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Panama - Our Early Days

For the first couple of days in Panama we did absolutely nothing, other than hit the beach, enjoy the sun and surf, eat and drink. Not a bad agenda for a holiday. The Decameron resort is about an hour and-a-half west of the canal in Cocle province on the shores of the Gulf of Panama. The country actually runs west to east as opposed to what one would think: bordering the Pacific one would expect to face west and be able to see some marvelous sunsets. Instead, the gorgeous skies occured in the morning, with the sun rising kinda in the southeast.

Mornings began around 6-6:30 with a walk on the beach to enjoy the sunrise, although most mornings my better half took a stroll while I enjoyed another hour's sleep!
Steps down the beach from the resort is Manuel Noriega's house. Now in total disrepair, the former dictator spent a lot of time at this beach house. When the U.S. came to oust the former general he fled to the Vatican's Embassy in Panama City, where U.S. troops finally drove him out after days of blaring rock and roll tunes at him!

Breakfast was a buffet-type affair, fresh fruit, juices, scrambled eggs, omelets, pancakes, French Toast, etc. The picture above was taken in the Panamai Restaurant and depicts an impressive ceramic mural above the fruit bar which - difficult to see in this pic - depicts both Panama's geographic highlights and rich and varied history and culture.

Then it was off to the beach around 9 o'clock or so to lounge about till late in the afternoon. These thatch-foofed umbrellas provided the only shade on the beach and it was quite comical to watch hundreds of people constantly moving their deck chairs throughout the day to follow the shade as the sun moved east to west over the beach. Bars are steps away from the beach where, juices, pop and beer are available. We brought our own oversize thermal cups to keep our "lemonadas" in the morning and "cervezas" in the afternoon cold.

Activties at the beach included parasailing, kayaking, pedal/paddle boating, snorkelling and horseback riding. The problem with the latter were the road apples deposited all along the beach. One had to watch one's step on their way from the beach to the water for fear of stepping into horse poop.

In addition to beach as far as the eye could see, the resort had six swimming pools, one of which is pictured below
Once we'd soaked up enough sun, we ususally headed back to the room around 4:30 or so, picking up a cocktail or two along the way to enjoy on our balcony.
The one drawback of this place was the stairs. Built on a bluff, overlooking the ocean, the majority of rooms are on top of the bluff. One day I counted the steps from the beach to our room: 103 in all! Hence the need for cocktails once we got back to the room!!!
Then it was off to dinner, either at one of several large, buffet-style establishments or one of six or so full-service restaurants. For Christmas dinner we hit Tu Candela for seafood. I had shrimp while my better half had the fish - the whole fish.
Next: A Tour Through Panama City


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