Tuesday, July 8, 2014


June 30, 2014

The boat back to Sierpe left at 7:00 am, so I got another early start.  The howler monkeys were in full cry before 5:00 am, anyway, so it wasn’t as if I were in danger of over sleeping.  I got up, took a cold shower, and joined the guys for breakfast by 6:00.  Larry and his friends were also going back to civilization and his friend, John, offered to give me a ride back to Palmar Norte where I could catch a bus to Neilly.  It was early, so the surf wasn’t too big and our only real excitement on the way back was surfing one really big wave over the bar.  Getting in was a lot easier than getting out.  The mangrove forest along the Sierpe River was very tall.  There were lots of little waterways in which one could take refuge during a bad storm.  We saw one large turtle sunning on a log.  Aside from Larry, John and Arnoldo, we also had Celso with us because he had a badly injured finger and needed to see a doctor and the camp dog, Gordo, who needed to see a vet about a big cyst on his tail.  We were quite the motley crew.  Somehow, we managed to pack all of us and our luggage into John’s RAV4.  Gordo had to ride in the trunk where he burrowed his 100 pound bulk behind the luggage until he was almost invisible.

Bus Terminal in Neilly
The guys dropped me off at the bank, where I needed to withdraw $500 to show at the Panamanian border.  I had also had to buy a plane ticket I had no intention of using because they required a plane ticket out of the country before they would let travelers enter.  I bought a fully refundable ticket so I could cash it in later.  I bought a ticket to Neilly from a booth in the back of the Panaderia (bakery) for about $1.25 and waited an hour for the next bus.  The bus to Neilly was very popular.  The luggage compartment was full, so I had to sit on the steps up to the rear seats so as to keep my bag from tumbling out the rear door when we stopped.  The aisle was completely full of standees.  It was a nice, comfortable bus, but it was packed like a chicken bus and stayed that way all the way to Neilly.  I took the bus all the way to the terminal in Neilly and then switched to another bus going to Paso Canoas, which is where the road crosses into Panama.  That bus cost about 75 cents.  There was an old man in a security guard uniform playing blues on a Spanish guitar in the line and then on the bus ride to Paso Canoas.  It was the first time I had heard blues in months and I really enjoyed it, even though it sounded like he was singing John Lee Hooker tunes badly translated into Spanish.

I arrived at the border during the lunch hour.  For the first time, no one tried to “help” me cross the border.  I had to wait half an hour or so for the bank to open after lunch before I could exchange my remaining colones and pay my $7.00 exit fee.  Panama uses U.S. dollars, but the coins are a mixture of U.S. coins and balboas, which have the same value and are used interchangeably.  They use a lot of one balboa coins instead of the one dollar coins that were used in El Salvador. Once I had my receipt for the departure tax, it was quick to get my passport stamped.  It poured down rain during that whole process, but had fortunately stopped by the time I needed to walk across the border.  I just had to dodge the puddles.  Panamanian immigration wasn’t bad, either.  I had been told I would have to pay $5 for a tourist card, but only had to pay $1 for some sort of sticker in my passport and then show the immigration agent my $500 and a copy of my airline reservation confirmation.  He really wanted a printed copy, but allowed me to show him the PDF file I had saved on my laptop, since I hadn’t had a printer with me at the tent camp.  During the process of crossing the border, I had observed a woman helping an old, blind man with his paperwork and walking him across to Panama where he had someone waiting for him.  While we were standing in line at Panamanian immigration, I told her that it had been nice of her to do that and we started up a conversation.  She was living in Panama in a town called Pedasi, gave me a card, and offered to host me for a visit.  I had no idea where she was located at the time, but told her I would see how that worked into my plans.  I walked a short distance further and easily located a minibus headed to David.

