Conquerability: Moderate. No national army, but there are tons of security guards with huge guns. Most of them seem to like us, though, so we may be able to co opt them. Experimental data will be available 2009.
Dangerosability: Disappointingly low. We insured our stuff and got pacsafes, and never had to use them. Even the weird old guy we met in the airport said that Colon was safe. The closest we got to danger was going to a bad area and having tons of locals helpfully guide us away.
Times we rocked the scene at karaoke: 3.
Vegan meals eaten: 106
Unusual Crossfit Locations: Children's playground, parking lot, patch of grass between the street and sidewalk on Via Espana, park at night, tropical island paradise.
Prostitute Proposition Watch: 2 prostis and one pimp. No offers on our sweet bodies.
Average Time Tynan woke up: 1:30pm
Average Time per day Todd spends washing his hands: 90 minutes (estimate)
Major canals visited: 1
Most severe injury sustained: Todd got a small cut that he thought was a huge splinter.
Quality of freshly squeezed juice: A+ (when pulp is requested) A- (default no pulp configuration)
Overall awesome quotient: 14,815
We've been in Panama for two days now, but it seems like weeks. There's obviously still TONS to explore around the city, but I'm already comfortable here and it even feels a bit familiar.
First of all, I love it. For me it has the ideal balance between chaos and structure. It's very safe... people are at least as friendly as they are in the US, if not moreso. They go out of their way to help us and put up with our mediocre Spanish. Our hotel right now isn't in a great area (though not a bad one either), and I feel totally safe walking a few blocks to go to a diner.
Even though it's safe, there don't seem to be a lot of minor enforced rules. Taxi drivers ignore speed limits and stop signs. The drinking and gambling age is 18, but I've heard even that's not enforced. You don't get the feeling that you're being overprotected or treated like a child.
The food has been MUCH better than expected. There are several vegetarian cafeterias that we've found already which are incredibly good and cheap. The one we visited tonight was owned by a very friendly Chinese couple (have you ever heard Chinese people speak Spanish?). There were maybe forty different dishes they had, and a serving of any one was only fifty cents. I asked for orange juice without sugar (most fruit drinks here have sugar) and they fresh squeezed it for me for only $1!
My wife and I have been making an effort to eat unprocessed foods as a part of a healthier lifestyle. Simply told, that means if there's a label on the food (or if it's in a box), we try not to eat it. I'll write a more comprehensive blog soon about the thinking behind this approach.
Part of this initiative is to buy organic fruits and vegetables (Rainbow grocery in San Francisco is just amazing) and consume them over other foods as often as possible. We try to juice every morning and most evenings, replacing evening meals with juice as often as scheduling permits.
We've gone through three juicers looking for the exact right one, and finally we've found it. Here's a review of the ones we tried, so you don't have to.
The Jack Lalanne high-speed juicer: This was our first juicer. (The link at left is for Amazon, although you can also purchase it at Costco for $89). It actually worked quite well. It has a large opening and consumed all types of fruits and vegetables we could throw at it. Cleanup was simple enough, although there were a number of large parts to be cleaned. But there were two things about this juicer that made it a non-starter for us: