Every spring, I try to manage my pre-summer restlessness with a quick trip to Mexico or a weekend at the pool. May is the time of year when I’m always longing for summer with a restless specificity; aching for the freedom that season breeds — the feeling of endless possibility and days with too much light.
This is what Panama City feels like: Optimism; swift, vivid heat; sun for miles. The heat is overbearing, but intoxicating nonetheless — like another person walking too closely next to you, asking for more intimacy than you want to give. This heat has plans for you.
Upon stepping out of the airport, everyone I encounter wears the sheen of sweat — a uniform that we all share, even if we can’t communicate. This language barrier is on me: I’m in Central America and I don’t know Spanish, but the heat is it’s own language. Something that everyone can relate to.
There is only one cure for heat like this: Water. The good news is that water is as omnipresent in Panama as the sun. There’s the multi-billion dollar Panama Canal; the series of interconnected, blue-tiled pools at my hotel; and the cases of bottled water that are present on every tour. The water is bottled and sealed, of course, but it still somehow tastes different — a reminder that I am a visitor here.