Day 113: San Blas Islands, Panama
I’m sailing to Colombia and I’ve had a lot of time to the boat to reflect about everything I’ve learned in the last 4 months with travel in Central America (and Mexico).
Not every post can be a great piece of literary work but I have learned a few things through Central America travel in the last 4 months that I’d like to share, in no particular order:
1. Pigs and dog can be best friends.
2. Chacos are worth it; $5 flip flops on cobblestone streets are crippling.
3. I could eat beans every day.
5. Getting out of your comfort zone to be friendly to another traveler always pays off (exception to the rule is Whatsherface).
6. I like pickled pigs feet.
7. Orange Crush/Fanta/Mirinda makes me feel like a kid again, in a good way, not in the devastated way like when I spilled it on my mother’s new couch when I was 8 and thought I was the worst daughter in the world.
8. Smiling at immigration officials makes border crossings much smoother.
9. Traveling has its extreme highs and lows. Traveling alone means sometimes you are lonely.
10. Traveling alone is liberating. You’re more approachable to both locals and other travelers.
11. There are so many ways to cook a pig. I do not like all of them, particularly chicharron.
12. The number of women traveling solo in Central America is outstanding.
13. Selling water in small baggies makes a lot of sense and rids the world of a little less plastic.
14. Parks are the hub of any city. Although these are developing nations, there is free wifi. Strange juxtaposition.
15. People have poor cell phone manners everywhere, is there a culture that understands you don’t need to shout into the phone?
16. Even with the gringo tax Central America is cheap.
17. There are lots of traveling vegetarians in Central America and even a few vegans. They sadly miss out on delicious pork.
18. Americans get a bad rep. I’ve met a lot of nice ones, mostly Californians, that could change people’s ugly perception if they were less intimidated about saying they were American.
19. Israelis seem to be overtaking the prize for the worst reputation. I’ve heard many negative comments about them being selfish, juvenile partiers. Seems to be only as a group as I’ve traveled with a couple and had no issues.
20. I did not need to buy expensive traveler clothes. Although I do love my zip off pants, which are so convenient for the cold buses.
21. I wish I had taken a smaller backpack; instead of 65L I could have easily managed with 45L.
22. Drinking water from a tap is a luxury.
23. Shorts are a western phenomenon. Local women dress “conservatively” to avoid catcalling. This means wearing jeans in hot weather paired with a tight-fitting, cleavage revealing tank top. Boobs are okay; knees are not.
24. You need to know Spanish to travel in Central America.
25. I’m looking forward to what South America will teach me.