We made our first land fall in Panama in a bay called Boca Chica. For the ones who are familiar with the San Juan Islands or the Gulf ones in the Pacific Northwest you would feel just like at home. Well maybe if you add a few palm trees and degrees in the air and water, but seriously the topography is identical. The anchorage is in a much protected bay and we have internet from a local resort, paradise for us in other words, and for school.
During our first foray into the village, we felt the same way as when in Mexico, the locals are happy to help without asking (ok the fuel cans might be a dead giveaway), we can hear them laughing, the tienda has music playing quite loudly, and lastly there are plastic bottles everywhere (though not so good…), and everyone is saying hello when you cross them with a big smile. Of course once in the bus the young door handler tried to give us the gringo price when we asked, $3 thus it is truly $2 for everybody else; with all that said we are relieved we feel right back at home! Welcome back to a country that hasn’t lost its soul.
Today we decided to venture to David, the second largest city in Panama; it is a sixty km trip and it requires two buses (we had to hitch hike the first leg, as the bus never showed up) and it delivered us in the center of commerce for half of Panama. The bus station was filled to the rim with people buzzing around; some wearing traditional colorful dresses, carrying loads and loads of shopping, 100’s of “local” buses going as far as 150km. The city in itself still has a rather rural feel, the Chinese control a good chunk of the retail and with the canal so close you can find everything you require and more, needless to add the “made in China” is prevalent. We were able to purchase a large amount of school supplies, as we know that our next stop trading for fruit and vegetable is the preferred method of payment.
The good news is that we are back in the land of the $3 lunch $1 pop/water, $1.05 liter of fuel. All this with a genuine smile, easy conversation and joie de vivre that warm our heart and that is priceless really!
To add more colour to our trip, before departure we had a change of tire with the bus full of people!
You recognize the scene, for sure.
Volvic, President Butter like the old country, viva Panama.
Et comme à la maison Volvic, beurre salé Président, plus plein d’autres marques bien de chez nous…
On est au paradis !!!