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Working, Living and Playing in Panamá

Today is finally the day when we will go check out the new subway system, and public transit system in general. The staggering time savings are something I’m really looking forward too, especially since we now have our Panamá Pacifico residency cards and can take a free, air conditioned shuttle bus directly to Albrook Mall from downstairs!

Albrook Mall is the first stop in the subway, and the last shuttle bus leaves Panamá Pacifico at 7pm, which is a perfect time for going out to a movie, club, restaurant, etc downtown. From what I can tell, it costs less than $1 to take the subway everywhere, but I will see how that goes after we purchase our transit cards. Essentially it works like the Vancouver system is supposed to work (is that actually in place yet, or what?), where you tap your card to enter and tap again to exit. The amount left on your card is then displayed on the screen.

Last week we had our first taste of cage match fútbol! It’s a free public soccer park that you must reserve in advance, and a person comes by with a whistle to move the groups off and on. It’s in great condition too! So tonight we play from 8:30-10pm, and the plan is to catch the free shuttle to Albrook at 7, get our metro cards, then take the subway to Via Argentina. I was happily surprised when I saw that the soccer field is about a 5 minute walk away from the station too. Then on the way back, we will most likely cab it with our buddy Hector (there’s a great story on how we met him too, I will save for another day!).

Fútbol at Via Argentina

Fútbol at Via Argentina


I’ll update this article with how our first experience is on the metro, assuming we make it back!

Our trip up until this point was relatively uneventful. No delays, no problems at customs, and no issues with Ripley. The meds we gave her were holding strong and showed no signs of wearing off. Then two things happened:

1) We got onto American Airlines, which were smaller and more cramped, and
2) Nightfall

Nightfall is when cats get a little crazy. Their eyes get all big, hunting instinct takes over, and the energy saved by napping for 20 hours a day needs some place to go.


However, it’s tough to do that in a small prison under a seat next to a jet engine. You can imagine our surprise when Ripley acquired the strength of 10 cats and simultaneously figured out how to open her zipper from the inside. She (the poor thing) was using all her strength to push to get out while we tried to keep her in, and she did not use claws or teeth at all. We’ve seen her freak out at the vet, when she became The Hulk, and there was blood involved. This was different, and we were both amazed at how she reacted without physically harming us at all.

The meds were obviously wearing off. The seat was too small to really console her. Something had to be done.


I managed to get her back in her carrier, slung her over my shoulder, leaped over the sleeping lady beside us, and ran to the bathroom. I also had with me some more meds and those calming wipes, ready to give her a weird mixture of tranquillizer and pheromones once she was unsuspecting.

I stayed in the bathroom for half an hour, feigning flight sickness. The flight attendants hadn’t seen me smuggle a furry feline in so I figured I had as much time as needed. As soon as Ripley was let out of the bag she became so affectionate and purred like crazy, and just wanted to sit on my lap. I don’t blame her; I liken her awakening to coming out of a coma and simultaneously realizing you’re hurtling through the air on a metal slug.

Once she was relaxed again I seized my opportunity and threw a pill down her throat. Sorry Rips. Denise made me do it. Then a mere 15 more minutes and it was time to go back in the carrier. This time however, I had an idea. She seemed to calm if I continuously pet her (even during the freakout) and to a similar degree, just having some random body part in there seemed to help. The obvious was my foot, and once back in the seats I opened the zipper a bit and just put my foot in there. Ripley was meowing at this point, but then abruptly stopped, and remained silent for the remainder of the flight.

This technique worked flawlessly too during the next and final leg of our journey, in Part 3: Miami -> Panama!


This is a warning to all who want to:

a) Get married
b) Move to a different country
c) Import a cat

.. at the same time.



That being said, we made it in one piece, along with our cat, via two stopovers. We left Vancouver at 4pm (6pm Panama time) on August 11th, and arrived in Panama at 1pm on August 12th. Normally it doesn’t take 2 stops, and there are many direct flights, but because we are importing Ripley the cat, we had to use specific airlines that allow cats as carry-on luggage.


So we arrived at the Vancouver airport at 1pm, after visiting World Cargo for shipping our goods (which I will review after we receive them, but I’ll say now it was a very good price for air shipping) and said our good-byes. After checking in we went straight to the wine bar and awaited our flight to LA.

Ripley status was good, we gave her a whole tablet of “Sleepy Cat MDMA” which basically makes her very sleepy and incredibly affectionate. We also used these wet wipes that smell kinda funny to us but keep cats calm. Additionally we put a few familiar things in her carrier.

Went through customs, but had to go through an additional step due to Ripley. It took 5 minutes. Easy because we weren’t staying in the US, just in transit to Panama.

Flight to LA was uneventful. Alaska Air has really comfy seats and tons of room. I attempted to play my 3DS for the first time in 2 years and woke up 2 hours later listening to the soundtrack to the main menu. We watched a show. Then we landed.

Ripley in LA

Ripley in LA

Got through customs no problem, and then realized there was no pet rest area actually inside the airport. One of us would have to venture outside and then come back through customs. I elected to go with Ripley, leaving Denise and all the luggage inside to avoid any delays getting back through customs. I then left the airport in search of some dirt, which didn’t take too long. After that it was a quick line back in with some odd looks that I had no luggage except a cat, to which I simple replied “I travel light.”

Part 2: LA -> Miami, or “The Cat Rage Awakens” is next!

About To Freak Right Out

About To Freak Right Out

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