My trip to Panama in two parts…
|Crossing the border into Panama|
1. I do not enjoy super “gringo-fied”, touristy places. And that’s just what this place is. The decision to come to Bocas del Toro was a quick and easy one for both Zach and I. We had 8 days between our time in Puerto Viejo and the time we needed to return to San Jose to meet our moms. After our attempts at reserving an entrance ticket to Chirripo National Park failed miserably, we had a decision to make. Do we attempt to make it to the park anyway and hope for a cancellation or do we take advantage of being so close to Panama and take a few days to experience a different country. And now, here I sit, waiting for the border to re-open because of strikes in Costa Rica. I am ready to leave. The streets are dirty, raw sewage runs through the gutters, and the local culture has almost all but left. Not to mention, yesterday was the first time I saw the sun since we have been here. Don’t get me wrong, this collection of islands just of the Caribbean coast of Panama are beautiful. The only way to get around is to barter for a water taxi, which takes you to any of the lush rainforest and white sand beach covered islands. The surfing is amazing, so I have heard, but really you only need a few days to see what this place has to offer.
2. I love the whole hostel vibe. I have experienced a few hostels before but only back in the states where things were a little less diversified. But here in Bocas was my first, real international hostel stay. I met an amazing couple and their friend from Canada. We took a trip to Red Frog Beach with the trio where Kevin actually proposed to Michelle on a small nationally protected turtle-nesting island. How cute it was. She said yes. There was surfer Scott from SoCal, here for the ‘oh so tasty waves maan’. We went to the docks to search for a place to slackline but ended up just setting it up in the local park. And you can’t forget the three, 30 something guys from Philly. They are out to kick everyone’s ass, drink heavily at all hours of the day, and crack the most inappropriate yet hilarious jokes in their heavy Philly accents. I think its great to try and cook dinner in a crowded kitchen where the air is filled not only with the smell of mac&cheese but with people of all skin tones speaking in multiple languages. I’m lovin’ it. I’m sure it was my upbringing in an intentional community that helps me feel so comfortable in such an atmosphere.
Hopefully the border opens soon. We need to be in San Jose in 2 days for the arrival of the moms! Super excite.