The Wardlaws, the people I’m house sitting for, are leaving for the States on Monday in the early afternoon. I wasn’t planning on coming to the house until tomorrow but that’s the day Panama is conducting its census and NO ONE is allowed to be out and about until they have been counted and given a pass. No church services tomorrow. No stores open, no taxis or buses. Nothing.There will be road blocks throughout the country and you will be detained for a bit, to be counted one would assume, and fined. I heard someone say there was going to be one census taker for every 12 people in Panama. If that’s true why not take the easy way out, then? Count the number of census takers and multiply by 12.
Since nothing is going to be moving until around seven in the evening I decided to make my move this morning after checkout time at the hostel. I also needed to find out how transportation thing was going to work. For such a small country there’s a lot of “the middle of nowhere” here and the house is in one of those places. As I’m sitting here writing this my closest neighbor is up the hill behind the house a good 300 or 400 yards away. Between the two houses there is a big meadow with five trees and three horses.
The buses run travel the 30 kilometers (18 miles) between here and David quite frequently judging by the number of buses I saw on the road when I was driving here last week that had Potrerillos on their front window but I can’t say yet how often they go. When I got off the bus I asked when the last bus left David in the evening. I was told 6:30 p.m. which seems quite early to me. I’ll have to ask again. The trip from the main terminal in David was on a 24 passenger bus, took 50 minutes and cost ninety cents.
When I got back to David on Thursday after returning my rental car to Panama City to avoid a $180 drop off charge I asked the taxi driver how much the fare was from downtown David to Potrerillos and he said $15. Some people said the “gringo” price was around $25 so I guess it depends on how well you speak Spanish. If the last bus out of David IS 6:30 I guess I’ll be either spending the money or save myself half that by spending the night in a dorm bed at the Bambu Hostel.
It’s the rainy season now and it’s three in the afternoon. Dark rain clouds are obscuring the mountains behind the house. A bit of a breeze has sprung up and it’s cool here compared to hot and sticky David 2,900 feet below.