Boquete

I´m in Boquete now, and it´s raining. Seems like it does that a lot lately, and while my rain jacket was great at lower altitudes it´s actually a bit chilly here.

Today we got up and had some breakfast we bought yesterday in our hostel and then got a Taxi with a nice lady from San Mateo to the bus station. We found the bus to Boquete and had a nice trip through beautiful country to here, where it´s undescribably beautiful. Gigantic hills with shear cliffs covered in green life and clouds floating in and out between them. There isn´t a ton to do here though, so mostly we walk around the hills and look at stuff. We got a fabulous house for 15$ a night with two rooms, living room and kitchen. It looks down into he river, I think it´s the chiquiri river. Tomorrow we´re going to see an indian artisan villiage and tour a coffee roasting company.

I´m loosing track of the days, it feels like I´ve been here forever. I´m starting to miss some things about America like hot showers but I could certainly enjoy this a bit longer.

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City of David

We left Bocas today and in a whorl wind of activity we made it to the city of David. We got on a water taxi which took us to a dock in Almirante, a man carried our bags to a taxi waiting outside who took us to the bus station, the bus left right as we sat down and drove 4 hours to David and a taxi waiting outside took us to the Purple Hostel, a nice little place not far from the center of town.

This city isnt much fun, but it could be the rain. We are trying to figure out where to go next, but it looks like we might cancel our plans to do a hike and just go see Boquete. It is hard switching back into choose your own adventure mode, the days in Bocas have been nice and relaxing and now we need to go back to figuring out who to trust and where to sleep.

Last day in Bocas

Hey all, We´ve been having a great time in Bocas del Toro, but tomorrow we´re catching a bus out of here. It´s hard to believe we´ve been here more than a week! Yesterday we went exploring an island called Bastimentos and found a really cool surfing beach and today we went on a tour to see dolphins, snorkel and a really secluded beach with beautiful sand.

Miss you all, but not enough to come home yet!

More Bocas

Hey Everyone! I´m still hanging out in Bocas, getting some sun and having fun. Today I went scuba diving and saw some really great coral, parrot fish, and marvelous undescribable sights. There was a jelly fish that was about 8 inches diameter. After the dive instructor led by example, I petted the jelly. It´s a good thing Pixar taught us that jelly fish only sting on the bottom.

Yesterday we caught a water taxi back to red frog beach with our island friends, Alice, May and Mark. It was so beautiful, with blue sky, white sand and green water. There were little thatched roof umbrellas along the beach to hide from the sun, but I didn´t hide well enough and got a bit burned. It was fun to body surf and play in the sand. I made a horse head sculpture in the sand.

We just moved hotels, our last one was nice but it´s good to have some different experiences. We will probably stay here 2 or 3 more nights and then head towards Boquete and David. I could really get used to this island life.

Bocas del Toro

Hey everyone, it´s been a while. Computer access here in the islands is limited, and there are half a dozen people in line after me to pay 2$ an hour to use the computers.

Panama City was great, and now I´m in Bocas del Toro. It´s a set of islands in the North part of Panama really close to Costa Rica. We flew in on a small prop plane and had reservations at a nice little bed and breakfast. The town is a lot different than we were used to in Panama City. Everything in the town is walking distance away, and most of the town includes tour shops and hotels, but each hotel contains a restaurant and a bar.

We´ve been using the tour shops a lot, it´s the best way to get around the islands with gaurenteed return. The first day here we went on a trip and saw Dolphins playing in the water. Our captain said some were only hours old, and you could tell they were not going underwater very much and still learning to swim.

Next while others snorkeled, we went to a small indian villiage and hired a guide for 5$ to take us through the jungle. There were many mosquitos but we did manage to see a Sloth, a couple Cayman (alligators) and the beautiful Red Dart Frog. They are tiny, about the size of your thumbnail but the guide told us they had enough poison to kill 20 spanish soldiers when they were invading the area. We got to hold them, because the poison is only dangerous if ingested or injected into the bloodstream with an arrow or dart.

That night we met up with some new friends for dinner and drinks, and it rained so hard that our street was completely flooded and we had to wade home.

This morning we went on a snorkling trip and saw many fish and corel. One beach had Star Fish which were gigantic, up to 16 inches tip to tip. We also got to see Isla Parajaro which was a reall cool pirate looking island.

