I actually went to Panama twice. Once when I was 15 and once when I was 16. Keep in mind this was 10 years ago but I am going to try and write down everything I remember. So we landed in Panama City (I was with my church at the time) and I remember getting off the plane being real nervous as I was still a minor and out of the country for the first time even though I was with a huge group of responsible adults. ( I have come a long way since then huh? haha)
So we land and I remember having to pee really badly once we got off the plane. At that time I didn't speak any Spanish at all but someone told me how to say "Where is the bathroom" so I go nervously up to a Spanish speaking airport official and squeak out "Donde Esta El Bano?" they point and tell me where the bathroom is but somehow I must have got confused because I go to the door I thought they were directing me too and open it. Well once I open the door I hear screams, Apparently I had accidentally wandered into the women's changing room or something lol. I rushed out of there and managed to find the correct men's bathroom.
The next thing I clearly remember is how cheap Panama city was! I am quite used to 3rd world countries being cheap now but, back then I was totally amazed at the concept of haggling and not having a fixed price and being able to get full meals for under 10 USD. We had some great meals in Panama City. Soon afterwards we went into the mountains to build a church for a group of local native Indians called The Wymies (spelling?). We had to have a translator to go from English to Spanish,Spanish to Wymie before we could say anything so it was quite a process. I remember having a great time helping those people and learning from them. They didn't have much but they were the most kind,giving,caring people I have ever met. They lived 8 hours by truck from the city so they were isolated! But it felt really good to help them.
Next I remember looking out over the mountains and watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. I just remember seeing the ocean all around us on both sides and how amazing it was. Then we had a great ocean side dinner right on the beach as a thank you for our hard work. On a related side note, I did sleep through an earthquake there in Panama and I also fell asleep in The Panama Canal (It was so slow and boring!) My mom still likes to joke I have slept through an engineering marvel of the world and an earthquake so apparently I can sleep through anything haha.
I also want to tack one more thing on to this paragraph since it just looks like it will fit better here. Like I said, we had to ride trucks 8 hours into the mountains to build the church for the natives and those truck rides were some of the scariest of my whole life! They were almost vertical up sheer cliff faces and one slip and we would have fallen to our deaths. In the years since then, and all the 3rd world countries I have visited I have actually taken much scarier rides and much more dangerous forms of transportation but I wont bother you with those. Lets just say it has been scary but I am still here in one piece ya? Sadly since it was 10 years ago that is all I can remember even though I am sure a lot more amazing things happened to me. So there you have it, my Panama trip. -Tyler