Waiting out the rain in Bocas Del Toro

It's the rainy season in Panama, so it comes and goes all day and night.

Nevertheless, we have hired a boat to take us snorkeling and to Isla Zapatillas for the day. We've met up with our friends, the Jacobsens from Tacoma, which makes for a relaxing and entertaining intro to panama.

We arrived in Panama at 2:30 pm and spent about an hour in the immigration line. The taxi stand was right outside of customs so we bought an expensive 55$ cab ride to the Allbrook Bus Station. At allbrook we bought overnight bus tickets to bocas for $ 27.50 each. We had three hours to kill before the 7 pm bus departure so we hung out in the huge allbrook mall right next door. We ate gross food in the food court and shopped for some bus snacks. Just before boarding the bus we purchased a metro ticket which y have to swipe before exiting the terminal to the bus boarding area. The cards are then good for use on the city buses which look easy to use, but appear very slow stopping everywhere.

We had high expectations for the bus ride. In the Latin American countries we have traveled in the overnight busses were like first class airplane seats. This bus in panama wasn't as good....hard seats that we're semi broken and didn't recline very nicely....but we survived the 11 hours just fine. Jack slept the best of all of us.

We arrived in Almirante just before dawn. You can see how joyous they are.

As usual when we arrived to the port town of Almirante there were swarms of taxi touts trying to make eye contact to get your business. Luckily I knew the fare should be 1$ per person to the boat taxi dock. It is an easy 5 minute walk down the road....but we we're tired and it was dark so I knew it wouldn't be worth it to save four bucks.

The taxi took us right to the dock where we bought boat ticketed for $6 each. The boat held about 30 people. Looked safe enough, and certainly better than some boats we have been on. A quick 30 minute ride later we arrived in bocas town on Isla Colon.

By this time it was only about 7 am and the town was still asleep. We had reservations at Camping Y La Griegaso we got in another taxi and showed up at the place....it was pretty early still and the owners were asleep. But we were tired, exhausted and hungry, so we knocked until they woke up. Even though we were super early they let us in and showed us to our tent.

Yes, a tent.

We are staying at a place that is covered wood platforms with tents. We do have a slightly more private area upstairs, but the family that owns the place, a super nice couple from Spain and their kids ages 11 and 15, also live in these tents, and theirs are upstairs too. Jack spends his nights in the hammock.

Its a basic camping tent with 3 inch foam mattresses. It's pretty rough, not much different than camping for real. I fall asleep and stay asleep because something about the jungle absolutely drains you of energy. But when I wake up....I feel old and sweaty.

A shared kitchen and bathrooms....that's pretty much it. Reminds me of our Thailand days of living in a hut in the jungle. This isn't much different at all. I am glad I experienced long term full time jungle living in my twenties, it prepared me for the realities of this...the bugs, rain, sweat, mud......yeah vacation!!!

We are lucky the Jacobsens are here! We went over to the house they are staying at and they fed us breakfast and gave us the coffee we were desperate for. We spent the day catching up....we really barely know them, but it's such and easy and unusual friendship, we picked up where we left off just like old friends.

Letter in the afternoon we all got in a taxi to town to celebrate Emma's 13th birthday with pineapple cake and ice cream. It's super fun to have a vacation birthday...we brought candles from home for the party.

We walked the town a bit, got money from the only ATM, and made our way to diner at a place called Toms.

We had an awesome dinner, real Panamanian food, for just 4$ a plate. Perfect! And right on the water. We even caught the last few minutes of the Argentina/Netherlands game. After dinner we shopped for provisions for our boat trip.

After a good nights sleep we awoke to the sounds of the jungle and crashing waves. Jack made all of us pancakes for breakfast!

Luis is very good at making Central American style coffee....

 And now the rain has stopped and we are ready to go on the boat!

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