What a SUPER Super Bowl Sunday!
07 February 2011 | Panama City, Panama
We took the 9:00 AM high speed ferry from Isla Tobago to Panama City, barely making it. We thought we got up early with plenty of time to pack and get ready to leave the boat & cats for a night. Unfortunately, we did not realize that we'd changed time zones. We'd been in Central and were now in the Eastern time zone.
On top of that, I miscalculated the kick off time. I knew we usually watched the kick off around 3:30 pm in SoCal, so it must be three hours earlier - around 12:30 pm EST, right? Wrong, that would be three hours LATER - about 6:30 PM - oops. We thought for sure the Balboa Yacht Club would have a Super Bowl Party, but no one even seemed to know it was happening.
We took as taxi and told the driver what we wanted - football Americano. He proceeded to take us to an empty grassy football field! (LOL) We explained: No - a sports bar/cantina/ mas televisions. The thought about it and decided to take us to a sports bar in a casino, so we agreed. When we arrived we went upstairs to the bar and it was dead. Of course we didn't know about the kick off time at this point. They only had a few pre-printed 8 ½ x 11" Super Bowl XLV signs scattered around the bar, no big screens only little TVs and not so comfy looking chairs. The scene wasn't working for us.
I pulled out my iphone, connected to the casino wifi and googled "sports bar panama city, panama. What came up was the Royal Casino, near the Marriott Hotel, the description mentioned special events: specifically that they host a Super Bowl Party. That was our place. It turned out we were just a few blocks away.
We went upstairs and there were a handful of people in the cool looking sports bar arranging tables and chairs. We spoke with New Jersey native Jon Schwartz, its proprietor and explained that we'd just sailed in from San Diego (one of his favorite cities as it turned out), found him on Google and came for the party. He said they were sold out, be he'd see what he could do if we'd just hang out.
Having nowhere else to go at that hour, we did. While waiting I got on to NFL website and that's when I realized the game was at 6:30 pm. It was 11:00 AM - long day ahead. No problem, I needed to find a hotel for the night anyway since there were no late ferries going back to the island after the game.
Admission to the Actions Sports party was $25 per person and included all you can eat and drink (quality booze, plus a raffle. When I looked at the prizes I noticed they were giving way a 42" HDTV with DVD home theatre system. Since I'd left our 1989 27" Zenith on the curb with a "FREE" sign on it after we couldn't unload it at our pre-move garage sale, we needed a new one. So I decided to win it, and I said so - to the owner Jon, Tom, Canaan our crewmen, and others at the party.
At half-time they did the drawing. Unfortunately, they called someone else's name for the TV, which as actually the second place prize. They called MY name for the Grand Prize: a three day trip to Brisas - a swanky, new, all-inclusive resort in Panama City. Jolene, is Jon's wife and we'd met her earlier so she knew our story. They tried to get the guy who won the TV to switch prizes, but he wanted the TV too.
Jon & Jolene were so cool, they said "No problem, we'll give you the money for another TV/DVD system. How cool is that?? They also threw in a $50 gift certificate for one of the nicest restaurants in town. On top of the prizes, it was an awesome party, a great football game and the fellow central division, and Minnesota Vikings rival, Green Bay Packers won the game. What a day!