Week of January 04, 2004
We made it into Panama with little hassle and stopped overnight in David (Dah-veed). Of course Dave enjoyed being in his town and we were able to get a few important things accomplished. The most important of which was replacing my Ethernet card (internet access card) so I could finally upload this extraordinary literary piece of a website.
Our first order of business in Panama was to visit Bocas del Toro, an island off the northeast coast of Panama. The drive up and over the Continental Divide was magnificent with amazing panoramic views and gushing waterfalls everywhere.
We pulled into Almirante, the harbor town from which the vehicle ferry
departs, and was literally chased on a bicycle by a local that "it is his job to
assist the tourists to get to the boats". Carlos did lead us on his two
wheels to the ferry dock and after hearing our debate on how we needed to stay
with Cindy, he suggested we sleep on the incoming ferry. In the time it
took for me to look at Sherrie, we were enthusiastically nodding our heads and
saying "yes, yes, yes". So, we pulled Cindy up onto the ferry and Dave and
Sherry pitched their tent alongside and there we spent the night.
Once on Bocas del Toro, we looked for the tourist information office which
when found, was closed. As we started to debate where to go, we were
kidnapped, literally, by a 12 year-old. He hung onto Cindy and swore that
he could take us to a camping area. Well, as he hung on to the outside of
Cindy while standing on the step, he directed us to a "road" along the beaches.
We did eventually end up staying in the yard of a family, but the pictures will
clearly show what it took to get there.
We decided that with the inconsistent weather and the lack of "swimmable" ocean (the waves were pounding one atop the other), we would go over to the other side of the island to Boca del Drago. Gerson was tooling along when Cindy decided to step into a previous car's track and was misled into some very soft and wet sand. Needless to say, Cindy buried herself up to her hips and it took a variety of vehicles to extract her.
What I failed to get a picture of, was when the sand truck was pulling Cindy out. Cindy rocked over to the extent that all the weight was on her back right wheel and thus, making Cindy "pop a wheelie" and lifted her front left wheel 2' in the air. But, she triumphed and pulled straight out - fortunately straight because the ocean was only a few feet to the other side.
So, after that adventure, we looked forward to a little quiet and relaxation
at Boca del Drago. Unfortunately, the weather gods had other plans in mind
and we endured two days of intermittent torrential rains separated by glorious
sunshine (the best part of the stay was our marathon game of "Mexican Train"). Bocas del Toro was highly recommended in all of the tour/travel literature we
read but the island is GREATLY OVERRATED. Between the
garbage dumps along the ocean and in the ocean, the biting bugs, the
inconsistent weather, the lack of "swimmable" beaches, etc., I rate this
island and nearby Almirante as a "don't come back to".
Next, we were back to the ferry to return us to Almirante. Since we will
be arrived in the evening, we again stayed on the ferry and headed back to
David first thing in the next morning.