January 22, 2014. Wednesday.
After the wretched traffic in Panama City, we arrived on the beach in San Carlos, spent the day arranging the van and swimming. Gauthier and Bit took a walk to find food, and met a fisherman who sold them two fish he had just caught for $5. we chopped them in half and cooked them in a pan over the fire. We ate our dinner sitting on an upside down boat on the beach, with dogs and vulchers our watchful companions. After that I went to arrange the van for bedtime, while Gauthier and Bit washed the dishes in the surf. Sand makes for a great scrub, and saltwater leaves the dishes pre salted and ready for the next meal… (That wasn’t our plan for dishwashing but was how we did it for the duration of our trip!)…
I watched the sun rise over the Pacific from the little window over the bed… We hit the road.
El Valle, Panama. A small village known for its thermal waters. For $2 each we got to give ourselves facial masks and use the hot springs. We spent a couple hours soaking in a thermal bath, more like a swimming pool, with other locals, It was much like a human soup with sulfur being the prominent flavor… but I would def go back! After getting showered off and dry clothes on, we took a drive to find a trail that we heard had waterfalls you could jump off. After walking a ways down the river we found the spot. Young boys and one brave man were diving and doing flips into a narrow pool of water at the bottom of the falls. Ha! we had thought we would be jumping, but nope, we chose life instead : ) we didn’t realize how much of a valley it was until the drive away, when we feared the van couldn’t keep going up.
But we made it.
To Penonome, where we found a town park with wifi where we could park and sleep for the night. A large old church was holding mass and so Bit and I ventured over to hear the music. We had hotdogs in the park for dinner and bedded down for the night. The cool breeze filled our van and we slept…. Until I woke up needed to use the bathroom, which meant going outside, and was normally fine, but not in a well-lit city park! On the street! With a police station close by and cops patrolling on the balcony! I snuck through the shadows trying to find the darkest one to call my toilet… I ended up squatting to pee behind a big truck parked in a very dark shadow! ha! the glamorous life of the traveler!