We overstayed Panama roughly with 30 days. It was an interesting time period with lots of sweat and nerves, filled with paperwork and uncertainty. With all that there was plenty to lay the camera lens on, actually more than I expected. Panama is a beautiful country, but as with any other country in this world, it has its positive and negative sides. There is no perfect place in this world and I doubt there has ever been.
A last walk around in downtown with my camera through the concrete jungle created in this city which no less sign of globalization than any other major city. As I discussed with another traveler the other day who started the America this America that thing, my answer was simple “I see no difference anymore”. Look at Frankfurt, Dallas, Vienna, Panama, Singapore, Tokyo, Beijing, they all look the same. Everybody is building concrete-steel-glass high-rises these days, sprinkled in between with the same fast food chains, malls and streets filled with endless traffic and nervous, apathetic people behind the wheel, checking their smart phones, rushing home to watch the same telenovelas. A small Mayan village in Guatemala had the same cheap-crap action movies on cable TV as in Panama or New York. We all complain about it and we all living it. Catch 22 is true.
The interesting part in travel is the nature, history and ruins, people and tradition, at least whatever is left of the traditions. You really need to go out of the way some places, drive deep into the country to observe some traditional stuff. Even a good portion of the crafts and souvenirs of Central America are made in China or India. You never know what is authentic in the souvenir shops, unless you go to the places where there are made, usually small villages.
It took almost three years to get to the bottom of North America, in which time frame I asked numerous times “why exactly I’m doing this?” and “WTF I’m doing here exactly?”. I could have asked the same question while picking up my new smartphone, or newest big screen TV and working in a cubicle while paying my mortgage. Somehow there is no perfect lifestyle and best decision in life. You will regret probably anyways some things that you did or didn’t do, either way you live. We’re living depressed times when everybody is healing and most of the people have no clue from what. First we want something so badly, then we want to get away from it.
Tomorrow we shall ship the dog, board the plane and sleep on another continent; and cross fingers, toes and dog paws that Big White, our van, will arrive safe and sound to its destination with NYK (so far two days late already) and the bail-out from Guayaquil port will be less painful than the drop off in Manzanillo.
Let’s wrap with this:
“Day after day I’m more confused
But I look for the light through the pouring rain
You know that’s a game that I hate to lose
Oh I’m feeling strange, ain’t it a shame
Ohh give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock n’ roll
And drift away…”