When Kgördee told me we might be going to an island off of Panama I didn't really believe him. Apparently he and a few friends were going to be working on a website for another friend as a trade. The trade was for a week long stay in a villa on the Island of Bastimentos on the Caribbean side of Panama in exchange for SEO work on a website promoting Red Frog Resort. Not only did I not really believe we were going to go but I didn't think I would really want to go. Mostly I was scared of the big spiders, the unending heat, ridiculous humidity and the thought of leaving the kids for nine days. So I didn't think about it too much as the months pasted until we started looking at tickets.
After another couple had been to Bocas Del Toro (the archipelago that Bastimentos belongs to) as part of the trade and had come back again, things got a little more real. They gave us and the couple traveling with us (Eric and Holly, Kgordee used to share an office with Eric at Stores) a run down on what to expect and what we should make time for while we are in Panama.
Somehow we were able to figure out babysitters for nine days (thank you to everyone who helped, I know it wasn't easy) and on September 22nd we were on a plane headed for Paradise.
Our first day of vacation was mostly spent at airports or in the air and fairly uneventful. We landed in Panama City after the sun went down, and met our driver Carlos. Carlos has lived all over Central and South America for most of his life though he was born in Pennsylvania and his children live in the States. The more we got to know Carlos the more we liked him; he has lead a very full life and has some unbelievable stories to tell about his time in Venezuela and Panama.
Carlos gave us an amazing, albeit brief history of Panama City as he wove in and out of traffic in his van. Carlos took us on a small tour of old town in Panama City. We walked around the heart of the old colonial city seeing the dilapidated buildings that are in the process of being restored or renovated. Just walking through the streets it was hard to not be overwhelmed by the rich history of the city. I have been reading a book on Pirates called Under the Black Flag on and off for the last year and most of the history takes place in the Caribbean and in Panama. It was fascinating to see and experience some of what was written about in my book and to see structures that date back to the Conquistadors. Well mostly I saw them from the car because we had so little time in Panama City, though Carlos gave us information on everything with historical value that we pasted.