We left Panamá at 8:00 pm on Tuesday, February 2, on a big tourist bus. After some discussion involving seat numbers, Padre Moreno offered a prayer for safe travel, they turned off the lights, cranked-up the a/c, alnd left town. It was very cold but I had my Cal Berkeley hoodie on so I was fine. We were stopped twice by Migración, but, all in all, everything went smoothly. I was a little worried at Las Tucanes in Santiago de Veraguas (the half-way point in the country, where the bus stops for a baño break and a quick meal) because we were told getting off the bus that we would need our ticket stubs to re-board. I was sure I had it getting off the bus, but I looked for it while eating and couldn't find it. Fortunately, the woman who was supposed to check our ticket stubs was distracted talking to a candy vendor, so I climbed back on the bus while she wasn't looking and found my ticket stub on the floor under my seat.
The stuff with Migración was interesting; they came on the bus to check everyone's identification while uniformed police with dogs checked out the luggage section under the bus. They didn't find anything and let us continue. I must admit that the check at 3:00 am was a bit annoying!
I wasn't able to sleep much on the bus; I don't like sleeping sitting up and the bus rocks and jumps. Also, I was a bit nervous in the mountains above Chriqui; it was very foggy and I know that certain sections of the road are missing, but we lived through it.
We arrived in Almirante, Bocas del Toro, about 6:00 am, where my dear friend Paulus and many taxis were waiting for us. The taxis (pick-up truck taxis!) whisked us away to the dock, where we had breakfast (hojaldres, tortillas panameñas, huevos revueltos con salchichas y café), and boarded the ferry for our two-hour ride to Isla Colón, or Bocas Island (like many places in Panamá, it has two names). I snoozed a little on the ferry, but was very happy when we arrived at Isla Colón! More taxis, then I found my bed at San Augustín and slept for three hours. Our entire party moved kinda slow for the rest of the day.
I had a late lunch/early dinner at The Pirate (calamaris apanados) with Patsy Pusey, Yolanda Peters, Audrey Smikle, Luther and Hortensia Atkinson. When we returned to San Augustín, we were instructed to head for the refectory, where we were served sancocho estilo de Bocas del Toro, also known as "cow foot soup." A little later in the evening after my daily call to the Lovely Mona, Guillermo Johnson and I found a bar for conversation and "a taste," as we say here. All in all a good start!
As always, photos!
Las Tucanes, Santiago de Veraguas
Dawn in Almirante
Views from the Ferry
Our Destination: ¡Isla Colón!