New Car Adventures

Hello everyone. Our adventures in Panama continue. Now that we’re staying here for a few months at a time, we needed to buy a car instead of continuing to rent one…(at a $1000 per month!)

So, a few weeks ago, we bought a 2019 Nissan Kicks here in Las Tablas. We decided to further solidify our relationship with our local bank and financed the car, instead of paying cash. It was quite the ordeal, took enormous mountains of paperwork and about two and a half weeks from the beginning to the delivery of the car. Neither the car salesperson nor the banker I worked with spoke English, so between my high school Spanish and Google Translate, we managed to order the car we wanted, get it registered and insured, and get the loan approved by the home office in Panama City. I’m kinda proud of myself for getting all that accomplished in my “second” language.

Unbeknownst to us when we were negotiating the price, there was a special promotion offered by Nissan that was two free nights at the all inclusive Playa Blanca Resort, about two hours from our house. I gotta admit, my marketing mind was very curious as to why they didn’t leverage the promotion to entice us to finalize the deal, but it was never mentioned, until after we took delivery of the car and had already signed everything. Regardless, we decided to take advantage of the promotion and booked a Sunday/Monday stay at the end of February.

The certificate we needed to provide at the reception desk stated that we could check-in at 8 am, so we got up early and headed to the Resort. We arrived just after 10 am to a very crowded and disorganized open air lobby. After making our way to the front desk, we were advised that our room wouldn’t be ready until after 3 pm. We pointed out the 8 am check-in on the certificate. The frazzled front desk employee simply nodded his head and told us we were welcome to use all the facilities until our room was ready. After several more attempts to convince the hotel to honor the early check-in as indicated on the promotional certificate, we gave up. It was very hot and humid, with nowhere to lounge around waiting for our room…except the pool or beach. We were both dressed in jeans and short sleeved shirts and the only place to change was the bathrooms. After about an hour or so of hanging out outside in the 90-degree temperatures, I decided to change into my swimming suit.

Finally, about 2 pm, we were given our room key. Another disappointment. The room was very tired and in serious need of upgrading. Besides that, it was located near the arrival area and very noisy. Nevertheless, we unpacked and hit the Lobby bar. Soon we were joined by another “gringo” couple, from Canada. They were in the middle of their two night stay at the resort. While they were enjoying their visit to the country, they weren’t fans of the resort. Then they showed us their bedbug bites…yikes!! Soon, we decided to go back to our room, pack up and return to our “Slice of Heaven”, without spending one night in that resort. That evening, sitting in our backyard, enjoying the breeze off the Pacific, we wondered why we ever left.

Then we remembered that as much as we love our home, we want to explore our adopted country, and break in the new car with a road trip. So we made reservations for three nights the following week at Valle Escondido Resort Golf and Spa in the mountains of Boquete. Those three days and nights were glorious – a stark contrast to Playa Blanca.
See more in the next post.

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