“Vamos a El Dorado, Chinatown?” I mumbled with self-consciousness and a smile as we piled into the taxi.

We were sun-drenched touristas back in Panama City; a combination of old and new friends thanks to a rambunctious camping trip in the San Blas islands the evening prior. San Blas: a peppering of 365 remote islands off the Caribbean side of Panama. Subsisting just fine on a liquid diet of Ron Abuelo rum and Coke (the real kind), we enjoyed a carefree and uninhibited time in the islands with nothing more than a lone Guna Yala family, the swaying palms and the mega-sized starfish to judge us.


One of the San Blas islands, off the Carribean side of Panama.

It was divine, though back in the mainstream we were hungry for something more substantial. Dinner in Chinatown, in Panama City’s El Dorado neighborhood was supposed to be an easy fix. Placing an order at a restaurant was second nature compared to the acquired taste that camping can be for those of us who prefer the comforts of a real bed, a hot shower (or a shower in general) and a working toilet.

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