So, my board is broken. I wait for a new one and it will be sent to me within a couple of weeks. Anders gave up his bike to. It had given him too many flats and broken spokes and he didn’t seem to enjoy the Panamanian mountains anymore. We will have a couple of weeks going by bus instead. We were thinking both of us deserved a normal and relaxing time spent together.
We started at Lost & Found, a hostel were Anders had stayed for a while and had made friends. It was great to see him again, had longed for that moment for so long. Nothing else there, just the mountains and the nature. Well, hammocks and the chilly air too.
Lost & Found gave us time to drink some Gin & Tonic and watch animals in the jungle I had never heard of before and others I had been looking forward to see, as sloths. We also met some Swedes who we joined for a day and we went swimming in waterfalls, in a canyon and in some hot springs. Lovely days.
Christmas was coming up and we decided to go to the well-known Bocas del Toro at the Caribbean coast. The turquoise water and the mangroves was a nice contrast to the mountains and a water taxi took us to the island called Bastimentos where we had time to do a hike along the coast, palm fringed beaches colored with white sand and clear water. The jungle was literally on the beach, green leaves framed pictures in my camera display. Two steps in from the beach you could find the trail covered with mud and cute but poisonous red frogs decorated the path.
We woke up in time for a family gathering on Skype on a bad internet connection moment. It was nice to see them, truly. We started a hike again, took off to Wizard beach. The trail was hard to follow and muddy, all the sounds of the nature was intense though the creatures of the jungle was hiding from us.
Finally a long and, what appeared to us as, empty beach was in front of us and when the waves were to high shoes were soaked and laughter was loud. We were aiming for next destination, a coffee farm up amongst the hills. A couple on the beach we hadn’t noticed before told us where to and Anders went ahead.
All of a sudden I heard him scream from above, “run, run, run”. I was looking up to were he stood, waiting for me, and saw the reason. A man with a machete was running towards him, his face all covered up and with hunter eyes. I felt fear and ran back from where I came. Anders took the lead, I was running downhill but sprained my ankle pretty bad and lost speed.
Every time I looked behind me he was still there, yelling “Para, para!”. My guess was it meant “Stop” but I couldn’t. Started to scream, me as well, hoping that someone in the jungle would hear us, at least the couple on the beach. Being chased by a man with a machete wasn’t exactly something I had prepared myself to.
We reached the beach, made the other couple aware of the danger and ran into the water. The man didn’t give up and pointing with his big knife at us, one at the time, we did what he told us to do. Gave him all our money having faith in his assurance that he wouldn’t hurt us if we did. He left, disappeared into the jungle again and there we were, poorer but still alive and with our cameras and cell phones left. We gave up our plans to go to the farm and scared of every little sound of the jungle we went back through mud and rainforest. Late Christmas Eve became a night talking, drinking and feeling grateful for being safe together.
Going to Costa Rica
We spent a night in Bocas town, known for “all night parties” and all kind of life related to that. Still shaken up from the night before we went to bed pretty early to have some sleep before the next day of crossing the border to Costa Rica.
The land border procedure was as time consuming and ineffective as we were expecting it to be but once in a new country it wasn’t too far to the lazy town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Here we recovered from stress, drank mojitos in sunsets with caribbean live band playing and watched surfers trying to master the huge waves, for several days.
Since one of us are running out of time we catched an early bus all the way across the country to reach a hard raining La Fortuna last afternoon. We will try to catch a glimpse of Volcan Arenal shaped as the perfect cone here but until now the rain and the clouds are teasing us.