With all the travels we have taken and I have written about, I decided that I would deem Tuesdays as “Travelog Tuesday”. I may write about visiting other parts of Panama which may take 2 to 3 Tuesdays, or I may just write about my travels and observations around town. But whatever the subject it, I will probably write it on a Tuesday. Of course, you can read about our travels anytime.
We did take off on another traveling adventure last week. Mikkel again had business appointments in Coronado, Portobelo, and Panamá City, so I decided to tag along with him since his business partner was not coming with him this time. I was a little leery about going since our last trip together left me with a not so great memory of the border crossing. I just have to chalk it up to another adventure and focus on the enjoyable times in Costa Rica. This time we weren’t crossing any borders, but we still would be going somewhere we had never been to before – Portobelo.
Anyway, our own car has been deemed “not worth putting any more money into it; time to sell for as a ‘mechanic’s special’.” It just keeps randomly overheating (sometimes we can drive to Chitré with no problems, sometimes we can only drive half way to Las Tablas and it overheats). We have taken it to different mechanics and have had everything that could possibly be the answer replaced, fixed, etc. They can’t find the problem. So a friend here in Pedasí who used to work on Hondas in the U.S. looked at it and deemed it as such. We only drive it around the town now if we decide not to walk, and will be cleaning it up to sell as is, being honest about the problems. Maybe someone who likes to work on cars or needs parts will buy it.
In the meantime, we decided to rent a car for this trip. Fortunately, there is a travel agency, Pedasí Tours, which rents cars (Thrifty Car Rental), so we didn’t have to take a bus to another town, just walk. Here in Panama, you are required to purchase the basic liability insurance, but if you pay with a credit card that offers car rental benefits, you can decline the collision damage insurance. And being a local resident helps with the costs and expediting the process.
After acquiring the rental car and packing it up, we were off to Playa Coronado first for a 2 night stay at Express Inn. Personally I would not recommend this hotel, but for one or two nights, it sufficed. I would equate it to one step above Motel 6 in the states; the rooms are clean and larger, even the bathroom and the beds are more comfortable. But the “free” breakfast is not even edible (coffee is mud and rubber fried eggs with hot dogs in the warmer-all probably just reheated until eaten by who knows-maybe the employees). There is a pool, but watch out for that first step- it is slippery and Mikkel has a big bruise on his tush to prove it. They also do not clean your room for the 2nd night; just leave an opened closet in the hallway if you want more towels or bedding. But the price was right and we were not in Coronado for sightseeing.
Playa Coronado is about an hour’s drive from Panamá, four hours from Pedasí. Many expats have settled in this area and many live in high rise apartments in gated communities. We had come for two reasons. Mikkel has been invited to join the Coronado Beach Business Network which has meetings every Tuesday morning and this time he was the keynote speaker on entrepreneurship.
Afterwards, he was also the introductory speaker for Dr. Julie Ray, a renowned herpetologist, who was conducting a workshop on snakes in Panama. Mikkel calls her the “Jane Goodall of snakes”.
We met at the Bluwater Bistro at the Bahia in Nuevo Gorgona near Coronado. Mikkel also was allowed to set up a table to sell his maps and guides, which we did well in sales, I might add.
The business community meeting was enjoyable with lots of great interaction and support offered to business owners, and Mikkel’s 10-minute talk went very well.
Later about 23 people attended the snake workshop. I definitely learned a lot about snakes, and although I still don’t like them, I understand them more now and some differences in venomous vs. non-venomous. My fear has turned into a cautious respect to just stay away. This does not mean I throw away the machete, but I may not need to use it every time a snake comes into our garden (which we have only seen 4 snakes since we moved in).
We were served a delicious lunch by the Bistro afterwards as we sat overlooking the ocean. Had a nice dinner that night at La Teca Restaurant located in one of the shopping centers in Coronado. Next morning we took off for Portobelo, but not before stopping at McDonalds for breakfast where we happen to see one of the people who was at the Business network meeting the day before, along with someone we knew from Pedasí, a pool contractor. He asked about Mikkel’s business and actually purchased some guides from him. Although I must add that this McDonald’s has the slowest service of any I have been to, the visit became profitable for Mikkel. (By the way, if you are interested in information about the Panama guides and maps from Mikkel’s business, you can go to: www.expatimports.com.)
Our traveling adventures to Portobelo to be continued on the next “Travelog Tuesday”.