The day we drove my wife and Tante Poutine to the Tocumen Airport the other side of Panama City we were up with the birds. Their flight was around 1:30pm but it's a 2 hour drive and their charter company Air Transat tells you to be at the airport 3 hours in advance of your flight. We left Bejao for the airport about 6:15am. We off-loaded Poutine and Mrs D with their luggage along with my mother-in-law while my brother-in-law, his son and I made arrangements to trade our van in on a sedan. The deal done we met the departees on the departure deck. So, first step accomplished: arrive at airport on time. We knew it was too good to be true. Turns out the airline's computer's were down and all passengers and their luggage would have to be processed by hand. Luckily our two travellers were in Club class and were among the first passengers to be processed. There were tears all around, not on my part of course, and hugs and kisses as we said our goodbyes and waved to my wife and her aunt. Next stop: MetroMall.
Once at the mall, which isn't too far from the airport we decided on breakfast. It was about 10:30 and I don't think the food court does breakfast because hardly any of the establishments were open. We settled on hamburgers at the McD outlet, which evidently didn't do breakfast either. Then we hit the stores. I was looking for some golf shirts, so that I might at least look like I know what I'm doing when I play, but found out the hard way that often XL must mean medium. I did get a nice shirt at a sportswear store that fits well but the 3 I bought at a bargain basement place are a tad tight. And nothing comes in anything over XL. Don't they know size matters? Gee, they have small people in Panama.
Odd thing about Panama. People move a little slowly. I'm not talking about people on the roads. Once behind the wheel some kind of transformation takes place and they zip and zoom like dive-bombing hornets. But retail clerks and cashiers, that's another story. In a department store called Stevens we just about tore our hair out we had to wait so long to pay for our stuff. There were seven people all appearing very busy behind the cashier's counter, but only one of them was ringing in purchases. I don't think the other six were "in training". But they sure weren't big on customer service.
So we've found the Pan Americana highway and we're happily on our way home. And I can almost taste a nice cold Balboa out on the condo balcony when - zip - my brother-in-law's taking a right exit off the highway into the town of La Chorrera, about an hour shy of our destination. Why? Cause he thinks there might be a hardware store where he can find some drapes for his balcony. Well we found a huge home store so my brother-in-law, his son, the mother-in-law and I all pile out and trot into the store. No drapes, but they do have some fans he's looking for. He makes his choice and the sales guy piles two huge boxes into a shopping cart and wheels them to the cash at the front of the store.
But wait! Look at that BBQ! Man, it's a Weber. Oh I like that. I think I should get it. Of course by now we have no van. We already have two huge boxes that I doubt will fit in the trunk and my brother-in-law wants to take the BBQ too! I tell him we don't have room. The salesman tells him the last one is the display model. I tell him that it'll never fit. I tell him the solution would be to ask them to dismantle it and we'd come back the next day. But he wants it today. I tell him the behemoth BBQ is too big. So we measure the BBQ. We go out to the parking lot to measure the trunk. Guess what? IT'S.TOO.BIG! Guess what he does. "Hey, maybe if they took it apart we could come back tomorrow." Hello! Where were you half an hour ago when I said this??? Size matters!!!