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Central America Caribbean » Panama » Chiriquí
February 4th 2013
Published: February 4th 2013
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The Epidemic: A few nights ago a bug broke out in the guest dorm, and since there's only one dorm that everyone shares at least 6 people have caught it. Even though it only lasts for about six hours, the victims are subjected to violent vomiting and diarrhea. Kevin was one of the unlucky few who got sick and he compared it to taking ex lax and epicack. Lovely visual. So far we've only seen it strike at night. I've had so much anxiety about catching it because it looks really painful, and it's so inconvenient getting to the bathrooms in a hurry. I even went to the extent of eating three raw garlic cloves to boost my immunity. I made Kevin a broth of onion, garlic and ginger because I know it's hard to digest food after a night of puking and the ingredients have healing properties. I still have managed to stay healthy, fingers crossed! We think the virus might have a three day dormancy period so there's no telling. I'm trying to stay positive and keep eating light and fresh so even if I do get it maybe it won't be as severe as everyone else. Me and Kevin share everything so I can't imagine how I would get skipped unless I just have a badass immune system. For the time being I'm washing everything before I use it, even if it's already clean, taking two emergenCs a day and lots of vitamins.
February 3rd: It's Super Bowl Sunday and we're back in David. This time we're staying at the Bambu hostel so we don't have to endure the bus ride from Lost and Found twice in one day. It's weird waiting until 6:30 to watch the game, when usually by now we'd be pigging out on guacamole and playing beer pong during the pre game show. We hear there's a casino a short cab ride away that will be projecting the game on a 20 ft screen. Score! It's good to be off work and back in civilization, we were starting to get cabin fever back at the lodge. Bambu has a really nice "backyard" complete with a pool, cabana bar, hammocks and lounge chairs. It's noticeably different being back in a hostel with wifi because everyone is glued to their computers. At the lost and found people actually interact with each other. I don't mind it though, because I'm here for the exact same reason and feeling a little socially drained. I like talking to all the travelers we've encountered but after a while the conversations get a little monotonous. Central America is a small world; where you might run into the same people in a different tourist destination at a different point in your trip. We're all ping ponging from country to country so all day you hear the same questions: Where are you from? Where were you before you came here? How long are you traveling for? And where else are you going? I enjoy getting feedback from travelers that have already been to the destinations we plan on visiting, they're the best resource available to us. I'm excited to be back in a private room with an actual bed because for the last several nights we've been sleeping in the loft above the bar. It sounded fun at first but it's encouraging us to drink way too often. Some nights I just want to go to my bed and read, or crash early but we can't do that until the bar clears out. Kevin has been acquiring more bar shifts and I had my first one last night. It's the best job available because you don't have to start until 8:30 pm, you get to hang out, drink and play games with all the guests and it's typically the shortest shift. The only thing we serve is beer and mixed drinks so there's no muddling or talent required. Cloud our Cupuchin monkey could do the job, except we would probably run out of ice. He loves to break ice into little pieces over a rock and put the small chunks in his mouth. He's a funny little thing. When I'm alone he doesn't mind my presence and will actually come greet me; but when the guys are around he "shows off" by revealing his teeth and snarling at me. Why is it that males always act differently around their friends?? 😉Today in David, in honor of the football game, we've exercised our American pride by going to the local Dairy Queen for lunch and buying Miller Lite instead of Balboa (Panama's native beer). It's silly but realistically Dairy Queen was the only option open in our neighborhood on a Sunday, go figure! Not to mention that it's much hotter in David than Chiriqui and ice cream really hit the spot. It's funny when you see American restaurants in Panama because you think you can get something familiar, but really they're just trying to emulate the menus from back home with the only shitty ingredients available to them. So far each experience has been disappointing, but what can I say, I'm a vegetarian. I can't expect the cuisine in Panama to accommodate my lifestyle, and unless you're eating carne, you're eating dry grilled cheese sandwiches with the equivalent of partially melted Kraft singles sans condiments. Yum! I think we're going to give the lodge a couple more weeks before we move on. There's still a lot of hikes and tours that we haven't done, but it's hard to find time with opposite schedules. We just had three more volunteers join so hopefully either we'll start getting less shifts or shorter work days. It's not like the work is challenging, it just hinders us from leaving the lodge for the day. I'm loving how much money we're saving by staying there and cooking our own meals but I understand Kevin's point: why stay longer and prolong our trip when we're not really seeing or experiencing anything new. I enjoy volunteering, however, it would've been easier to relax and milk staying at the lodge at the end of our trip. We're not on any time constraints but there is still so much that we have yet to see. After we leave we'll spend a few nights or more in Bocas and then brave the Costa Rican border. I haven't been able to set up another volunteer gig yet, but it'll be nice to soak in sun and sand and take a mini vacay from volunteering for a few days. Gotta get ready for the big game tonight. Hasta mañana!

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