Day 13 – Thursday. This last day in Boquete started off VERY early for me. It was one of those nights when I wake up at 3am, unable to sleep. And let me tell you, being in a small, 2-room mountain cabin wide awake when everyone else is asleep is NOT good. There is nothing to do whatsoever. After about 30 minutes of tossing and turning, I finally got up and found my tiny emergency flashlight (yes I took one – remember that I was a Girl Scout!). I paced around in the dark, and finally realized that there was NO WIND outside – extremely unusual. I cautiously stepped out onto our back porch and could not believe my eyes. I could see lights all down through the valley. I had not seen that the previous 3 nights – it was not only NOT raining, it was CLEAR! I looked up at Volcan Baru, and not only could I see the entire mountain, but the stars in the sky were vividly shining above it. Calling it beautiful is not nearly enough. I was SO excited that I wanted to take pictures, and thought about waking Mike up. Fortunately, I realized it was only about 3:45 am, and my camera isn’t fancy enough to capture night shots like that, and Mike would NOT have been nice had I raced in there to share the great news. So, I made myself go back to bed, and crossed fingers and toes that the sun would be shining in the morning. Wasn’t sure he would believe my night experience with no proof. (p.s. Mike made me add this part – he claims he would have been his usual, sweet self at 3:45 am!)
We had planned to leave at 9am, so got up at about 7:30 to get ready to depart. I was hoping that we could take a few minutes to run by Ellie and Jeff’s to tell them goodbye. I was showered and dressed, and Mike was getting cleaned up by 8am. I grabbed my makeup, and went to the little couch with my 3×3” mirror to try to throw on some makeup (NO room in the tiny bathroom). As I started the daily ritual, I was startled by a HUGE pounding on the door of the cabin.
“POLICIA! Open the door! POLICIA!”
I cannot even begin to describe my instant level of panic. I must be in better condition than I thought because I didn’t have an immediate heart attack. A zillion thoughts raced through my mind, and honestly I couldn’t imagine a single reason a policeman would be at our door in Panama. But what if our Tourist paperwork had gotten messed up and some sort of warning went through the network to the police in Boquete? Yeah, my mind went a bit crazy. I sucked it up (remember, Mike was in the shower), threw down my stuff, and bravely opened the door.
And there stood JEFF! Laughing his @#% off. When I finally caught my breath, I made very un-ladylike signs with both middle fingers, slugged him on the shoulder, and then laughed my @#% off. I could have KILLED HIM! But it was SO funny! Too bad he didn’t have someone there to record my reaction. Would have been priceless on UTube. He and Ellie had decided to come have a farewell breakfast with us at the inn. What great (new) friends!
The four of us spent about an hour on the balcony of the inn’s main house – had a lovely breakfast and talked the time away. As we had breakfast, the no-seeums first attacked Jeff, and then apparently got Mike, too (which we discovered hours later). One of the owner’s beautiful birds decided to make a beeline for the bird-feeding area on the porch and literally flew across Mike’s and my heads. Check out the attached pictures. And yes, the sun was definitely out. The sky was that beautiful blue, there were only scattered clouds, and it was a perfect day to spend in Boquete. Except that we were leaving! Rats! We said our goodbyes, and packed up the car. We took lots of photos, and then headed out. We stopped in multiple places in Boquete and took more photos, and then started our road trip back to Panama City. One the road to David from Boquete, we experienced the pains of the road-widening construction – watching them clear a huge fallen tree from the road.
To make a long story short, we trekked back across the country for about 6-1/2 hours, with stops at Kentucky Fried Chicken (David) and McDonalds (Santiago). We went through several rain showers, traveled through mountains, rolling hills, farmland, and lots of small towns. Experienced great roads, terrible roads, potholes, newly paved roads – all on the same road. Crazy drivers, lousy drivers, slow drivers, cabs everywhere – even in the middle of nowhere, drove around cowboys who had roped a steer from horseback on the side of the road and were trying to drive it back to the right field (he was NOT cooperating). Fast HUGE buses, little slow buses stopping at the million tiny bus stops. Worked our way around several major accidents – a huge piece of machinery that had slid off of the trailer (photo attached), a terrible accident with an 18-wheeler on its side (I couldn’t even figure out where the cab was), a family car that had run off of the road (people were standing around in shock, but looked ok), another car that was scrunched. We think that the patch of bad road (locals know where) on the Pan American Highway combined with the intermittent rain probably caused the accidents. And then by 5pm everyone in sight seemed to be heading to bars, restaurants, package stores – is Thursday pay day? – and we passed through lots of tiny towns. What else was strange? As we neared Panama City, there were dozens and dozens of huge trucks parked alongside of the road – apparently during rush hour traffic they cannot come into the city – that was strange looking! We made it back into town with no trouble, navigated the city towards our hotel, and then guess what. Yes, we got lost yet again. And in the DARK! No road signs. After totally stressing, we finally found our hotel, dragged in our bags, shared our thanks for making the trip back safely, and hit the bar in the concierge lounge. We head home tomorrow! We have had a fantastic and totally unique experience in this vacation. We are ready to see family, friends, and our Kimba! What a fabulous 2 weeks!