Hi, people! I´ve been meaning to update this more often but we have just been on the go nonstop for the past week! I will try to and give as many details as possible about everything I´ve done so far!
Sunday, May 17th, my parents and I woke up early, around 4ish to shower, get ready, etc. I couldn´t believe I was actually leaving!!! We left the house around 5am, and it was so sad leaving my puppies and Jeffrey and my grandparents, and everyone. :( The ride to Logan was pretty smooth, it was raining but not too hard. We did have a tiny mishap on the way... we ran over some plastic mail-carrier box on the highway and had to pull over and maneuver it out from underneath the car, hahaha. We got to Logan around 5:30am, and I had to say good-bye to my daddy! Then my mom stayed with me in line while I checked in and went through security... We signed ¨I love you¨ until we couldn´t see each other anymore! I got all teary-eyed knowing that was the last time I´d see her, my dad, my brother, my doggies, or anyone else, for that matter. The rest of the day was so long, full of plane rides and then a good eight hours of waiting in the Panamá City airport for Amy to arrive. Finally, around 9:45pm, and when we saw each other we freaked out and were screaming and hugging each other and it was just so awesome to see her! Shortly after, we looked for our taxi driver guy, whom we had arranged to pick us up and drive us to our hostel, Mamallena. His name was Rafael and was really nice. Once we got out into the Panamá City air, I felt the heat instantly, and the smog of the city filled my lungs as we drove through the city streets, not too pleasant. We finally got to the hostel around 11pm... we were so exhausted but so excited that we were together and in Panamá that we stayed up until about 2am and drank a whole bottle of wine. It was so strange staying in a hostel for our first time, but this one was super cool and I loved the staff and all of the guests. It was neat that we got to meet with so many different people from different parts of the world, like Perú, Holand, Israel, etc.
Monday, May 18th, we set out in the city to do a bit of exploring. It wasn´t too special, just a bunch of the same looking buildings, but it was just so cool to be surrounded by the Panamian people and speaking Spanish, feeling the heat of the sun... AMAZING. We woke up quite early, around 8am, and made our free pancakes... we were obviously so excited for them and we mowed a couple of those. Then we headed out to find the grocery store so we could buy some food to cook for lunch and dinner. Once we did that, we came back and made our delish grilled cheese with mozzarella... AMAZINGLY GOOD. Shortly after that, we set out to explore the city some more, and ended up walking all the way to the other end of the city... which was QUITE a distance. There were so many creepers who whistled or honked or whatever at us, and so we finally got tired and hailed a taxi to take us to Casco Viejo. It was really good we had gotten one before we had gone any further, because we were just outside the edge of the really dangerous part of the city called ¨Salsipuedes¨, which literally translates to ¨Get out if you can¨. The taxi driver told us never to walk around there, only by taxi, and through that part was the only way to get to Casco Viejo. Once we got there it was completely different, a lot of stuff was closed, but the architecture was exquisite. There was also a maginificent view of the edge of Panamá City, which strangely resembles New York City. After spending a few hours there, we took a taxi back to Mamallena. We got this really cool taxi driver who drove super fast and took all of these illegal shortcuts and stuff, and we got to Mamallena in a very decent amount of time. Then we just made our dinner, more grilled cheese and fried potatoes and onions... YUMMERS. We had some more wine, but all they had was Clos, which is this super nasty white boxed wine, which we will never drink again... hahaha.
