On the move again
Trip Start Aug 26, 2005
125Trip End May 26, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
I sneezed and coughed and absolutely struggled on the 8 hour bus trip north through Panama towards Costa Rica (the rich coast). The ride was pleasant enough and I had this funny old man beside me laughing the whole way. I told him about Australia. He asked if we have cows in Australia 'Yes we have cows in Australia' then he would just laugh his head off. ‘What about sheep?’ He asked, ‘Yep, we have those too’ Then he cracked up. I pulled out an apple, he was staring in awe and asked where I got it. It seemed like a stupid question, I told him I bought it in Panama City. He said, did you get it from a tree, I said no, I bought it from a shop. He said ‘we don’t have apple trees in Panama’. I looked at him strangely then he absolutely cracked up laughing. I didn’t know what he was on about and on a closer inspection on my apple, it revealed he was right. The apple sticker revealed that it had come from the USA. How about that! The ride continued like this for 8 hours and both of us were in stitches the whole way. It was sad to leave him. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much in my life.
After 8 hours I arrived in a place called David, which was much warmer than Panama City, but luckily I wasn’t staying long. I transferred onto a chicken bus and Yes it did have chickens on it - Lots of them. There was even a local kid with a green parrot on his shoulder and he had a bag full of baby parrots under his seat that he was presumably going to sell. I got chatting with the kid and found out that his family breed parrots and sell them as pets. The one on his shoulder was very loyal. I tried to get it onto my hand but it wouldn’t have a bar of it and bit me a few times. I gave up trying to be its friend and held the chicken instead. I rode this bumpy bus for an hour, up up up, to a little town called Boquette. At around 1100 metres above sea level it was a perfect temperature after the blasting heat from the big city of Panama.
It’s a beautiful lazy town, nestled amongst craggly mountains, where they grow the best coffee in Panama and from that, possibly the best in the world. There are loads of farms and trees and jungle and I’ve already spotted the mountain I will be climbing in the morning, providing I wake up early enough.
It didn’t take long for the first adventure in Boquette. I set out in the morning to find a decent hill / mountain to climb. After walking along a winding, steadily ascending road, I had a great view back toward the town and found a lookout and coffee place. I got chatting with the guy working there and asked if he knew of any good hills to climb. He pointed toward the side of his huge property, full of coffee plants and there, in the distance was a hill, big enough to be called a mountain. I’m not sure at what point a hill becomes a mountain, but this was close. He said it takes around three hours to climb and said that he gets off work in a few hours. He asked if he could come with me and bring a few of his mates. He was excited about meeting an Australian and said his mates were mountain guides. Sounds good to me. I got out my sketch book and drew a few things to pass the time as he served me coffee. He finished work and we set off toward the hill, picking up his friends along the way. This was great practice for my Spanish, which is returning very quickly after my break in the USA. Neither of them spoke English, so it was Spanish all the way. It was a super steep climb, and very dry and dusty. The thick tree canopy and ferns and leaf litter was hiding a very dry dusty soil below. Every few steps up, we slipped a few back. It took a little over three hours, crawling on our hands and knees to reach the top, but the view was amazing. From the top we were able to see Volcan Baru - Panamas highest point and dormant volcano at a little over 3000metres. My new friends told me that it can be climbed, but takes around 11 hours. So ill save my volcano adventures for a later time. We sat on a big rock at the top for a few hours and admired the town of Boquete below before sliding down in all of 20 minutes.