Back at the bus terminal in David.
Sorry, but we can't take you with us little buddy.
I was up before every single person in the dorm room. Go figure. Although I was also the first person in bed. So maybe there's a correlation. I got up & had some free coffee & the got started on breakfast. We are of course having George bowls to start us off on the right foot for another decent sized travel day.
Once we packed up we headed out to the bus terminal & got in line to catch our mini-bus. This bus terminal is exceptionally organized which is always appreciated. The bus bays are labeled with the names of the towns the buses are heading to. Wow! Of course, the bus we want to catch has the longest line. Shoot. The problem with lines here is that not everyone follows the rules to line waiting as we understand them in the US. People milled about all over & when the bus showed up, whoa, everyone just pushed forward. I tried to be a little aggressive but somehow Geoff (& his agressiveness) managed to walk around the bus, get our bags to the guy who put them on top of the bus & he got in the bus before I
Our bus to Almirante.
The bus had fuzzy wrapped reviewmirrors, awesome!
did. So much for lines. Really. Oh well, we had a seat & that is all that matters at this point. There are so many people traveling today. This is technically the first day that almost everyone gets off for Semana Santa. It's a zoo at the bus terminal for sure. Everyone has luggage & bags & there are people everywhere. It's super fun though, everyone seems really excited & happy to be traveling.
This bus took us 4.5 hours through the mountains & out to the Caribbean coast of Panama into the town of Almirante. Although, we did have to make a stop about 2 hours in to eat. There is no rhyme or reason to which buses stop & when. Some drive for hours on end without so much as a potty break & some stop all the time for food. I am sure it is all decided in the moment by the driver. Free reign it seems. For about an hour of the bus ride I had a little boy sitting in my lap. The bus was jammed with people at this point & his mom had 3 kids & he was having a hard time
Wine and Cheese!!
Kassandra almost jumped off the bus to chase down this truck.
standing with the turns the bus would make so he sat with me. Her little girl sat on another ladies lap. That is one thing I love about these cultures. People talk to one another, women help one another with their kids, it's just more open. I love it.
Once in Almirante we caught a cab with another couple from the US to the water taxi terminal. This couple was also from Seattle & they were so cute because they had never been on a water taxi or out to an island & they were sooooo super excited. We've decided that Bocas del Toro will be the 13th island we've been to on our trip so it feels like a normal event to be on a water taxi. Their excitement made us even more excited. The guy (can't remember his name now) kept hitting me in the arm & saying things like "this is soooo cool!" It was a fun boat ride because of them & their joy.
Here we are in the Caribbean again. Crystal clear blue water, islands covered with palm trees, boats, music, yippeee!! First stop off the water taxi we went to a little
Restaurante Rico Pollo
We stopped for lunch on our way to Almirante, pero el pollo no era Rico.
dive shop & signed up for a dive in a couple days. Next order of business food. We ate some delicious tacos at a "BBQ" place. They were amazing. Next we grabbed a taxi to our hotel. The hotel owner told us not to pay more than $10 for the cab, so when the first guy said it was $15 I said no thanks, we'll pay $10, that's what we were told. He got all pissed off & rambled on about how he knows the fares & the owner doesn't, blah blah. Then we walked across the street & the next cab we saw offered to take us for $12. Whatever, I'm done arguing. So, as soon as we start getting into the cab, the first cab driver drives over & starts yelling at our cab driver about fixed fares & so on. It was kind of funny & we just laughed at the guy. Geoff told him maybe he shouldn't have tried to rip us off & we'd be taking his cab. I'm not sure how much he understood but the gist was there. Finally, on our way. Shesh. Some people.
We're staying at a place called Tesoro
Our boat from Almirante to Bocas del Toro.
Escondido which is well outside of Bocas Town (which is where all the partiers go to party) & was recommended to us by Justin & Karen. It is incredible here. It's located a few miles out of town & there really isn't much out here at all except for beautiful empty beaches & lush jungle. Perfect! The waves are crashing down below our room & it is super artsy & cozy here. Our room is really comfy & we have our own bathroom. It's been a long while since we've had our own bathroom, it's like a luxury now.
We received the grand tour of the area from Matt, the Chef & all around taker carer of things here. He walked us to the beach, walked us around the property, talked about all the things we need to know & disappeared. He's a very funny guy from Las Vegas who talks really fast, a lot & is super high energy.
We spent the rest of our afternoon checking out the beach & reading & relaxing a bit after all of our travels the past couple of days. It felt really nice to take a long shower too. And,
there's hot water!
This place is basically a very big house with a couple of guest rooms & there are also a couple of little cabanas scattered around. Our room is in the main house & we have a nice big section of deck to look out over the sea. Green Parrots fly over us & of course we hear roosters & hens.
For dinner, Matt gives you a choice of a few dishes & they are served at a communal dinner table off the kitchen. It's one of the only rules he has, all the guests eat dinner together. (There is a kitchen here to use but we didn't know & didn't bring any food, bummer). However, Matt is an amazing chef & our dinner was delicious & super fun. We met a couple from Alaska & a couple who live in Panama but are French & German. It's always entertaining being semi forced to talk to people. We have no problem, of course, but some people do. It was obvious the AK couple was a bit unnerved by having to talk with everyone. They opened up a bit after awhile but I think they would have preferred
to sit alone.
After dinner we walked to the beach in search of turtles. Matty told us there had been sightings lately & they are coming ashore to lay their eggs. So, we walked along the beach for awhile & let the stars be our lights. We realized soon that we had no idea what we were looking for or where to look so we sat for a bit until we were ready to go home. We didn't see any turtles but the beach at night is always a treat.
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