Tuesday, May 19th, was such an awesome day. We got up early, once again, mowed our pancakes and then set out into the city. We got onto the typical city buses, which are rejected school buses from the United States all decked out in colors and that play loud Spanish music, and headed for the Canal. It took quite a while, ´cause it was a bit far up. When we got off the stop for Miraflores, the place where you go to view the Panamá Canal, this guy got off with us as well and started talking to us. He was super nice, and we talked to him in Spanish for a while. His name was Francisco, a Chilean guy, who was here visiting his girlfriend, who is Panamian. We got along so well that we actually ended up spending the whole day together. We were at Miraflores for a good four hours, and watched two humongous cargo ships pass through the canal. It was a lot different than how I had imagined it to be. It´s a lengthy process to have ships pass through because there are two gates in which they must individually level the water because one body of water is not the same depth as the other. After viewing the Canal we all decided to go to the Parque Nacional to see a bit of rain forest and to see if maybe we could spot some animals. Instead of the bus, we hitchhiked in the back of this guy´s pick-up truck, which saved us about twenty-five cents, and we hiked for a couple of hours on the trails in the Parque Nacional. We saw enormous ants, monkeys, a dead armadilla and lots of tiny little frogs. Around six o´clock we had to be at the main road in order to catch the bus back to Panamá City, but we had missed it and tried to hitch a ride. The Panamian police ended up passing by and we hopped into the back of their truck with them and they gave us a ride all the way to the bus station to catch a bus back to the city. We had to take a couple of different buses to get to Vía España... what we forgot was that it´s a really long street and we had to look for landmarks near our hostel in order to get back there. It was dark, and Francisco waited until we knew where we were and what we were going to do until he left to go back to his girlfriend´s house. We got a taxi, and it was so hilarious because it actually ended up being the same taxi driver who had driven us home super fast from Casco Viejo the previous day! Francisco took down our names and is planning to add us on Facebook. It will be super cool to have a friend already in Chile when I go to study abroad there next Spring! When we got back, we packed and then left for our overnight bus to David, Panamá.
The bus left at 11pm and we had planned to sleep, but it was nearly impossible with the bumpy roads, and not to mention the creepmasterflex who kept coming back and attempting to flirt with us and ask us questions, and he creeped us out so much that everytime he would walk down the bus aisle we would pretend we were alseep. It actually ended up biting us in the ass because he had screamed something to me, but I ignored him ´cause he was totally creeping on me and he was actually trying to tell me that we were at the stop for David... about twenty minutes later I opened my eyes to have the creepster, Jonny, in my face hovering over me asking me which stop I needed to get off at... he told me we had already missed the one to David so we got off of the next stop and ran to catch another bus that was leaving to go back to David... I WAS SO HAPPY TO GET AWAY FROM THAT GUY... SO WEIRD.
Wednesday, May 20th, once in David, we had to catch another bus that took us to Boquete. Once there, we found our hostel, which was about two feet from the bus stop... it´s a super small town so everything is all close together. The only thing we didn´t know about this town is that it is infested with rando retired old gringos. We dropped off our stuff, and we were starving so we went to this cute little breakfast place about a block away from our hostel. We were served by this ADORABLE woman named Holga, and she called us cute little pet names like, ¨mi amor bello¨, ¨cariña¨, ¨bonita¨, etc. She was so cute! We ate eggs, potatoes, toast, and drank hot chocolate and a strawberry smoothy. Once we were full and had more energy we decided to head to Volcán Barú... along the way we took a wrong turn, but it was for the best. We went into this huge garden of flowers, which was a part of some woman´s house. It had a sign outside that said ¨Mi Jardín es su Jardín¨ (¨My Garden is your Garden¨). It was really pretty and had a lovely view of the mountains! We kept going up and some rando gringos pulled over and asked us if we were lost, they told us that we were on the wrong road for the volcano but that there was a river and a waterfall if we kept hiking up futher. So we continued and got the river, the water was cristal clear and the cold. We basically just followed the river all the way up the mountain. On the way we talked with locals, ate homemade strawberry ice-cream at this cute little cabin like place that was covered in strawberry art, and only sold strawberry flavored treats. Even the woman who ran it looked like a little strawberry! We climbed all the way up the entire mountain, just about, 11,000 ft. Exhausted after hiking for so long, we hoped we could hitch a ride with random passerbyers. We were lucky, and a guy in a white pick-up truck passed by and we flagged him down. He already had a couple from Denmark in the back, and he gave us a ride almost all the way to the bottom. We had to get out a a certain point so that the police wouldn´t see him and wouldn´t get charged. Once back to the hostel, we were so tired that we ended up sleeping for a couple of hours. Then we made dinner and headed to the Amigos Bar next door and drank a bottle of Argentinean wine. It would´ve been better without all of the gringos and more locals, but whatever.
