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Day One, Panamà

The hotel where we are staying has free internet! But the keyboard sticks, so typing is a bit of an adventure. It is also a Spanish keyboard, which sometimes makes for non-touch typing.

We flew on Mexicana to DF. The flight from Mèrida to Mèxico was uneventful, even pleasant. Once we arrived at Benito Juarez Airport the fun began. Getting our FM3s stamped required leaving the international section and going to the front. That was easy, getting back was not, let’s just say that signage is not their strong point. We got our tickets for our connecting flight, they told us to return half an hour before our flight time to get our gate number. We did, and waited at gate 28,until a plane arrived, something odd went on at the gate, we waited, until our flight time, then they announced that our flight was boarding at gate 34! So off we all rushed, to arrive at gate 34 just in time to be told that our flight had been delayed an hour.
Our flight to Panamà was pleasant, but we did have some turbulence. As we got ready to deplane a recorded announcement (in Spanish and British English) advised us to have all our immigration and customs forms filled out prior to landing. No one offered us forms. After we exited the plane and arrived in the sala, an attendant handed us 2 forms each.
We were feeling anxious as Nora from Paradise Services was waiting to take us to our hotel. We went thru immigration, no problem until she asked us for our tourist cards. We didn’t have any. She sent us back,(holding our passports!) saying that a representative of Mexicana would be coming to sell us one. We saw a group of people from our plane at podium, buying tourist cards. As we walked up, they ran out, and sent someone to buy more. As I talked to the attendant,it turned out that they were with Copa Airlines, and when they realized that we all flew Mexicana, they directed us to an office to tell the Panamanian officials our problem. And then we waited until some official looking people came from the Immigration, they asked what was going on, we told them. The guy got on his walkeetalkee and said that he wanted someone from Mexicana down there immediately and that he was fining them for the four of us that didn´t have tourist cards. Then Mexicana appeared almost instantly.He sold us our tourist cards, but didn’t even apologize. So we got our passports back, all properly stamped.
We went to our hotel room after that. I have more to tell you all, but this keyboard sticks, and it´s hard to type. And the spellcheck seems to have gone on vacation too!
I have taken a lot of photos. The city is beautiful, the weather great and the people pleasant.

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. Congratulations on your wedding! I realize that US immigrations is difficult. My uncle had to live in Spain for a year before he was able to refugee to the USA. I know a Vietnamese man whose wife has been in England for 10 years, so at least Juan is in the USA! I will send you email when I get back to Mèrida at the end of the month.

  2. Sounds like you’re having fun, T! Your positive outlook is inspirational… I’m dealing with US immigration bureaucracy these days, and it’s comparable to what you describe, but without the benefits of warm temps and swaying palm trees. 😉 Juan and I are well… and married! More soon. kt

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