Traveling is easy.... yeah sure.

Trip Start Jan 03, 2008
Trip End Jan 25, 2008

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Flag of Panama  ,
Saturday, January 5, 2008

     Anybody who tells you gettting to Bocas Del Toro is easy, either flew in here or is flat out lying to you. Where should I start. After my post new years alcohol and drug induced hangover, I felt the ominous feeling of a virus of some sort coming on. By the time we left on thursday, I was extremely ill and running to the bathroom hourly, releasing whatever intestinal and otherwise disgusting stuff I had in me that was engaged in a fierce battle with my immune system. Meanwhile the host of said battle, (me) was flying down the 405 freeway, check that..... actually crawling down the 405 freeway in rush hour traffic sitting in the back seat of a mini van sweating bullets and cursing every bump I crossed. We arrived at the airport without any major disaster and actually got through check-in quite pleasantly. We even got a deal on our boards!!!
     It had to have been Matts idea to hit the airport bar.... alright fine it was mine but whose counting anyway....  but since we had 3 hours to burn it seemed like a reasonable thing to do. Several rum & cokes later we were joined by a fellow traveller named Amber who we came to find out was on her way home to Miami. Her occupation we are still  not clear on, but it seems she only works on 创private jets创 and makes much more than other flight attendants. In her words 创 what happens on private jets... stays on private jets.创   Gotta  love airport bars.
    Anyhow, we arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica at 7 am severely hung over and dehydrated from the night before. Immigration was manageable, and all of our boards actually made the trip unscathed. From the airport we hired a taxi to takes us to the Caribe terminal where we would be boarding a bus for the Panamanian border. After the driver literally drove us all the way around town,  he 创found创 our destination, only to discover  we were at the wrong terminal!! We shot over to another bus terminal across town where we were then redirected to what really was just a bus stop in the middle of the ghetto. And when I say ghetto I mean G-H-E-T-T-O!!!
     创Dont leave your stuff anywhere and stay in plain sight创, the cab driver says with a wary look in his eyes. He then sped off in search of the next unknowing tourist/ sucker.
     With those inspiring words still ringing in our ear,  we boarded a bus and began what would be the most uncomfortable and flat out miserable ride of my life. What we thought was a 4 to 5 hour ride to the border actually was an 8 hour sweat box in virtually unliveable conditions. It got so hot in there I was actually dunking water on my head to try and stay cool. I felt horribly sick...  must have infected the entire bus coughing up a lung and soaked the person sitting behind me,  but I was fighting a serious virus and violent bowel activity that I dont want to get to far into detail with. At about the mid way point the bus stopped in at a soda (soda's are Costa Rican restaurants that are very cheap) for about 10 minutes to let everybody get some air and got to the bathroom. It was a violent time for me.
   We finally arrived at the border crossing to find it like any other 3rd world border crossing you might happen upon. Swindlers and beggars about, we weaved our way through to the immigration check point, clinging tightly to our baggage and keeping a watch on little kids trying to reach into our pockets. I didnt care, I was just glad to get off that fucking bus!
    We were 创helped创 by a huge rasta who took care of our taxi, stamps,  and all the other stupid hoops youre requred to jump through.   When that was done he put us on a cab for Changuinola. The board racks I brought came in handy (thanks dad) since our cab driver seemed not to have any remorse for our gear as he went flying down the road, hitting giant pot holes like they gave him bonus points in a video game.          
     After being ripped off by our cab driver (25 BUCKS!!) we then boarded a ferry that would take us to Bocas Del Toro. The ferry was awesome. (check out the photos) This is the kind of priceless stuff I travel half way around the world for. It winded us up through the jungle at high speeds spraying crocodiles and other wetland inhabitants in its wake. Picturesque, beautiful, pick an adjective... it was that good.
     Immediatly upon arrival on the main island of Colon we transferred our bags to another little panga that for a few dollars took us to Isla Bastimentos just as the sun set. I was so tired I could barely think straight but somehow we found the house we are staying at in the dark and dumped our stuff off.  We grabbed a qucik bite to eat and went to sleep.
      My next blog will deal with this incredibly unique island and the bizarre series of events that  led us to want to come here. Oh yeah, I might have a few things to say about the surf too.
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genc on

hope you feel better soon. how's the surf lookin down there anyways?

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