Thursday, May 21st, we headed on the bus back to David and from there, took a bus to the gulf. From there we took a taxi to a place called Boca Chica, and from there we had to take a water taxi from there to the island Boca Brava. We stayed the night there, but it was truly horrible. We were expecting a cheap, fun, relaxing stay... but instead we ended up paying thirty dollars each, got eaten alive by ants, and whatever random strange-ass bugs were around on that damn island, and there was practically nobody there. It was a run-down, piece-of-s*** hotel run by these emotionless Bovarian people who couldn´t speak English OR Spanish, basically. The room we stayed in was literally two matresses on the floor, a fan, and a digusting plastic chair that was broken... nice place, huh? The food was good, but the drinks were not and they had way too much alcohol in them... also WAY overpriced. We were going to go the beach, but A) it was all rocky, and B) it was a twenty minute walk from the damn s***ty hotel. So, we didn´t go and we just layed out in the mirador ontop of the hotel, where there was a gorgeous view of the water and the surrounding islands. We tried to stay away from the room as long as possible because it was just so gross... we finally went back there around 11, listened to music and the fell asleep on one of the matresses, because the other one was dirty and more bug-infested... nasty. We woke up with bug bites ALL over us. SO ITCHY!!!
Friday, May 22nd, we left the s*** island and went back to Boca Brava. The boat guy didn´t really help us or give us any tips on how to get back to David, so we kinda stood there and then asked around for a taxi or some sort of bus. Some a****** guy wantd to charge us thirty-five bucks to have him drive us 8km to the friggin´ bus stop, and we were like, ¨Um, no, just because we are americans doesn´t mean we are going to pay you that much. We aren´t f***ing stupid and we know the value of a dollar here¨. So we started to walk, we figured that it would take us about two hours to walk to the bus station, and it was a single road, so we wouldn´t get lost. We also hoped that a generous person would come along and give us a ride to the bus stop. Not four minutes after we started walking did a huge black truck pull over, and two women asked us if we needed a ride to the bus station. We gladly and quickly accepted the ride, as the sun was burning our skin! We later found out that they were French and when we finally got to the bus station we thanked them in French, ¨Merci beacoup!¨ They were so adorable! We then got a bus back to David, where we would relax and spend the night at the Purple House, basically the only hostel in David... what a s***show it was there... it is run by this b****y, fat, middle-aged woman from New York who spent her time in the Peace Corp there ten years ago and just never left. EVERY f***ING THING IN THAT HOUSE IS PURPLE... it´s insane. And not to mention there are about a million rules, and she charges for EVERYTHING. Movies to watch, hot showers, laundry, books, etc. SUCH A b****. All we did there was make fun of here and we were so happy to leve the next morning for San José, Costa Rica!
Saturday, May 23rd, was an all day travel day to San José... we left at 8:30am, got to the border about an hour and a half later and had to go through customs and stuff there. It was so confusing, and at one point we though the bus had left without us! But we got through it and we were on our way to San José after that, smooth sailing. The only annoying thing about the ride was this Canadian couple who were all kissy-kissy and not to mention ugly, and WEIRD. We got to San José around 5pm, and, since we had read the directions to hostel Bekuo wrong, we ended up going to Alajuela... it was NOT there. We later found out it´s actually in San José... so we just stayed at anothe rando hostel and ended up meeting this super cool Argentinean guy and we hung out with him all night, drank beer and listened to music.
Sunday, May 24th, we ventured back to San José and finally found hostel Bekuo. It´s super nice and wicked chill. We hung out there, took a nap and then at night went out to a local bar, about three blocks away. It was fun, and we had a couple of drinks. Although, we think our waiter was racist ´cause he clearly ignored us. We left no tip.
Today, May 25th, was the most incredibly day of the whole trip, in my opinion... We went on this super amazing tour in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. They picked us up at the hostel around 11am, and we drove about an hour and a half there. We took a boat in the river and saw monkeys, crocadiles, tons of birds, bats, iguanas and more! Once we arrived, we got onto horses and rode up to where the canopies were. It was my first time ever riding a horse and it was so awesome! I was kind of nervous about the canopies, because I wasn´t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be INCREDIBLE! We made friends with the canopy guides, and it was so cool going super fast above the trees, we even hung upside down without any hands... it was the freest I´ve ever felt and most definitely one of the most amazing things I´ve ever done!
Now we are at the hostel, just hanging out. Probably going to go make dinner, and then sleep. Tomorrow we leave for the Punto Arenas to spend a couple of days at the beach. Will update when I can!