This time last year I had just returned from Panama. Aging, out of work, and unsure of my next step, I chose to procrastinate in a place that's been described as "a shortcut with its own national anthem." Looking back, I think my decision to go actually made a certain amount of sense. All of the hiking, kayaking, and surfing I did kept me from dwelling on the disappointing reality of my joblessness, and the journey along the Pacific Coast reconnected me with two of my passions: writing and traveling. In fact, I started this blog not long after finally unpacking my luggage.
While in Panama City, I spent a very pleasant evening at the Istmo Brew Pub, a bar and restaurant that has been growing in popularity since opening in El Cangrejo in 2005. With 14 bottles (mostly imported lagers) and four of their own brews (Veraguas, Cócle, Colón, and Chiriquí) to pick from, Istmo definitely boasts the best selection in the capital, if not the country. Other than color however, their house styles differed little in flavor and body, and at $5 a pint, cost about four times as much as native brands like Atlas and Balboa.
That night the crowd was local, and yet the soundtrack consisted of hits from the US and the UK—"Under the Bridge," "D'yer Mak'er," "Love in an Elevator," and "Hurts so Good." The scene seemed a bit more Floridian than Latin American, but I liked the outdoor seating area, and was tempted to order one of their plantains smothered with toppings like cheese, guacamole, and pico de gallo. In the end I stuck with drinks though; I guess I'll have to go back if I really want to try the Isla Iguana or the Bocas del Toro. Who knows? It could make a nice birthday gift to myself in another 12 months.