Day 60 - October 1st

Today was an action packed day. Since we were once again staying at a Mamallena hostel, once again we had self-made pancakes for breakfast. Hooray. Freshly refueled, we hit the road to accomplish some goals. First, we checked out MPH (a motorcycle store in town) to pick up some new tires for Trev. Everyone there was on Panama time, and nothing was done in a hurry. We found tires, went for lunch, and came back expecting them to be installed... No dice. They found a small wear spot on one of the tubes and wanted to double check before putting it back in. Not worth it - just going to use a new tube and keep the sketchy one as a spare. After approving the new tube, we new we'd have to wait again, so we decided to get our hair cut. This was Trevor's first paid haircut in about 5 years! What a rush! Looking freshly groomed, we wandered back to the motorcycle shop. By now the rain had just begun. After waiting another 1.5 hours for the tire to be installed, it was finally ready... just as the torrential downpour hit. We checked directions, geared up, and hit the road.

After a couple wrong turns, we ended up in the front entrance of the Trump tower for shelter to check the map. While we did this, two different people came up to talk to us about our trip, and how they had done similar trips themselves. One guy, Sonny, told us to follow him out of town towards our hotel. He was headed that way anyway, so it made our lives a lot easier to follow him through the madness that is Panamanian roadways. He jumped into the cab and hit the road with us on his tail. Everything was going okay (except for the extreme flooding of the roads) until we got to one intersection with absolute gridlock. We found out the reason: the intersection was almost 2 feet deep with water. The water was above the tires of the cars, going over the hoods of taxis, and causing utter pandemonium. Drivers were going forward, and reverse, swerving around each other, driving anywhere they felt like it, stopping randomly, and, of course, honking continuously. It was mayhem. Sonny's car waited for a good opportunity... then went for it. Guess we have to follow. We picked our feet up and rode through the river, hoping like crazy that we didn't tip over. Only one taxi almost hit us, which wasn't bad, and then we were through it. Glad that's over! We followed Sonny's car for another 10 minutes or so, then he waved us on as he took his exit. Thanks Sonny!

We rode across the canal, once again taking the bridge of the Americas, but the rain was too intense to be happy with the view. After another few minutes, we arrived at the hotel gate, parked the bikes right up front like rockstars, and walked our dripping wet selves into the lobby. This is where the confusion started. We had booked the hotel under the impression that is was all inclusive... Turns out that wasn't quite right. If we paid approximately double, we could have all our meals and alcohol included... Not worth it. Needless to say, we weren't happy. Armando, the front desk guy, was pretty chill though. He understood our issue and did the best he could - he cancelled the remaining nights' reservations, moved us up to the 17th floor, and gave us an ocean view. Not too shabby. We moved into the hotel room, hung up our stuff to dry, and relaxed at the hotel for a couple hours.

Today was also the day that our friend Mitch arrived. He had a week off of work so he decided to fly down and meet us in Panama City. After his flight landed that evening, he taxied to the hotel, set up camp, and then we decided it was time to have some fun. We knew some girls who were hanging out at a bar in town, so we cabbed over and met up with them. Luna's Castle, a hostel/bar combo, was pretty busy and quite a lot of fun. Lina, Anna, Hanna, and Johanna had saved us a couple seats, so we introduced Mitch to everybody and ordered some cervezas. After a couple drinks, we decided to wander and check out somewhere else.

Cruising the streets for a bit led us to nowhere in particular, until we heard some loud music coming from behind a weird black curtain thing. You couldn't have not checked it out! Walking in got us a bunch of stares... we were clearly the only gringos who had stepped foot into this place in the last couple months. It was a semi-outdoor area with weird lighting and a very interesting vibe. The loud music was played through blown speakers which sounded grimy at best, and it was all accompanied by a guy screaming into a microphone like a "proper" rap MC. It was absolutely hilarious. After standing around and dancing for a bit (while clearly looking out of place), a guy came up to us and offered to translate the Spanish lyrics for us. He also showed us some dance moves - some legitimate ones, and others more along the lines of "what kind of stupid things can I get these gringos to do?" After an hour or two at this place, it was again time to find something new to do.

Not too sure of where to go, we all tried to keep an eye out for a bar or something else interesting. We found a guy who wanted to sell us beers from the street for way too much money, and we found a bunch of other guys who just wanted to talk to the pretty girls... so we kept on going! Eventually we made it to the beachwalk, where we could see the skyline and the ocean all at once. It was pretty cool. We got to talking about Swedish traditions (Hanna and Lina were Swedish) and soon enough we were shown some traditional dance moves from Midsummer. By now we were getting pretty hungry, so we hit the road again. We got to a greasy looking fast food place called Pio Pio and ordered some chicken. It took way too long to be made (causing the Europeans some stress) but eventually we got it... and it was just about as bad as we expected. Oh well. After the crappy meal, it was time to call it a night. Jumping into cabs and falling asleep on the way home, we eventually hit the hay at nearly 5am. What a heck of a night. Tomorrow will be slow.

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