Happy Thanksgiving!

Trip Start Nov 03, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Hotel Christina

Flag of Panama  , Bocas del Toro,
Saturday, November 21, 2009

11/26/09

Happy Thanksgiving! Tried to surf Wizards over on Bastimentos this morning, but the swell has faded a lot since yesterday.  We spent $10 each to paddle around for 20 minutes…what a waste.  Bocas is a very unique place indeed, but since it is a tourist destination many prices are inflated beyond their actual worth.  Chitre, a local "comida tipica" restaurant, is by far the best food value we've found.  $3.50 for stewed chicken with rice and beans…have eaten it three or four times already. 

Our lodging, although $20 a piece per night, is a good deal as well.  Brand spanking new, Hotel Christina offers rooms with a/c, hot water, cable TV., and a fully stocked bar area.  Our room has four single beds which are the nicest we've seen yet.  The location is key as well…right by the water taxis, which makes surfing relatively easy and painless

Surfed waist-high plus Carenaro the first day with only one other guy (who was from Hawaii and looked like Shane Dorian).  But according to the swell charts it is only building.  Second day we checked Paunch, Dumpers, and Bluff…all sucked so we once again surfed Carenaro.  Unfortunately we partied at Toro Loco too hard the night before, and by the time the boat dropped us off the wind was howling and a huge storm had rolled in.  Conditions were shit, but we were by ourselves.  Luckily our boat captain came back 30 minutes early (we showed our appreciation with money). 

Super bummed about the surf we have experienced so far…but yesterday made the trip worth it.  Chest high plus, glassy, and sunny conditions at Carenaro.  Crowd was on it at first but more were kooks so getting waves was easy.  Did so many turns and got by far the dirtiest barrel I’ve ever had.  But after 3 hours, four reef cuts, and a severe sun burn (should have worn block), I was thankful to get back to our air-conditioned room.          

Even though it was still a gorgeous day, we all took two hour siestas because we had already walked around and seen most of Bocas Town.  The park, restaurants/bars, hotels/hostels, and various other commercial entities.  One bar we went to was on the water and had a dock built around a well lit shipwreck.  Very cool.  Glad we came here but ready to move on and see new places.  So much has happened since I wrote last, I’m going to bullet info so I don’t continue to ramble.            

-          4:30 am bus from Dominical-Neily

-          Cab from Neily-Border (idiot driver)

-          1 hours to get into Panama (mis-communication and hassles)

-          Rode in middle of Busito with Mike to David

-          Rode shottie with Brian in busito to Almirante (super cramped)


-          Through the mountains was crazy:

            -washed out roads and waterfalls

            -cooler climate and pine trees (first seen on this trip)

            -Dense fog- couldn’t see the road at all

            -rode over a hydraulic dam

            -Uphill the busito was always topped out in 1st gear- 5 m.p.h or so.

            -breathed black smoke from tailpipe of a white Nissan pick-up most of the way

            -really rural (farming, scattered villages, and VERY poor)

            -Driver’s name was Victor Hooker

                        -nice man, very fat

                        -spoke good English

                        -honked at every single female

                        -offered very useful info about the trip as well as Bocas

            -After busito- cab ride with owner of the Iguana Bar and his daughter to the water taxis

            -Port was sketchy and disgusting

            -taxi ride to Bocas was truly awesome even though the boat was packed and the weather sucked (boat was sick)

            -then "hustled" into Cristina which at 1st we felt was a super sketchy place

           -barely made it…took 14 hours total


Off to the Toro Loco to drink and celebrate Thanksgiving with Brian, Mike, and the rest of the gringos.  Surprised it hasn’t begun to cloud up and rain yet…only a matter of time!
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