When travelling internationally for work, I usually leave on a Saturday. Undoubtedly, this means that Friday is full of chaos, no matter how prepared I think I am.
And this trip to Panama was no exception. Thankfully, the chaos subsided once I got to the hotel, unpacked, and ate lunch! Although I’m pretty sure this week is going to be one of those “on from the minute you get up to the minute your head hits the pillow” kind of weeks. Wish me luck!
I worked a full day on Friday, preparing last minute things for the conference and ensuring my own travel plans were set.
In the evening, after Vishnu left for work, I headed to the salon to get my nails done. I usually don’t splurge on manicures, never mind gel ones, unless a work related event calls for it.
I wish my nails always looked like this!
By the time I got home, I realized that I had just under three hours to do a load of laundry, clean the apartment, and pack. My flight was at 7 am the next morning, which meant I had to be out of the apartment by 5:30, which meant I had to be up at 4.
It took me a while, but it all got done. And I’m pretty sure I was asleep exactly five seconds after my head hit my pillow!
I naively thought that I’d be up for a quick 30 minute Barre3 online workout before my flight, so I set my alarm for 4 am. I even set up my mat, dumbbells, ball and towel in the living room. Ummm…so yeah…I didn’t work out! It’s the thought that counts, right?!
Even though I had an extra 30 minutes in the morning, I still ran around like a chicken with its head cut off. Somehow I managed to get out the door by 5:30.
Now, you guys know that I’m a little weird about airports and travelling. The one thing I’m usually adamant about is giving myself plenty of time. I’d rather sit and wait an hour than risk being late.
Well, I definitely wasn’t thinking straight for this trip because I didn’t give myself much time at all. By the time I got to the airport and paid my driver, it was 5:50. This would be 100% fine if the line to drop your bag off wasn’t so long (totally unexpected!).
By the time it was my turn, the agent said that my bag may not make it on to the plane. I asked her if there was anything she could do because my bag needed to make it with me to Panama. After what seemed like forever, she confirmed that we were ok!
Next came security. As I’ve mentioned before, I have TSA pre check, and this definitely makes the process easier. What I didn’t realize is that the speed at which you get through security depends tremendously on who’s in front of you in line. In my case, I had two older gentlemen who took about five minutes each emptying their pockets! Geez Louise!
I made it to my gate with a few minutes to spare!
My layover was in Miami, where I met up with a colleague who was on the same flight as me. We chatted for an hour or so before it was time to get on the next plane.
Aside from the morning rush, it was a pretty easy travel day. Thank goodness!
Once we got to the hotel and settled in, it was time for lunch. Thank goodness because I was starving! My colleague Ros and I went down to the hotel café and shared a pizza. It was very delicious by the way!
I had a few minutes to relax before it was time to get ready and head to Casco Viejo (Old Town Panama). We walked around for an hour or so, window shopping and taking in the sights, before it was time for dinner at Manolo Carocol.
I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant and the experience we had. In a nutshell, there’s no menu, so you eat whatever the chef prepares. I had a number of delicious vegetarian tapas style dishes like yucca ceviche, yucca gnocchi and charred eggplant, sesame tacos, cabbage/rice/veggie wrap, etc. A must try restaurant if you find yourself in Panama City!
Sunday morning started nice and early with a visit to the hotel gym. And then it was time to meet my team for a prep session. We worked until the late afternoon and then got ready for our welcome reception.
The reception was wonderful. I loved hearing everyone introduce themselves – I felt like I was at some sort of corporate Olympics!
And now it’s Monday and we’re full steam ahead…
*As you can imagine, the news about the Zika virus spreading in Latin America had/has me, Vishnu, and our families super worried. While I’m not pregnant, we do want to start a family sometime soon. I did a lot of research prior to my trip and felt comfortable with what I was reading about Panama City and the virus – basically, there have been no reported cases yet.
Vishnu and I were going to stay the weekend in Panama following my conference but decided to cancel our plans. While the town we were going to hasn’t had any reported cases of the virus either, we didn’t want to risk it.
Even though I’m not super concerned, I came prepared – three bottles of bug spray and Buggables bracelets/anklets. I also only packed pants/jeans and long sleeve tops (even though it’s ~85 degrees in Panama!). No bites so far…fingers crossed!
Finally, I’m trying to be good about snapping my Panama City experience, so follow along on SnapChat (@myinnershakti)!