July 26, 2015: Grocery Shopping in Coronado, Panama

This is it, our first day in Panama!  Our first full day, anyway.  We started off the morning with coffee out on the balcony.  It was pretty hot today, in the mid 90s with a heat index that was really something given the incredibly amount of humidity.  The moment that you step outside your glasses fog up.

Our big task for the day was to get groceries.  We only have a rental car for today so it is imperative that we deal with that because after tomorrow afternoon we are going to be completely sans transportation, which is more than a little bit scary as our condo is way, way out in the middle of nowhere.  There is nothing near us at all, other than the ocean.  There are no restaurants, shops, nothing.  No grocery stores or anything, that we know of.  Once we get our food and turn over the car we are more or less isolated out here until we rent a car again or bum a ride from someone.

The drove back along the highway to Coronado is almost exactly half an hour.  We got to do it in the daylight today, which was nice.  We could see where the cows had been last night at the end of our road and it is even stranger by day to see it because they had apparently come through a shopping center that is being built and were going into a cemetery!  So odd.

The drive back was fine.  We started at Subway getting something to eat since I had accidentally gotten the wrong bread for Liesl last night and she did not want to eat what I had gotten her so she really wanted to eat at Subway, it being her favourite restaurant.  The Subways here are certainly not up to par with the ones in the US.  It was okay but I have no desire to eat at it again until we are back in America, it just leaves too much to be desired.

Luciana wanted to get pizza because there was a local pizza place across the street from the Subway but we promised to look for frozen pizza for her and she reluctantly agreed that that would be good enough.

The grocery shopping trip took easily an hour or more, much longer than it should have.  The grocery store, which is miraculously 24×7, was not huge but it was a full sized store and not some little thing like we are used to from Spain.  This was like a small American grocery store, more or less, but the prices were a bit high compared to the US.

One really neat thing was that they had tiny grocery carts just the right size for the girls to use.  So each of them got one and they got to grocery shop along with us, which was awesome except for the fact that they were out of control and rambunctious and we can probably never do that again.  It was pretty handy that they had carts of their own, though, because we ended up filling up the main adult cart and both of the girls’ carts to nearly overflowing. So we needed the extra cart capacity.

We got a lot of groceries.  Tons of them.  Pretty much all staples.  Bread, milk, fruit, veggies, cereal, yoghurt, butter, cheese and so forth.  Just lots of it.  We want a lot of it to come close to lasting us for a month.  Coming back and shopping is not going to be an easy thing to do.

Overall there was not that much really interesting as far as food went.  Soursop yoghurt was unusual and we got some to try it out.  The little grocery store had four different kinds of limes which was pretty surprising.  Even a giant grocery store would not have a selection like that in the US.  There was passionflower fruit which you never see in the US.  Other than that, the grocery store was tame.  No frozen pizzas though, Ciana will not be happy.  Even the bread is Bimbo like back home, although here they have an amazingly delicious butter bread from Bimbo that is way better than their generic bread that we normally get.  We ended up spending almost five hundred dollars on groceries just today plus a tiny bit yesterday too.  Not cheap.

We did get a bottle of Panamanian rum and some local beer, Panama Light, but nearly all of the groceries were actual food.  I was pretty amazed to find that Johnny Walker Blue, Platinum, Gold and Swing were all out on the open shelves at the grocery store here.  In the US Johnny Walker Blue would always be in a locked cabinet.  Must be a lot more affluent here and less theft than back in the US.

After grocery shopping we hit the telebanco to get cash.  Officially Panamá uses the Balbao but it is locked to the US dollar and all of the cash that we have seen is American which is super convenient for us but it keeps the cost of things really high, which is unfortunate for travelers.

Our TMobile cellular service is working great out here.  We really have no dead spots.  We are getting both text and data service all over the country, even way out in the middle of nowhere.

It was the middle of the afternoon when we finished with the grocery shopping and drove back out to Playa Blanca.

We relaxed for a while just checking out the balcony and the views of the ocean and eventually we discovered that we could see the mountains through the haze to the north, they are huge.

This evening, before the sun went down, we took the girls down to the pool that they can see from their bedroom balcony and we went swimming for a few hours.  We got in at least an hour of swimming, maybe two.  After sitting out for a little while with Dominica I got into the pool to swim with the girls.  It is a nice pool here.  All pretty shallow, I can stand up anywhere.  Good size and very few people using it.  Maybe a dozen people at most while we were there.

It was dark when we got back up to the condo and got the kids off to bed.