January 1, 2010:
I stepped off the plane and humidity rolled across my skin like butter, leaving a glaze that would stick with me for most of the first week. It’s my first time in a tropical climate and the humid air was almost suffocating despite it being 9pm…
“Nearly 12 hours ago I left Denver international airport with a long layover in Atlanta, where the high for the day was 35 degrees F. Now I’m a short distance from the equator and the temperature at night is approaching 80 degrees. However, the weather isn’t unbearable. Since it’s so humid, I rarely have to drink water unlike Colorado. The locals wear long pants, but I’m sticking with my shorts and cheap flip-flops for now.
The country is beautiful, everything is green and reminds me somewhat of Florida. The airport is surrounded by palm trees and other tropical plants, but desert yuccas and such are also a staple here (you can even eat them, they taste like potatoes).
Panama’s most famous feature is, of course, the canal, which was constructed by the U.S. and given back to the Panamanian government in the 1990’s. The currency here is the Balboa, which is fixed to the U.S. dollar, so I don’t have to change over any currency before leaving. For $26 dollars I will get a private shuttle from the airport to Decameron Hotel and Resort, one of the largest and newest in the country, in Farallon where I’ll meet my friend Daniella and begin our adventure.
I should probably tell you how I got here. While I was studying in Spain, I met Daniella and the four other girls I’m traveling with; Tia, Marissa, Christina, and Katie. Dani tentatively invited us all to come to Panama with her back then, and this past fall came through on her word, saying that if we bought a plane ticket we could stay at her Mom’s house in Buenaventura, Farallon. The plane ticket was $700, but the opportunity to stay for nothing and practice my Spanish was too good to pass up.
As I write this I’m seated in the airport in Panama, waiting for Christina. When she gets here we’re taking the shuttle together to Farallon.
Happy New Year!”