again, how embarrassing.
The flight was uneventful except I was disappointed that I did not get a window seat, and the people by the windows kept their shades down. I so love to look out when flying, but maybe I’ll have better luck on the return trip. Customs at MIA is a process. I think it took an hour to do the 5 mile walk, the lines, collect luggage, the next lines, recheck luggage, and another hike to my gate. I was surprised at all the questions at both checkpoints – What were you doing there? How long were you there? Where did you stay? Where did you go? Who were you with? Goodness. I realized as I was heading toward my gate, I was a floor below where we’d done the initial walk in the other direction. This has to be hard on people who don’t like to walk a lot.
But, I made it through the whole process with enough time for lunch before boarding the short flight to Tampa, and the much awaited reunion with my partner! I expect the next few days are going to be pretty crazy with getting out of the house and the final stages of moving everything, but I’ll get back to writing more sooner or later.