The minibus to David was perhaps the nicest bus I had yet encountered.  It was plush and comfortable and almost over air conditioned.  I even enjoyed waiting for the bus to fill.  As soon as the bus was filled, we headed off for David.  The first thing I noticed about Panama was that the highways were much better than in Costa Rica.  What had been a two lane asphalt road, suddenly became a four lane concrete freeway.  Everything in Panama seemed much more permanent.  The bus shelters looked institutional, instead of looking like something that the neighborhood people had erected to keep themselves out of the rain.  I saw the first pedestrian overpasses I had seen since Mexico.  Despite the exotic vegetation, I suddenly felt like I was traveling through rural America instead of a third world nation.  The road to David climbed gradually.  David is the second largest city in Panama.  It sprawled over a large area, but was not particularly dense.  It did not sport high rises like Panama City.  It did, however, have a large bus terminal that stretched for two blocks.  The conductor on my bus wasn’t particularly warm, but he did make sure I got delivered to a spot in the terminal where I had only to walk through the building to the other side to catch my bus to Boquete.  The ride cost me $2.10.
The Road to Boquete

The bus to Boquete was a different story.  I found myself back on a yellow chicken bus.  There were a few other tourists on the bus and they tossed our luggage in the back.  I grabbed a seat where I could keep an eye on my bag, although that probably wasn’t necessary and no one else did.  The road to Boquete was good, although not the super highway that the Interamericana had been.  It climbed sharply up into the mountains.  Boquete lies in a valley on the side of Panama’s only volcano.  As we climbed, the jungle thinned and we passed through pastures dotted with trees.  Foreigners had transplanted pine trees to the valley to make it seem more like home.  Bananas were a common crop.  Boquete was named one of the four best places to retire and was experiencing a growth spurt.  It was still a small town, but condos were popping up on the outskirts.  It was raining most of the way from David to Boquete (about half an hour, frequent bus service) and the mountains were shrouded in clouds.  The best part of Boquete was the temperature.  They call Boquete the city of eternal spring because it is always a mild temperature and always green. 

The Palacios Hostel
When I got off the bus, I had some trouble orienting myself as the buses from David do not stop at the bus terminal and seemed to have stopped at a different place than was indicated on my map.  I walked around the block, trying to find a street sign so I could determine where to look for my hostel.  Just as I encountered a street sign and had turned on my phone to look at my map, the owner of a hostel across the street approached me and asked if I was looking for a room.  I clearly was, so I agreed to take a look.  The Palacios Hostel was adequate and, at $20 for a private room with bath, the price was right.  The owner and his wife, Francisco and Jeanette, were very eager to please.  They had two WiFi networks and really wanted to provide good coverage, but the signal still didn’t reach into my room.  I had to hang out the door to send texts.  This would have been fine, as there was seating in the common area, if I hadn’t been exhausted from traveling all day after two mornings of being awakened by howler monkeys at 4:30 am.  I had an appointment with my cousin, Ronda, to discuss the possibility of her joining me.  She wasn’t available until later that evening and I had to postpone our Skype call because I couldn’t stay awake.  One of the reasons I was so tired was that I hadn’t eaten all day.  As soon as I got settled, I went out in search of food.  The institution in Boquete is Sabroson, a cafeteria style restaurant with three locations.  They served a variety of local dishes at reasonable prices.  It was good to be back in the land of affordable food.  I had a large plate of barbecued turkey, rice, beans, plantains and salad for $4.75.  It was more than I could eat and I left the rice.  After dinner, I worked on my blog for a bit, but I kept falling asleep, so I gave up and went to bed about 9:00.

