The day dawns cold and gray...this city lives seems to live under a steel gray sky. There can be some leisure in the pace of the morning but time melts away and our 9:00am departure time rolls rapidly around. We bus to the airport with US expats who live in Panama and outwardly project affluence and wealth (vis-a-vis the Real Housewives). One questions how much wealth each has, if they were on a budget tour. Though there is nothing wrong with frugality.
We are scanned, detected, questioned, stamped and approved four separate times before we are sufficiently worthy of the square foot of personal space afforded to us as home for the next 11h30min. More screaming children, this one in particular screams in upper registers that must make life for parent and those immediately around highly uncomfortable. Somehow the flight passes in what seems like a flash. Perhaps watching Argo, Hitchcock, Total Recall (new one), and Beverly Hills cop helped. A note to United, people get hungry at dinner time and not providing food is a crummy policy.
As we take off, the whole of the city stretches out below us. Minarets dotting the landscape like pins sticking out from a cushion. You can not count how numerous they are. Largely uneventful and boring we pass the time and eventually a more familiar skyline, that of NYC, creeps into view and we touch down with a thump.
It is wonderful to conduct business in english again. It is the little things too, like water fountains...and for that matter having potable water at all. It is good to be back.