Where I’ve been for the last few days

I’m in Panama. Been here since Tuesday afternoon. Been really, really busy. So far, the biggest problem I’ve had here (aside from the aforementioned busy-ness and subsequent inability to talk to my family), is that I’ve had Van Halen’s Panama stuck in my head pretty much since we left San Jose.

Damn you, David Lee Roth. Damn you!

So far, it’s a great place to visit (a post coming on this soon). But we’ve been steadily on the move.

Oy.

Lemme recap the last couple of days as best I can.

Tuesday:
8:00 leave apartment, catch taxi to airport.
8:30(ish) arrive at airport
9:05 finally get through check-in
9:15 through security
10:05 board the plane
10:55 finally depart for Panama
13:15 touchdown in Panama (+1 hour time change)
14:45 arrive at hotel
13:15 Javier takes Mark, Jason, and I for a “little walk” in the area around the hotel. Javier’s a shopper. Hits about every second store along the Via España.
16:30 Gabriel (our contact here) picks us up at an Indian shop near the hotel and takes us to the Old Quarter for a tour
16:30 – 20:30 “tour” of the Old Quarter and Miraflores lock of Panama canal. Gabriel (who lives here) gets lost (I think).
20:30 – 23:00 dinner
23:30 finally get into my room (didn’t actually get the key until then). Pass out.

Wednesday
6:15 up and out to the gym for a workout
7:15 in room and showering.
8:00 breakfast with the team + Dave (who arrived the evening before). Strategy discussion over huevos reveltos.
8:45 – 18:00 meetings in various places. Convinced I’m going to get a freaking disease from the DEEP FREEZE Panamanians seem to maintain their air conditioning at. Freaking INSANELY cold. We go outside into the oppressive heat and humidity because it’s more comfortable.
18:00 – 19:00 try to answer emails. Emphasis on “try”. Internet works, but unable to connect to much. Not sure why. Highly annoying.
19:00 – 20:00 waiting in the lobby for people to appear. Total lack of communication and no-one knows where everyone else is. Namely Dave, who decides that running in a strange, possibly dangerous city (after dark) is a good idea.
20:00 – 21:30 Gabriel picks us up again in his Yaris. Yes, Yaris. Four large white men and two not-so-small Ticans. In a YARIS. Jason (probably the tallest of the bunch) and I literally share the front seat, him resting his ass half on the console, the other half on me, and hoping to sweet mercy that the gear shift don’t end up where the sun don’t shine. We get lost. Twice. In 10 minutes. In some very sketchy parts of town.
21:30 – 23:30 finally get to the restaurant (on a peninsula out in the ocean, no less). Panamanians eat late, it seems. Dinner. Chat. Try to not fall asleep in my fish.
00:00 get back to my room. Catch up on a day’s worth of email. Pass out.

Today
6:15 alarm goes off.
6:25 alarm goes off.
6:35 alarm goes off. Finally drag my arse out of bed. Go have shower.
7:10 breakfast with the team.
7:45 leave for the client’s office.
8:00 – 15:30 meetings. Long, tiring day.
15:30 – 16:00 got to meet Ruben Blades, internationally-renowned singer and actor, who is also the Minister of Tourism. Very freaking cool guy. No, I don’t have a picture because it’s highly inappropriate to POIDH while in a business meeting.
16:30 leave the client office for the hotel
17:00 as a result of things from the meetings, we decide to grab a cab and “drive around” a bit to get a better feel for Panama. End up in the Old Quarter (again), but get a bit of a guided tour, which is cool.
19:30 dinner. Earliest one yet. Good, but picked a WAY too pricey restaurant. Cheap by our standards, but three times the price of other places we’ve been.
21:34 I get to post this.

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