July 1, 2014

I tried to sleep in without much success, although I did sleep an hour longer than I thought I had because I hadn’t realized that Panama was in a different time zone than Costa Rica.  I only realized something was amiss when I saw the World Cup games were scheduled an hour later than they had been the day before.  Laundry was a priority, so I dropped my clothes off at the laundry and went to a café to have a latte and use the WiFi.  The latte was great, but the café the hostel owner had recommended didn’t actually have WiFi.  I managed to pirate a signal from the fire station next door, but it was slow.  My computer wouldn’t connect at all.  Having failed at doing any research on travel to Columbia, I decided to visit a local travel agent.  I talked to a couple, but they didn’t really handle anything except local tours and shuttles to Bocas del Toro.  I did sign up for a hike the following morning to make one last attempt at seeing a quetzal and a horseback ride in the afternoon.  I had an hour before it was time to go riding, which was just enough time to collect my laundry, change my clothes, grab something to eat and return to the tour operator.  The laundry had a very interesting plumbing system instead of using the usual washing machine water lines, the owner had run a 1” PVC pipe above the row of washers.  Above each washer was a “T” with a ball valve protruding from it.  When it was time to fill the washer, he just opened the valve.  I guess it was faster that way and he didn’t need to worry about burst water lines.  He did a big load of laundry for three dollars, which was a record low.

Me on Janero
We went horse-back riding in a place called Caldera, which was back down the mountain towards David.  My horse’s name was Janero.  He didn’t give me much trouble, although getting him to move above a crawl was a challenge.  The other people in our group had trouble keeping their horses from eating and turning in circles, but Janero knew who was boss.  He had the roughest gallop I had ever experienced.  I kept looking down to make sure he wasn’t bucking.  The other horses went even slower.  I think he just didn’t want to leave them.  My reins were short, so I had nothing to use to inspire him to move faster.  We rode up and down some very steep, muddy hills for an hour or so.  It wasn’t much of a ride, but the scenery was nice and it was good to know I could still sit a horse.  After the ride, we went to the local hot springs and sat in a hot pool for a bit.  Then we went down and cooled off in the river.  There were hot springs at the edge of the river and the guide and I sat in the warm sand at the edge of the river and chatted about the state of national parks in Panama for half an hour or so.  It was late afternoon by the time we left and we heard the goatherd calling his goats.  They bleated in response.  It was cute.  We had to keep our clothes close to where we were swimming so the goats wouldn’t eat them.

It was dark by the time we got back.  I went to a local beer garden/restaurant near the park for dinner because they had good WiFi.  Service in Panama is notorious for being slow.  They actually weren’t too bad about taking my order and bringing my food, although I never did get a chance to order a second beer and they closed before I ever got the check, even though I had asked for it.  I finally had to go to the bar and wave money at them.  At least no one hurried me out, so I got to catch up on my email and Facebook.

July 2, 2014

I tried the Kotowa Coffee House on Wednesday morning, but they didn’t have WiFi, either.  The place was packed.  I could sort of understand why they wanted to hurry people along.  Boquete has a shopping plaza called Establos (Stables) Plaza which is full of tourism related businesses and a Spanish school.  It is a good place to find package deals on tours and public restrooms, but the shuttles to Bocas del Toro from the travel agent associated with the Mamallena Hostel off the Central Park are cheaper.  I had just enough time to run to the post office to buy stamps before I was due to go hiking.

The Elusive Quetzal
Glasswing Butterfly
I met up with my tour guide, Pat from Panama Pathfinders, and two other hikers at 8:30.  A driver took us to the trailhead for the Quetzales trail.  You can take a taxi to the trailhead and do the hike on your own, but if you have your heart set on seeing a quetzal, it is worth hiring a guide.  The Quetzales trail goes generally uphill, but only gains about 400 feet.  It involved crossing several streams on narrow metal bridges and some scrambling over downed trees, but wasn’t a difficult hike.  We stalked along through cloud forest, looking for quetzals.  The forest wasn’t as spectacular as the cloud forest in Monteverde, Costa Rica, but had plenty of aguacatillos (a tiny species of avocado) that quetzals like to eat.  There were also some old growth cedar trees, which I found interesting because they had small compound leaves instead of needles like the cedars in the USA.  One exceptionally large one was estimated to be 850 years old.  We did see one female quetzal on the way up, although she was in shadow with her back to us and quite a distance away.  I had been hoping to see a quetzal since Guatemala, where they are the national bird, and wasn’t satisfied with that
sighting.  Perhaps more interesting than that quetzal, was the glass wing butterfly that we saw.  Pat said it was the world’s rarest butterfly.  It was certainly different.  The wings were actually transparent.
Waterfall at the End of the Quetzal Trail

