Here’s how hard it was raining:
“Thank Heavens, For Little…Computers”
We waited to hear news. Nothing. We waited some more. Finally, around 11am, we decided to cut our losses and reconfigure as best we could.
- Because the Canopy Tower was prepaid, I emailed them first, asking if we could push our arrival by a day as we were stuck. There was no point in arriving there late even if we could get off the island because we would miss our only chance for a nature walk if we did so. I heard back from them within a couple of hours and they said they had space available for the next day so we could move our reservation.
- Next I emailed Sierra Llorona and canceled our night with them. Fortunately (for us) they had not asked for a deposit. I never got a reply from them.
- The time came and went for us to pick up our rental car and I used Skype to call Thirfty who said our rental was automatically canceled when we did not show. We decided not to make another reservation because we had no idea when we’d be able to pick it up.
- The last task was to find a place to stay in Panama City for that night, assuming the plane would actually come today, before dark. I checked the spg.com site and they had a room available for the same cash plus points ($60 plus SPG 4000 points) I’d used to book our room for our last night in Panama. I contacted SPG using their online chat and asked if I could get that rate as a walk-in to the hotel. They said no, it had to be booked online or over the phone. I didn’t want to commit to it, because within the 24 hour window as we were, we would forfeit the cash if we no-showed. I devised a plan with my mom via Skype that I would text her from the runway if we were actually getting on the plane. She would then go online, using my SPG account and book the room for us.
Around 2PM the word coming from the tiny airport office was that we “might” be flying some time around 5:30 PM. At 4:45 we went to the landing strip and checked in at the Aero Perlas office. They weighed our luggage and then asked us to step on the luggage scale with our carry-on bags and weighed us too. At 5pm we were told the plane was in the air and on its way.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to fly on a tiny prop plane? Here’s a little video of the takeoff and landing of our flight from Isla Contadora to Panama City.
At this point we had to figure out how we were going to get to the Canopy Tower lodge which, in Soberania Park, was about 30 minutes outside the city in the same direction of the Miraflores Locks. My guidebook said a taxi there would cost $10-$15 each way. The Canopy Tower had offered transfers at $50 each way. We asked at the concierge desk what it would cost for us to set up a taxi R/T (because we would now have to return to the Sheraton after leaving the tower) and we told we could just hire one of the taxis outside the hotel (they would assist with this) and it would be $35 each way. We thought we could probably book this cheaper ourselves by going outside and speaking directly to one of the taxi drivers .
The Lounge has two TVs, couch and table seating. We chose a table along the floor to ceiling windows and this would become “our” table for all of our subsequent visits to the lounge. There was finger food available, drinks, wine, and beer. We had a lovely glass of Chilean Cabernet, some snacks and decided that would work for us for the night. We were in no mood to go out in search of a meal. The downside to this hotel is location; it’s right across from the convention center in an otherwise mostly residential neighborhood.