Arriving in the Americas

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After so much time on a fancy ship, our arrival in Colon, Panama was a shock to the system. We learned quickly that November is the rainiest month of the year, and the road from the cruise terminal to the bus station had just recently opened back up after being flooded for days. Clearly not ready to jump back into long hikes with our packs, we jumped in a cab to the bus station. Upon our arrival three men jumped off a nearby bus and yelled at us to inquire whether we were heading to Panama City. We nodded. They waved frantically at us to board the bus immediately. I am pretty sure it was already moving by the time we jumped on. I suppose it was the ultimate convenience that we didn’t have to wait in a half flooded bus station.

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Unlike most buses in SE Asia, the long haul buses here have televisions that actually function. We were privy to a really terrible horror movie about three snowboarders being hunted by wolves. It was bad entertainment, but the best entertainment we’ve had on a bus since last february (when we boarded a wifi equipped airport transfer). Perhaps we should take this as a sign that buses are better in this part of the world? Only time will tell…

As if life was trying to remind us that our true cast level is much lower than that of luxury cruising, our first night in Panama city was spent in the hallway of hostel. Yes, a hallway– where two sets of bunk beds had been erected into a very creative interpretation of a 4 bed dorm. I regret not taking a picture, since this was a night we will both remember for a long time. The lights were turned on and off all night as luckier people who scored a bed in an actual room made their way down the hall. I remember a lot of loud drunken conversations carrying up the stairwell, and someone forgetting exactly which bed they were assigned to. There was very little sleep had in the hallway. And after listening to the people drinking downstairs all night, I’m reminded that 90% of the conversations people have after finishing a bottle are mundane and useless. We checked out the next morning- exhausted and wishing we’d invested in better ear plugs.

Luckily, some friends from the ship had found better digs across town. We joined them, and have been happily adjusting back to budget travel ever since.

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This place has beds available inside a room with a door that closes- drowning out the noise from the common room. We’re happy. It’s funny though, since this time last week we were sitting down to a three course meal, and staying in a room with an evening turn down service. How life changes.

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