The path eventually ended at a tall waterfall.  Scrambling up to the base of the waterfall was the hardest part of the hike.  We spent a short time there, enjoying the scenery and looking for quetzals, and then headed back down.  On the way down, we saw two more female quetzals.  I never did get a photo of one, but Pat did.  The second one, at least, I was able to see clearly.  I finally felt like I had seen at least a female quetzal, although I hadn’t seen a male with a spectacular long tail.  Pat told me that they had started migrating to the Caribbean side, so I hoped I might still get to see one over there.  We all felt like walking some more when we got to the trailhead, so we kept walking down the valley until our ride came along.

I really wanted to find decent backpack to replace my now shredded duffel bag, so I went to the local department store.  They had some very nice small packs, but nothing big enough to hold my belongings.  They also had some decent running shoes, but not in any size larger than 7.5.  My attempt at shopping was a dismal failure.  I continued up the road and walked to the top of the town, which was very pretty.  There were lovely homes and a nice hotel and spa up there.  I ate a chicken Caesar salad at an Argentinian restaurant up there that had decent WiFi.  Panamanian restaurants are notorious for bad service.  I felt as if they provided WiFi to keep the customers happy while the waiters refused to make eye contact.  I sat there for a good two hours before I could get the check and I was the only person there.

July 3, 2014

I needed to be at my shuttle at 7:30, so I just munched a couple of granola bars for breakfast and headed out.  I was there on time, but there were several stragglers.  We didn’t actually leave until about 8:15, even though the scheduled departure time was 8:00.  I figured that wasn’t bad for Latin America although, in all fairness, we had been waiting for Canadians.  We headed off down the mountain towards David and then took a short cut across to the highway between David and Bocas, where we started to ascend once again.  It was somewhat clearer than it had been when I arrived, but I still couldn’t see the top of Volcan Baru, the only volcano in Panama, but a pretty good sized one at nearly 11,000 feet.  We climbed for a couple of hours.  The two lane road was mostly pretty smooth, except for some major pot holes that were big enough to warrant driving around.  After a couple of hours, we crossed a pass and dropped down to a reservoir that powered a hydroelectric plant.  We stopped at the visitor center to use the restrooms.  When I was walking back from the hot springs with Eric, our guide, the day before, he had told me that the rivers used to be much wilder before the government built a lot of damns to generate power.

From the reservoir, we wound our way back down the mountain for another hour and a half to the ramshackle village of Almirante.  There was nothing attractive about Almirante.  The shore was lined with large warehouses, probably left over from Chiquita Banana days, and scruffy docks serviced by water taxis.  The shuttle parked just up the hill from the docks and we had to be vigilant when they unloaded our luggage to avoid having it swept away by local youths demanding tips for carrying it 50 yards.  These same youths followed us all the way to the boat house.  At first, I thought they actually worked on the boats and were just trying to pick up some extra cash.  This belief was dispelled when one of them demanded a tip for putting my bag on the boat.
Water Taxi to Bocas del Toro

The water taxis to Bocas del Toro town were packed with passengers, but they did require all of us to don life jackets, which somehow did not make me feel safer.  The ride took a half an hour or so.  Our fare had been included in the price of the shuttle, but I believe that they charged $6 for the service.  The waters on the first half of the journey were sheltered and smooth.  The second half was more exciting, but still nothing compared to the boat rides to and from Corcovado.  At the Bocas end of the trip, luggage carrying boys were replaced by taxi drivers waiting to take people to their hotels.  I was headed for the island of Bastimentos, so I just walked to the next dock to wait for another boat.  I waited for 10 or 15 minutes until there were enough people to make the trip worthwhile and then we headed off on another 10 minute boat ride, past the island of Careneros where Columbus once careened his ship, and on to the village of Old Bank on Bastimentos.

