The trip Vienna – Amsterdam – Panama City was smooth, though very long. The arrival in Panama turned out to be one of the easiest I had ever experienced. Not only was the plane 20 minutes ahead of schedule, but within 20 minutes I had recovered my luggage and breezed through immigration & customs.
The transfer from the airport was also especially easy and cheap: once you leave the terminal, you run into official cab drivers, easily recognizable in their white uniforms. I let them know that I was looking for a “collectivo” to the city centre. Within minutes they found two other people to share the cab, which lowered the price down to 11 USD per person for a 35 km ride. This trip was more like moving in a low-flying plane through rush hour traffic. So no later than 70 minutes after touch down, I was at my hostel.
What a night! I seem to have lost the ability to understand what the Lonely Planet really means when they so warmly recommend a place, and above all to read between the lines! Luna’s Castle is definitely the right place if you are here for some serious partying, but surely not if you want to rest and relax! Even a major jetlag would not help me to battle the heat / the humidity (there was no air conditioning in the dorm) and the noise of the party animals until very late at night.
So I fled on an early bus to David, the gateway to Mono Feliz on the Punta Burica for some “off the beaten tracks” Panamanian experience.
The travel from Panama City to David was a boring 7 hour bus ride with the air conditioning maxed up. The freezing temperatures in the bus were a hard to beat déjà vu of some notorious bus rides in Venezuela. Of course such pleasant conditions do not come alone – a series of bad movies was played at full volume. Only one short moment was truly entertaining, when the driver by accident chose the wrong video and started playing a porno. He soon recognized his mistake and quickly switched to another horrid blockbuster. A few American young ladies on the bus could not believe their eyes!