The red-eye arrives at PTY, Panama City’s modern international hub, filled with duty free jewelry, chocolate and American knock-offs. Passing through customs into the warm, tropical humidity of Panama, we are greeted by Omar Ríos, bearing a sign that says “Alisun | Tyler.” Arranged by Heather, whom he calls “the lady of Boquete,” Omar is a taxi driver, father of six, now a man of God.
We have five and a half hours before departing from PAC. Albrook Airport is a small converted military base on the far side of Panama City.
Omar takes us to the museo and the torre. Lunch is at a cafeteria – arroz con pollo, tamales, plátanos. We are dropped off early at PAC, where we wait and wait on hard metal chairs for our flight to Bocas Del Toro.
I say, we’re a long way from the United Club.
Ali Sun replies, its a different kind of magical place.
This magical place is somewhat less comfortable, I offer.
My brain is filled with a dense fog, my words pedestrian. Spanish conversations blend into the din of construction noise ricocheting through the spartan two-store terminal.