Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Good Luck Bad Luck Day

Sunday night Laura, Salma and I spent the night at the Torres de Alba, a comfortable "all suites" hotel in Panama city. They were scheduled to fly back to the USA Monday morning and we didn't want to have to wake up at dawn in El Valle to get to the airport.

Monday was a good luck / bad luck day.

Good Luck: There was little traffic Monday morning - the city always empties out at Christmas time as people visit their families in the interior or take jaunts to the mountains, the beach, etc - and we made it to the airport quickly, where Laura and Salma enjoyed a smooth departure.

Bad Luck: I felt very sad, watching Laura and Salma leave, and walking back to the car alone. True, this is not a matter of luck, I knew I would miss them greatly (and I do).

Good Luck: After Laura and Salma departed Monday morning, I headed back to the hotel and discovered quite by accident that they offer a fairly good free breakfast. I had a plate of scrambled eggs, cheese, toast, fresh pineapple, orange juice and a banana, and took some extra toast and jelly back to the room with me. In the room I relaxed on the sofa, eating toast and watching a bad disaster movie on HBO (though a bad disaster movie is still better than a good romance any day).

Good Luck: I checked out and headed to El Dorado to make the usual stops on my way out of town: Mailboxes Etc., Arrocha, and Price Smart. Mailboxes Etc. often closes early on holidays, but the owner was just locking the door as I arrived and she let me in. I was excited to find the fourth season of The Wire in our box. Something to entertain me in my solitude!

Bad Luck: Apparently all the people who had not yet left Panama were shopping in El Dorado. The streets were choked with traffic, so I decided to forgo the Arrocha stop and just do Price Smart. It took me 30 minutes or so to cover that short distance, but I relaxed and listened to Talk of the Nation on my iPod.

Bad Luck: My office chair began to break down about a month ago. First the right side arm rest cracked, then the entire chair proceeded to come apart. I managed to jury-rig a temporary fix using yards of packing tape, but the chair still lists to the right and will probably collapse under me like a pile of toothpicks sometime soon.

So I went to Price Smart and saw this beautiful, sturdy office chair with brown cowhide leather on the seat and armrests. It looked solidly built and I decided to take it, though the $109 price tag would sting. I got up to the register with the chair and a few miscellaneous food items, and when the scanned the chair the register said $247! I said, "Wait, I thought it was $109?"

"It's clearly marked in the aisle" the register employee said.

But Price Smart is just like Costco and sometimes it's hard to tell which little price placard belongs to which pile of goods.

"I don't want it," I said apologetically.

Bad Luck: So the guy rang up my little collection of foodstuffs and it was $51, but when he ran my Visa card it came up invalid. Now I know there's nothing wrong with my card. I'm not near my limit, and I just used it to pay the hotel bill. "Run it again please," I said.

He ran it again, and still invalid. Everyone in line was watching. I asked him to wait, and I hustled to the store ATM machine and withdrew cash, and got out of there. How embarrassing and annoying.

When I got home I logged into Bank of America online but there were no holds or alerts. I still don't know what the problem was with the Visa card.

How about you, had any good or bad luck days lately? Tell me about it.

No comments: