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Current location: Voyager International Hostel, Panama City, Panama

05.22.07

Price of beer in a bar: US$0.80
Song currently stuck in my head: Some Scissor Sisters track whose name
I don´t know.   The album reminds me of when you read about MIT kids
that create some intricate and highly effective way to, like, chill
beer in 3 seconds or something.  Clearly the work of genius, mildly
amusing for about a minute, and ultimately of no concern to me
whatsoever.

It´s pouring rain in Panama City, and I´m a little hungover.  The
Brits that I met on the bus decided to do it up last night in a proper
fashion,  and some Utila friends that were unexpectedly on my balcony
came along.

I spent a large portion of the week in Nicaragua on the beach.  They
have a lot of beaches there; some for swimming, some for surfing, most
for illicit cocaine trade.  I only participated in the first two
myself.  Surfing has left me with nasty bruises, open skin, a slight
limp, and an overwhelming thirst for more.  Chris, from my open water
diving class, gave me some pointers and I spent the rest of my time
futilely slamming into a piece of fiberglass.  There are pictures, but
I don´t have them.  I hope to get them.  Then I´ll share them.  I was
in San Juan del Sur, a town that required an outsourced Japanese firm
to clean it up.  They´ve done a bang up job, it´s gorgeous now.  2
years ago no one would get near that water, now tourists plunge in
first thing in the morning.  Construction has occur ed everywhere,
there´s now a developed infrastructure of shuttles, overpriced meals,
sunset drink specials and incredibly surly service.  Honestly these
people are pissed when you pay them.  They roll their eyes and argue
with you if you don´t have exact change.  They seem to have learned
everything there is to know about bilking gringos from the Costa
Ricans (whose gringo dollars they are feasting on) except the part
about being happy to get paid.  Regularly shop clerks just told me
¨don´t worry about paying, just come back later when you have smaller
bills¨.  They could go get change, they just don´t want to.  They´d
rather give shit away for free then walk next door to brake a note
that´s less than 50% more than your total.

Now I´m here.  I often describe this city as ¨Miami without all the
Miami bullshit¨, and I stand by that description.  I loved this place
when I was here years ago and it only seems to have improved in my
absence.  It really is the only central american city one need concern
one´s self with.  My hostel is a bit of faded glory, fast
deteriorating into intollerablility, but no worries.  Someone opened a
competing and incredibly similar place next door.  My plan is to hang
out in the city and drop over to some islands on both coasts, then fly
on to South America and meet up with Dan, my second most hikingest
friend who will be there with friends on holiday.  Sarah is slated to
land in Lima later in the month, so I won´t stray too far from there
until after that.

I only get 30 minutes of internet free here at the hostel, and I´m
quite hungry, so I´m going to sign off.  Take care, stay cool and have
a great summer.

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