on the way to changuinola fom bocas
after my long walk i wondered back to our room to finish packing up. this is the one part of out trip that we really didn't plan... how to get from bocas del toro to san jose. the reason we had to do this is because we had bought a round trip flight from managua to san jose with a lay over in panama city. we just didn't get back on the plane after the lay over. this was so much cheaper we figured we could figure out the details once they came up. well they are now up... and we need to be in san jose tomorrow for our flight. so we headed to the airport to see if we could get a good deal to san jose, however the tickets where much more than we wanted to spend. i had read in a book that we could take a water taxi to the main land and then a taxi to the boarder, so we figured we could try that.
so we made our way back to the dock were the water taxis where to see if we could get a ride to the main land. we where in luck and found a boat leaving with in the next 30 min from the time we had got there. this boat ride was really cool. there was about 12 people on the boat and we went through some really interesting parts of panama that i don't think we could have seen any other way. it took about an hour and a half or so and cost us 7 USD. once we got to changuinola, which was even more poor than bocas was, we had to find a ride. we had made friends with a European couple on the boat ride over that where backpacking and headed in the same direction. so the 4 of us found a guy with a truck headed to the sixaola boarder and offered him 20 USD to take us with him.
this might not have been the safest way but it was cheap and since there where 4 of us and only one of him i felt ok with it. once on the road i second thought my decision to get in the car with this man. he drove CRAZY!! when he was cutting someone off around a blind mountain corner going about 60 mph he noticed that i looked a bit nervous... when he asked me in his broken english if i was ok i replied with NO! all he said to me was " live your life man, live your live" my reply was " I AM NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO LIVE MY LIFE IF YOU KILL ME IN THIS CAR" however i kinda giggled because i remembered our server telling us the same thing.
well we made it to the boarder healthy but i am not sure if i will ever get into a car with a random Panamanian again.
we had a huge line to get checked out of the country so we figured that we would get a few supplies, like TP since the bathrooms are gross and some food for the journey ahead. we had to wait about an hour to get our out stamp of panama. once stamped out we had to cross this huge bridge. now this is not like the bridges in the states. for one it is very rusted and they send semis over between people running. the reason why the people run is because they have to beat the next semi since there is not enough room for a semi and people to cross at the same time. so as we waited for the semi to cross all i could think of was falling to my death into the trash in the dry river bed about 75 feet bellow. after the semi passed we where off.
.. running with all the other people and our bags down planks of cracked wood until we reach a plank and walk out on it while the next semi passes. my heart was beating fast and i could feel sweat running down my face and as the semi passes the entire bridge shook making it feel like i was going to fall. there are no rails on the out cropping either making it that much more scary. after it passes we where off again, running at top speed to the next plank.
once we made it across i wanted to kiss the ground in excitement, i resisted my urge but the pleasure that i was alive was still there. we wondered around for a little while and found the building to get stamped into costa rica.
once again there was a huge line but this once seemed to go a bit faster. after we got checked in we needed to find out how to get to san jose from here. we saw a few buses lined up together about 1/2 a mile down and figured that would be a good start. once over there we had a hard time finding someone to talk to so we just talked to the bus drivers. we found out that there was a bus leaving for san jose but not until 4 and it was about noon at this point. the next bus driver was going to lemon in about 20 min, we figured that it was headed in the right direction so we paid the man 5 USD and got on. we did not know that this bus was what they call an indirect bus and it stops for anyone at any point along the drive. so we where stopping and going about every 5 min.
we would go from the bus being entirely empty to full and back to empty with in 30 min or so. it was like this the entire ride... stop and go, stop and go. after about 3 hours on this bus we figured that we where probably getting close. the driver never said that we where in lemon so we didn't really know were we where. we started to ask a few people that where on the bus with us and they informed us that we had arrived and we needed to get off. so we did but we had misses our stop and now we where in the middle of lemon, a very bad part of town in my opinion and we started to walk. we had no clue where we were going and no one seemed to want to help us. as we where walking we saw a few buses headed in the same direction as we had just come and we followed. we ended up finding the bus station just in time for the last bus for the day headed into san jose.
this bus was much nicer than the one we had just got off. it was cleaner with padded seats and it was not crowded at all and my favorite part of it was that we didn't stop other than once at a rest stop about 2 hours in. we made it to san jose around 6 pm and headed straight to our hostal. what a crazy day!