Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Taboga Island- Panama City

Taboga Island -Panama City
So today was my last day in Panama City, what a better way to spend it than on an island.
I had met a wonderful young lady by the name of Julia at the hostel that had recently taken a boat to the San Blas Islands and I proceeded to do my research on vessels.

Julia is a medical student in Canada and is my hero. She did the same thing I’m doing now; she traveled the world for a while before getting into something quite difficult like Medical school, my new inspiration for the trip.

We shared some great stories and decided to visit the island of Tobago the next day. We invited the entire hostel to go, but the hang over’s beat us to it.

So as I negotiated a $2 cab ride to the amazement of my new favorite Canadian, we were off!

As we arrived at port, we were greeted by a massive 150+ line of people waiting for the ferry to the island.
As we had 2 more people in front of us, the tickets sold out. So much for a paradise island. But determined Alex didn’t leave it at that.

We walked around the port, I tried finding a private yacht to take us to the island, I tried buying off tickets from the passengers, looked for a “Mexican” way of shoving myself through the crowds to catch the ferry and even contemplated jumping on the ship off the dock as it was leaving port, all with no success. Yeah crazy, I know, what’s new right, says the man who jumped on the back of a semi for a free ride.

As we were about to settle for walking old downtown, I still didn’t give up, I wasn’t settling for a boring walk around town. I talked to a security guard and got some inside scoop of another boat leaving soon a few miles down the road at a private dock.

So we jumped on a 50 cent bus and on we went.

My 6th sense of direction navigated me to a sketchy looking port. As I saw another ferry, I immediately booked us on and got spots 49 and 50 out of a total of 50 for the boat. What luck! Last ones on the boat.

Island here we come!

Julia and I
Like a can of sardines we were packed in.

So the long New Year’s weekend was evident by the massive amount of people at the beach. But it was still nice.

I did the lazy beach bum thing the entire day for the first time in my life, soaking up sun, doing nothing, and enjoyed it. Sure beats fighting wind, rain, and extreme temperatures while on the bike.

Had the best pineapple smoothie of the trip so far, and played on the island playground.

Even had some Chinese Chow Mein. I needed a good relaxing island after extreme traveling through Central America.

We got off the island and went back into town, got a nice sunset with the bridge over looking one of the locks to the Panama Canal.

We decided to stop at a market to buy some souvenirs. We didn’t find the indigenous Kuna and Mola’s Julia was looking for so I found another market down the road in the dangerous part of town that may have them.

My concerns of safety were confirmed as we traversed this very dangerous area near sunset as I kept talking to people finding out where it was. Over 6 people said we should turn around and leave ASAP!

I got comments that we were in the mouth of the lion for danger, and that we would be killed for our stuff without a second thought. When one person says this to you, you shrug it off, but when more that 6 people say this to you, you know it’s time to go.

I’m sure a 6”2 tall guy walking with a light skinned Canadian in beach clothes didn’t help our case of blending in.

So we abandoned the search and back to the party hostel we went.

Tomorrow Portobelo for some island hoping!

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