Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 85 (354km): Rush to Panama City

Our computer was dead and our best chance of getting it sorted out was getting to Panama City. We had planned to take 2 days to get there from Playa Venao but now we would have to get a move on. We were on a mission.

We stopped in Pedasi at a juice bar to do some internet research and plan strategy. First we needed to find a place to stay, second we needed to find out places we could buy a new computer or get ours fixed. Working in our favor is the fact that Panama City is the electronics hub of Central America (most central americans come to Panama to buy electronics). We had the directions to a Hostel Daryll and Angela had recommended to us so that was plan A. Off we drove to Panama City. It was a really windy ride all day long. It's very tiring battling wind, especially with our small screens. Maybe a small preview for Patagonia?

Oh Panama, so charming with it's lack of signs. We would have completely missed getting back on the Panamerican highway if we hadn't physically been there before (since we came that way 4 days ago). No signs, very unassuming. Once on the Panamerican highway it was cruising time. The road is pretty good and there were two lanes most of the way so it was pretty easy to cover ground. Once we got closer to the capital things got a little crazy and we probably took a longer route than necessary. Then the real fun began.

Once we crossed the Bridge of the Americas (the bridge that crosses the canal) things got complicated. Alberto was asking taxi drivers and we were trying to follow the directions we had for the hostel. At this point our communication systems had completely quit so we couldn't even talk to each other. It was a crazy mess but with a lot of effort we made it near the hostel. I walked up the one way road to sort out the hostel. Unfortunately it was all booked up. What!?! After all that work to get there. This is the first time we've been somewhere that didn't have room. So I tried 2 other hotels on the street where we were parked. Also completely full. Hmmm. I don't like where this is going.

While I was inquiring at hotels a bike police officer had stopped to talk to Alberto. He offered to lead us to the Hotel district (which was nearby) so we followed him. It was a little insane as he cut off traffic and ran red lights. Putting out his hand to stop traffic then motioning for us to follow. He left us in front of 2 hotels. One was a sleazy cheap one, and one was fancy. It was such a long day and I felt like I couldn't do anymore searching. Plus my neck was killing me after battling the wind all day long. We chose the fancy hotel (which included breakfast). We didn't want to waste time finding a hotel. We wanted to start searching for a fix to our computer problem.

Once we had unpacked we took a cab to a nearby mall. The mall was pretty big and had tons of selection. One of the stores even carried Acer brand computers but not what we needed. We were leaving Panama later in the week so we didn't have time to get the computer fixed. We needed a replacement. The mall trip was unsuccessful and we were back at square one.

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