I can't believe our vacation is over!! It felt like we planned it forever and its already over! I loved it and honestly I was really dreading every minute of it. From the 4 hour plane trip to my lack of Spanish. I also knew we were going to meet alot of Darien's family and I was a little nervous about that as well.
Our first plane ride down to Panama was pretty uneventful and I am really glad! Although I love to fly I honestly almost had a panic attack when we were getting ready to take off. I know I have no control and that I am more likely to die in a car wreck than a plane crash but as soon as the car started to move I clutched to Noah thinking my babies are on this plane and we could all die. It was pretty irrational but still I was so scared until we got in the air and I relaxed a little. After 4 hours we finally landed and the boys were exhausted! Going through customs then immigration I really thought I was going to die from exhaustion and heat since there was obviously no AC in the airport. The boys were grumpy and running around like crazy chickens then came meeting the first round of family at 9pm.
We finally got into the rental cars after Darien argued with the Budget car people who were trying to charge us WAY too much. Finally on the road and the boys were asleep within seconds. We drove to the bed and breakfast which was about 15 minutes from the airport and I got to see a little of this new city at night. Next morning the hotel had a yummy breakfast prepared for us and then we headed out to Gamboa. Gamboa is about 25 minutes from where we were staying and this is where Darien grew up along with his sister Caryn who was along with us. It was definatly hot! The boys were still pretty exhausted since they woke up at 730 after not going to bed till 1030 or 1130 our time.
We did a little sightseeing after Gamboa then headed back to the hotel to put the kids to bed. Nap wasn't exactly what they wanted but oh well we tried! That night we drove to the causeway and at dinner at a little restaurant by the water with Marybell and her husband and 2 kids. The oldest of her kids was 6 and Conner flirted the entire dinner with her. It was very funny to see him flirting and he is only 3!! After this long day after traveling we were ready for bed and good thing because we had a 4 hour drive to Las Tablas the next day.
I thought I would need my book for this 4 hours trip to Las Tablas which is where Darien's grandfather Abuelo Chago lived along with his aunt Elsie. Of course I didn't open my book the entire drive because it was too interesting looking around at all of this new stuff that I had never seen before. The boys did very well all things considered and after getting pulled over by Panama police who then my FIL had to bribe so we didn't get a ticket we finally arrived around 4.
Conner and Noah ran around while Darien flipped out that they were going to get into something that would kill them. His grandfather lives in a farm area where people don't really have internet, phones or TV. The house sits right across the street from a small bar that is typically just for men if we didn't know the owner. His grandfathers sister lives right behind his house and owns a little store that sold coke in a bottle for .25! The beer that the bar sold was well over 20 oz and they were only a dollar! My favorite part by far was sitting on the back porch just listening to everyone talk. Life out there was very simple. The rooster woke me up the first night at 3am bc apparently he was confused on the time. The boys chased chickens around the front yard who had excaped from the neighbors backyard, we relaxed most of the time and tried not to think about the heat then when Saturday night rolled around the rain came.
Panama is known for its heat and for 6 months out of the year they have a rainy season that is then followed by the dry season and it was just our luck that we happened to be there the first night of the rainy season. Around 9pm the rain started and didn't stop. The first time it rains apparently the transformers aren't really ready for it and they tend to stop working which means no power at all. We had an air conditioning unit in our room so we could sleep at night and that went out. So with not much else to do we decided to go to bed at 10 and I was rudely awoken about 3 hours later drenched in sweat! The power still hadn't come back on and the room was definatly starting to get really hot. About that time Conner woke up having pooped... No lights, which means no water, no ac and a poopy child... Darien graciously took care of it because honestly I couldn't see a hand in front of my face without my glasses and there wasn't a flashlight in our room which made the situation worse.
Darien finally got Conner cleaned up and back in bed so we could go back to sleep which we did and I awoke about 30 minutes later to power! The AC was back on! Praise the LORD!! oh wait 30 minutes later the power was back off... 90 degrees at 5am and humid as all get out does not make a happy mommy...
Sunday was pretty and we hung out around Las Tablas enjoying the small town. There have only got to be a few thousand people who live around this town yet there are about 20 different restaurants that sell the same food. Please tell me why? There are also 4 lavaderia's or laundry mats that have 5 or 6 washers but only 1 dryer! WHY? I know most of these people hand wash their clothes then line dry them but during the rainy season its so humid that nothing dries! OH well, gave us an excuse to go back into town to find an internet cafe which there are about 4 or 5 of those as well.
Monday we drove to Pedasi and visited the beach where the boys had a ton of fun getting soaked and very sandy. I really enjoyed this town because there were Americans living there, a beach, yummy food and you still got the Panama feel from the locals. I very much want to move here...
We ate at an American owned restaurant and the only way you could tell was because A it was called something Gringo's and B they had ranch dressing as a dip with EVERYTHING! We headed back to the house and decided that Tuesday since it was our last day we would go find a pool and get some sun since we hadn't really gotten much on our trip even though it was really sunny most of the trip and awefully hot. Tuesday we headed out at 10 to get a Panama hat downtown, get a flat tire fixed, pick up our tried laundry and then head to the pool. Once we managed to get to the pool we found out it didn't open till 2 so we drove around trying to find things to do to pass the time. We took the kids back into Las Tablas and ate lunch then actually got the tire fixed which cost us $2 then ran back to the house to drop off the leftover pizza to Darien's dad and finally back to the pool!
The pool was wonderful! Even though the boys hadn't had a nap they were so excited to play in the water that we stayed there till almost 6. It was wonderful and just a really great way to end our trip. The next day we packed and said our goodbye's then got back into the car for our 4 hours drive back into Panama City for our last night. I was more sad than I thought I would be. I really enjoyed our trip and honestly want to pick up and move there. To be able to emerse my kids into a different place, learn amazing things and live in a place thats laid back and beautiful! Plus I could see how easily I could open a restaurant, or open a small shop. Our trip was so amazing I am counting the days that we can go back. Im sure Darien is thinking the same thing since his grandfather is 89.
The flight back was a little more tiring but only because we had gotten up at 4am then the kids at 4:30 and they didn't sleep at all in the plane or on the drive back to my inlaws. I am really glad to be home but I miss Panama and all the friends I made there. Don't worry Panama! We will be back!!