By 7:02 am, we were biting our nails wondering where our ride was for getting to the airport. Our flight was scheduled for 8:30 and it was supposedly a short ride, but still. Three minutes later, she showed up and dropping us off by 7:23 am. The airport is so small; you could fit about 40 of them in Albrook Mall. Air Panama is the only airline flying today to David, San Blas, and Costa Rica. We are going to David where we will immediately try to find the bus station to take us to Boquete (Bō-ket-eh). The last part sounds like an exasperated Italian – eh!
Apparently, there was no need to rush to the airport, the flight was delayed almost an hour. We kept seeing these little piper cub planes making us wonder how this enormous group of people would fit. Once they started boarding our flight, we realized that our plane was out of view from the waiting area, but we still had to walk to it. It was a Fokker 100 twin-turbofan, which looked sparkling new with a 2-3 seat configuration. We had 2 seats on the emergency row, but frankly I was depending on the 3 on the other side if there were an emergency, since directions would be in Spanish. I don’t do well with Spanish under pressure. Flight time is only 30 minutes, yet the exceptional staff of three provided a drink service after passing out Quaker Oats oatmeal cookies. I have never been so happy to see a Quaker before.
Arriving in David, we were trammeled by a series of taxi drivers. They wanted anywhere from $9 to $15 to take us to the bus station. Ron had already asked at two kiosks in the airport learning the maximum should be $6-7. We refused all offers until one driver offered to drive us to Boquete for $22. Now we figured the cost of a ride to the bus station and the cost of 2 bus tickets to Boquete weighing in on the time we would have to wait for a bus and finally schlepping the suitcases from the bus station to the hostel. His offer was reasonable and we accepted it. The drive was an hour and 30 minutes, not a bad deal at all.
The hostel is great! Just a short walk to the downtown area, the staff is friendly and the room has plenty of space for us to spread out. We have an ensuite room for $38 a night; kitchen facilities are upstairs. Once we dropped things off, we went to explore the town. According to International Living, for the last 5 years, this has been named as the 2nd most popular place for ex-pats to retire. First impression is it is like one extended strip with little shops and restaurants on either side. There are few sidewalks, so at times you have to dodge traffic. My impression is that a number of the ex-pats have cars, so drive everywhere.
We did walk blocks parallel to the main street, but found little of interest. There were a few shops, but not much else. Tucked on a corner at the end of one bridge is a theater that ex-pats use to offer plays. The last one was a few weeks ago. There does not seem to be much to amuse oneself, but time will tell.
Some ex-pat offered the suggestion for where we should eat lunch. Big Daddy’s was pricey for an ex-pat community that has moved here to live off Social Security. Ron had the special fish tacos and I had a chicken platter. My chicken was on the tough side. We found a grocery store for our evening meal and some munchies for breakfast.
Ron booked a Cloud Forest Tour for tomorrow morning and then for the next morning a coffee plantation tour.
By 5 pm, we were twiddling our thumbs wondering what to do. We found a coffee shop open, but once that was down the hatch, we only had our room to sit around in and watch movies.