I’d love to write some epic adventure here but to be honest mostly all we did was go to Smash Burger and hung out in malls and the hotel. We also complained our ass off about the lack of hot water and ended up getting $60 off, a bottle of champagne and free cake (totally thanks to Ben’s persistence!)
The most productive thing we did was buy my bus ticket to Bocas del Toro. After a last lunch at Smash Burger Bem headed back to the airport and I headed back to the Albrook terminal to catch my bus.
The bus was a stressful experience. There were no announcements or departure boards and it turns out the departure time on the ticket is actually the time they let you board the bus! I then accidentally ended up in seat 7 instead of my assigned seat 3 and the lady whose seat or was told me to get out of it pretty rudely! I felt just a little bit smug when I realised that my actual seat was in the front row and had more leg room.
I was hoping to ride in quiet and pine after Ben but the guy who sat next to me introduced himself by saying “hello sweetheart” then telling me about all the fun he’d just had in Columbia. Luckily he turned out to be a fairly normal (if tired and possibly still drugged up from his Columbia time) guy from California and chatting to him passed the time until he thankfully fell asleep.
The seats actually reclined about 45 degrees and with stone space to stretch my legs I got a decent few hours sleep before waking up at 5.30 just before Almirante. We arrived at the port about an hour later and due to my keeness to get on the bus my bags were stuck right at the back of the compartment. I ended up losing my Californian friend so grabbed someone else to share a taxi to the place the boats left from. He introduced himself by saying “I seem to have lost all my money except the $6 for the boat, this ride might be more expensive than you thought”. I had my doubts that he could lose exactly enough to leave him with the right amount for the boat with no explanation so I just got into a kind of tired grump. As it turned out he didn’t bring it up again somehow managed to scrape together the $1 to pay for himself.
The water taxi to Bocas was fine. It took about 30 minutes and the journey passed pleasantly enough past wooden houses built over the water. No money guy told me the outhouses were toilets that dropped down straight into the water. Not somewhere you want to fall out of the boat!
On arriving on the island it had started to pour with rain. I hopefully walked towards my hostel thinking that it must be open as the boat comes in at the same time everyday. Sadly it wasn’t and I hid underneath their porch until 7.30 when the cleaning lady came and opened up.
Luckily my hostel was nice and super friendly. I stayed at Spanish by the Sea which is also a Spanish school. They had a great kitchen, the people were friendly and their were good hammocks aplenty. It also felt very safe, I heard that robberies happen at the other hostels as they don’t watch who comes in and out so it was nice to feel secure!
I spent the day exploring the town and walked a bit further up the coast to a beach. For dinner I had a takeaway wrap from Bocas Blended. Its a small restaurant in a converted old bus that sells all sorts of wraps and smoothies. I had the Thai which was crammed full of noodles, chicken, salad and peanut sauce. It was very good!
I think the picture above might be it but I’m not sure as my phone camera went on the blink again. If it isn’t the wrap it’s a rice and bean burrito from TacoSurf which was also very good!
And just for fun, here are the notes I made in our last days in Panama. It really was all food and hotel!
Day 1: arrived, had dinner possibly at tococontento at the multiplaza mall which was actually a very nice mall with good aircon
Day 2: may have walked to the old town to book monolo coracol for the following night, had lunch at the Argentinian place from lonely planet that was meant to have arepas but didn’t (I had a quesadilla, Ben had a pasta and pesto salad), dinner at Smash? I had another veggie burger and Ben had the chicken avocado club?
Day 2: gym broken so went to canal, canal sucked so came back and had lunch at jardin vegetariano (ate in our rooms). Had dinner at Manolo Coracol, lots of fun
Day 3: meant to go to rainforest but didn’t. Mega hyper laze day. Had lunch at cozy by grace, shared the chicken fajita panini and a salad. I was still hungry afterwards so I had a chicken wrap from freshco next door. It was ok. Went back to the hotel and did about 10 mins on the stepper and some weights. Had dinner at Smash. This time we shared a classic chicken burger and a baja cobb salad.
Day 4: morning gym, lunch at el Greco – platter and good deep fried aubergine things with tzatziki. Football was on. We had dinner at Smash burger again? I think I had the black bean burger? I just don’t remember, so many trips to smash!!!
Day 5: Ben went home. Gym in morning, lunch at Smash burger then sad times ahead as he went home and I went to catch the bus to Almirante. Found a massive portion of chicken fried rice at the bus station which was the only good thing about today.
We love Smash Burger and hope it will come to England.
More frozen yoghurt at the mall