I just LOVE IT when I meet nice people in Panama. It makes things feel so much better amongst all the negative.
One thing I’ve learned to ask when someone goes out of their way to help me, is, “Where are you from, are you Panamanian?” And 9/10 they aren’t from here.
If I don’t know the neighborhood I’m in, I always have to ask people which direction to stand in to catch a cab, because the Panamanian taxi drivers aren’t smart or helpful enough to say, “stand over there, this is the wrong direction.” Only once has a taxi driver ever told me that. Here in Panama they just drive off after maybe shaking their head.
Anyway, after walking a long distance because I wasn’t getting anywhere catching a taxi where I was originally standing in Calidonia, I asked 3 different people which direction & of course got conflicting answers. Finally I asked a woman who said she would take me & show me & she was trying to catch a cab or parata taxi herself. (HOW NICE IS THAT)
After trying to keep up with her (they walk fast here) LOL, she took me down & over to the next street. She even took one of my heavy bags (flashes of her taking off with my bag irritated me as it has happened to others) & despite the language barrier, she found out I’m from Canada & she is from El Salvador & has been here 5 years. I said, “ahhh, no wonder you are so nice.” She smiled.
My only regret is that I didn’t get her phone number so I could get to know her better. I don’t know if they expect some kind of a tip or they are just doing it because they are nice. I didn’t want to insult her, plus I don’t even have a dollar I can give away right now.
She even gave me a kiss on the check (yes they do that here, but it’s not that common in the city).
Anyway, I wanted to share because this is why I left Canada & wanted to come to a country where people are nice. Just wish they were like that 75% of the time.