Today is January 26th, 2019 and I have arrived to Boquete after a 10-hour bus ride from Panama City. Boquete is a small rural town in the inland of the country. It is mostly known for its proximity to Panamas tallest volcano; Volcan Baru.
The last two days have been exhausting for me. Yesterday, I started my morning by running three miles. However, between dodging cars (even at 630 AM) and the 55% humidity, I was as physically exhausted as I have been in a while. I decided to follow up my run, with a three-hour stroll in the city’s famous Casco Viejo neighborhood. Surprisingly, there were few people out and about at 830 AM which made walking around a much more enjoyable experience. Due to the World Youth Fair and the visit from the Catholic Pope, there was a heavy police presence throughout which added an extra layer of security. I was able to visit Panama’s National History Museum for only $1 USD, which was well worth the price of admission. I eventually went back to my hotel where I was able to pay $3 USD for breakfast. I also found out that the U.S. government was finally opening back up after being “shutdown” for 35 days, which also means I officially have to use vacation days for the remainder of the trip.
In the afternoon, I wanted to take the ferry to Tobago Island located in the Panama Bay. However, by the time I made my way down the Amador Causeway, I arrived right before the last boat departed with no return trip until the next day. While disappointed, I did see some pretty nice panoramic views of Panama City on the way back on the bus. As I was making my way back to my hotel, I had to fight my way through (literally) thousands of children and several strategic roadblocks placed throughout the city as preparations were under way for the World Youth Fair. When you add 90-degree heat with high humidity, I barely had enough energy to eat dinner before passing out in my bed.
This morning I wanted to keep my physical fitness effort up, so I took a taxi to a nearby gym. I had to pay $5 USD for a workout session. While the gym wasn’t LA Fitness, it was decent given the circumstances. I didn’t get much cardio in, but I was able to complete my full lifting regiment. After the gym, the traffic going home was brutal as the taxi driver had to drive me halfway across town just to dodge it. What should have been a quick 10-minute ride, turned into half an hour. This also put me behind the curveball regarding catching the bus to David (and subsequently Boquete). Fortunately, I was able to take a quick shower and get to the bus terminal 10 minutes before the 10 AM bus.
I was given the first seat on the top deck of the bus. While this provided great views, it also exposed me to the scorching Panamanian sun. I also had to ration my phones energy to where I could entertain myself for 8 hours and have enough battery to find my hotel once I got to Boquete. While the bus ride wasn’t extremely comfortable, it was tolerable. I arrived in David at 545 PM, about 15 minutes before the buses stopped running to Boquete. About an hour and a half later, I was walking down main street in Boquete trying to hail a cab. Between their only being 6 cabs in the town and the drivers not wanting to drive out of their way to take me to my hotel, the task proved to be more difficult than I expected. I was finally able to highjack a cab from a guy who looked like he was going to eat dinner and by 830 PM, I had made it to my hotel (which happened to be a castle). Now, I am getting ready to go to sleep as I have a long day tomorrow as I attempt to hike Volcan Baru…….