Cindy and I love to get away for brief reprieve from the isolation of the jungle and into the big city. Escaping to Panama City for two or three days in a month breaks up our Shelter Bay Marina routine a bit. So, we took the marina shuttle into Colon, rented a car for a few days, and drove from the Atlantic to the Pacific in a little over an hour. We may not have gone, but I needed to check with the Yanmar dealer in Panama City to see if they had the raw water cooling pumps needed to repair my engines. (Alas, they only had one, and I needed two.) Since we had to drive over, we figured we may as well make the best of it.
This time, we stayed in the Doubletree, just a few blocks from where we usually stay. It’s not quite the Waldorf Astoria, but it was plenty nice. Of course, it’s not all that difficult to please someone who lives on a boat. Pleased we were, though! Our first afternoon and evening in the city, we relaxed at the hotel and went to Gauchos, an Argentinian steak house, for dinner. The filet was succulent and flavorful. Mmmm!
The next afternoon we taxied into Casco Viejo (the old town) for a stroll through the narrow streets before eating dinner at a wonderful tapas place called Tántalos. It has a youthful vibe and is decorated in a modern, artsy manner. The shrimp mac and cheese was my favorite, while Cindy’s was the broiled goat cheese. Mmmm, again!
On our third day, we walked a couple of miles to the Multicentro Mall, where we hung out for a little while. Then, in the evening, we headed back to Casco Viejo for an evening of jazz. Our intention was to return to Tántalos for dinner, but they were closed for a private party. So, we enjoyed Italian at the restaurant, L’Osteria, a few doors down. After dinner, we wandered the charming streets of the old town for awhile before arriving at Danilo’s Jazz Club. The club is owned and run by Danilo Peréz, a grammy nominated jazz pianist who has played extensively with Dizzy Gillespie and Wayne Shorter. He is a graduate of Berklee School of Music in Boston, where our daughter, Mariah, attended. The night’s performer was Idania Dowman, Panama’s “Lady of Jazz.” It was the perfect way to conclude a wonderful three-day excursion into the big city.