We left the United States early yesterday and arrived in Panama City late yesterday evening. It has always been our habit to fly non-stop when it is available. Our flight included a brief stop in Miami which made for a rather long travel day. The saving grace of the long day was that based on the way and time we made our reservation, it cost us barely any more to fly 1st class. Our experience in the 1st class cabin will make it hard to fly coach again. It really pays to pay attention to the details, and Jen is a master at that. Traveling 1st class allows each of us to take 2 pieces of luggage weighing up to 70# each as well as a carry on and personal item. 1st class passengers also have great food and beverages all the way, including access to the Admirals club while waiting for the flight and on layovers. The moral to the story is that a very long travel day passed by quickly. This trip we were flying on American Airlines. American provided a very pleasant travel experience, so far. We will be sure to give an update once we get back home. Our good friends will be coming to Panama for a short visit while we are here. They will be traveling on Copa Airlines, which is based out of Panama. They have a non-stop from Chicago. We will try to also get feedback from their travel experience. We have found that travelling between the US and Panama can be expensive and have limited options. We are hoping to have a few of our new friends on the ground here, weigh in on the subject with tips and tricks they may have picked up to make the frequent travel between Panama and the US easier. Our flight from Miami to Panama last night provided us with some great views of the sunset in the clouds over the Gulf of Mexico. We are sharing a picture we got through the window of the plane.
The next Issue of note is our hotel. We have committed to give honest and accurate review of our experiences. We chose the Central Park Hotel for it’s proximity to our immigration attorney and The Department of Immigration. We were also paying attention to the hotel reviews and cost. We were told to expect to spend up to 10 days in the city. That being said we made the reservation for 10 days. We got a junior suite. This is a 2 bedroom 2 bath suite with a kitchenette. There is a balcony and each room has air conditioning. The cost was just over $60 per day. The room is dated and not in great repair, but with all due respect, you get what you pay for. We are not disappointed. The pool is across the street and up 5 flights of stairs, so it is less than convenient. The problems we have had, however, have been quickly addressed. We are not sharing pictures, because you will not be impressed. We are looking forward to checking into our condo in Coronado on Saturday. Our condo is more than an hour outside the city so we will return to this hotel room on Sunday night for our meetings at immigration on Monday. We are hoping to finish our business quickly so that we can check out of this hotel early and start exploring the country next week.
We have been impressed with the responsiveness of our immigration attorney. We have been hesitant to recommend her before our first actual meeting. We spent most of the morning with her and her assistant putting the documentation in order and being prepped for our initial visit to Immigration. We are pleased to tell you all that she is quickly proving her value to this process. Should you be considering establishing a Panamanian Visa we are highly recommending Mayra Lambolgia De Ruzzi, Attorney at law. We are happy to share her contact information if you will message us or send an e-mail.
Communication continues to be a problem for us. We are going to make learning more Spanish a priority sooner rather than later. We have been to Taco Bell where we had a hard time ordering. We have also had two experiences with taxi drivers. The taxi experience has been good so far. Neither driver had much English, but we had someone else arrange the rides both times and had prearranged fares. This makes moving about the city stress free. The cabs here charge by zone not meter. Our ride to the attorneys office was $6 and the return was $5. We are still not sure that we will get brave enough to drive here in the city. It seems that using cabs is a great alternative. We have also been told that the bus system is cheap and easy.
Expect more frequent posts. We will report on our experience at immigration and perhaps a walking tour of Casco Viejo soon. Please, like and share our post. We also are interested in comments and suggestions.
Jen and Greg