10 Days Of Epic Kiting In Panama Followed By $1500 Of Damage To A Helicopter

Public transportation.
I spent 9 days of kiting in very good conditions for 5-7 hours a day in 2007

I got to see over 30 stingrays flying through the water while kiting
I was stung by a couple of jellyfish
The stray dogs ate through my nice tent twice to eat my food
The same dog broke into the bathhouse and ate my soap twice, yuk!
On the last day I was there I broke the rear window of a very nice $500,000 helicopter and caused over $1500 in damage

Panamanians are incredibly friendly people and most educated Panamanians speak perfect English with American accents. Panama uses the American dollar and until recently have been run by the US until quite recently. The US ousted Noriega who is still in prison in Florida and then ran the canal for many years. Most of the people seem to be involved in the banks or the free trade zone. Almost all the goods that end up in S America were at one point stored in Panama.

The infamous chopper
The infamous chopper

I’m not sure what I expected when I went to Panama, I certainly expected to have to pay the tourist tax to the taxi drivers which amounted to about $20 total while I was there. The first taxi driver I got a ride with tried to charge me twice what we agreed to which was pretty funny, other taxi drivers were more of the same, scam, scam, scam. The buses in Panama were super cool, like souped up Thomas’ school buses from America with totally decked out graffiti style graphics and crazy chromed exhaust pipes up the back like a Mac truck. They all drove like madmen and were very cheap to ride, only $.25. I always dreaded the horrible yellow buses I had to ride to school every day, these buses were more like something you would expect to see at burning man. It was very, very cool.

The Panama City Kite club rented the place I camped out at the point. They had 2 toilets, an indoor shower and 2 outdoor showers. They also had a huge warehouse to keep all their gear and they could keep their kites blown up stacked inside there. It was by far the neatest kiting setup I have ever seen anywhere or could even imagine having.

Slept outside on the tramp under the stars for a week.
Slept outside on the tramp under the stars for a week.

In the airports and at the camp I met countless people who were all very cool and super friendly. There was a small restaurant that served very good fresh fish, some cooked or raw for quite cheap. I ate there almost every night, they even had wireless internet access. I slept every night on a trampoline and slept peacefully under the stars. In the morning I would wake up to dozens of huge soaring birds similar to albatrosses that would soar and poop right over where I slept. It was super windy all night long and usually for the better part of the day.

The flight back
The flight back

The ride back was so cool because I got to ride back in a really nice helicopter that one of the kiteboarders named Jackie had. By road the trip is almost 1.5 hours, by chopper it is only 15 minutes. When Jackie asked me if he should take his kiteboard I encouraged him heavily to do it. When I unloaded my stuff from the chopper and was putting his stuff back in I was super careful with the kiteboard because I didn’t want it to hit the window, but then when I put his kite in the kiteboard fell over, hit the window and put a huge 6 inch hole in the lexan. Jackie had already walked away and for a split second I considered not saying anything about it, but I decided to tell him about it. I felt so bad and I paid him $200 right there and told him I would pay him for the rest of the cost. I’m sure he didn’t care about the cost, but the hassle of having to fix the window really sucks. I really beat myself up for it for several hours, but then I decided to feel better about it. It was an accident, I really was trying to be careful and I did tell him right after it happened and agreed to pay whatever it costs. What would I have done differently? Not encouraged him to bring his kite gear? Probably not. Shit happens, and I have to believe that everything happens for a reason. Being alive means we’re going to make these messes so we just need to learn to clean up our messes.

One of the locals boats
One of the locals boats

It was an incredible trip and totally reenergized me. I spent much of my free time editing my friend Kevin Seaman’s “The Winning Mindset” book which I found extremely good. It inspired me to update many of my goals and to create timelines for them. The book is very educational and everyone could get something from it. www.thewinningmindset.com

I would encourage everyone to have clear written goals with a deadline to them and to keep them somewhere you can see them EVERY DAY. You will accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

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