It took time and money to get to Boquete and we will be here for three more nights and then take more time and money to get home.
I explain to our cab drivers that, “Mi hija ha estado estudiar espanol en Boquete desde hace un mes. lleve con su Madre el mes pasado.” And now we have all come to pick her up.
First we flew to Panama city and took a cab to a hotel we reserved using the airplane’s wifi before we crossed the border and it cut off. Then we took a 7 hour bus ride to a place named after my brother David. From there we could have taken a local bus which is actually an old american school bus pimped up with art and big mufflers, each one unique, and that would be an experience, but it had been a long day, so I asked how much for a cab. “Veinticinco.” 25 dollars. Yes dollars. They use the the dollar in Panama, but they have their own coins.
“Esta bien,” I say and we headed to the cab. All of the cabs looked really nice except this one. He opened the trunk and there was a huge speaker in it. He took our 4 bags and tied them down and we drove off with the trunk open. I sat in the front. The right side view mirror was broken, which was a shame because I wanted to check to see if our bags were in the road. In short order he says something to me in spanish three times before I pull my other daughter out of her book to help me understand and we gather that he wants to make a stop at his house. Seriously? I say ok mainly because I don’t know how to say much else. “Un momento” he says, gets out and heads to the trunk. I too get out and watch him take out our bags and then this huge speaker which he carries into the house and then he repacks the bags, all while a little black dog barks at me. “Hola” I say to the dog.
We get back into the car and drive off. “Su perro?”
“Si” he says and smiles.
Next we stop at a gas station. He gets out to pump. “This is quite an adventure,” we agree. “At this rate it may not be faster than the bus,” my daughter says. He puts one gallon, in, and when we leave the gauge is still on empty. The car has a cracked windshield, “playboy” is decaled on it, and there are blue fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror. The speedometer doesn’t work, and I suspect the heating gauge too. The front seatbelt is all twisted and the back ones can’t be found. He’s texting while driving. I’m watching the road for him in case I have to warn him not to hit la jente. When the car gets going fast it wobbles like the wheels are about to fall off. I’m thankful that the air conditioning works at least There’s a nickle stuck under one of the vents to angle it upwards. But the cab is filling up with fumes, so at some point he turns the air off, rolls down his window and indicates for me to roll mine down, which I do.
The roads are in disrepair in spots and he drives all over them slowly to save his delicate car from the potholes. Eventually we get on a better road and he revs it up. The car slows down as we ascend into the mountains because it can’t keep up it’s speed. Finally we make it to the hotel we want to stay in and as he drives off we find out there are no rooms available.