Thursday, December 11, 2008
Travel to Panama
4:30am- We woke the children to begin our day of travel to Panama.
4:45am- The taxi arrived to drive us to San Jose
5:20am- We arrive at the bus station in San Jose. We have 4 backpacks, 4 large duffel bags, 1 suitcase, 1 small duffel bag and 1 computer bag for a total of 11 bags. So far Kendal has not been able to help with any of the bags leaving most of them for JB and Marcie to carry/drag.
6am- The bus pulls out of the terminal and we are headed west to Sixaola, the Costa Rica-Panama boarder.
11:45am- We arrive in Sixaola, it has stopped raining and the kids did amazingly well on the bus. Unfortunately our bus driver did not want to drive all the way to the boarder, so we had to carry all 11 bags to the boarder (about 100 yards). It is hot and humid here, not like Costa Rica.
Noon- John waits in line, while the kids eat their sack lunches, for the Costa Rica stamp to leave. The children need to use the bathroom but Sixaola has no working bathrooms due to the rain. We must "hold it" a bit more.
12:15pm- We must now cross the boarder into Panama. In order to enter, we walk across a wooden plank bridge with a river running under it. It was a bit freaky and difficult with all our luggage.
12:30pm- We wait in line for the Panama customs official to stamp our passports. The children are in desperate need of a bathroom so Marcie walks them to a local restaurant, only to find out it costs 50 cents per person. After getting money from JB, we pay to use the restroom. By far, it was the worst bathroom Marcie had ever seen...no running water, no toilet seat (ok for Ethan but tricky for the rest of us) it was GROSS and we payed $2 to use it. Once back in the customs line, we used baby wipes and hand sanitizer!!
1:15pm- We put all our luggage into the back of a taxi truck, which then drives us to Almirante, Panama.
2:15pm- We arrive at the water taxi docks only to discover that Marcie has forgotten to bring the "pick up" directions from our villa. John does a quick grocery shop while Marcie and the kids wait by the luggage.
3pm- We take a water taxi (not a car that goes on water, Ethan was a bit disappointed) boat to Starfish Reef.
3:30pm- We arrive at Starfish Reef, and use a 4x4 Mule to haul our luggage up to our villa. It is beautiful!!
4:30pm- We make a dinner of Mac & Cheese, shower the children, and put them to bed.
We look forward to exploring our new "home" tomorrow and hope for a sunny day so we can swim in the ocean.