Thursday, April 16, 2009

In Praise of Suburbans and New Gutsy Friends/ The Road from Bocas del Toro to Boquete, Panama

So here we go, back in time and space, and the blogesphere, to Feb. 7th, 2009. After 3 marvelous days in Bocas del Toro, with water coming from every direction in buckets, it was time to head out to Boquete for our language school which started the following Monday. Please note, that this was the "dry" season in Panama, so naturally the local people had some things to say about climate change. They also had a lot of cleaning up to do after the storms. Lucky for us, the rain stopped for a few hours while we headed out of town.

Mars and I were planning to take a cheapo bus through the mountains, but as luck would have it, we met a very nice lady and her visiting niece from England who were staying at our hotel, the Cocomo, and they offered to drive us that's where they live. And she had a SUBURBAN! Well, I never rode in one before, and usually I think of them as gas gusslers in suburbia. They were on the same time schedule as us, and were very nice ladies. So of course, we jumped at the chance. That, plus we heard tales of the mountain roads being washed out in many places..and would you put your bets on a cheapo bus packed with people, or a Suburban??!!
But first we had to take a boat to Almirante. Mars and I flew to Bocas from Panama City, so I asked our friends how long the boat ride was..they said about a half hour, but it seemed like 5 hours. That kind of put me off..cause I thought "why didnt they enjoy the boat ride?". After about 15 or 20 people and their luggage were loaded onto the little boat, flaps were dropped down for the splashing, and we Took OFF for the mainland!! This in water with all kinds of debris and stuff floating in the choppy waters..full speed ahead!!! Ok, so I was hasty in judging our new friends. They were right. It was pretty amazing that no one vomited on that exciting trip.
We arrived in Almirante, and just down the road was a secured parking lot for travelers. And there sat our mountain chariot. (the white one on the left)
Almirante view.
Lots of washed out roads..but people and equipment trying to save them or clear them.

And actually the Suburban was really quite nice inside...smelled like new leather, totally clean, comfortable seats, spacious, luxurious! I quite liked it. And I felt safe..even that if some part of the mountain came crashing down on us while we were driving, I felt like we had a chance, unless we fell off a cliff or something.

This is a four hour drive through the mountains, clouds, and jungle...really beautiful!
Partially washed out road.
Waterfalls and streams created by the rains.
Further down the mountain.

Beautiful views, but I have to say the driving was pretty hairy. Our driver, who is of diminuative stature, was a real soldier though..nerves of steel! We loved these ladies!

We all arrived safely, had nice chats in the car, I have a new respect for Suburbans- kind of like a tank for civilians- sometimes they are necessary! Actually, our new friend and her husband sell cars in David- have a dealership there. (a half hour from Boquete.) They even took us directly to the hostel that we had booked for the week..she called her husband to find out exactly where it is..cause it was out of the way of site from the main square, but just a block behind Habla Ya, the language school. Our new friend lives in Alto Boquete, just a few minutes or miles away from the main town.
They wouldn't take anything for their trouble and favor, so we took them out to dinner at a very nice little French Restaurant in Boquete. Then we went to Zanzibar for an after dinner cocktail. Of course this was a few days later--we all looked like drowned rats the day we arrived from our trip from Bocas. We all clean up quite nicely I think though. What an adventure that was!


  1. Great photos. You've really got to click on them to get all the great detail.

  2. oh the memories of the rain! hahaha