Old Bank
Old Bank is a West Indian settlement left over from the heyday of banana farming in the early 20th century.  It is very picaresque, but crumbling.  Tourism has arrived, but has yet to benefit the infrastructure.  The town has only a (mostly) concrete footpath for a main street.  Houses and hostels straggle up the hill and restaurants and hostels occupy numerous docks jutting into the bay.  Three grocery stores are operated by Chinese families, one of which my host told me would, “try to steal from you,” which I took to mean that they charged excessive prices.  The occupants spoke a local dialect of a mixture of Spanish and English overlaid with a thick West Indian accent that baffled me completely and left me wondering whether it was best to speak English or Spanish when addressing them. 

Larry, the owner of Corcovado Adventures Tent Camp, had recommended the Jaguar Hostel where he and his daughter had once stayed.  My boatman brought me to their dock where I was greeted by the Jaguar himself, a friendly schoolteacher and musician of about my age who ran the hostel with his wife and daughters.  The hostel was built on a dock over the waters of the inlet.  The floorboards had gaps between them where one could see (and hear) the water sloshing below.  Seven rooms opened off a central corridor.  A large covered porch swung with hammocks contained a tidy kitchen and some tables and chairs.  It was a great place to relax and enjoy the view.  I had the entire place to myself for $20 a night.

My Room at the Jaguar Hostel
It was raining when I arrived, so I lounged in a hammock for a bit.  One of the daughters pulled a router with a cellular chip in it from out of her backpack and she shared her excellent internet connection with me while she did her homework or whatever teenagers do with their computers.  Finally, I got hungry enough to tear myself away from the internet.  It had stopped raining and I set out in search of food.  I heard loud music issuing from the restaurant called Roots, so figured they must be open.  They were hosting a children’s birthday party in the main part of the restaurant, but welcomed me to take a place further out on the dock.  Six dollars bought me a plate of tasty chicken, gallo pinto, and salad.  Beer was a dollar.  I could have drunk excessively in Panama if it weren’t for the fact that it was impossible to attract the attention of a waiter or waitress to order a second drink.  They invariably vanished after serving the food and I always had to ask someone for help when it came time to pay.  This was no exception, although the owners were quite occupied serving hors d’oeuvres and drinks to their numerous guests, so I didn’t blame them as much.  I had a good time watching the kids enjoy the party and soaking up the scenery.  After a couple of hours, when it looked like it might start raining again, I asked the owner if there was someone I could pay.  I found it interesting that he summoned one of the women instead of handling it himself.  I had to wait a while longer for my change, although that may have been because they were rummaging through everyone’s pockets and purses to locate it.  Only in Costa Rica and boquete had I ever seen a business with a proper bank of change.

I stopped at one of the local grocery stores on my way back to buy some beer and snacks for dinner.  Having eaten lunch at 3:30, I knew I wasn’t going to be up for another restaurant meal.  I lay in a hammock, drinking a beer and trying to read, although I kept dozing off.  I lay there, soaking up the ambiance, until it got dark.  The owner locked the front gate, said goodbye, and left for the evening.  I retired to my room to read, but soon fell asleep again.  Several days of poor sleep in noisy Boquete (and two beers) had caught up with me.  I slept until morning, waking only long enough to undress and turn out the lights about 11:00 pm.

July 4, 2014

Kids on the Public Dock
It was the waves crashing into the shore under my bed that woke me about 6:00 am.  I lounged in bed until just before 7:00 and then picked up my phone to look at the electronic version of my Lonely Planet guide, but got sucked into a novel and ended up reading until nearly 8:00.  When last I had checked the weather, it was supposed to be sunny in the morning and I hoped to go to the beach.  Having failed to write the night before, I took my laptop out to the picnic table on the porch to catch up on the previous days adventures while I ate some granola bars for breakfast.  A group of small children was waiting for the water taxi on the next dock over.  All the boys were dressed identically in navy blue trousers and white shirts with suspenders and matching white hats with blue bands.  They looked like a miniature barbershop quartet or something.  The little girls sported fancy dresses with full skirts.  I snuck a couple of photos.  Despite the encouraging weather report from the day before, it was overcast and even rained a bit while I was eating breakfast.

