First, let me just say this – I made it to Boquete! More in the next post…
The bus ride to David from Panama City was rather uneventful – I took an Uber to the bus terminal, and (thanks to a very helpful blog post) I had no trouble going to the right place to buy my bus ticket. However, I forgot the part that said I also needed to buy a RapiPass card to get through the turnstile (10 cents) and into the restrooms (a quarter), until I had already wrestled my luggage through the doors of the waiting room. Obviously, I didn’t want to leave my bags unattended while I searched for a place to buy this card, but I also didn’t want to lug them through the doors again.
What would MacGyver do? Probably something way cooler than what I did, which was to ask a friendly-looking Panamanian to buy a card for me. I typed my request into Google Translate, snagged a lady sitting nearby, and showed it to her. I gave her $3 and she agreed to buy the card, in return for me watching her bag while she was gone. Fair enough! She didn’t speak English at all, but using the translator, we managed to have a nice little conversation while we waited.
When my bus arrived, I brought my bags to the side of the bus, where they were tagged for retrieval. One worrisome thing – my big bag had my desktop computer in it, and even though it had big “FRAGILE” stickers on it, he just HEAVED it into the back of the luggage bay. The computer was padded with its original styrofoam and had clothes packed all around it, but all I can hope is that it landed somewhat softly on another bag, and the computer survived the jolt. I haven’t taken it out yet to check. Fingers crossed on that….
The trip to David was six hours long, but relatively comfortable. It was a modern, double-decker bus, and my seat was the first row behind the stairs on the upper level, There was a large flat area right in front of my seat, so I was able to prop my feet up on it.
I may have dozed off a couple of times on the trip, but didn’t get as much sleep as I thought I might. But I did rest, so it was all good.
In reading details about taking the bus from David to Boquete, I had concerns that there might not be room for my bags without putting them on the roof of the smaller busses that run that route. Rather than take that chance, I asked the taxi driver I had previously arranged to meet me at the bus stop in Boquete, to meet me in David instead. (David is about a 30 minute drive from Boquete.) He agreed, and was there just a few minutes after the bus arrived around 5:30 a.m. And so, I was finally on my way to Boquete!
Much better than the 3rd Class bus I took from Port Said to Cairo and the cab from there to the Pyramids. Seems like the U.S. gets increasingly scarier and the third world is getting better.
Pretty scary but yet good!