Saturday, March 10, 2012

Carti Run and Panama City

We've been busy making arrangements for our run into Panama City. Booked into the Holiday Inn because that's where Gail had already booked. Mark and Deb's guests, their friend, Gary, and nephew, Adam, also booked in there as well. They arrive Friday afternoon and Gail arrives late Saturday night.

Had hoped to get a panga ride from the East Lemmons into Carti to get the jeep, but you just can't depend on the Kunas to follow through and be there when they're supposed to. The original plan was for Dennis and Mark to stay in the East Lemmons, but Mark said since his guests were arriving first, he'd pick me up and we'd go over to Nonomulu and have the panga pick us up from there. A 10 minute ride versus 45 minutes.

A fun night aboard Sea Cycle, and Eulogio was only 45 minutes late. Not bad! While we waited to find out which jeep we were taking, I was looking around. One guy underneath the hood, working on something. Of course, that's the one we were in. I said to Deb that I thought this was the guy we had on the way back last time when we had two flat tires. Sure enough, asked him his name (since I took the front seat), and it was Alfonso. Great! Still drives like crazy, busy answering two phones when there was service, and the rest of the time overtaking everyone. Got into the City and we had made pretty good time. Our concern was that Deb had a dental appointment at 2:30, but it was looking like we'd have time for lunch and relaxing. Well, spoke too soon on that one!!! Alfonso had just hung up the phone, got himself comfortable, stepped on the gas ..... and, OMG! There was an accident ahead and he was driving too fast and too close. He slammed on the brakes (I closed my eyes, but Deb watched the whole thing). In order to avoid the car ahead, he tried to fit in between the car and the bus. We bounced off the bus and skidded to the side. I guess that was the good thing, because the dump truck that was right behind us missed us and came in between us and the bus. Two cars behind us also collided. What a mess! I've never seen so many officials out taking photos and statements. Amazingly, no one asked any of us in the jeep what had happened or were we all right. Two young German guys had gone out to Carti with Alfonso the week before, where he rear ended another jeep on the mountain road. He's a cute, personable young man, but when we arranged for the trip back I told Eulogio we would not go back with Alfonso.
Hmmm, second photo of Deb beside a broken
down vehicle on the Carti run
Got the flat tire fixed, dropped the other people off and he took Deb and I to the Holiday Inn. We left the bags in the room and headed off to the dentist, with no lunch and no time to relax. Good news for Deb, the dentist did 2 fillings on the tooth and she can get a crown when she gets back to Canada. Took a taxi to the Rey Supermarket, picked up some goodies for the room, and got back to the Holiday Inn at about the same time that Gary and Adam pulled in with Roger. Everyone headed up to the room to collapse before dinner, and luckily Gary and Adam are just down the hall from us. Deb and I were feeling a little stiff and sore, so some Aleve, a hot shower and red wine were looking good to us.

Went down the hall, picked up Gary and Adam, and headed down to the lounge for our courtesy drink. Sat out by the pool enjoying our drinks until the restaurant opened, where Gary treated us to dinner and drinks on Friday night, and the wine on Saturday night. Thanks Gary:) Unnecessary, but really, really appreciated!
None of us realized that this was Carnival weekend in Panama, so things are pretty crazy. Gary and Adam weren't able to get a jeep ride out Saturday morning, as planned, so they hung around the pool, with Gary giving Adam snorkelling lessons. I can see how Gary must be a fantastic father and grandfather since he was so amazing with Adam. Deb and I decided we'd head to Albrook Mall to check off things on our shopping list and pick up some of the groceries we needed to take back with us. There's a small fridge in our room, so that's going to work out great. Wish I'd had my pedometer on, since we spent almost 5 hours walking around Albrook, and then across the street to Novey. We're tired!! Came back to the room, relaxed, showered and off to dinner. Feeling kind of bad that the guys have to fend for themselves, especially Mark, stuck in Nonomulu.

Staying up late Saturday night -- Roger is picking me up at 9 p.m. to go and get Gail at the airport and Deb is off to play cards with Gary and Adam.

Eleven years of catching up to do !


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