From Cyprus to Panama – Anita’s Diary
Intro by Margaret Sheard
Although I didn’t know Anita Green personally, she is a Facebook friend and so I followed with interest the lead up to herself and Mal departing from Cyprus to a new life thousands of miles away in Panama. All of the frustration with estate agents, people viewing the house, disposing of furniture, clothes and virtually everything that would not fit in their suitcases. It must have been a very stressful time but finally it was time to go.
I have recently seen Anita posting news of what they are experiencing in Panama on Facebook and thought what a lovely story or diary this would make to keep all of their friends in North Cyprus aware of their escapades. So a quick email and Anita has said she will be happy to send her news when time permits.
This is the first update from Anita and I hope there will be many more to come.
Endings and Beginnings
By Anita Green
3 days before our flight from the TRNC our house was empty so we moved into the Malpas Hotel for 3 nights. On our final night we had a cab booked for a 4.30am pick up for Larnaca. On trying to pay the hotel bill with our local Turkish cards they were denied, this was worrying as we were leaving the country. Our English card worked thank god. We found out from a forum days later of the cyber attack on HSBC Turkey and breathed a sigh of relief.
The journey from Larnaca to Paris for our connection to Panama was not great. Cattle class, even though we had premium tickets. Also we had been unable to check in on-line (a long story in the air France fiasco). On checking our boarding pass for Paris to Panama we found our selected seats had been changed and that we were on separate sides of the cabin. The gate attendant at Larnaca tried to change it but on checking at Paris it still wasn’t right and had to be changed again. The flight to Paris was horrible. We were surrounded by crying babies and an idiotic father who talked baby drivel for the whole 4.5 hours. The Paris to Panama flight was more comfortable but the cabin crew had no interest in premium and pretty much avoided us all, not helped by a stand up row with some Italians. I think the Italians were probably in the right given the crew’s attitude to us all but have no idea what it was about.
On entering Panama the immigration official went through my whole passport and demanded to know about my Istanbul stamps from our last trip to Portugal. This was probably because we had stamps that went in and out same day, twice. But she let me through.
2 nights at the Riande Aeropuerto Hotel. Love the way they grow orchids on the palm trees. Got the free shuttle to the mall the next morning, we were the only ones on it. Huge mall. Bought iPhones each and local Sims and had a nice lunch at an Italian café. Oscar came and picked us up the next day and took us to Coronado. On the way he stopped off to show us a little shop for empanadas, cheeses and a local drink made with corn. It was strange but tasted ok, reminded me of Ambrosia rice pudding. So to Sarah’s for our 2nd visit and to start easing back into Panama life slowly.
We relaxed for 3 days to get over jet lag and adjust.
The Italian restaurant in Coronado is brilliant so we ate there for 2 out of our 3 nights, much to the delight of the owners. Then it was time for Anton. We hired a car from Sarah and headed out. We found it quite easily. But, it was somewhat of a let-down as it was a lot more basic than we had thought. So the local supermarket at Penonome (more of a hypermarket really) did really well out of us as we had to buy towels, hairdryer, and several other basics as well as food.
We met several of the neighbours around here and went for coffee with a British couple, the only ones who live in this community.
A trip to El Valle was on the list of revisits. A challenge for my vertigo at the best of times but with Malcolm driving this time it was downright terrifying as well. El Valle is a lovely community though and we stopped at a little café. I had the best apple pie and ice cream I’ve had in a very long time.
(Some views in El Valle, including the wonderful Coffee Shop)
Next on our list was a return trip to La Fogata. Unfortunately it was the worst possible weather. A terrible storm with super-torrential rain, together with pitch black night made visibility zero. How we made it to the restaurant I don’t know but it took a very long time and was nerve-racking. La Fogata gave a wonderful welcome and Mal had his longed for sexy lobster and I had a wonderful steak. We are booked to go again for Christmas and also for the festival in January when our Canadian friends are over.
(Prawn Cocktail and Sexy Lobster at La Fogata)