Usually a day spent in Panama City is anything but easy, but yesterday wasn't too bad. Since we had been putting off a trip to Toyota to have the car checked out, we offered to drive a friend to the airport which forced us to make the trip. Apparently Toyota has only one official repair site located not far from the airport, on a street known to locals by the comforting name of "Tumba Muerta" or "tomb of the dead." Now just because we found the repair site doesn't necessarily mean we stopped there after the airport. Clyde was just happy to have found the place and now can make an appointment to bring the car in another day. Our four wheel drive sensor apparently went out many months ago, the light stays on all the time indicating that it's engaged, but it doesn't seem to go into four wheel drive.
Our next stop was to find the office for United Airlines since we booked tickets online for a trip back to the US. Our pensionado visas entitle us to a 25% discount on airline tickets when they're purchased in Panamá. So the procedure was to buy tickets online and check off the "pay cash" option, then drive into the city to pay for the tickets at which time they would apply the discount. The discount is taken from the base price only and not off any taxes, so it's not really a full 25%. But when they showed us that $300 was being taken off the price of two tickets, we were happy. The United office which is also the office for Copa, US Air, Continental and many others owned by the same parent company, was very professional. It took just a few minutes to pay for the tickets and we were on our way.
Next we stopped at our lawyers office to pick up an English copy of some house papers that she'd been holding for months. From there we dropped my broken ring off at a jewelry store to be repaired. Kind of scary leaving an expensive ring with someone we don't know in a foreign country. Although we always had the same feeling when leaving it in the US with a jeweler too. But this gentleman comes highly recommended from our insurance agent who trusts him and says he has a good reputation in the city.
A stroll through Multi Plaza Mall to find GNC for some Calcium Citrate and protein powder. We are continually amazed that in this poor, third world country stores like Louie Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, Dolce & Gabbana, Coach, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Prada, Tommy Hilfiger, J Crew, Tiffany's, Brooks Brothers, Levi, Nike, Versace, Burberry, Sworovski, Fendi, Crocs and hundreds more survive. But survive they do so apparently there are lots of Panamanians with money that want to impress people wearing designer labels, just like those snobs back in the states. I'll just be happy wearing my $2 shoes and $1 shirts and save the money for other things.
Last stop was Price Smart, a members only club like those in the states. Time to stock up on some things before heading home for the night with a cooler full of chicken and fish, and a car full of other stuff. Clyde always cringes at the money we spend there, but it's stuff we won't have to buy for a while at local stores and better quality too.
Once back at our casa we enjoyed a quiet night of relaxing as another day comes to an end....along the gringo trail.