Saturday, January 1, 2011

Republic of Panama-New Years-Canal

Day 41- The Republic of Panama- New Years

New Years was spent taking a taxi to the coast of Panama City and watching the fireworks by myself.
When I thought it was 10pm, I asked around and saw that the time had changed and it was actually 11pm, I wouldn’t have missed New Years! I guess there was a time change somewhere between Costa Rica and Panama.

I had asked the other people at the hostel, about 30 people, if they wanted to go and share a cab to the beach for the fireworks, but nobody wanted to leave the party place. There was $5 drink and drown alcoholic fruit punch at the place and people were getting wild.

On my way to the beach, it was 11pm, and was super hungry; I stopped by a 24hr café for some food.
The poor people at the counter were pretty bummed about working New Years, so the service was super slow.

Took 10 min for my order, and another 25 to cook and have it ready. I had so much free time; I made friends with the man next to me waiting too. We had some pretty philosophical conversations about life and kept making fun of a guy in line with us that started to yell at the cooks for being slow, that of course only made them work slower, thanks buddy.

By the time I got my food it was 11:45pm! So I squirted some ketchup on the fries and out the door I went to the beach running.

I got the poor taxi driver that tells you his entire life story. So I got a nice dose of, my wife left me and the kids and ran off with another man story for my ride.

Eventually I got to the beach.

The view was nice.




But there were no major city fireworks.

But there were some amazing homemade and bought firework people were shooting off.






It was amazing the crazy sound of the fireworks. It was right in the middle of city, where people where shooting off commercial sized fireworks, the sound reverberation and loudness of the sounds bouncing off the buildings was astronomical and awesome. Car alarms went off and the ground was shaking. Sure don’t see that in the states.


I was so close to these huge fireworks that the debree and some of the chemicals on fire fell on me.

As I got back to the hostel, I didn’t see anyone around; I thought they had all gone to bed. Boy was I wrong; they went to the beach to see the fireworks. So much for not wanting to go huh.

So they all eventually got back and the party continued.

There were people dancing on the table, smoking, drinking, shirts taken off (males of course), and plenty of drunks attempting to make a toast and communicate with others, at which they failed miserably after falling off the table they were standing on.

Seeing I don’t really drink, I just sat back the entire night and watched a TV show being created right in front of my eyes.

It’s now the next morning and the entire compound and people is fast asleep recovering from the night before. Out of the 35 people at the hostel, only myself and 2 others were up before 10am.

I found some new people that just arrived at the hostel that wanted to sight see just like me. So we shared a cab tot eh Panama Canal.

Two nice Oregon ladies were my company to the canal. They had visited Costa Rica and were now here.

Ticket for the canal Miraflor locks were $8, but a nice student ID got me in for $5.

We saw some cool exhibits and watch a nice movie on the construction.















We then witnessed a boat cross the locks with the rising and falling of the water levels in the locks. Pretty neat.






I was here a few years ago, but my family and I were just taken to the outside of the locks to see the ships exit. I knew were deprived out of some cool stuff, so I’m glad I visited the canal again, which I initially was going to skip.



So its New Years here in Panama City and absolutely nothing is open. There's absolutely no one on the road or walking, it’s pretty creepy.

 The Oregon girls and I went searching for food.

As we were walking the streets a black truck with tinted windows pulls up to us. I thought, oh boy, were getting mugged.

Turns out it was a police officer warning us that we should keep our possessions very close to us, and that we were in a very dangerous area of the city and there were hardly any officers working today because of the holiday.

We then started to turn around. A few minutes later we ran into a crazy looking man. He was asking for money. I used a nice gringo accent after he would stop following us, saying no money. This aggravated the man who was still following us and started cursing at us in complete amazement we had no money to give him.
I told the girls to walk faster as he started yelling serious threats to us. He said he was going to assault us to get some money from us.

At this point I kept my eye on him every second while we out walked him. I was ready for a fight and to protect the ladies, but the crazy man was all talk.

So we took a quick left, found a place to eat and we t back straight to the hostel.

This is probably the most dangerous day I’ve had with people.

So I’m stuck her another day, then off to Portobello for my sailing vessel into Colombia.

Adios until then!