Bubbly Boquete – Panama

Me stroking Monty the CapuchinNicky the Kinkaju

Hola from Panama

I woke up and caught a taxi to the bus station. My plan today is to go to Boquete, it´s been recommended by everyone but first that means catching a bus to David which takes around 7 hours. At the bus station a man takes me to the correct ticket office and the bus is leaving in 40 moniutes time. I´m actually pleasantly surprised by the bus, I have heard horror stories for Central America. At David I catch what looks like an old yellow American school bus straight through to Boquete. My plan is to stay at Hostel Nomba also owned by Ryan in Panama City. It’s a short walk from the bus stop and the door is answered by a guy with his right arm in a heavy plaster cast. This must be Craig, Martha told me about him. He went through a pot hole whilst mountain biking and ripped all his muscles away, nice !! I am offered a glass of wine by an Israeli girl called Mickey and spend the evening chatting to her, Craig and another Irish guy called Sean. The first wine tastes so good (it´s been a while) that I decide to go and buy some so Mickey and I get through it before heading for bed.

The next morning I lie in and after helping Mickey carry her guitar to her bus head of to Paradise Gardens which is where Sean and Craig do volunteer work. Martha recommended it to me as she said you can actually go in and play with the monkeys (just my thing !!). It´s basically a rehabilitation centre for local animals as well as trying to start breeding programmes for endangered species, and is highly worth a visit. Sean meets me and gives me the guided tour. First we see a Hyacinth Macaw. They are the largest of all Macaws and this one is actually owned by someone but the people at the gardens are looking after it. Despite his huge beak he comes over to say hello to me and immediately wants the backof his neck stroked, ahhh !! We had parrots as children so I´m not at all intimidated even if he has a monstrous beak. After that I meet Benjy the squirrel monkey. I have already heard a lot about him. He is very horny to say the least and walks around with an erection most of the time. He usually even relieves himself in front of the boys when they turn up for work. Today he appears to be on his best behaviour and is happy to take some fruit from me. He even curls up for a sleep later on, something Sean said he´s never seen him do. Maybe he´s pining after his old friend the howler monkey who was rehabilitated lately after their friendship deepened too far and she was caught giving Benjy a blow job. I don´t think the centre were in favour of any inter species breeding, so she was released. Next on to Monty the Capuchin monkey (pictured above). He´s also recently become the only occupant of his cage as the other male Capuchin was caught doing very naughty things to him. There must be something in the air here !!

The centre also has a butterfly and bird house and then I got to see another Capuchin called Ringo. Women can´t go in his cage as he´s very sexually aggressive. Time for another pair of Hyacinth Macaws who they are hoping will breed. There are only 500 pairs estimated to be left in the wild and one of them decided to do a bit of dancing and play peek a boo with me. On to the colourful Scarlet Macaws who were confiscated from a drug dealer and the Gollahs who can even talk. Then we meet Lottie. At first it was thought she was an Ocelot but she´s actually a Margay. Sean woke her up as there was a bird in her cage and Lottie just loves stalking birds. She missed this one but it´s great to see given the condition she was brought to the centre in. Her original owners got her when she was a baby and when she got too big to play with the children put her in a wire bottomed cage so they wouldn´t have to clean her out. As she grew and the children tired of her she was put in her cage at the back of a dark shed. When the centre were told an animal needed rescuing they found her. Her legs needed massaging so that she could walk again and she still bares a permanent kink in her tail. At least now she can run around and climb trees like she´s supposed to. In fact, a lot of the animals here have very similar stories. Next was Sam, a salmon Cockatoo. He is so loveable and again really enjoyed being stroked on the back of the head, I think he would have sat there all day given the chance. Finally, two baby owls whose mother had died in a road accident when they were found. We laughed as their heads turned 360 degrees. They will be released very shortly. Last but not least Nicky the Kinkaju, a first for me. She´s pictured above and is sooo cute although she´s far more playful at night.

Time to go in with Monty, he loves playing and attention. I went in  with another girl and one of the volunteers. First things first, remove hair bands and sunglasses. Monty was jumping from one to the other in turns. As he put his teeth against my skin I did have a brief moment of thinking rabies, abola ? Luckily, he was just playing and didn´t bite through the skin. We fed him some fruit and I even managed to avoid his pooh, which he did whilst perched on my head. After grabbing fistfuls of my hair whilst sliding down my back he then became fascinated with my watch and bangles. He´s so fast but so cute. They are incredibly intelligent and some are even trained to help disabled people (think Marcel the monkey in Friends). Oh well, trime to go but not before Sean made me a quick cup of tea.

I walked the 30 minutes or so back in to town. Boquete is pretty quiet but seems to be filling up with older Americans using it as a place to retire. I am struck by the amount of real estate companies in town. It does have a lovely feel to it though. As I walked around I was stopped my a man who asked me to come in to his store. I thought he was trying to sell me something but it turned out that an American guy was trying to get some sheets made. I had to explain in Spanish so the guy could understand, let´s call that my good deed for the day. I got some food in the cafe and then caught up on the blog before heading back to the hostel.

Upon arrival, I grabbed a beer. We have two new arrivals, Erin and Harley. Sean and Craig were going into town for a beer and invited me to join them. We go to a bar, order a bucket of beers and are soon joined by Erin and Harley. We head backto the hostal for some vodka shots (oh no, looks like it could be turning into a big night !!). Then Erin decides to stay whilst the rest of us go to another bar called Zanzibar. After one there we head to a club which is a bit of a walk out through the other side of the village. Several beers later the boys are up for meeting girls, so I bring an American over called Gina who lives there. The club is closing at 2am and Gina tells us about another bar where there is a lock in. I am feeling a little drunk but get the owner of the club to agree to driving us there. Harley and I have a deep and meaningful on the pros and cons of travelling with someone versus without. Don´t think we got to the bottom of that one. In the mean time, another local guy is going that way so gives us a lift in his pick up which is just aswell as I thought Harley was going to try and swim backacross the river. We are screaming with laughter as we are thrown about in the truck and I´m trying to take photos. The bar is full of people and pool tables. Sean and Craig decide to play pool and before I know it I´m playing with the locals when they lose. The locals are pretty damn good here, there must be nothing else to do. I am now very drunk but Craig starts us on the rum and cokes. My pool playing was less than impressive and Sean is becoming very competitive ( I think the drink brings that out in him). He´s a bit jealous I think that my Panamanian pool partner is better than him. The police then come to raid the bar so it´s time to leave. We all stumble home, let´s just say it wasn´t my most graceful performance but at least I didn´t go to bed with 5 packets of Doritos like Harley did !!

Oh my Lord !! I feel awful. In fact I´m staying in bed. I think I dragged myself out at 2pm to go to town for food. Apparently I even slept through the drilling and renovation work going on on the adjoining wall by my bed. I have to go back to bed again after the food, I´ve found a second sleep helps cure the hangover these days. I get up again and do some of my blog. I think we´re all feeling the same (except Harley who´s gone to climb a volcano…the fool !!) so just stay in and watch ¨Rome¨for hours and hours. Craig and I get a pizza in between and then I head to bed. I feel like I´ve wasted a day. I love the feel of Boquete, there´s loads of hiking and rafting here, but now I want to get some sun so it´s time for me to head to Bocas del Toro.


Transport count:

Plane = 24, Bus = 105, Train = 2, Boat =16, Sunglasses = 8, Mosquito Repellant = 10, Books Read = 28 1/2, Bags lost and then recovered = 2.

Take care all



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