Pictures will be great, but unfortunately this Windows machine freezes whenever I plug in my camera and I don´t want to try again and retype this again!

Hasta Luego

First day in Panama

I’m sure you’re all wondering if I’m safe after yesterday’s message, and I am. We are now in Panama and I love this place.

After I wrote yesterday, we decided to make the most of our delay and see la ciudad de Guatamala. It was really fun, there was a festival going on and all the school children from around were performing in marching bands for the parade. We also went to a beautiful Cathedral and a market. The market was huge, a converted building with 5×5 stalls filling it end to end, 2.5 stories high (two floors on top of eachother, and one was half a story down.) Inside you had the regular tourist stuff, along with sacks of grain, cooked foods, ribbon shops, wedding supplies and live chickens for sale in a basket. Everything the residents of Guatamala could possibly need.

Our taxi driver was really sweet. He offered to come back when we needed to leave and in fact refused payment until he collected us. He was trusted by Marriot so we could trust him. When he returned he couldn’t make it to the agreed location because of the festival traffic so he parked 3 blocks away and ran to meet us.

We took our flight and arrived in Panama without further delay. Flying in was beautiful. Fog surrounded the plane all the way there until we were almost there and it broke just in time to throw light on the highrises of Panama City. We shared a cab with some frindly Americans we met on the plane who shared our cancled flight plight. Tanya and I ate dinner and roamed the streets last night, trying to get lost. Interestingly, on closer inspection it appears that although there are more sky scrapers than San Francisco and this looks like a richer city from the outside, inside you can tell that 1/3 of the buildings are under construction and some are empty. There is a lot of investment going on right now and this city could very well boom, but right now it’s not quite as metropoliton as it appears.

This morning we got up and went to Casco Viejo, the new, old center of town. It was raining and I was interested to see that the residents seem to stop their lives to stand under an awning and wait for the rain to stop. We waited with them for a while, but decided just to brave the rain, and I’m glad we did because it was still warm and the wet city streets were pretty in their own way.

At one point we saw the ocean so started walking towards it. About 2 blocks from the edge of the peninsula an old woman stopped us, insisting we don’t go down that way. She said it was too dangerous. It’s really cool that she did, despite the fact that it proved we stuck out as tourists. Everyone has been likewise friendly and helpful. I should point out that Guatamala did not feel safe, and nobody seemed interested in looking at us or helping us except our Taxi driver.

After lunch at a high scale restaurant called Buzios (30$ for both of us) we took a taxi to the Old old part of Panama, Panama Viejo. It was hard to find a taxi driver, and when we finally found one he already had a fair. Didn’t matter, he told us to get in and we started driving the opposite direction we wanted to go. All taxi rides had been life and death experiences so far, with the weaving and horn honking and speeding but this guy was 10x worse. Then we entered a complete slum, and I was sure we were being scammed and the other woman in the car was a decoy. She eventually got out and we were off, so I felt a little better but I didn’t feel safe until we were out of the car. Later we had a taxi charge us 1/4th the price and drive at a more reasonable speed. We tipped him well.

Old Panama was kinda fun, ruins of the old city before Captain Morgan attacked it and burned it to the ground (the guy you know from the Rum). I was pretty interested in hearing about Morgan, because I knew he got pardoned (and knighted) so I thought he was forgiven. But it was clear the residents don’t like him much. The Pirate section of the museum was tucked in the last corner and talked about what a terrible guy he was. Basically, he raised the city because he could, they offered very litte resistance and he took 3000 prisoners ransom and torchured them until they paid. So now I’m more sensitive to their culture, but I can’t help marvel at this early entreprenuer.

That’s the everything up until now. I really love this city, so many colors and sights. Tonight we plan to go to the new, new center of town and maybe see what the clubs are like here. Tomorrow we see the canal and get on a plane for Bocas Del Toro where we should have a more relaxed schedule.

Greetings from Guatamala!

… Wait, what?? No, I didn’t make it to Panama yet. Our 6am flight from Guatamala to Panama was canceled so they put us up at the Marriot until 2:30pm when we can fly out. They gave us free breakfast and lunch here too, and the food was delicious. We’re not sure what to do in Guatamala, I really don’t know much about this country. Soon we’re going to head out and see if we can find a market or something. Hopefully our plane gets to Panama this evening!