We woke up early to the sound of rain beating down on the rooftop. Over at the kitchen area, we made coffee and sat under the pergola figuring out our next steps. The rain is putting a damper on exploring the town. We ate breakfast while chatting with a Canadian couple that was staying in one of the rooms. We didn’t want to leave too early as the hotel we are going to in the city doesn’t have check in until 3:00. PJ racked up the billiard balls and we shot a game of pool. On the way out of Coronado, we checked the surf at Punta Prieta. Miniature rights were rolling through giving an impression of how it might be with a little swell.
The drive to Panama City started off okay until we reached the turn off for the Bridge of the Americas. There was a detour due to some construction and people were getting desperate to get to their destination. Horns were honking, people were cutting in and general chaos reigned. At one point, there was a four car stand off in an intersection and no one could move forward.
At another bottleneck, I was stuck at an intersection prior to the next one where the GPS had me turning. Cars were going nowhere. The guy behind me yelled out to ask if I was going to the bridge. He hollered turn right at this street. I turned and waved him ahead and he led us through a maze of back streets until we emerged back on the route to the bridge about a mile further up.
Soon we were driving across the bridge that spans the entrance to the Panama Canal. We had to navigate the narrower streets of a few poorer barrios before we finally reached the high rise area of the waterfront.
We dropped down into the thick of the city traffic along the malecon. Luckily, the Intercontinental Hotel was only a short way up on the left and we quickly turned in and out of the madness. My work for the day was done! We got checked in and rode the elevator up to our bay view room on the eighteenth floor. Nice room and amazing views.
We decided to go out and walk around but the rain was too hard and furious. We had umbrellas but our shoes got soaked and my shorts also. We gave up the mission and returned to the hotel. A while later, there was a pause in the weather, so we gave it another go. Putting the wet footwear back on was a little unpleasant, but we were soon strolling along the boardwalk looking out to sea and admiring the skyline.
Along the wall, feral cats had staked out large swathes of territory near the harbor. On ball courts, kids were playing volleyball and a form of fenced in soccer on what looked like tennis courts. Vendors along the walkway were selling snacks, juices and sno-cones. What’s that up ahead? Ah, it’s the hot dog guy I’ve been scouting for. I told him to throw on the works Panamanian style and he loaded that wiener up right down to the hot sauce and Pringles crumbs.
As I was excitably biting into my frank, a raccoon popped up on the wall out of nowhere and demanded a cut. Knowing better than to argue with a mapache looking to wet his beak, I tossed over a chunk of bun and got out of there while I had the varmint distracted. We walk another half kilometer or so and the rain started falling again, softer this time but we turned back to be safe
They have nice pedestrian overpasses spaced along the highway making it easy to get safely to the other side. We got in the obligatory photo at the giant letters spelling out PANAMA then crossed over the busy thoroughfare and made our way back to the Intercontinental and continued to watch the city action from 18 stories up.