We get up pretty early – around 8ish – lots to do. Sort out tickets for the overnight bus to Panama, laundry, check out and hire bicycles to then head over to Nate and Donna’s hotel to spend the day with them, before leaving the island.
As luck would have it the direct overnight bus is full. We put the laundry in and they said 1.5 hours, just as well ´cause we’ll now need to invoke plan B (which didn’t exist till just now) that’ll be to head back the way we came. Get the water taxi back to Almirante and pick up the little minibus back to David …. and hopefully pick up an overnight from there to Panama.
This means full steam ahead. No bicycle hiring, no visiting the other guys. Just get packed and get a water taxi by midday. We call Donna and Nate’s hotel and say goodbye 🙁 really sorry not to do proper goodbyes as they have been lots of fun. Never mind we agree to make a plan to get up to Vancouver 😉
The water taxi is busy as usual. It seats about 20 people and it’s basically a jet boat (like we went on in New Zealand Emma) the journey is about 45 mins and probably the length of the Solent!!! Great value for money – only $4 each.
The taxi from the other side up to the bus on the other hand is a pain. Lots of lads touting at you to come with them, trying to carry your bag, get you in their favoured taxi and hope you’ll give them a tip as well as paying a buck for a 1/2 mile journey!!! A necessary evil, keep your wits about you and an eye on your bags.
Lady luck had returned though ´cause a bus was loading as we arrived and we even managed to get seats together. This was a flasher bus, slightly bigger and with tinted windows to keep us all cool. Not that that’s an issue going over the mountains, it rained last time and will most likely rain this time looking at the cloud cover.
This part of the journey is approx 4 hours and seems much longer this time. Being a bigger mini bus means there’s head room for standing passengers and as such we are continuously stopping to pick up and drop off. Yawn! Oh and there’s a gringo baby bawling half the time too. Nice!
Arriving in David around 6pm we debate kicking our heals and waiting for the midnight express – getting us into Panama at 6am – or staying another night at The Purple House and getting the 6am bus. The 1st option saves us on accommodation costs so we opt for that. Hoping to find wifi so we can finish updating the blog.
We orientate ourselves with our map from in inward journey and head off in search of a food venue with wifi obviously. After a false start we find a really nice roast chicken place. Great food, a bit like Nando’s but without the heat options or the beer. But with wifi so we’re happyish. Not sure we can tough it out for 4 hours here mind!!! 🙂 Not bad, not bad. We leave the chicken shop at 2230 having arrived about 1930. It had good Internet whereas we hadn’t found any earlier at the bus station. Talking of which we can’t believe how busy the waiting room is. The 2245 buses are loading, all the seats in the waiting room are just about taken and there’s a massive queue at the ticket office. Bizarre. We find a seat and sit it out till our bus arrives around 2330. We hope we can sleep on the bus…
Not just one but three or four buses turn up, which is just as well considering the amount of people hanging around. Problem is there’s nothing obvious on our tickets indicating which one is ours or indeed which one is which. We eventually figure out that there’s a number 11 on both tickets…. Ah, so we want bus 11, but which one is this?! People seem to be just randomly queuing up at whichever one they prefer. They are all going to Panama, which at least is something!
Third time lucky, well by pestering all the drivers we do eventually find it. Hurrah! And yes when we get going we do manage a good sleep. Until that is we stop. All three buses in convoy. Yes, ladies you can imagine what queue that sparks up at the toilets. Oh well needs must. Got to be easier than negotiating the stairs, while the bus is moving, to go onboard.