Arriving into Panama on a fine sunny afternoon, I was provided with the distinct pleasure of spending the next 8 hours wandering aimlessly around the Panama City bus station/mall while waiting for my overnight bus to depart. After chowing down on a superb "Pollo con Arroz" at the 2nd of three separate food courts (all of which had about 8 separate restaurants selling fried chicken), I decided to kill the remaining 7.5 hours by practicing my Spanish with some of the various storekeepers around the mall. Unfortunately, knowing only 4 verbs and the translation for 12 types of fruit doesn't get you very far when attempting to purchase, well, anything. Thus, pure boredom, several trips to the internet cafe, and a solid amount of mall walking kept me entertained until my bus departed.
My first overnight bus ride, an experience that is expected to occur several times over the course of my trip, was, for lack of a better term, quite the experience. Traveling 200 miles over the course of 9 hours, the first half was spent enjoying the romantic Latin flavor of, what i can only assume, is the Panamanian Fabio. I was quite enticed by the videos of him professing his love to a random Latina woman, all of whom were either laying in bed in a silk nightgown or staring out the window adoringly, wishing for Fabio to embrace them in his arms (which of course would ALWAYS happen at some point in the song, causing the Panamanian woman seated next to me to shyly hide a smile). Despite this soothing love-inspired music, I unfortunately only managed a few hours of slumber, as our driver seemed to possess the incessant urge to honk at every moving object in Panama.
Upon my arrival in Bocas Del Toro, a chain of islands on the western coast of Panama, I was shuttled over to the ferry station for a 30-minute boat ride to the island, before proceeding to wait for Laura to arrive from Costa Rica. Given my previous ability to highlight places visited in Powerpoint-esque format, I provide you with what I can only assume will be my future method of summarizing places visited during this expedition. Onto the highlights of the 4 days in Bocas Del Toro:
After the 4th day in Bocas, with the arrival of my 29th birthday only hours away, we decided to spend the night celebrating the best way possible in this fine section of the world: On another night bus. This time, however, we unfortunately were not joined by the soothing tunes of Latin lust. Instead, thanks to our new drivers desire to take every turn in Panama at breakneck speed (there are a LOT of turns in Panama), the new sounds of our journey were instead those of passengers relieving themselves of dinner onto the floor of the bus. (Insert Happy Birthday to Me Song). All was not in vein however, as the experience did allow me to learn an additional phrase in Spanish: "Excuse me sir, there is a little bit of ¨"sick" underneath my seat. It smells bad. Thank you." Fluency is almost around the corner!
Next stop: Panama City
Onto the pics: