Here we are in Panama!

The Bahamas was not a great week.  We had terrible weather, rain, wind, and more rain and more wind.  Sasha lost to Christian Langmo 4 and 4.  Some of the worst conditions you could imagine, but kudos to him, he adjusted better.  After beating Sasha, he went on to win the tournament easily.  Another loss to the tournament winner!!!

Sasha got to catch up on school and do some physical training.  We hated the Bahamas.  Pretty views of the water was about the only positive.  Bad hotel, pretty much bad food (except for our Thai Restaurant at which we ate dinner three times).  But our trip out of Panama was smooth.  Sailed through airport customs, security etc. only to find our plane delayed by 2 hours.  But it all worked out ok.  We had a good flight, both got stuff done on the flight.  Our driver picked us up at the airport.  We stopped by Riba Smith, a fantastic supermarket and stocked up on food and supplies.  Then were driven to the apartment we rented.  It is very nice, beautiful views of the pacific, spacious, and a half hour from the club where the courts are located.  The owners live downstairs in the house, we are on the top floor.  They are ex pats from California.  They had a gathering down by the pool last night, wine and munchies.  We met a number of their neighbors who were here and it was a nice way to start our stay in Panama.   Soooo nice to be able to cook dinner again and not eat out.  We also have a laundry.  We were so happy to have clean clothes.  Doing laundry in the Bahamas would have cost as much as the hotel, so we settled for rinsing a few things out.  Practically everything we had with us was dirty.  Now it all smells good again and so do we.

Panama City gets bigger and taller every time I come here.  I can’t believe how this place is developing.  They are now modernizing all the roads too.  Bad news–horrible traffic now, good news, the infrastructure will be much better when it’s done.  If anyone has been here, we are staying on the Pacific Oceanside just over the Bridge of the Americas.  If you map the Westin Playa Bonita, we are about 1/2 mile from it.  The club where the tournament is played is just over the Panama Canal a bit north.  

Here we have a driver that will take us to the club every day.  Everything in Panama is cheap, this apartment costs less than a hotel, a driver costs less than a rental car, etc.  Today we will practice for several hours, not much time to make the transition to clay from hard courts, but we will make the best of it.  This tournament is a warm up for the Orange Bowl next week.  I’ve been here a few times before. This club has pretty nice red clay courts and in the past has been a pretty well run event.  Sasha is really psyched to be playing on the clay for a few weeks.

Sasha and I are both really happy that we have spent our last night in a hotel on this trip.  We have this apartment this week and the Hamilton House in Delray which we will again use as our Southern Florida base for Orange Bowl.  It is somewhat like returning home for us.  

Speaking of returning home.  Sasha and I will go home for our VERY brief Christmas break after Orange Bowl.  We will both be home for less than two weeks before starting our European indoor season.  More on that later.

I’ll post some pictures later today.

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