Time in Panama City: Day 2, 3 and 4
You don’t have to be here long to realize Panama City is a very wealthy town. There are a significant number of pricey, high-rise apartment and condo buildings in the downtown area, and many more under construction. There are also a lot of expensive European cars on the roads, which we have not seen in these numbers since we left the USA. Food prices at the supermarkets, meals at the restaurants and cost for laundry services are roughly equal to those in Scottsdale, Arizona. Not sure how Panamanians earn their money, but they must be rewarded handsomely.
After moving to a different hostel and getting a good night’s sleep, we were ready to take on the day.
Our first order of business was to get our bikes scheduled for maintenance at the BMW Motorcycle dealership in the city. The bikes also needed a wash before we took them for service. Both of us needed to do laundry since we had run out of clean clothes. We also needed to withdraw funds for our passage on the Stahlratte to Cartagena that sails on November 21st. These funds must be in US dollars which required a little extra work to get the money. Just as important, we needed to start laying out our rough plans for South America, especially Columbia. We will be there soon enough and all we have arranged to date is passage on the sailboat to Cartagena. Other tasks include doing a short video about our bike performance and finding a local gym to get some exercise.
We have seven days to get these things done, which shouldn’t be a problem unless Omar spends all his time watching cat videos on YouTube.
By noon we had made a lot of progress getting our tasks completed. We scheduled our service appointments at the BMW dealership, washed our bikes, got the money needed for our passage to Cartagena, dropped our laundry off and went to a produce store to purchase fresh fruit and a few other items. We also checked out a local gym but found it to be too expensive. Not bad for a half day’s effort.
The ride to the dealership the next morning turned out to have a bit of excitement. Part of the route was on a toll road, but there were no humans manning the booths and no way to pay. We had no choice but to drive around the gate.
Once we arrived at the dealership, we were pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere. It was a super modern facility with staff that provided excellent customer service. Once we checked our bikes into the service department, we went to the customer lounge where we were treated to a cappuccino while our bikes got tender loving care from the service staff.
While we were waiting in the lounge I noticed that the crafty sales people at BMW had positioned a nice, new BMW motorcycle next to the seating area. It was a retro model I had seen before and really liked. After taking a closer look, I think a new bike just might be in my future when I get back to the States.
The ride back to the hostel that evening was mostly uneventful, but the traffic was very intense. We discovered that a big futbol (soccer) game was scheduled that night in Panama City between Panama and Mexico. It seemed like every Panamanian in the country was heading to the stadium, which resulted in traffic slowing to a crawl. Later we found out the game ended in a scoreless draw and no one was happy.
Since we accomplished our major goal of getting our bikes ready for South America, we decided to focus on exercising and doing a walking tour of the City.
Omar must have always wanted to be a drill instructor because he almost worked me death during our exercise session. After I recovered, we headed out on a walking tour of the city that included the park that is between the ocean and a row of very expensive hotels.
I also took a short video showing the traffic on one of the main streets in the city. In the background, you will hear horns blasting every few seconds. We have heard more horns going off here in Panama City then in all of our travels to date. Drivers seem to just enjoy blasting their horns even though it accomplishes absolutely nothing.
As we walked around the city we took pictures of buildings that have unique architectural designs.
Tomorrow we are going to investigate a tour of the Panama Canal and we are looking forward to that excursion.