Here's the kicker. I didn't go to just one mall, I went to two. I must be loco.
The adventure started because David's wife had a long list of things he had to bring home from the city. David thought we could hit one mall and get everything we needed. At MultiPlaza Mall in Panama City, it took is over 30 minutes to park. After realizing there wasn't an empty spot in all of Panama, we waited long enough for someone to leave. We got very excited to see there was no one between us and the lady about to leave... until we realized she wasn't in a real parking spot. She'd pulled her 4-wheel drive up onto the sidewalk of the parking garage so only the butt of the car was parked in what should have been a driving area. Well, if she could do it, so could we. Hitting the curb at a slow speed is a bit of a jolt, but before you know it, we were parking on the sidewalk. Welcome to Panama.
Once inside the mall, we could have been anywhere in the U.S. as it was jam-packed with American Christmas music, Santa scenes, and festive holiday displays in the department store windows. We walked by all the stores we're used to--Armani, Sony, Adidas, Guess, Jimmy Choos, Mrs. Fields. They even had a Dairy Queen.
The push of people and the fluorescent lights were making me dizzy, so we left without buying a thing... not even a Cinnabon.
The second stop was Westland Mall, Panama's largest shopping center located just outside of Panama City. This mall has fewer stores with Western names, but the concepts are all straight from the world's capitalism capital. There is a Do-It Center instead of a Home Depot, an El Fuerte instead of a Super WalMart, and a SAKS instead of a Macy's. Imagine having all of these different stores in one mall. No wonder it's the biggest. Now imagine frantic holiday shoppers all trying to maneuver their families and carts through ten thousand of their closest friends. Calgon take me away... but send me a helicopter first to whisk me away from the crush of holiday shoppers.
At El Fuerte, I bought a rum cake for Christmas dinner, a Christmas gift for a friend, and a few groceries. David bought a $2.99 dress for his wife (I won't tell if you don't), some $3 champagne from France (I'm not drinking it), and an entire pig rump to make pulled pork sandwiches. I honestly have never thought about what a pig rump looks like. Tomorrow when I'm enjoying the pulled pork sandwiches, that image will be wiped from my brain. Hopefully.
I did learn one important thing today...I won't be holiday shopping on Christmas Eve next year. So when you're in Panama next holiday season, invite me over. I'll bring the wine and we'll toast the fact that we're not the loco gringos out Christmas shopping in Panama with the equally loco Panamanians.