Can’t Win ‘Em All (but it beats freezing in San Francisco!)

Published: December 23rd 2007
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Quick disclaimer on this blog: I wrote this blog about 6 hours ago. Since then Matty and I have kicked each others ass in Palace, we've drank a 12 pack of local brew, had the best meal of our trip, met one of the coolest British expats, been to a local bar with the ugliest foreigners that exist, been clubbin', and ate some good ass meat-on-a-stick off a street vendor. Now I’m chillin’ on a deck over the Caribbean, watching the storm move through, sippin’ a Balboa, smokin’ a light and enjoying life. Things are definitely looking up!...that being said, here's what I wrote 5 hours ago....

I feel I came across much more negative than I actually felt in my last blog, and as much as I hope that doesn’t happen here, I am afraid it will. I consider myself a pretty mellow traveler…just go with the flow and take whatever the place throws out. (except for that one time I was threatening to kill kids in Bolivia if I didn’t see the salt flats soon..haha!) Not much is different with this trip; when it rains I sit on the balcony and read a book, when it clears up I walk around, when I’m done with one place I move on to the next…such is life on the road. But this trip is kinda messing with my free flowing nature. It’s not the country or it’s people, its just bad luck and timing…and bad guidebooks!
I thought 4 days in Panama City would be fine. I was led to believe there was enough to keep me busy for that long, and there probably is for some people, but the city wore on me quickly. Unfortunately I didn’t know this would happen in time to go do something else before meeting up with Matty.
Matty got here and things seemed to be looking up. It was good to have him here. Someone to talk to without having to use broken Spanish and awful drawings. And his Spanish is pretty good, which is very helpful. When he got in I filled him in on what I had learned, went to a brewpub with some amazing microbrews, and just had a good mellow evening. The next day Pedro was driving us to El Valle (since our dive trip was canceled), and then we were going to check out the Panama City nightlife.
The El Valle trip went as planned. Immediately after getting past the city limits my spirits went through the roof. It was green, clean, and gorgeous up there. We went on a Canopy Tour and did the zip lines (kinda cheesy compared to Monte Verde, but still a lot of fun), had lunch at this great little house in the hills ran by a retired German guy, and just enjoyed the fresh air. Things were really looking up. Then Matty’s stomach started hurting. Throughout the day it got worse and worse…and by the time we got back to the city, he was hurtin’ pretty bad. But he muscled through it and we went shopping for some nice ‘going out’ clothes, and to a nice steak dinner on the Causeway. The food was not doing anything to make Matty feel better. We stopped by a Pharmacia, got him some drugs, then I went back to the brewpub while he tried to sleep it off, praying that it was just a bug that would pass and not food poisoning or something worse. Luckily he was 100% the next morning and we caught out flight to Bocas. They say it was probably just bad oil or something that the chicken was cooked in.
Flying into Bocas was amazing. Crystal clear water, rain forest covered islands, and endless pristine white sand beaches. We check into the nicest hotel on Isla Colon and finally our trip had begun. Had dinner, went to the store and bought a 12 pack of Balboa and a bottle of Stoli and headed up to the balcony to get the night started. The view was amazing out over the Caribbean and we had nothing to do the next day so we proceeded to drink a liter of Stoli. I was passed out by 9:30pm. I think Matty went out, but don’t think he remembers where. I woke up at 6:00am and decided to beat my hangover to the punch by drinking a six-pack before the sun completely came up. I spent most of the day buzzed and it has been the best time I’ve had since I’ve been here!
Today we finally went diving. But the weather has turned to shit and it just wasn’t a great dive, some nice coral, etc…but nothing too exciting. I felt a little stomach bug coming on myself, but thankfully it passed within an hour or so. It doesn’t look like the weather is going to clear up here…so we’re out of here tomorrow. Off to the mainland, getting a car, and heading out. We have to be in Santa Catalina Christmas night for a big dive on the 26th…then we have to be back in Panama City the 27th so we can fly out the 28th.
So I guess to sum up what I just went on about above…nothing is really bad here, but nothing is really good either…it just is. But a moderate 2 weeks of traveling is still better than a great week working as far as I’m concerned! And as for the Costa Rica vs. Panama debate…I think this post from another traveler says it best “Go to Panama to live, go to Costa Rica to travel” I could see buying a place and retiring in Panama because you have all the amenities in Panama City, which is never more than a days drive away. And the country really is beautiful. But Costa Rica just has a lot more to offer a traveler, and it’s cheaper. The main complaint about Costa Rica is that it’s flooded with tourists, but the times I have been down there, that just isn’t the case. Anyway….

Happy Holidays.

...And I miss Jamie very, very much....(now everyone knows babe!)

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26th December 2007

Missed another one
Kev: Glad to hear you didn't have a spectacular time...whatever!!!! You still suck!!! Next trip man, I am sooo there! Feliz Navidad you JIN!!!!
6th January 2008

Which hotel?
You say you stayed in the best Hotel on Bocas, Which one? I am heading out there and looking into hotels. What advice do you have. I want the nicest. With the blue water blah blah..... Nice pics Thanks Cheryl

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