Thursday, September 25, 2008

Panama City and our last days in Central America

22/07/08 - 24/07/08
Stayed in a pretty decent hostel in a pretty decent part of town and found a more than decent supermarket (like a city of temptations that I haven's seen the likes of since I was living in France) that made us so excited we spent a heap of money and walked out with nothing really to eat except olives and dips. Ate all of it really quickly, felt sick, and then decided to stick to cheap local food in the future.

Visited the Parque Nacional de Metropolis, saw some wee monkeys, but much to my disappointment weren't able to see any sloths (even though they were there that morning, and every other bloody day). Explained my dismay to the park ranger, who then let me hold their stuffed sloth. Does that count?

Ran into a couple of Irish lads that we'd met a couple of nights ago, and on their good recommendation decided to follow them and walk back to Casco Viejo, the old part of town (should have known early on not to follow Irish lads). Of course, they took a wrong turn and we ended up walking down a sketchy looking road, towards a getto. It took us until we saw a man literally jumping up and down on the other side of the road warning us not to walk any further to take notice of where we'd ended up. Oh oh. Just at the moment that we looked ahead and saw a group of "bad boys, bad boys, what ya gunna do", a police car came to our rescue. They asked us where we were heading, and explained to us that had we continued along that road, that we would have walked out the other end naked, robbed of every last thread on our body.

Ah... So, we got in their car and they drove us to a safer part of the city, very close to the old part that we originally wanted to visit. We stopped for lunch (sat next to a sign that warned diners not to let their bags out of their sight) and STUPIDLY set out again following the Irish lads to the old part. "Oh, it's grand, we're staying near here,we know where to go"...only to be led in the completely opposite direction to our destination. We walked a way down a small street and were approached by a little girl, no older than 6, shaking her finger at us, and warning us not to continue down that street, and to turn around and go back. Just as we were walking closer to ask her what she meant, and man walked out of his house, towel wrapped around his waist, telling us to turn back, that it wasn't safe to be in this area.

This is where my friend and I said our goodbyes to the Irish boys (to the sounds of their protests "ah, no, like, now we really know where we are") and got in a taxi and left for safer parts. We returned the next day in a taxi (to the exact place where we wanted to go), walked around and saw the beautiful architecture of the old town and decided that that was the last time we would voluntarily follow the lead of two Irish lads in unknown territory.

We made it back to our hostel safe and sound, booked our flight to Colombia and said farewell to Central America. It's taken me 5 months to get from Mexico City to Panama City, and I've had the time of my life!

¡America Central, hasta luego y gracias por las memorias! Me lo pase muy bien en tu paises.

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