If my pedometer were waterproof, perhaps I would get credit for swimming. This is mainly what we did in Penonomé at the hotel. Our first full day, we did take a taxi to the center of town. It cost a whole dollar for the ride. Downtown is sweet. There is one long string of stores that runs about the length of 7 city blocks, but there are few intersections to really gauge the distance. Although it is Sunday, the stores are teeming with shoppers as if they were doing last minute Christmas shopping. Outside a few stores, there are woman stationed at gift wrapping tables still using the Christmas wrap with snow people, Santa, and Christmas trees, like they have never witnessed here in reality. They truly can only dream of a white Christmas.
At the edge of town, if you follow the business district, a quaint little Catholic Church sits opposite a park. The church has been whitewashed a brilliant white that is so striking, sunglasses are needed to ward off the sun’s reflections. Inside, people are busy being holy. The doors are wide open, so standing room only is extending out the doors. A bishop celebrated the mass; Ron got to shake his hand.
Walking through the park, one cannot help but notice that commercialization has taken over Christmas here as well. A large cone shaped object, representing a Christmas tree consists of enough ornaments with Movil, one of the phone companies to bring home the message. Without Movil, this space would be cheerless. Less than a block away, another tree is decorated with messages from the competing company.
After 2 ½ hours, we covered the territory with the thoroughness of investigative detectives. I wanted an espresso coffee so badly and I mentioned to Ron. This man selling incense on the street, over heard me and offered a suggestion as to where to find it. We looked and walked past the place he was referring to, but he tapped me on the shoulder and personally showed us. It was a coffee kiosk in a computer store. The espresso was Nescafé from a machine. Not exactly what I had in mind, but the helpfulness of the local was wonderful.
We are continually overwhelmed with the friendliness and helpfulness of the locals. They continually go out of their way if they notice we need some assistance with something.
At the end of our meandering, we returned to the hotel to swim, hang out by the pool reading, and just being lazy. It was a feeling that I adapted to rather quickly, which was astounding. What was just as astounding was what we did for dinner.
Because the hotel is set off behind the Iguana Mall, there are few dinner options other than fast food. Last night, we crossed the Pan-American Highway, but I was not willing to venture that again. We agreed on KFC, but once inside, the line predetermined a two hour wait from the looks of things; they were moving slowly. Trying Al Capone was no better, huge line. Finally, Dominos won our business. I am so ashamed.
Panama City 32.71 miles
Boquete and David 26.61 miles
Penonomé 6.3 miles and 4 miles swimming