Mrs. D and I made our annual winter trek to Panama for our Christmas and New Year's holidays this year. Her brother owns a condo in Bijao about 2 hours out of Panama City, on the Pacific Ocean. The place is simply amazing with a golf course, 5 swimming pools, a gorgeous beach and 95F weather. His balcony looks out right over the ocean.
Last year my doctor wouldn't let me go because I was too sick. I made it this year but my health limited my activities. My chemo medication makes me a little dizzy so I'm limited in terms of mobility. But I made the 30 yard trip to the ocean several times. Got into a swimming pool once or twice. And I was able to accompany everyone each time the gang went out for dinner - Mrs D, her mother, brother. nephew and Tante Pouine. (I started calling her that close to a decade ago because she was from Warwick - a tiny Quebec town that prides itself on creating poutine - and it stuck... the name, not the curds in the poutine, although that often sticks too.) While I brought my golf clubs, though, I wash't able to get up enough strength to play.
But I still had a great time. The weather was fabulous, the company fun, the food delicious. I got several books read while I was there and watched the NFL game of the week two weekends in a row...in Spanish. (Speaking of books, I've read 15 since November. Feel free to check out my book "page" to see what I've been perusing.) Unfortunately for me Montezuma put in an appearance and had his revenge. You might say I was beset by the Panama Poops. However I was prepared. My doctor had prescribed me an antibiotic before we left and it seemed to keep the trots in check.
As ever, we took plenty of pictures.
Our trip down was fairly uneventful. We made all of our connections from Ottawa to Toronto to Miami to Panama. And our baggage managed to keep up with us. We got up around 5am and finally arrived at the condo about 1am. Long day.
The return trip was far more interesting. It was another early morning, getting up at 3:30am because we were 2 hours away from the airport. But I don't know what it is with my American friends but my God they are preoccupied with airport security. We went through security twice in Panama, once through the country's security system and then at the gate through American Airlines security. Then it was on to Miami and, yep, through security before we could proceed to Washington. Once in Washington we made a considerable trek from the AA terminal to Air Canada's terminal but before we got there - uh, oh - security.
You know I had my belt and shoes off almost more times than I undress in an entire week. Next time suspenders and slip-ons.
But, hey, it wasn't all bad. We saw celebrities! We spotted Newt Gingrich and his wife in our waiting area in Miami. And mother Theresa (oh wait, I think she's dead) or someone from her order was on our plane.
One of Mrs D's best lines of our vacation came on the trip home. As the plane backed away from the gate in Miami it seemed to reverse a considerable distance. Mrs D looked out the window and casually commented "Wow, this pilot must be really good to back up so far. He must have huge rear-view mirrors." And then she lost it, giggling at herself for the next half hour.
What a shock when we arrived home. We'd gone from 95F/35C and sand for two weeks to -4F/-20C and over 2 feet of snow!
Canadian winters suck!