Unlike the Clint Eastwood movie, responsibility never ends as a parent. I don’t want to give the wrong impression through these posts with photos of smiling faces and gorgeous flora and fauna – that traveling with two toddlers has been easy or breezy. Quite the contrary – traveling with two toddlers has been difficult, to say the least. They are cranky, whiny, scream at the most inopportune times, and refuse to sit still or eat their food on demand (how dare they!)
But we have managed to have good trips so far. I say good, not great. I’m sure they’ll be great in the future when we look back at the wonderful pictures and recall the amazing things we saw together. We are hoping our trips with the kids will get better (at least they get older each time….?) I’ll keep you updated 🙂
Most of the planning we did for Panama ended up being fairly useless. It’s hard to know how different things are going to be when you get to a new country. For this place there were several unforeseen obstacles and learning curves. First off, I unwittingly bought an old copy of the Lonely Planet’s Guide to Panama – so much of the info we planned our days around was outdated. Everything was very expensive in Panama City, too. The taxis cost a fortune the first day or two, but we learned where to go for the cheaper ones after that. Meals were also pretty pricey, though usually delicious. We would try to find a specific restaurant, only to be told by our cab driver that it no longer existed (or maybe he just couldn’t find it because no one uses addresses there). One night our driver was particularly confused and just ended up dropping us at the curb of another restaurant. It turned out to be delicious Lebanese food, so it was a fine planning mishap.
Restaurants with the kids are nearly nightmarish, lately, so it didn’t matter too much what we ate anyways. Whatever it was would need to be shoveled down in 3.5 minutes flat, about the time it takes for one or both of the kids to decide they are unhappy and start throwing things. Indigestion and grumpy children would finish out the experience, as we hailed the waiter for “la cuenta!”. At ages 3 and 1 1/2 I guess it’s normal behavior, but it’s oh, so inconvenient! Especially when we don’t have many other options. Our hotel had a sink and a mini-fridge that was already crammed with junk they hoped we would consume, so there wasn’t much cooking going on.
The last few meals we did end up just ordering delivery to our hotel room. I found a website that delivered from several different places. It was a risky step to take, though, and not ideal. In fact, our first order was really ridiculous. We put in an order around 5:30pm, the restaurant called us back shortly to tell us they didn’t have any of the items we ordered and so they gave us the name of another place to order from (weird…). We looked up that place, put together another order, and after one more hour of cranky, whiny, hungry children hanging from my limbs, finally called them only to find out they’d misplaced our order and forgotten to fill it. At this point it was nearly 7:30pm, normally bedtime for our littles. They assured us they would have it there in 15 minutes, and they got close to that, but the kids were so exhausted and over-hungry that I could barely get them to eat anything.
There were many frustrating times like this on our Panama trip. So I have to say, between the crankiness of our kids, the challenges of this city, and the amazing things we got to see, the trip ended up balancing out to “pretty good” on the scale. But I was just holding my breath, because Nicaragua was next…