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Okay, so now I've been to the US for a couple of weeks and they decided to send me back to Chile. I get to Houston and the Houston/Panama flight has a delay because of a bad public-address system. Not good because I really need to get there ASAP.
This time I'm booked directly through Continental, so while everybody else is standing in line trying to change their reservations, I call the 800 number and effectively jump to the head of the line. They can't get me to Panama in time to make my Chile connection, but they set me up in First Class on the next flight and get me a hotel in Panama for the night.
The Hotel Riando is much nicer than the last one I stayed at. It's not within walking distance of the beach, but it's close to the airport and I don't have time to go walking around anyway.
Oh yes, I now have a better camera. The two weeks I spent in the US gave me time to buy a camera to replace the one I "lost" in Venezuela. So now I can quit using my phone camera for everything.