I am sitting here on Taboga Island, check out our view above, with the other two ladies, talking about leaving our old lives behind and the trust involved in this endeavor. We just had a nice dinner, sharing in the preparation, and working in synch to get it on the table for the second night in a row. Just like we had been working together for a long time.
Leaving was the hardest thing I have ever done. I left a good job, a family, a marriage, and years of familiarity. Tears popped up unexpectedly for days but especially as some people said goodbye and others found out what I was doing who then cried with me. I got gifts of hugs and cards and support and even money. Some folks knew ahead of time, many, including my in-laws did not. I put on my big girl panties and called my mother-in-law and talked to my sister-in-law as well as emailed the other one the day I left. All of them have been an important part of my life for a very long time and they told me they still love me. I just couldn’t live the life I was living any longer and they understood. And I am welcome to visit with them anytime. As a result of all the emotions, I had a headache for about two weeks that just wouldn’t quit. Finally today it’s gone.
It was an interesting flight to here, beginning with the first flight that had about five minutes of exciting jolts and bumps. We experienced turbulence that repeatedly sent the plane and my stomach into unexpected drops. I am not a secure flyer so this was rather unnerving to me. And then with the second leg in Atlanta, we had another unexpected event occur after we got to our seats. We people watched and waited while the baggage handlers loaded the luggage outside the plane. After we sat there for a while, the lights in the plane went out, as well as the power. It was dark! And quiet! Then the power came on and went back off again. At one point, someone came on the intercom to tell us the plane had shorted out through its connection to the terminal itself. His explanation was not very reassuring, I was actually doing better before he explained anything! So the wait at the gate was caused by the time it took for all systems to reboot and power back up and then checks to be made. We remained at the gate for another half hour before our plane finally pulled out to take off.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I realised that the power outage in Atlanta mirrored what we were doing. Rebooting our lives. Once each for my friend and I as we left our old lives and flew to Panama together.
The rest of the flight was peaceful and easy.
We landed in Panama City and immediately after we disembarked, we got hit with the humidity and heat of this city near the equator. Holy moly, that is a massive change from what we left! Our bodies and minds were immediately unhappy with wearing as many clothes as we had on! Plus we had about five suitcases each to recover and get to the ride we had booked. Immigration asked us questions but that young lady, though nice, didn’t really understand us nor us her. We managed to get passed through though. Customs just waved us through without even making us put our luggage through the metal detectors. That was strange, it didn’t happen that way any other time so we thought maybe they were tired and wanting to just get us through the line and out of their hair.
The taxi driver was new to us but very nice and an excellent driver. The roads into the city seemed to be far less crowded this time, maybe due to the new metro system coming online this month. It was so nice to be back and see all the places where I had been before and loved. Turns out our hotel is right around the corner from the B&B we stayed at the last time we visited. It was a new hotel and very nice and what’s even better was that we got this amazing deal when we booked it. Great staff, room and breakfast in the morning. We stayed two nights there so we could pick up supplies before we caught the ferry to Taboga the second morning. Only one run a day for that ferry so we had no choice but to go at 7am in order to catch the morning ferry and that made the ferry run not doable on the first day.
Finding supplies was a challenge but we managed to buy a phone and some groceries making our load to the Island even bigger. Buying the phone was well, fun….or an adventure, you pick lol. There are phone stores everywhere selling cheap phones and supplies. We picked up a 15 dollar phone with a phone card. The salesman understood little english but got the job done admirably. We had been told that this is what a typical Panamanian citizen does, buys cheap phones and minutes as needed, that it’s a better deal than a phone plan. One guy has said that Panamanian babies are born with a cell phone in their hand! There are three cell phone companies in the country and folks usually have 3 phones and hopefully, at least one of your phones will work in the area you are currently in. Funny. Apparently service is not so reliable.
So, now we have groceries, a cooler to carry the refrigerator stuff in, and a new phone. Then we got turned around going back afterwards and ended up walking around the block! Hmm, we’ve been here before! Oops. We laughed, asked directions, twice, and finally made it back to the hotel. After we cooled off from running around in the heat, we head out to dinner to an old favorite restaurant of all of us, Beirut, where we had a hummus appetizer with flatbread and an assorted plate of “we don’t know what this is but, oh yummy!” Delish.
stay tuned for more…..