Villa Marina Lodge, where I spent my last month-and-a-half on Venao Beach, is really part of a larger investment made by a sizeable group of Panamanian investors (Grupo VerdeAzul). To thank me for my help, the manager kindly gave me a fabulous goodbye gift: two nights w/breakfast at one of their hotels during my stop in Panama City. So I am finishing off my visit through Central America at a 26th hotel—a ‘bonus’ this time: a stay at the Tryp by Wyndham Panama Albrook Mall.
Lightning Visit of Panama’s Capital
- Strolls through « Casco Viejo », that part of the old city where the first colonists settled upon arrival (before everything burned down in front of pirates): there are still lots of lovely murals, and an area being completely renovated and transformed … does this mean we will see « boutique hotels » at each street corner a year or two from now?
- Spectacular sunrises and sunsets off the new city’s skyline as seen from my hotel window.
- Visit to the must-see Canal Museum (that I glimpsed from my bus) that reminds us that one must learn to exercise humility, even when in a phase of enormous success (especially!) … nothing is a given (referring to the Frenchman Lesseps, originator of the Panama Canal).
- I would have liked to visit the Biodiversity Museum, but there is no time … I hear that it is quite fun to see! Oh well, another time!
The Crossing Colon-Cartagena
As it is not possible to get from Panama to Colombia by land, here are the options:
- a five-day sailboat cruise stopping in some Caribbean islands (US$500);
- a plane ride ($300); or
- a ferry ride: a brand-new link just created a month ago (boy! Am I lucky! What fantastic timing!): ferryxpress.net: ($120 one-way, for the cheapest mode of travel—a seat … not a cabin!)
At three in the afternoon on Monday I board the ferry in Colon; we finally cast off at 8pm, are scheduled to land at 1pm, but we finally arrive at 6:30pm (that’s ok; only 5-1/2 hours late !!!) … What’s important is to arrive safely and in one piece (the sea was a bit wild during the night), and since I am a sleepy-head, the trip ends up being for me a looonnnngggg snooze on the carpet at the foot of my seat. A few encounters, a few exchanged remarks on life: with an American from Alaska, a South-African engaged to a Brazilian lady, a Norwegian engaged to a Colombian girl … A few moments for me to reflect and think while surveying the horizon … it is just like in movies … it is that particular moment in my own movie when I go from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2, when I think back—already with a bit of nostalgia—to all those beautiful emotions I experienced in Central America, and when I open my heart to all the coming surprises that the future has in store for me in South America. Life is truly beautiful. I am part of a voyage, and I savour every fraction of every moment! In a few hours, I will be meeting up with my good friend Isa, and I am happy. Welcome to Colombia!!!
Translated by my friend Hélène Masson
A few photos:
A few videos: