We were up at the crack of dawn for our expedition to Panama City. The first leg of the journey consisted of a long speed boat, which took us to mainland Panama. From here we were able to get our large bags which were stowed away, freshen up a tad and once again use real toilets with a normal flush mechanism. We were then bundled into two 4x4s which took us up and over the roads through the jungle. I don't know if it was because I was so use to the motion at sea or whether it was the road which was like a long distance roller coaster but during the journey I felt most queasy. The sweets for the journey didn't make anyone feel better either, apart from maybe the driver.
I was surprised driving into Panama City, it was a lot more built up than I imagined with a lot of sky scrapers and tall buildings. Seeing signs for Movember too also made me feel a lot more comfortable with my hideous moustache. There were also signs for subway sandwiches for $2 or less. This also impressed me although I never got round to going. The driver dropped us off at Luna Castle. At this point Alex flew into a rage and said more in the group than he had done for the rest of the week on the boat. I don't think that the boast journey agreed with him with all thirteen of us including crew being cramped together for five days. Anyway we were all shocked when Alex who had a reservation already at another hotel, maybe the Ibis, refused to leave the car and demanded that Emily and himself were dropped off at the door to the hotel. Isabelle tried to act as a kind of peace maker in the whole charade, while the rest of us stood bewildered at the back of the car. Alex, eventually got his way after a few slams of the door, a raised voice here and there and a dose of stubbornness and rightfully so. It was said that we would all be dropped off at the hostels which had been booked or where we wanted to stay. It just so happened that most of us hadn't booked anything and took the advice of the crew and headed to the Luna Castle Hostel. The driver must have just thought he would be able to pull the wool over and get an easy ride, or make some extra cheeky bucks. But good old Alex refused to let him have the easy ride and got his way.
After this eventfulness Ruud, Gwenda, Abbie, Isabelle and myself checked in at the Luna Castle, which was a cracking little hostel, had a good common area, kitchen, cheap beers and a table tennis table which me and Jungle made use of while we were waiting around, though Jungle managed to blast a ping pong ball out of the window. The beds were also quality having curtains you could pull across for darkness and privacy. When we were already we all with the exception of the Australian's who were living it up in their swanky hotel popped across to the Fish Market to get some food, it was odd that though we were at the fish market only one of us - Kieran - sampled the scaly delicacy. We also tried a Panama beer aptly named Panama and found some strange things that Jungle had bought with him on his travels these included two pairs of sun glasses one with red lenses and one with yellow lenses which when I tried on, coupled with my Movember attempt made me look like a person from a 70's cop TV show. The heavens then opened as we left the restaurant. Jungle, Ryan and Kieran went to sort their bus tickets for later that night and visit the Panama canal whereas the rest of us went back to the hostel to freshen up and get back in touch with civilization and see what news we had on various social media such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Emails. The afternoon was spent lazing about the common area, sorting out photos, adding each other on Facebook, making plans for a reunion in Holland until the chaps got back and needed to freshen up themselves.
It was then time to go for some farewell beers, we thought we would try the Red Lion just up the road but this ended up being quite pricey. So we ended up having a couple of beers at the establishment next door. Emily had also joined us for drinks. Alex had decided to stay at the hostel and bask in his double bed. One could only imagine him there in a robe, with a glass of champers and a cigar, or a cigarette in one of them holders basking in his glorious victory with the taxi driver earlier on in the day. We were only one beer in when we had our first departure. It was my good friend Jungle he was off to explore new parts of Costa Rica. I know I will see that crazy b****** again though, as I hope I do with all the fellow Sailing Koala travellers. We had a couple more and then headed off to a place called La Rana for more beers and food. The La Rana was a nice little pub, it in fact was a brewery I believe. The inside was even kitted out in places with all the mechanical equipment to make the alcoholic beverages. Whether these were active machines or not was never discovered. The waitress offered us several samples of the different ales they had on offer. Ruud liked the darker ale, whereas the rest of us after a bit of twoing and frowing ended up sharing a larger pitcher. We also got food, some tasty pizzas were enjoyed by most, though Ryan had a tasty looking sandwich and Kieran shocked me with a choice of salad. He must have thought he had piled on some pounds over the course of our San Blas adventure. And it was Ryan and he who were off next, getting a night bus to another part of Costa Rica. We were down to six as we finished our beers and headed back to the hostel for a cheeky night cap. We then said our farewell's to Emily who was returning to back to Melbourne the next day and all scuttled off to bed.
My alarm woke me at 6am, which wasn't well received but necessary as I had an early morning flight to catch. I went and said my farewells to the others in their blurry eyed states and leaving them in Costa Rica to go their separate ways and new adventures. Like I said before I hope I will see them all again and I'm 99% sure that I will. But in the mean time it was time for me to go to America and catch up with one of the first friends I had made in South America and visit Miss Alexandra Kelsey Engle in San Francisco.
So until next time stay safe and take care