Cartagena to Panama City 15 Nov 2005

Great food and wine in Casco Viejo, Panama City

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Departure from Colombia was a relatively easy affair. The young anti-drug policeman was more interested in learning about our flying adventure than checking our luggage for drugs. He didn’t even give the luggage that we had taken out of the plane to use in Cartagena more than a cursory inspection.

There was low cloud on the approach to Panama City, and the light was poor for filming the canal. As in Cartagena, we were greeted by a whole army of officials, from agricultural inspectors, to customs officials, to anti-drug police, together with their dog, this time a delightful cocker spaniel. When I asked what the dog did when he actually found drugs, they laughed (obviously realizing that I was too ignorant to be a drug dealer) and said the dog would stop moving and stay still in front of the offending item of luggage.

In the flight operations office, we were greeted by friendly Alexander Smith, who told us with a smile that we really ought to have advised them of our arrival in Panama 24 hours in advance. We apologised and said we would do the necessary in time for our return flight to Panama in December.

It started to rain quite heavily so we decided to stay put for the night and continue on to the San Blas islands the following morning. We stayed at La Estancia, an excellent b&b on a hill only 5 minutes drive from Marco Gelabert airport. There we met an American couple who are building a house in the countryside and occasionally come into Panama City to order building material. Disgusted with the Bush administration, they had left the USA to retire in Panama. We also met a Dane who has been living in the USA for about 40 years.

We ate a truly excellent and copious 7-8 (? – I lost count) course meal at Manolo Caracol restaurant in the Casco Viejo district of Panama City. It is run by a Spaniard and the Spanish red wine was the best we’d ever tasted.

The friendly antidrug police agent in Cartagena checking our plane for drugs on departure

Departing Cartagena with a view of La Popa hill (shaped like the stern of a boat)

On the approach to Marcos Gelabert airport (Albrook) with the Puente de las Americas and the Pacific entrance to the Panama canal

Enjoying some of the best wine and food we ever tasted in Manolo Caracol restaurant, Casco Viejo, Panama City

JAlbum 6.0 Copyright: Angela & Flemming PEDERSEN

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