What a trip. Happy New Year’s, first of all. We are back, safe and sound, in Puerto Viejo.
But wow, Panama. The Panamanians can really party. Bocas del Toro turns out to be a party hotspot for the young and footloose. Nowhere else have I seen such an impressive and lengthy fireworks display. They were huge, sparkly, right above our heads, and went on for probably over an hour.
All the Panamanians and tourists took a break from clubbing, drinking and dancing it up to watch.
Then they went right back to it. There was some sort of warehouse club for the locals right next to the house we were staying at and the music was booming loudly until at least 7 a.m. this morning.
Panama seems more diverse, colorful and is definitely cheaper than its nearby neighbor Costa Rica. The currency is also the U.S. dollar which makes things really easy. A beer can be had for 50 cents though. Michael and I want to make it our primary destination next time we visit Central America.
This morning everyone seemed to be taking it easy. The streets were pretty empty even at 9 a.m. and restaurants didn’t seem to be filling up until 11. We walked past the mercados and I bought a lovely souvenir to take back to San Francisco.I got a conch shell. Michael bought five bottles of hot sauce. Two large ones for ourselves and three small ones to give away as presents. Made of habaneros, this sauce is so spicy, but so delicious. We’re addicted.
The first day of the new year always has a fresh smell about it. I need a good long sleep though. I am one giant sunburn and sore all over from the last couple days of walking everywhere, bicycling, white water rafting, and snorkeling in the ocean. I’m also covered in bruises and mosquito bites.
Pretty much the best way to start off a new year.
Posted by Jennifer K. on January 1, 2012
We made it. But it was a close one.
I’m blogging from a pizza shop with free wifi in Bocas del Toro, Panama! From our hotel in Puerto Viejo, we were crammed into a minivan at 7:30 a.m., driven to the border, and left to walk 100 meters across the most rickety, shaky bridge imaginable. Then we got into minivan #2 and drove to the ocean. Then we motorboated to Isla Colon.
You would think the adventure concluded here, but no. Lodgings were nowhere to be had. Cheto and Michael asked probably 15+ hostels, hotels and other promising places whether they had any room. All were full. It is New Year’s Eve.Just when we were about to give up and take a bus 10 minutes down the coast and find something there, Cheto happened upon a house. Senora was willing to take us in for the night. We were desperate. She charged only $25. And that is the story of how we ended up staying in someone’s house in Panama for New Year’s.
More adventure was to be had though. Don’t worry Mom, we weren’t abducted by any pirates, the only one I saw was our lunch location.
We did hire a boat to drop us off at a private cove with three snorkels and hoped they would come back for us. Thankfully they did, though they were 10 awfully scary minutes late.It’s New Year’s Eve. Grab someone you love to kiss. Dance a little. Have a beer. Dance a little more. We’re going to.
See you tomorrow morning. Happy New Year’s!
Posted by Jennifer K. on December 31, 2011