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Panama City - a hazzle to get to but worth it
2002-07-15 00:36:00
The border to Panama was without doubt the least efficient border we had ever expirienced, but finally we got through. One of the reasons for the slowdown might have been Panaline.
We have never expirienced a more chaotic border crossing before, but we had never travelled with Panaline before either. No informaition given, just follow the flow if you see one and hope its the right one. Well after a couple of hours it was over. Thank God.

We entered Panama City early in the morning at around seven oclock, and we had the usual meeting with the taxi and the hotel hunters which means that we were the hunted ones. On the border we had met an Australian group of six, three girls and three boys. When we had had walked around the block to Hotel Lisboa the same group got out of a taxi at the exact same hotel. They where seven weeks into a 52 weeks world travel, and we used this happening as a funny story for the rest of our journey.

Hotel Lisboa situaded in the middle between the old Panama City and the new Panama City is a perfect base for exploration of the city at a reasonable price. Nice rooms with good bathrooms and AC at around 20 dollars.

The first day we just walked around and entered the old Panama City. The most empressing thing about Panama is the tourist police. They are everywhere, they help you with everything and they make you feel safe. The biggest surprise was however to find something as special as a pub or a bar. We checked out several locations and they all either looked like a brothel or a pub-bar for steady clients. Very bad indeed, and in the end we ended up at something called something with Intercontinental. It was a really bad taste hotel, with a really bad taste bar where we could smoke if the door was closed. The bar had a maritime style, and thats why the view looked like this.

Another strange thing with Panama City is the availability to cigarettes. There are several SuperMercado centers, and they just have everything except cigarettes. I wasnt able to buy shampoo and soap either because I had to much to choose among. Even a western mind just freaked out. But, cigarettes we only managed to buy in bars by the way, eventhough the locals said they where available everywhere.

We found a very nice Italian restaurant called Romanaccio. They have especially good pizza, and the rest of the menu we tried was good too, eventhough it seemed that the chef had a fetisch for salt. They have a very nice collection of wines by the way, especially if you consider what country you are in.

We also visited the New Panama City which is the modern collection of sky scrapers and that stuff. The cosiest part was without doubt the old part, but you should visit it to have a sensation of the contrasts in this city.

We also visisted the island Tamboga, a very cozy island if the weather is nice. It takes about twenty minutes to reach it by a speed boat called Linda. They have a hotell called Tamboga where you pay an entrace fee which include free use of toilets, showers, beaches and even food for five dollars. Its worth it eventhough the kitchen really sucks. There are a lot of chamelons crawling around both on the ground and in the trees, and the beaches was nice and the water very clear and salty. If you like bathing in the sea or the sun, this is the place for you. If not, well thats the only thing you are able to do out there.
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