Pandemonium in Panamania

Trip Start May 07, 2003
Trip End Sep 05, 2005

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Saturday, December 13, 2003

I stood on the bridge, looking down the steep jungle ravine to the brown rocky river gushing below, there was no way I was going to do it. "Tooooo feckin' high, I think I'm gonna die!" They started chanting the counting down ... 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. I looked up at the horizon, thought "feck it", and leaped off the edge plumetting down 80m at terminal velocity to a messy end in the torrent below....

Well no actually, my eyeballs nearly popped as the cord stretched, a quick wash in the river, then up and down, swinging all over the place, screaming like a baby until I thought my head was gonna burst! This of-course, the highest bungee in the Americas, was only a practice run for the biggest Bungee in the world next year in NZ.

Spent a few days in Puerto Viejo, a great wee Jamaican town on the Costa Rican east coast. More quality vibes of da tipo de Carrib, tried a bit more surfing but yet again failed miserably, to the point of embarrasment. Then down to the Chiriqui mountains of Panama. I stayed in a really cool mountain town called Boquete for a few nights.

This I could not believe, was Panama, it seemed more like Switzerland or Scotland, Euro style houses and a gorgeous climate. It had very high indigenous population and was a primo area for growing coffee and oranges.

Decided to scale Volcan Baru, the highest point in Panama and reputedly the only place on this fine planet you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans - at the same time on a clear day. By feck, it was some trek, 18km to 3500m up a near vertical track-come-river-bed. I got to the top and it was nice and sunny but couldn't see jack sh1t in terms of the oceans as the clouds were in the way. Oh well, not wanting to break with my normal tradition, I had a wee snooze on the summit!

Then off to Bocas del Toro, an island Archipelagos off the north coast of Panama.

A really beautiful but completely bonkers place, I felt right at home. So went out for the usual skinfull on Friday night at the local parrrrty hotspot, got totally hammered but managed to get home unscathed. Anyway, me and these two Ozzie surf dudes are quietly chatting and munching away on our Gallo Pinto the next morning in a wee cafe, and this big fat black crazy assed lunatic comes over, grabs me by the throat and is waving this dangerous looking double pronged bread knife at me. "Hey u whyte muthafecka, you steal fra ma ass". "Whit the feck are you on aboot matey boy" I spluttered as bits of rice bounced of his face. "I shud kyll yo ass". "Ok, my good man, I am hearing you, whats up". After all the machismo had died down, it transpired that I had wandered off from his burger stand the night before and in my drunken state, forgot to pay the good man, THE 3 FECKIN DOLLARS HE WAS PREPARED TO KILL ME FOR!!! Anyway, he grabbed all the money I had off the table ($13) and waddled back to his blacked-out boombox Jeep, I was in no position to argue. This infact, was the first time I've been robbed on this trip.

So there was this friendly Columbian dude staying at our hostal. He was the guy who organised the ridiculously large, supermarket emptying, carry-out the night before that got us all so drunk. He invited us all to a barby on the beach the next day, "just chip in 5 bucks". Anyway, this dude takes our money, buggers off to another island and comes back wi this live pig.

The next morning, the whole hostal is awoken by a deafening squeeling. We all rush outside just in time to see the mad bastard battering this pig over the head wi an iron bar. Jesus, you should have heard the noise, all the dogs, cats and chickens from the neighbourhood were circled round hissing, barking and squaaking, vultures wheeled in their dozens overhead. The pig squeeled a constant earsplitting whine for a good 2 or 3 minutes. After slitting it's throat, in the wrong place, they then proceeded to knock seven shades o shite oot of it's head it to try and shut it from waking every fecker up! This took a while - not pretty, and unsuccessful in not waking every fecker up! You Britney, I know, would have loved it! Anyway, that day we all trudged down to the beach. Took five hours to cook the bastard, by that time most of us had drank all the beer or poured it on the pig. Just imagine 20 guys crowded round this roaring fire on the beach wi big carving knives, half p1ssed, chopping chunks offa the side o this pig! That day, I felt mankind took a step back in the evolution of our species!

After all the shenanigans on the main island, Isla Colon, I decided to head out and explore some of the others. Spent a few days on Bastimientos, much more peaceful n laid back.

Beautiful beaches and mega cheap weed. On one of my rain soaked walks round and about, I stumbled across a wooden fortress type construction with a maze, obstacle courses and all manner o sh1te. This looks familiar, I thought. Looked like sommit out a TV show. Do you folks in the UK remember that show "Survivor"? Well this was were it was! Unreal eh! They had the Russian and French shows here too. Someplace to try and "survive", put me on that show anyday!

Anyway I can't gloat to you guys about the weather anymore! Boo hoo! Theres been a big tropical storm in the Atlantic for the past few weeks wi only a few days of sun. Been pissing down mainly. You guys coming to Bocas for Chrimbo should be aware that Dec/Jan are the wettest months there - nae luck! Hopefully for my last week in Central America, the weather will hold up. Tomorrow going to see the big Canal, then to the San Blas Archipelagos. I'm actually in a bit of a dilema just now, I'm wondering whether I should just cancel my plane ticket to Peru next week and just make it overland thru Columbia. It sounds amazing and I've heard so many good things. What you think Mum?

Pura vida!
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