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I have just returned from Panama. It has been a quick business trip in which I have tried to make the most of my time. Here are some notes from the trip:

– United Airlines’ choice of dinner was “beef or chicken”. Whatever happened to the broadly accepted vegetarian-friendly classic pasta choice? Besides, the chicken was breaded, in a white bun, and the “beef”, let’s just say it did not look too good. To make things worse, dessert was a triple chocolate brownie. Do they really think 4 carrots over a little lettuce leave makes up for that? Then they wonder why the US is suffering an obesity problem of epidemic proportions.
As a contrast, on my return flight Copa offered a pasta choice, and metal silverware (I guess those do not pose a threat to pilots who are not American).

– The Riu Plaza hotel was pretty good, particularly because it has just been built. But when I arrived at night the outdoors swimming pool was already closed. The good thing is that there was a side door from the restaurant, and no security guard, so my midnight swim was pure bliss.
The view from the 19th floor was pretty good… if it wasn’t for the condensed water on the window’s exterior from so much humidity. The breakfast was ample but not excellent. And the bed was big. What a waste, such a big bed for myself.

– I have to buy a new phone charger and leave it permanently in my carry on luggage, so I don’t forget again. And also leave some company brochures in there. Gee, it has been a long time since I forgot two important things before a business meeting. Where is my head? (Incidentally I know, but that’s private).

– I woke up early to go exercise at the gym before breakfast. Then I held my first meeting at the Hard Rock hotel nearby, also quite new, after which I went with my customers to the next meeting (classified business info), in an official National Assembly car, with tinted windows and no license plate, and red and blue siren for driving priority. That felt weird, unfair, and a little unnecessary, but it sure helped with the traffic.

– After that meeting, a business lunch with a big buffet and amazing desserts. Of course, the fresh pineapple juice is not to be missed. See funny “pio pio – ¿estás pelao?” ad from the car. And straight to the airport (where I find another interesting ad, only in Chinese) to get my second security pat-down in 48 hours. Flights on time, with A/C outlets in the plane (which means lots of productivity). Standing in the immigration line with two ridiculously beautiful and nice male models, 25 years old both, from The Netherlands; women staring (at them, obviously), giggling, and even Border Control personnel making jokes and being nicer to them than to the rest. Sick and sad image-based society. Finally back home.