Rain, Rain, Rain!

Trip Start Oct 17, 2010
Trip End Apr 18, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostal Cariguana

Flag of Panama  ,
Saturday, January 1, 2011

Our next stop in Panama was a small town situated inside a volcano crater. Other than that we really had no expectations...or a map. Getter there was our first task. First thing in the morning we caught our first bus leaving Boquete to David. From the David bus terminal we bought a ticket for the noon bus heading towards Panama City. We got off at a stop just outside of Anton where there was a junction that lead up to El Valle. We walked across the road to catch a bus coming from the city heading to El Valle. I think at this point it is safe to say we miss the school bus style chicken bus. We just donīt fit in these little tiny busses with all our stuff. We had to let one bus go by because there was no way we were getting in and the next one we got seats but we had to sit with our bags on our laps, incredibly uncomfortable. It was a good thing it wasnīt a terribly long ride. From what we could see the drive up the volcano was absolutely beautiful especially since we were making the drive at sunset. We got off at the last stop and had no idea what to do. The town orientation was not all that obvious when we got off the bus. The town seemed to sprawl along one long street instead of working out from an obvious centre. In hindsight we really should have gotten off the bus earlier, where there was people, and restaurants, and hotels... Being that it was pretty much dark when we got off the bus and we had no idea what the town really had to offer and no accommodations booked we felt a little stressed. We started walking back in the direction the bus had come from and the first place we came across was a high end hotel called Anton Valley Hotel. We inquired about rooms but really we knew that our stinky backpacker asses were insulting the hotel by just even standing in the lobby. The rooms ranged from $70-80 a night, ya right! However, we must have looked so pitiful standing there soaking wet that the staff were actually willing to negotiate. They asked us how much we were looking to spend and not wanting to insult them further we aimed at the very top of our range and offered a whopping $30. They laughed and said $44. We took it. The room was great and we felt super spoiled for the night and so of course we did what any pair of classy backpackers would do and stole all the soaps, shampoos, and extra toilet paper. The restaurant at the hotel was actually affordable in a sense and we ate a fabulous supper there. Tomorrow though, if we canīt find a more economical place to stay weīll have to move on.

Success! As it turns out, when itīs light outside you can see a tourist information stand at the market. Tourist information people have so much knowledge. So fast he had us pointed in the direction of one of the only budget hostels in the town, Hostal Cariguana. Our check out wasnīt until noon so we spent the morning booking a room at the hostel and checking out the tiny little Sunday market. We didnīt find the market tempting at all.

We were told that the local waterfall was worth walking to so in the afternoon we went for a visit. It poured rain our whole walk there but stopped when we arrived. There was small park fee to get in but it covers the mineral pool as well. The waterfall and the short loop trail were nice. They have obviously been putting money and effort into their interpretive signage. It looked good and it was very educational. We were feeling a little too wet and chilled to go for a dip in the pool but it would be great on a hot day.

The rain was totally relentless and didnīt stop all evening. The owner of the hostel was so accommodating and offered to make us some supper so we didnīt have to walk into town in the rain. His sister made us a wonderful meal while Mike and the guy from our hostel tried to help the neighbors get their car out of the ditch. It was a no go in the end but dinner was awesome.

We are feeling pretty anxious about our flight plans into South America and we havenīt been able to make any changes over the phone so tomorrow weīll just head to the city to get everything sorted out in person.
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