After crossing the border into Panama I rode to the nearby city of David before riding to Las Tablas where I intended to spend a couple days of R&R and see if there was a dentist to clean my teeth.
When crossing a border you just don’t know how long it will take. Although generally I have been taking about two and a half hours to cross them. But just in case I usually book a hotel at a nearby city, yet away from the chaos of the border. For the crossing into Panama I picked David.
The hotel I booked was Hotel Alcala not too far from the center of town. Not a bad place and they had parking under a roof.
After arriving I went for a walk towards the main square called Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Park.
Across from the park, as is the usual in latin american countries, was a Roman Catholic Church called Parroquia La Sagrada Familia.
I walked around a bit more but just wasn’t impressed with the city. At least this part of the city.
Just not much around. And certainly not the one thing I always look for and that is a restaurant or bar or coffee shop with a patio. Everyplace was the hole in the wall mom and pop restaurant, or a scuzzy looking bar. So I bought some snacks and spend the evening after dark in my room.
I was asked by someone who follows me, “Why Las Tablas?” Great question! ha ha. I was looking for places to stay but soon found out that Panama is VERY expensive. Of course Costa Rica was as well. The cheapest place within a day’s ride away was Las Tablas. I was planning on riding to that little peninsula that juts out in Panama anyways. More specifically, Playa Venao. It looked like Las Tablas was a quiet little town and I had been riding for a few days so it was time for a break. So Las Tablas it was.
The place I booked in Las Tablas was Hostal Mansion Juliana run by an Italian family and with an Italian restaurant out back. I enjoyed some awesome Italian food there. Yup, in Las Tablas Panama.
The town of Las Tablas itself was nothing remarkable. Just the usual. Of course, my senses may be dulled after more than a year of travelling to various towns. You can judge for yourself through the pictures.
It was very hot during the day!
It had been over a year since I had my teeth cleaned. Back at home I try to get them cleaned every 3 months! So I was long overdue. I had tried to get them cleaned in Costa Rica but it didn’t work out.
I asked at my Hostal where I could get this done. The clerk said she had gone to the dentist down the street. Off I went and made an appointment for the next day.
Now dentist offices have not been my favorite place to go to. Although, I have to admit that over the past few years it has been good. Perhaps it is the new technology available that makes these visits a lot better. Given that, I was concerned about having my teeth cleaned at a small town, Panamanian dentist. Yikes!
OK, I thought… Dr. Ingrid … a female dentist. She will be gentle on me – I know … stereotyping. I waited in the waiting room for a long time which made me more anxious. Once in awhile I spoke to the receptionist and answered questions on forms which wasn’t easy. My Spanish gets me by for everyday situations but not for technical questions.
Finally I was escorted into the room. I didn’t like what I saw!! The dentist and assistant were dressed head to toe in blue garb. Over their head was a plastic hood and they were wearing masks. What did I get myself into!!!!. I wanted to leave. This wasn’t like the relaxed atmosphere at home. I pressed on and ended up having a bit of a debate with them over leaving my glasses on. Finally they relented. I wanted to see where I was going when I made my escape!
That feeling became even more intense when they brought out the drill! What a drill for teeth cleaning!!! Never had that before. Chips started flying from my teeth as he drilled my lower teeth. If this was going to happen for all my teeth I was going to bolt.
After he stopped a few times I sat up in the chair just to get my bearings together.
Strangely, and luckily I might add, he stopped the drilling after he did the bottom front teeth. After that he flossed all my teeth and polished them I had the fluoride treatment and that was it. Only 30 minutes.
There was no picking away at my other teeth, no water picking and no laser treatment like at home. At this point I wasn’t going to complain. I just wanted out of there. It cost me $40 US for the torture. Well, at least my teeth were cleaner I guess.
Perhaps I should have waited until I hit a major city.