I hung out for a bit and then headed out for the beach about 10:30 when it looked like the rain had passed.  The path to Wizard’s beach headed uphill from the main sidewalk near the right hand side of town.  I had been warned not to take anything of value to the beach as there had been thefts and even muggings on the path.  I could see how it could happen.  The path wound upward along what appeared to be people’s front walkways until it passed out of the town and into the jungle.  It wasn’t really very far, but took a half an hour to get there because it was so muddy that I had to plan where to put each foot.  Once the path left the town, it was pretty lonely.  A robber could disappear into the jungle easily.  I didn’t see anyone except a lot of big black ants that bit if I didn’t walk fast enough to keep them from climbing up my ankles.  The path went up to the spine of the island and then down to the beach on the other side.  It was really a shame that I couldn’t bring my camera because Wizard’s Beach was one of the prettiest beaches I have ever seen.  It was like having Manuel Antonio all to myself.  There was a crescent of fine golden sand with shady trees arching over the strand.  The water was turquoise blue and the Caribbean stretched endlessly before me.  I was the only person there.

The tide was very high, which kept me from walking further to the right for fear I couldn’t get back.  I chose a spot under a tree and sat there trying to build a sand castle and watching the crabs scuttle sideways along the beach and dig holes in which to hide.  The crabs were the same color as the sand and looked almost transparent.  Only their eye stalks stood out against the background.  When the tide threatened to wet my towel, I moved uphill and lay in the sun for half an hour.  The temperature was perfect.  It was warm in the sun, but not so hot that I couldn’t cool off by wading into the surf and then sitting in the shade.  Being alone, I didn’t dare swim because the area was known for strong currents.  After sunning, I walked all the way to the left side of the beach where the sand met a rocky point.  The beach was actually pretty clean, but I picked up what plastic I found on the way back.  I was a Girl Scout once upon a time and was trained to always leave a place cleaner than I found it.  Bastimentos is trying to overcome the cultural propensity to leave trash everywhere.  There are frequent trash cans (although they are often overflowing) and signs reminding people that tourists don’t like litter.  My hostel separated their garbage, which led me to believe that there was some sort of recycling program on the island.  Unfortunately, there were still piles of refuse in some places.  I couldn’t help thinking that if everyone left Bastimentos (and everywhere else) a little bit cleaner than they found it, the litter problem would soon be eradicated.  Maybe that is one thing that tourists could do to actually improve the environment for a change. 

I was sandy and sweaty after my walk and getting hungry, so I headed back over the hill when I got back to the path.  One couple had arrived during my walk, but the beach was still largely deserted.  I picked my way back through the mud, which was slightly improved after a few hours of hot sun.  After returning to the hostel and washing the mud and sand off of my lower extremities, I ate a can of Vienna sausages and some crackers for lunch while I chatted with the owner for a while.  My only complaint about Bastimentos in the low season is that there were so few tourists that the restaurants weren’t really open.  It didn’t seem right to demand that they drop whatever else they were doing to cook a cheap meal for me.  The owner left about 2:30 to be sure he didn’t miss the Brazil vs. Columbia game.  I was sorry that there wasn’t an open bar with a TV where I could watch.  I read for a while and then went out to buy some groceries for dinner.  Even the Chinese grocers were watching the game, so I got to see that Brazil was winning.  The whole town cheered when they missed a point because of a foul.  You would have though Columbia had scored a goal.  Unfortunately, they did not and Brazil won 2-1.

