There seems to be some disagreement over the derivation of the word Panama. Some say it is a forgotten Indian word implying an abundance of fish or even butterflies. Others say the unique country is named after the Panama tree. Not to worry, on this humid day at 6 AM I left the comfort of my very western hotel room in Panama City heading across the sprawling town to reach the beginning of the Panama Canal. I am struck by how early the inhabitants are on the move and delighted to see many college age students, backpacks securely in place, hustling across the already busy thoroughfares.

I wobble through the old city and the waterfront of the Plaza de Francia without really knowing where I am at. In my typical rush to get started I unforgettably over look the great history all around me. Soon though I am at the city limits. I turn around returning to the hotel. This is how all complicated long distance walks are accomplished, by breaking them w into measureable pieces.

Later I am informed by my staff that they have located a cab driver to accompany me over the next few days on to Colon and the great Atlantic.

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