Friday, August 27, 2010

2 airplane rides, one 8- hour layover and a 6-hour bus ride later...

After a grueling 24-hours of travel to get to Boquete, Panama I arrived yesterday morning around 6 a.m.

The trip involved a 6 a.m. flight from Detroit (forcing us to get up at 3 a.m. to be there by 4 a.m.), an 8-hour layover in Atlanta, a 30-minute taxi ride from the Panama City airport to the bus terminal; a 2-hour wait until the midnight bus to David (Panama's 3rd biggest city) and then a 6-hour bus ride through the Panamanian countryside and up into the mountains. Crazy! But I made it.

I thought the humidity in Toledo was bad, but in Panama City it's ungodly. You step outside and there is literally sweat dripping off your face within 2 minutes (and down your back which is especially icky).

I thought I could wait in the bus terminal's waiting room, but it was like an Indian sweat lodge in there. Although, I seemed to be the only one bothered as everyone else was taking it in stride. I guess people can get used to anything.

5 minutes later (and 3 pounds of water weight lighter) I had had enough. I remembered I saw a bar in the terminal that had it's doors closed (which meant A/C).

Stumbling over with 3 bags in tow, I was greeted by the 2 bouncers.

Remember, this is a bar in a bus terminal so I don't really see the need for bouncers, but whatever. Apparently, it's quite the destination nightclub in that part of town.

It was pretty crowded in there (also remember this is 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night). The bouncers told me they don't normally allow luggage in the bar, but this time they would make an exception.

Silly me. I hadn't realized I'd stepped into such an exclusive place. I guess it all depends on your perception. But it was nice to finally get cool.

One bus ride later, Mom picked me up and we went out for breakfast and bought some groceries.

Then for the 30-minute ride to Boquete.

I managed to survive 2 airplane flights and a long bus ride, only to almost be smeared on the side of a Panamanian country road by my mother.

Deciding she wanted to pass the truck in front of her, she pulled out into the other lane.

However, she didn't accelerate enough and then tries to downshift into 3rd gear, but missed and almost put it in 1st gear. By this time we have no acceleration and the guy coming at us at 50 mph isn't slowing down.

Seeing my life flash before my eyes, she finally swerved into the ditch, narrowly missing the guy that almost creamed us. And he never slowed down. Nice.

I think I'm going to suggest (read insist) that I should drive from now on.

One thing my mom had neglected to mention is that we're currently in the rainy season. Which means it gets dark at 1 or 2 p.m. and then rains the rest of the day. Not the nicest time to visit.

They had a pretty bad flood here last week because of all the rain. It washed out a couple bridges and ruined quite a few businesses in town.

My mom had 8 inches of mud in her driveway and a couple inches in her house.

This is what Boquete looks like when it's back to normal.

I also signed up for 4-hours a day of Spanish lessons, so hopefully I'll finally be able to understand direct objects and indirect objects.

I don't think I even understand those in English...


  1. Jesus! Sounds like you're in for an...eventful month, to say the least.

    While we're in Argentina, I can explain grammatical objects to you if you haven't figured it out by then.

    PS: Thank God they let you in the bar. Sounds like American dollars are quite the status-giver. ;)

    Can't wait to see you!

  2. Great adventure! I would have found the 8 hr. layover in Atlanta difficult. Did you go to a hotel or hang out at the airport? Maybe mom would relish your being a chauffeur for a few weeks? :-) Best of luck with your Spanish lessons. I will be tackling German at the same time. I'm crossing my fingers that you don't suffer any more rain!

  3. @ Danielle--I think it was my quick wit and sparking personality!

    @Expats--Still raining! Although my mom told me it's only been bad the last 2 years. Global warming everyone figures.
    Good luck with your German! I would love to learn that language, but I have no one to practice with!

  4. Oh crikey! I hope the rains will cool it for a bit so you can enjoy the sights. Good luck to you with the classes as well! I'm with Expats Again on the 8 hr. layover in Atlanta, though the one and only time I've been through Atlanta's airport I had to RUN for my connecting gate, which was in one of the other terminals = taking the shuttle train too & running past passengers on an escalator. Howdy Atlanta! Have a great time & safe travels!