The Jaguar's Neighbor
I spent a lazy afternoon, reading and drinking beer in my hammock in the shade.  Just before dark, the owner brought the router back for me so that I could have internet for the evening.  Once he locked the front gate, it really did feel like I had the whole house to myself.  I lay in the hammock, surfing the web on my phone until 9:30 or so and then retired to my room to watch Netflix in bed in case I fell asleep.    Unfortunately, there was not much chance of that happening, even though I had consumed a few beers, because the neighbors were running their heat pump air conditioner and the sound of water splashing back into the bay and the humming of the blower drove me nearly to distraction.  There must have been some Americans in the area, because there was the intermittent sound of fireworks being lit for the 4th of July.  It was after 1:00 am before I could get to sleep, even with ear plugs.

July 5, 2014

Despite the late night the night before, I was up by 7:30.  It was a beautiful, sunny morning and I enjoyed eating breakfast on the porch and writing for a while.  I planned to go to Bocas later in the day, but didn’t expect to like it well enough to want to hang out for long, so planned to spend a lazy morning on the porch.
About 1:00, I walked out to the end of the pier to hail a water taxi.  One appeared almost immediately.  We circled the bay for a few minutes, picking up additional passengers, and then made the crossing to Bocas.  It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon and everything looked like a Caribbean postcard.  I got off at the Bocas del Toro Hotel and started walking towards the main part of town.  Before long, I came to a nice looking restaurant with a great view and I stopped there for lunch.  I hadn’t eaten anything but snacks for two days and was ready for a real meal.  I had a nice BBQ hamburger with grilled onions and fries.  The service was much better than normal and I managed to get out of there within an hour.

Crazy Tico Fans
The restaurant didn’t have a television, so I walked towards town, looking for a sports bar where I could watch the Costa Rica vs. Holland game.  (The name of the country may be the Netherlands everywhere else, but in Latin America it is Holland and its inhabitants are Hollandeses.)  I walked all the way through town to the ferry dock, looking for an ATM so I could pull out enough money to buy a Panamanian cell phone.  I didn’t find one.  Having taken a survey of the town, I decided that the place to be for the game was El Pirata, a waterfront bar that was packed with folks wearing Costa Rica jerseys and chanting, “Ticos, ticos!”  I forced my way through the crowd by the door and actually found a bar stool.  It took me almost until halftime to order a beer, but that was fine since I didn’t really want to drink that much.  The place was a zoo.  They were having a devil of a time producing enough cold beer and waiters were running around with ice buckets full of beer, trying to keep the fans well oiled.

The game was a repeat of the game with Greece.  Costa Rica hardly tried to score, but they had such a great defense that Holland couldn’t score, either, although they took shot after shot.  Every time the Costa Rican goalie, Navas, made some heroic save, the crowd went wild.  The score at halftime was 0-0.  The second half of the game was no different and the game went into overtime.  Things started to get tense.  The bar was running out of beer and was down to serving cans.  After another half an hour of play, the score was still 0-0.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and got ready for the penalty kicks.  Unfortunately, the Dutch goalie managed to stop two of the Costa Rican kicks and they ultimately lost 4-3.  That was very disappointing, but most of the crowd just seemed to be proud that they had at least made it to the quarter finals.  Semi-finals would be between Brazil and Germany and Holland and Argentina.
Final Score

I had somehow managed to pay during the break before the penalty kicks, so left as soon as the game was over.  The weather was still nice, but it was starting to get late, since the game had gone on so long.  The first boatman I tried wanted $10 (instead of the usual $1.50) to take me to Bastimentos.  I finally found the Bastimentos guy and managed to make a hair raising crossing (We got air off of every wave.) for a mere twice the normal rate.

I spent the evening on the porch in my hammock watching Netflix until my battery got low and I had to retreat to my room.  Shortly thereafter, a thunderstorm hit, bringing with it a deluge.  The sound of the rain drowned out any possible noise from the neighbor’s air conditioner, but the thunder and the shuddering of the house every time the owner’s boat slammed into the dock kept me awake until very late, anyway.

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