David to Santa Catalina

Published: May 15th 2011
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Up before 5a.m. to get ready to catch our bus. We headed to the bus terminal with 2 girls from London who are also going to Santa Catalina. Our cab dropped us off next to the bus heading to Santiago. 3 hours on this bus. The chairs reclined all the way back almost flat. It was great. We actually cuddled on the bus & slept well except for the fact that the A/C was on full blast & it was freezing. We are not accustomed to A/C & it was great for a few but then we were practically shivering, that's why we had to cuddle.

In Santiago we took a cab to the other bus terminal. Always more than one for some reason. Organization is not a quality that is held in high regard in this part of the world. So, to the other bus station & onto our bus to Sona. Only an hour on this bus. It left soon after we arrived.

By 10:30 a.m. we arrived in Sona. There we waited for about an hour for our bus to Santa Catalina. The bus terminal in Sona reminded me of a dirty truckstop in hodunktown somewhere in the U.S. We sat around & drank coffee & chatted with the London girls. I bought us some pastries from a panaderia down the road. Sona is definitely a small town. The roads are dirt, well today mud since it has been raining, & there is not a lot going on here.

On our bus to Santa Catalina. Yippee! The ride took a little over 2 hours to Santa Catalina. Wow, the road was terrible for the last 25 kilometers or so. Apparently, the road was repaired & beautiful a couple years ago. But, I guess with the large amount of rain they receive here, it hasn't held up well.

But, we made it, & we were very happy to get off the bus. We arrived in town at nearly 2 p.m. Whew. Long day when you start out at 5:00 am. S.C. is another itty bitty town. There's basically one main road with one arterial & you can walk all of town in under 20 miinutes (and a lot of the walk is really just the land between the few buildings). It's beautiful. The end of the road leads to the beach. Perfect. We got settled in a cute little hostel with our own room & 2 twin beds. We may never sleep together again at this rate. We've slept in a lot of twin beds in Panama so far. Once we were settled we headed out into town to find food. We are hungry. Sitting on a bus really makes you work up an appetite. We found a little Fonda (aka comedor, soda, restaurant, every country has their own namesake for the same thing) where we shared a fried fish & some fries. Oh the accumulating cholesterol in our arteries, it must be worse after the amount of fried food we eat on a consistent basis. But, it's tasty & when in Rome....

At this point we went to check out the dive shops in town. Basically, people come here to dive or to surf. That's about it. We talked with one shop who was full for tomorrow & the other shop had room so we have a date with them. We're diving with Coiba Dive Center & we're both pretty stoked to be back on the Pacific side to dive. It's so different than the Caribbean, there are so many BIG fish & BIG schools of those fish. I love it. With our dive plan squared away we went grocery shopping for tomorrow nights stay out on Isla Coiba, a Nature Reserve that allows people to stay in their basic rooms on the island. The Reserve extends for miles into the ocean which makes the diving supposedly incredible. There are no shops on the island & supposedly a kitchen we can use so we have to fend for ourselves.

However, shopping in tiny towns like Santa Catalina is not the easiest task. The two markets in town had a lot of icky canned food (think sardiines or tuna in oil, ugh) & things like pasta that don't spoil in this heat & humidity. We found a few things to make it work for the next couple of days. Good thing we like eggs & toast & pasta.
With our goods we headed back to our hostel & reorganized our bags so we would only have to bring one backpack with us to the island. There's no internet here which is always kind of a treat because then the temptation isn't there to use it & we can really just be in the moment & detach. Our hostel is full of surfers. There are surfing magazines everywhere & surfboards all over the place & lot's of guys with long bleached hair, so Geoff fits in nicely. 😉

The clouds rolled in late afternoon & there was tons of thunder & a little lightning & ALOT of rain. May is the beginning of rainy season & it is starting now. Hopefully it doesn't stick around long term...

The little bar across the street from us has a happy hour so we headed there for a few drinks & some yummy nachos with real cheese & olives. Yeah! Pretty soon we were tired & headed back to our place for sleep. 3 dives tomorrow! We're excited!


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