Friday, December 27, 2013

Life is a Beach and Then You Fry

Ron wanted to take a day trip to Playa Barqueta. It was supposedly close to David, so why not. Let me list the reasons. I grew up blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. Even when I was a kid, I preferred the pool club to getting sand in every bodily crevice, having a coating of fish water with a side of salt, and playing hide and fry with the sun.

This is where the conundrum comes to play. When I absolutely refuse one of Ron’s schemes, I wonder forever if it were something, I would have loved and missed the experience. Then the alternative is giving in, having a horrid time and needing to write about it endlessly to get it out of my system.

Trying to go with the flow, first I asked Ron why he wanted to go to the beach. When he responded that he wanted to relax, I nearly keeled over. Relax from what? We have been so relaxed most of this trip, I have given him CPR twice so far just to reassure myself there is life after arriving in Panama.
According to Luis at the hostel, there is one bus that leaves at 11 am and one bus that returns at 5:30 pm. The bus ride is one hour, giving us from noon to five and half hours later to do nothing. I am not good at doing nothing, but of course, I can bring my book to read. Luis told us there are cabanas that are rentable for $5 for the day. With this in mind, we thought there would be some hope to this.

In order to get to the bus station, we needed to take a taxi. Then we found that the bus doesn’t come until 1 pm if it was on time. Let me explain that ‘bus’ is a misnomer. They are actually oversized vans that can hold maybe 30 people. There were six people standing in the middle aisle for the first thirty-five minutes. The ride did take the hour promised, but it let us out at an area that looked like the outer make-out area before entering a drive-in movie. On either side are restaurants that look similar to what I remember on boardwalk circa 1960 New Jersey. Getting off the bus, I confirmed with the driver what time he would return. It would not be until 6:30 pm, not 5:30. I thought I misunderstood the Spanish, so repeated it. When he confirmed it, I repeated it again. I just didn’t want it to be so.

Walking onto the beach, we discover the ‘cabanas’. These were not what I would call cabanas under any stretch on the imagination. They were what you would expect near extinct tribes that have not yet been discovered yet, living in. Thatched A-frames sans a front or back. There were no chairs, but there was a wooden bench. That is all that existed in these cabanas. That is all there is on this beach.
Because the sand is from volcanic lava, it is dark in color. I wouldn’t call it black, but rather muddy brown with grey overtones. It is a glorious beach, causing you to excise those thighs getting to the water. Finally, a beach that doesn’t have erosion issues. But wait! The temperature is 90 degrees; the sand is hot enough to make glass without further heating. We have no blanket, towels, or umbrella. It is so hot out, there was no one to siphon $5 off of us for the use of the unfurnished palm tree lean-to poor excuse for a place to rest from the sun. 

After taking turns watching our meager belongings in the shade, for fear they would melt in the heat, the other explored the beach. We sat under one of the restaurants’ cover, but eventually we needed to order food to justify why we wanted to be there for five plus hours. Ron had a fish that arrived with a full grimace, teeth still showing the displeasure at his foolishness over getting caught. I had some pork that once went through a witness protection program, but finally got met its end. There is still no confirmation that this was indeed pork, but we will just let it go so I don’t feel sick.

After asking Ron what time it was so many times, he finally gave me his watch to wear. My watch absolutely refuses to stay in touch with Fort Collins, CO where it is supposed to automatically sync 6 times in a 24 hour day. I tried doing it manually after reading the manual, but still nothing. Strangely, I bought it in Spain; it should like these Spanish speaking syncing sites.

By 4 pm, I was ready to drown a lifeguard, but there were none to be found. By 5 pm, the restaurant next door opened up. Their patio has a clear view of the parking lot where the bus would arrive, so I made Ron move. I asked 35 people what time the bus would return, which was interesting since there were less than 20 people in the area. Some of them did I a second round to see if they would give me an answer I liked better the second time around.

At 6 pm, I was standing in the street ready to throw myself in front on any vehicle that looked like a bus. Three times Ron had to drag me off the gravel; I mistook three vans as the bus. I begged the people climbing out to take us back to David, but they were ready for beach fun, even with the sun setting. When the real bus finally turned up, the driver must have characterized me as a dog happy to see its owner. When I climbed on the bus, the passengers on-board already started to giggle.

We didn’t get back to the bus station until 7:40 pm. There are few bus stops, but the bus will stop whenever hailed by someone on the side of the road.

I set my pedometer to zero when we arrived in Panama City. When we left Panama City, we racked up 32.71 miles. Then resetting it for Boquete and David we added another 26.61 miles. So far the total is 59.32 miles
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