Always check the journey time….

So, we decide to wake up at 5.00 a.m. – it is a 6.30 a.m. flight so we figure half an hour to get ready and then we are there an hour before the flight. What we didn´t allow for is that the electricity is povided by generator and of course it isn´t on at 5.00 in the morning! So, we stay in bed for a bit then get dressed and pack by head torch whilst wondering why it is still so quiet … is there really going to be a flight at 6.30 when it is dark and there are no runway lights?

At about 6.00 we leave the room (it opens into the outdoors) – it is still dark with a faint glow of sunrise in the sky – there is no-one else about so we hang around where the old woman told us to and eventually she shows and tells us to wait by the hotel – Huw takes advantage of the hammock. This must be the only airport in the World with a hammock in the waiting room – or is that a hammock as a waiting room??

At 6.30, the old lady tells us to cross the runway to where a small crowd has now gathered. Lo and behold 5 mins later a small plane (a twin otter for any of you spotters out there) arrives. It taxies over to the small crowd and the 15 or so passengers get off and unload there own baggage. There is then a bit of a scrum to load our bags on the plane – Huw eventually gets his in the nose of the plane as there is no room in the hold. The old lady from the hotel is then there to check passengers off of a printed list ahh that´s the check-in desk! And we were worried about excess baggage!! Anyway we get safely on-board and after a cursary check by the co-pilot as to whether everyone is wearing seat belts, which consisted of shouting a question from the back door, we are off on a short 45 min hop over the mountains to Panama City.

So our plan now is to head for Bocas del Toro in the north west of the country where Nathan and Donna had headed. It is a surf/dive resort where we are keen to do Spanish at Spanish by the Sea and possibly some diving.
We looked at flights to get there but at $130 versus ~$20 by bus it seemed a no brainer, or so we thought, when we thought the bus journey was only 3.5 hours by express bus…. Yes, that would have made sense. We realised it was a much longer journey possibly when we stopped after about 3 hours for a 30min lunch and toilet stop. Oops!!

It turned out to be a 7 hour trip to David, only 2/3 of the way to our destination. Ouch! Arriving there at 5pm we opted to stay the night. We’d read a review for a hostel called “The Purple House” and it was indeed purple when we arrived, all of it! One for you Eloise :0) even the dog had a purple collar on. We’re talking walls, tiles, crockery, linen, book covers, sofa’s, ashtrays, keys……

The free wifi was good but we were pretty worn out with the journey so didn’t achieve much other that a few emails and skype chats.
We walked the 10 min to where we’d been directed to a supermarket to buy some supplies. Neither of us fancied much food as we’d been stuffing our faces with rubbish on the bus… like you do. Every time we stopped someone would get on selling cold drinks or snacks or even ice-creams at one point!! :0)

Back at the hostel we sit outside on the veranda and spend the evening talking to some other travellers – Sam, a Brit from Cornwall who’s cycling the world, done 20 months already and raised £10k for charity so far. Good on him. And Nicholas a French guy from Paris who’s mum is English and therefore his spoken English is impeccable. He has a cousin who lives in Reading! Small world!! He’s just started his trip, been going a month, got 11 more in front of him. Both really nice guys. Other than them there were a couple of American girls – one well crazy – and a very very strange Canadian called “Raven silver hair” or some such b*****ks. As you can guess introducing himself with a name like that he was full of himself and full of poo into the bargain. Didn’t spoil the night though we had a blast.

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