While having breakfast I ask Itza if there is a Lavanderia nearby. Washing clothes? No problem, since she also offers to do your laundry . That being said, we finish our breakfast an head to “Boquete Outdoor Adventures”. On our way there we see a number of other providers of such activities. The prices seem to be the same everywhere, there doesn’t seem to be some real competition here. We fill out some forms – similar to the insurance thingy for diving – and have a Frappuchino at Kotowa Boquete around the corner. With Peanutbutter syrup !
Right after everyone else is finished filling out the forms, we get into a bus and drive to somewhere between David and the Costa Rican border. In the case of bumping into some police control we had to bring our passports along. The group is mixed widely in age and in really good spirits. There are a lot of Canadians and folks from the United States – travelling here isn’t such a long distance for them.
We choose the first one of the 4-person boat and can almost – to our surprise – switch back to talking German for general understanding: The 2 other guys in the boat reveal themselves as Austrians. “Anyone gone rafting yet?” asks our guide. “Me, once in Cambodia”, said one of the Austrians. “Me too”, I respond. “Ok, great. It’s my second time too.” our guide grins. “I feel much safer now.” I laugh. Raftig with this group is extremely fun. We have a race with the other 4-person boat while splashing each other with the paddles.
We take a break at a riverbank and help ourselves to some sandwiches, juice, fruits and biscuits the guides brought along. “Ladies, Gentlemen, I’d like to announce the birthday of my lovely wife ‘Linda’, whose age i wont tell. Last year on her birthday we went raftig, this year also. These cookies here are the closest we can get to cake. But first, lets hear a song!”. Some very cool birthday for Linda – we sing “Happy Birthday” and get ready for the 2nd part of the ride. In the early afternoon we drive exhausted, but in good humor back to Boquete.
Opposite to the “Boquete Outdoor Adventures” in the store “Orgánica”, we discover some gluten-free cookies for Ena. Cool that you can actually find something like this here. During the the cab ride yesterday I saw a market square from the corner of my eye. We had already seen some stores with indigenous Kuna products, but the market square may have larger variety. After a while we finally find it and Ena is interested in the displayed ponchos. Some are quite beautiful, but the clear winner is a poncho she later discovers in a store near the central square.
After that we take care of the onward journey: In “Mamallena” we book a transfer to Bocas del Toro and visit “Explora Ya Eco Tours” – travel agency for a flight from Bocas back to Panama City – we do not really intent to spend a whole day bushopping back. The travel agent lady makes choosing the right flight back seem like mere child’s play. Nice!
As we get out of the travel agency, we notice the parked quads in front of “Boquete Mountain Safari”. Okay, going on a ride tomorrow sounds like a good idea. We combine quad-riding with a visit to a coffeeplantation in the mountains.
Back at the hotel I want to reinstall my underwater filter to the 60m diving case of my GoPro, which I had taken off for rafting. *Crunch* and the aluminum screw is broken, but still having its tip sticking in the filter frame. Hmm – since we want to go out anyways, I can also look for a hardware store to get a matching screw (By the way: Aluminum screws are too fragile, iron screws get rusty ). There must be a hardware store/ferreteria here somewhere. There are lots of locals at the town square, and Ena decides to ask an old gentlemen for directions (Of all the people – he should know) . At first he is extremely puzzled by her question (Of all the things a tourist might ask for, she actually asks for a hardware store ???) . He can give us – as expected – the help we needed, but at that time the store is unfortunately already closed.
There is a hardware section at a nearby supermarket though. The friendly staff behind the counter does not insist on selling me a pair of pliers. Instead he is all like: “Come on, you don’t have to spend this much money just to get this off, I got some pliers here, let me get this done” and proceeds to get the broken screw off. Unfortunately, the tip is well stuck in there – but the store also offers ducttape. Ducttape! Best all-purpose tool ever . Broken piece of plastic? Ducttape. Torn backpack? Ducttape. Loose camera filter? Ducttape. No clue, why I forgot to bring along a roll of duct tape this time, but this fixed the problem quickly.
After a very professional-looking repair of filter we eat dinner at “Art Cafe”.