I arrived in Boquete about 6:15 a.m., much earlier than the noon arrival I initially planned. Yesterday I sent an e-mail to the lady I’m renting my apartment from, letting her know I was taking the bus and would be arriving around 7 a.m., but she probably didn’t read it before I got here. There was no apartment key in the designated hiding place, and I didn’t want to just sit in front of the apartment with my bags for an indeterminate amount of time. So it was time for plan B.
The taxi driver had to leave for another trip to David at 7:30, so he suggested that I leave my luggage in his car until time for him to leave, and in the meantime I could try to contact the property owner. Sounded like a plan, so he dropped me off at a little coffee shop for a bit.
I had no luck contacting her, but remembered that my friend Chris was meeting friends at the library at 8 a.m. before going on a hike. I called her and asked if I could stash my luggage in her car until she got back from her hike, and she agreed. So I called the taxi driver and had him pick me back up and take me to the library to wait for Chris, so he could make his next run to David.
That plan worked like a charm, and even better than I expected. Chris showed up, helped me put my bags in her car, and asked if I had my driver’s license. When I affirmed that I did, she just handed me the keys to her car and said she’d let me know when they got back. Cool, huh?
To kill some time, I stopped at a different coffee shop and had some banana bread and a second cup of coffee, and watched the people go by for awhile. Drove around a bit, then parked across the street from the apartment, hoping someone would drop off the key. After awhile, I did see the owner arrive. She had a basket of linens with her, so I figured she was dropping them off at the apartment and would leave the key at that time. I didn’t make myself known, but after she left I checked again for the key. Nope, still no key.
I waited awhile longer, hoping she would return. By now, it was almost 10 a.m. It was getting warmer outside, and I was beginning to get a little frustrated. I had been (mostly) awake for nearly 36 hours, and my energy was running on empty. So, after texts and e-mails failed to get a response, I called the owner directly. Apparently, the cleaning lady was still finishing up the apartment, and when I went to the front door, she met me there and let me in. So I unloaded my bags from Chris’ car and put a few things away, then collapsed and cooled off for awhile.
I let Chris know I was in the apartment, and soon after that she replied that they were done with their hike, and were going to have lunch in town. She invited me to join them. I hadn’t had much to eat since the night before, so even though I was tired, I gladly agreed.
Her lunch partners were a couple of guys who had been here for a little over a year. We had a nice lunch and got to know each other a bit. I always knew that Chris would be the one to introduce me to her circle of friends, and sure enough, within hours of my arrival, that was indeed the case.
After lunch, Chris took me home and I took a well-deserved nap for a couple of hours. Right now, it’s about 6:30 p.m., and I’m in my living room with the windows open, enjoying the evening air. It’s been raining for about an hour, with occasional grumbles of thunder. Birds were singing right outside the window awhile ago, and the sound of the rain is very soothing. The power has gone off briefly a couple of times, which is very common here, especially during rainstorms.
It’s been a long first day, but everything has worked out well. The downside is that I didn’t make it to the store to buy food, so the only thing I have for an evening snack is a can of Coke and some plantain chips. No worries – I’m going to bed soon, and will deal with shopping tomorrow.
For those of you who wanted to see photos of this apartment, here they are, taken from her airbnb.com listing: