Not every day can be filled with frolicking on beaches in the Caribbean sea. Some days are just work, even on vacation. Yesterday we transitioned to our next phase of Panama With The Kings and drove to Playa Blanca, on the Pacific side closer to Panama City. We rented a 4-bedroom house for 5 days for some more beach and pool fun. But first we had to get there.
Our good-weather luck in Bocas looked like it had run it’s course. We were scheduled to be picked up by our water taxi at 9 a.m. but at that time it was pouring down rain. 45 minutes in the open water in the pouring rain, followed by an 8 hour drive? No, gracias. So we waited for awhile hoping for a break from the rain, also hoping our boat taxi would find an enclosed boat. Nope, not happening. So finally around 10 we decided to just go for it. We put on our rain ponchos, put plastic bags over the luggage that had the electronics and we piled in the boat. At that moment it wasn’t raining! And for the next 60 minutes it was not raining! Luck holds out! We arrived fully dry at the dock in Almirante where we parked our cars. We knew how it worked and we were able to fight off the awaiting ninjas trying – really really hard – to help us with our luggage. Haley managed to scold one of the “helpers” enough in Spanish to get him to back off.
We loaded up the cars and off we went… over two of the toughest roads in Panama… for 8 hours. First we drove a windy road up over the mountains where we had to pass slow trucks on curves and avoid a slow moving sloth going across the road and avoid the fate of two overturned cars we saw along the way. Then we met up with the Pan American and braved the construction and the worst road in the country. It was pouring for most of the day so we didn’t even get to stop and have our picnic lunch. And the cold pizza we had planned for lunches was accidentally left behind at the hotel. No es bueno. Peanut butter and jelly will have to do.
Since we got a later start than we wanted we were trying to beat the darkness to our rental house. Finding ANY house in Panama is always challenging but add darkness and a resort with no logical layout and it becomes almost impossible. We stopped for a mediocre dinner at fast food (note: if the KFC has no water and the bathrooms are unavailable, I wonder how the workers wash their hands?) and finally arrived at our resort around 9 pm. We wandered around lost for quite awhile, asking security guards (who we were told would have our names and would direct us – nope, didn’t happen) and finally we found our house.
The house comes with three guys who live in the bunk beds in the maid’s quarters out front. They were happy to show us around the house, carry in our many many bags and even did a load of laundry for us at 11:30 at night. It was very awkward for us but they seemed perfectly happy to help us in whatever way we wanted. A late-night run to a chino for some very light breakfast items and finally it was time for bed. There are 4 bedrooms so the kids get to have a little space and even the adults too. So far the rate of working bathrooms is about 50% but our new friend Miguel seems to know how to fix them.
This morning there was no sleeping in by the children who should have been very very tired. On the bright side Miguel came in to mop the floors, make coffee and open up the house for the morning. Its nice and awkward all at the same time. Sergio greeted us in the back yard with more mopping and fluffing the patio furniture cushions. More awkwardness.
So today we will settle in and try to find some food for these kids and see what this resort might have in store for us. Here’s a picture of us in our rain ponchos, just so you don’t think that every day is paradise. Some days are just spent muddling. And driving. And feeling awkward.