I woke up early. Panama is 2 hours behind Buenos Aires. At 8:00 I went down to the pool with my rice cakes, apple, and raisins. I planned to sit and have my coffee listening to the birds. Instead the day started off crazy and ended that way.
In this hostel there is a huge tree house that is a dorm room shared by as many as 8 people. Not for me, but it is a cool idea. The quiet morning was soon shattered by yelling and screaming. It sounded like a couple fighting. The staff was motionless. Why didn't somebody go up there and stop it? What were the other people doing, or was this a group fight? I was not about to climb up into a tree house to stop a domestic argument. This did sound pretty violent. I went to the front desk. The girls told me that the couple had started fighting last night.
While we were chatting. I asked them to recommend something for me to do that day. Before they could finish the guy who had been yelling came down to the front of the hostel and threw his backpack down. The girl was standing at the sink near the pool. She had two black eyes. She was a mess. I asked the front desk to please, please, call the police.
The guy was yelling and being a total jerk. He looked like he was about to explode. Soon two bicycle cops came. The woman cop went to attend the girl. The male cop tried to talk to the guy. It turned out he had drunk all their money and now they were broke. He decided it was the girl's fault. The policeman tried to reason with him, "You never should hit a woman, for any reason." He told him.
When the guy started to get violent, they called for backup. Six police officers came. I love it. Only in Latin America. The cop in charge made a beeline for me to introduce himself. "I am at your service." he said. They took away the guy in handcuffs. The staff told me that the girl would have to press charges for him to stay detained.
Now that this little episode was over, we could figure out what I should do. They recommended I go to Playa Barqueta. Since two other people had to go to the bus terminal they could drop me off as well. The driver from the hostel found out where I should wait for the bus. It was to come at 11:20. I walked around the area where the bus terminal was. I mildly stuck out with my platinum bob and fake Raybans. I went back to sit near to where the bus was supposed to come.
I asked several people if this was the bus to Playa Barqueta. I had to remember not to say "PLY-Sha" like an Argentine and more like "PLY-Ya" like the rest of the Spanish speaking world, otherwise no one understood me. There were about 15 of us waiting. 11:20, 11:30, 11:40...well it is Latin America. Finally at around 11:50 a bus pulled into the space. A nice elongated van with A/C.
About 25 minutes into the ride, someone asked if we were going to the PLY-Ya. Ahh no. That was the bus that NEVER came. So most of the bus got off. We were in the middle of nowhere. Then all of a sudden taxis come from another planet. My Argentine conspiracy self thinks this might have been a set-up or Mafia as we are inclined to say. I wait in the only place there is shade. A young man wearing a tshirt with the British flag comes to talk to me. He needs to go to the beach to work on a construction project. He is from Panama City.
An old crone tells us not to pay more than $2 each for the ride to the beach. A taxi comes and we share it with two others. After dropping them off we head to the beach. My new friend Jose tells me about his projects and how he is also studying to be a lawyer. He leaves the taxi to go to his project. The driver takes me down to the end of the road. I ask him if knows where I can catch the bus. He tells me that he thinks it is around here somewhere. This is a typical Panamanian answer.
I start to walk down to the beach. The sand is black. It is the hottest $%#* sand I have ever touched. Never, not anywhere have felt such hot sand. Even with my thick Fit Flops. The wind would blow the sand and it would burn the hell out of whatever part of my body it touched. This was not fun.
First I sat under the cabanas. I tried to walk down to the water, but it was impossible, that and the tide was out. There was no one in the water, because you would burn your feet trying to get there. I decided to have lunch. On the walk up to the restaurant, I saw 4 people. Two were Panamanians. The other two were Argentines. The type of Argentines, that even Argentines don't like. Boludos. The two Panamanians looked like guides. I asked the man if he knew where the bus stop was. He shook his head. The woman told me "Oh the stop is very far away." I asked her how far. "Very far, maybe 4km". She then told me that they could drop me at the stop. I thanked her. She told me to come look for them around 5:00. Then she asked where I was going. I told her David. "Oh, we are going to David. We can take you." I thank her again. Then one of the Argentines gets mad. I didn't know that they were Argentines before, I just suspected. Once he opened his mouth...the SHAAAs were out of the bag. (Argentines have a very special pronunciation) Something was not right here. The woman said something to him in a low voice I couldn't catch. She told me again to look for them.
I went to sit alone at a table. In all my travels in Latin America or even in the world, when you establish contact with people they usually invite you to sit with them. Not these people. I mean they offer to take me to David, but then ignore me. Very very weird.
The waitress takes my order. I ask her, "Do you know where the bus stop is to go to David?" She tells me that it is behind the restaurant and that it will come at 2:30. 45 minutes. She tells me not to worry. She will let me know if it comes while I am eating. Behind the restaurant is where the taxi driver said. Not 4km as the nefarious Panamanian woman said. Something very wrong with those people.
So I ate my lunch and at 2:20 went to sit behind the restaurant. The bus came at 2:35. There were many of us who could not deal with the hot as hell black sand. I never said goodbye to the weird group. They didn't deserve it. Another Mafia conspiracy theory. Living in Argentina does that to you.
Back in David, I asked how the girl who had been beaten up by her boyfriend was. They told me that she left with him. This probably was not the first time, and sadly it will not be the last. The police wanted her to press charges. She told them that her boyfriend was just upset they had no money. Sad.
Tomorrow, I return to Panama City.