Bocas del Toro to Boquete
9. May: The next morning we're up early, since we have our flight to David. We again go to our 4* hotel/restaurant for coffee/tea, and tip the green-eyed, dark waitress. On to the Aeropuerto, it is really small, it's pleasant to check in since there is hardly anyone waiting. Our slightly excess luggage is no problem. The check-in lady herself is the conveyor-belt, lifting our bags and placing them in the back-room. We're hanging around, the flight has a delay of one hour, so we decide to walk back to town and have a bit of breakfast at the restaurant where our laundry was made. It is a very cheap place, but satisfactory with eggs/toast/tea/coffee.
Back at the airport our plane arrives and it is a great experience flying with such an aircraft, the luggage is stored in the nose and tail of the plane and there even is a stewardess on board. We have a stopover in Changionola, then continue on to David. What a great value for just 20$!
Annewien asks the young couple in front of us whether they too are on the way to Boquete, our destination and they say yes. We decide to take one taxi for the four of us to split the cost instead of the hassle of taking a bus. They're from Germany and look pretty wimpy. I haggle the taxi to 20$ for the trip from David to Boquete and we're off. The Germans have a German guide-book with some hotel recommendations. We're relying on Lonely Planet. My 8th film finished on the flight, I have no more material for taking pictures.
The first hotel we check out in Boquete is one on the main road selected by the Germans, we don't really like it, but they do and stay. We continue by foot on to Topas Hotel and take the blue room there for 20$ (all the rooms have quite colourful walls). We then walk downtown and find a good restaurant and have a cheap 'Menu del Dia' with a great fresh Orange Juice and then find a shop called 'Gringo's Scooter Rental'. Apparently a Frenchman owned the restaurant, according to LP, but it's changed now. They are very helpful there about local information, giving us a map with several routes indicated. We decide to walk one or two the next day.
We then go to shop, and then try out the short route on the map. It turns out to be quite long, so Annewien proposes to do the next day's trip on bikes instead of on foot. On foot, we see a beautiful private garden called 'Mi Jardin es tu Jardin', which is owned by a rich family and they allow anyone to visit it's opulence. Before that, we'd visited the 'Feria' flower exhibition grounds, which OK, they have a lot of flowers but it seems to be the end of the season, many stands are empty and the orchid house is locked. Ah well.. We then discover the shop of 'Cafñ Ruiz', a local coffee producer with plantations in Boquete. They have guided tours to the plantations and factory the next day to 9:00 for 10$ pp, or a free tour of the factory, we'll see. A real friendly local offers us a cup of coffee there, but it's too weak and not very good.
Later, back in Boquete, I book a trip from David to Panama City by plane for the next day for 56$ pp and also a room with a king size bed in Holiday Inn, panama City. I was passed through a chain of three people during my connection since I was asking for a 'corporate rebate'. I ultimately landed with the sales manager Mrs. Mankuso who was very friendly and quoted my a good rate for my working with 'Union Bank of Switzerland' and booked a room for the next day. These were quite funny conversations (in English).
We walk back to the hotel and are greeted there by our charming young German hostess Lorenza. She gives us a number of tips where to walk the next day, but we're more or less settled with our plans to bike, even though the guy at 'Gringo' said the 'Mono Bajo' trip we were planning to do was quite strenuous by bike.
We look around for a place to eat and find a little Mexican restaurant on the main road. There are no other customers there. We order Fajitas and Guacamole and the food is delicious and cheap! There is no place to dance in town, one bar on the main road has salsa music blaring out but is completely empty, not even a bartender can be seen! So we go for a beer to a Grill restaurant near a bridge next to Feria. Then we're off to bed. There is a strange milky/creamy smell in the room. I find an English novel in the small Hotel library and read some pages out loud, which is enough to put us both to sleep pretty quickly.