26 December 2010

No Such Thing As An Easy Trip

This is from an email I sent earlier today. Traveling isn't always fun...

My journey today has been quite crazy. I woke up at 520, pulled stuff together, out of the hostel by 540. It was pouring rain, disgusting. Me and my pink umbrella, Brian (also going to San Jose), Natalie and TJ (headed to Panama City) went to the water taxi from Isla Colon (the island in Bocas del Toro where we were staynig) to take it to the mainland. We were aiming to grab the 6am bus, but as Panamanians are on Tico time, things did not proceed as smoothly as we hoped. 

We did not leave until 635 am, and Natalie (and others) were freaking out. Despite our boat having a cover, we got wet. When we got there, I tripped on the slippery dock getting out of the boat, and dropped one of my bags into the water. Luckily, I got it out, just losing a water bottle (and everything in the bag got soaked).

We hopped in a large taxi, planning to take it to Changirola, but this French girl sharing the cab was also going to San Jose, and told us we should take the bus w her from Sixoala, this border town.

So, we took the cab to SIxaola instead, waited in the rain for immigration to open. I dropped my credit card ina  puddle and would not have noticed if Brian hadn't pointed it out to me. We got stamped, and crossed.

It was pouring rain. One of those absolutely disgusting depressing days. The kind of day you might as well be at work because it’s too disgusting to do anything else.

The crossing was awful. It was an old railroad bridge covered in wooden planks. There were holes, it was slippery, and it did not feel safe. I was okay but started freaking out in the middle and Brian had to stop, come back, grab my bag, hold my hand. Scary.

We got to the other side and had to wait for immigration to open. The bus was at 8am, but as the time slowly ticked on, we began getting nervous. Finally it opened, but it took them forever to process anyone.

The French girl cut the line, and we followed suit. I explained to the guys we were cutting that we had a bus in 10 minutes, and they were pretty nice. We got stamped, no problems, which was good b/c you need proof that you are leaving Costa Rica (and a plane ticket from Guatemala is not good enough – they want to see a bus ticket from Costa Rica to Nicaragua, or whatever. Crazy, right?).

Finally, we get stamped again, and search in the pouring rain until we finally find the bus. We’re soaked, my knee is hurting from tripping and we’re stressed.

We buy our bus tickets and hop on the bus, which proceeds to drive on bumpy dirt roads to San Jose.

I survived the rest of the bus trip, got into a taxi with a driver who ripped us off, and had to cross through this crazy horse parade to get to our hostel. Good thing the hostel has their own pineapple drink...I'll be drinking some for sure.

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