Tag Archives: adventures

Ventures in Panama

11 Feb

I decided to go to Panama because I didn’t have any good reasons not to.
Worrying about life is a really pointless yet still consuming American past time and sometimes a little escapism lends itself well to perspective.

I had the opportunity to go with a group from my Brazilian Jui Jitsu gym which, surprise, Ive been training at since October. I’m pretty deep into it, but that’s another story.

Anyways, a week ago I packed my passport and my Gi (one of those fancy fighting robes) and loaded a plane for Panama City. We took off and hearing the announcements in another language released me. I, like others of my species, have a tendency to get caught up in our own private worlds. Boarding a plane with a bunch of strangers, bound for a country that doesn’t know of your existence is pretty freeing. Also, I don’t know that many people in LA and if there is a way to meet cool people, I figured this was it.

The airport in Panama was smaller than a lot of second homes. We passed through customs and no one was confiscated, though it dawned on me that I was the only female. Not terribly shocking as most of Brazilian Jui Jitsu is either dudes or really tough girls so I wasn’t going to complain. We passed out the airport doors into the warm blanket of a Panamanian night. Our hosts, more guys, handed out “Balboas” a local beer, and Pipa, coconut water a damn tasty post flight combination.

We drove up to Panama City in a couple of cars, everything already oozing of laid back vibes. A two lane highway suspended thirty feet above the ground winded through the city like the Disney ride and I grinned from new discovery.
We got dropped off at our hotel and were told to meet back in the lobby in 15 minutes. It felt great not to make any decisions. Stepping outside the lobby I inhaled the sweet pungent odors of tropical streets. Parrots gossiped excitedly in large banyon like trees. Instead of feeling planted like most cities Panama has the distinct feeling of a city existing in a rainforest, albeit there is a lot more city than rainforest at this point. The canopies of the trees sprawled over the streets with dis abandonment as their roots emerged from cracks in the sidewalk like the large brazen worms from the horrible 80s movie, Tremors. I’ve always been comforted to see mother nature putting up a good fight against a manmade world, she always does so with great amounts of patience.

We made our way to the home of one of our hosts, Stephen, where some friends and dogs (redundant I know) waited us with fresh ceviche. We were staying in the middle of down town but funky little restaurants and grass lots still linger in the neighborhood. From the house we walked to a casino where we watched an MMA fight that was apparently a pretty big deal. This is definitely a new world for me and I am always amused and glad to be in surprising new environments. The mellowness of good Brazilian Jui Jitsu fighters is pretty surprising. Self deprecating humor and gentle persona seem to come along with the territory. I suppose taking the time to do something difficult and being willing to be bad at it for awhile is good for the ego. At least I hope so.