Okay y’all, I had to blog the second part of my first day in Panamá!
My flight got delayed about 45 minutes in Houston so that was a bummer but once we were on the 3 hour 41 minute flight they gave us a snack which was more like a dinner! Chicken burrito, salad (I didn’t eat this), baby carrots with ranch, and a brownie. Score!
I watched the free movie “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” actually really enjoyed it. We landed over the beautiful city lights (I love flying into cities at night time) went through customs (forever long) and then I got my bag. After going through the scanner I walked around the corner to a HUGE crowed of Panamanians with signs. I wedged through the people and saw “Katie Smith” well I am pretty sure that is the most exotic name ever, so it must be me my driver is looking for.
I smile “hola!” and he goes off in a rant of spanish.
“Um… hablas tu ingles?”
that was the end of that. actually he asked if he was taking me to the Magnolia Inn and if that was correct.
“si!” (I am basically bilingual!)
“como te llames?”
“me llamo es katarina”
Just me and José riding in the shuttle. Quite. And alone. :/
We rode through downtown Panamá and then the city changed quickly to old Panamá, Casco Viejo. We rode past old homes, people cooking dinner, dancing in the street, armed guards, cobble stone roads, and up tight alleyways. We stopped in a sketchy area but a beautiful one. I paid José and as I was going to get out, he yelled at me and I knew he wanted me to stay in the van and put my money away. Opps! I walked up the alley to the door of the Magnolia Inn and Hostel and rang a button on an old steel gate. José waited as I was buzzed in.
I walked up a flight of stairs and was greeted by a bubbly and sweet Mei-Ling (our coordinator from the US to Panamá) right away I felt so at home and relaxed! She gave me a big smile and bigger hug. We had a 12 bed hostel room at the inn (it’s a hostel), and there are small bathrooms (you can put the toilet paper in the toilet not the trash!!! Everywhere else in Panamá you put toilet paper in the trash) and there are separate showers stalls. There is also a large kitchen and relaxation area and an upstairs balcony and space to work on our choreography with the children! It is super clean and there is wi-fi and outlets with a light on each bed.
I got the run down of how the week is going to go and I am getting SO excited to share all these activities with you!
Bienvenidos a Panamá!