We had nine hours in Panama City en route to Costa Rica. We had done our research and thought it would be easy to go and see the Panama Canal using public transport. We were very wrong!
How to have an epic fail:
Step 1: Start off on the wrong foot by leaving Piako in our checked luggage, thus making us unable to take his photo in every country we visit.
Step 2: Discover upon arrival that the buses from the airport rely on using a bus card…which can’t be bought from the airport.
Step 3: Go out to the bus stop anyway and ask someone to let us give them money to use their card. Get turned down and miss a bus.
Step 4: Find someone who actually doesn’t want money and let us use their bus card for free. Stay on the bus as it travels around 20-30km total distance…and takes three hours to do so.
Step 5: Have a tiny elderly lady order Reuben to move so she can sit in his seat (something wrong with the identical free seat opposite him?). She then falls asleep against my shoulder. Multiple times. Notice that people are laughing at me. Fail to see the humour in the situation.
Step 6: Arrive at the next bus station. Argue with each other about whether or not to take a taxi. Wander around aimlessly while trying to make a decision.
Step 7: Take a taxi and arrive at the canal at 1 minute to 5:00. Discover that the canal closes at 5:00 and it is impossible to see the canal. Argue some more. One of us feels that seeing where the canal is located is sufficient. The other disagrees.
Step 8: Go back to the bus station. Get a bus to go back to the airport. Find out after an hour in traffic that this is the wrong bus.
Step 9: Get off the bus and find a taxi. Drive for less than five minutes and then feel the impact of a bus hitting the taxi at slow speeds. Listen to the bus driver and our taxi driver scream at each other. Decide to find another taxi. Hope not to die crossing the street.
Step 10: Try to find another taxi. Refuse the first two as they are overcharging. Finally find a taxi and go back to the airport.
Step 11: Realise we have spent $50 doing nothing all day. Argue. Laugh. Chalk it up as an epic fail, part of the realities of travel, and decide to get some dinner.