Jane: I gotta go potty.
Me: Well that's good cause we are going home.
Jane: I can't hold it.
Josh: I have to go potty too but that's ok. I can hold it without using my fingers.
We left Panama City from the Local (very small, tiny, minuscule) Airport at a very early hour. Security was pretty tight at the Airport, two different people at two different points in our journey to the plane waved a gloved hand in our bags as they were talking to someone else across the room. Though we did have to show our passports at least three times as we walked from room to room in a building the size of a Greyhound bus station. Because of the size of the plane everything was weighed and Kgordee thought he might have to check his lap top at the last minute, though it turned out the security guard was just messing with him. It was pretty funny, mostly because the security guard liked his joke so much and didn't speak English.
I thought the plane ride would be a little scarier than it was given it was the smallest plane I had ever been on and I have an intense fear of crashing into the water and not dying immediately. I don't want to be left for the sharks, I have seen Jaws too many times. No, it's not the mechanical shark in the movie that scares me. It is the story about the USS Indianapolis, and the men who died in the water from shark attacks while waiting five days to be rescued. It could happen. But it didn't and we landed safely and thankfully very uneventfully.
When we got to Bocas Town on the Island of Colon we were met by Jacob who works for Red Frog Resort. He pretty much hooked us up on our entire stay in Bastimentos with whatever we needed. He drove us to a dock and while we were waiting for our boat he told us to buy any groceries we would need for the week as our stay only included one meal per day at the "restaurant". The grocery store was again very small and filled with things that might have been on my seventy two hour check list. Everything was much more expensive probably due to the fact that the store catered mostly to tourists and anything there had to come over on a boat. We did pick up some local fruit such as Papaya and Passion fruit which Eric had big plans for as he served his mission in the DR and he wanted to make some tasty shakes with the fruit.
Walking down the streets of Bocas Town there are plants growing everywhere, the plants have to be beaten back because they grow so fast and so large. We saw beautiful flowers where ever we walked growing on trellises, fences and on the side of the road. The pink flowers pictured below remind me of our honeymoon nine years ago because the hotel we stayed at in San Diego was covered in them. I'm not sure what they are called but I love those flowers, they always make me happy.
We got breakfast at a restaurant that was overlooking the water, literately on the water. It was beautiful to just sit and watch the water slosh against the boats tied up to anything closely resembling a dock. I wasn't feeling too adventurous so I had eggs, bacon and toast, Kgordee had the same thing. Later we found out that the kitchen consisted of a bar with a small camp stove with two burners and a sink. The food was nothing to write home about but I am impressed that they were able make so many different things with such limited equipment.
While we were eating there was a camera crew having breakfast and setting up their equipment at the table next to ours. We found out that they are from the BBC and they are headed out to one of the remote islands to film the pygmy sloth for a nature program that will air in December. They said they would be roughing it for about two weeks while they filmed as the island is completely uninhabited.
After breakfast we found a woman selling some souvenirs and I wanted to buy a coconut ring and a little ornament. Eric found out how much they cost and then proceeded to haggle with her over the price. He told us that the less you pay the more they will respect you. Although I really like Eric and appreciate his efforts for us after that we pretty much paid what was asked for anything we were buying from street venders with few exceptions. I still feel bad about that lady and the haggling.
When Kgördee told me we might be going to an island off of Panama I didn't really believe him. Apparently he and a few friends were going to be working on a website for another friend as a trade. The trade was for a week long stay in a villa on the Island of Bastimentos on the Caribbean side of Panama in exchange for SEO work on a website promoting Red Frog Resort. Not only did I not really believe we were going to go but I didn't think I would really want to go. Mostly I was scared of the big spiders, the unending heat, ridiculous humidity and the thought of leaving the kids for nine days. So I didn't think about it too much as the months pasted until we started looking at tickets.
After another couple had been to Bocas Del Toro (the archipelago that Bastimentos belongs to) as part of the trade and had come back again, things got a little more real. They gave us and the couple traveling with us (Eric and Holly, Kgordee used to share an office with Eric at Stores) a run down on what to expect and what we should make time for while we are in Panama.
Somehow we were able to figure out babysitters for nine days (thank you to everyone who helped, I know it wasn't easy) and on September 22nd we were on a plane headed for Paradise.
Our first day of vacation was mostly spent at airports or in the air and fairly uneventful. We landed in Panama City after the sun went down, and met our driver Carlos. Carlos has lived all over Central and South America for most of his life though he was born in Pennsylvania and his children live in the States. The more we got to know Carlos the more we liked him; he has lead a very full life and has some unbelievable stories to tell about his time in Venezuela and Panama.
Carlos gave us an amazing, albeit brief history of Panama City as he wove in and out of traffic in his van. Carlos took us on a small tour of old town in Panama City. We walked around the heart of the old colonial city seeing the dilapidated buildings that are in the process of being restored or renovated. Just walking through the streets it was hard to not be overwhelmed by the rich history of the city. I have been reading a book on Pirates called Under the Black Flag on and off for the last year and most of the history takes place in the Caribbean and in Panama. It was fascinating to see and experience some of what was written about in my book and to see structures that date back to the Conquistadors. Well mostly I saw them from the car because we had so little time in Panama City, though Carlos gave us information on everything with historical value that we pasted.
Saturday the kids and I were in the office being crafty and he got ahold of a charcoal pencil and drew another awesome alien. By the time he was finished with the picture his hands and the paper were filthy.
Josh seems to be constantly creating a mess where ever he goes. A lot of the time his messes are creative messes so I don't really mind them. However when I found three large holes neatly cut into a very new set of sheets I was none too thrilled. Good thing he is cute.