I decided to come to Panama. Not somewhere I´ve thought too much about, I´m a little bit ashamed to say. I was so close though it seemed a shame not to have a look. So I´ve come to these islands, called Bocas del Toro. I came by speedboat! It was exciting crossing the border. Not too much officialdom, we all had to wait in the sweltering heat while the lady had her lunch break. She is famous for her lunch break apparently. The Costa Rican side have a lunch break too, and there is a time difference of one hour, so for 2 hours the border closes for lunch. Much more relaxed way of going about things than all that nonsense at Heathrow and LA when I left. A man with one leg accompanied me and some spanish girls across the bridge, making sure we got our taxi to the docks and to the boat. Didn´t really need his help but he was really friendly and welcoming. Lots of children stared at us when we came across the bridge. I met a canny english couple too and had a drink with them while we waited for the lunch break to end. They live on a boat in Panama.
The journey took about 5 hours. Nearly all the way here, there were only banana plantations, owned by Chiquita. It seems Chiquita own practically all of the southern tip of Costa Rica and the north of Panama. I feel so far from home here, it really makes me realise exactly how far that banana travels to get to South Gosforth Fruiters. Life looks hard for the people who live in those endless strips of banana plants.
Panama is bright. Lots of lovely, bright sunlight. The roads are really wide and made of tarmac. Didn´t realise, but what a nice break from tarmac I´ve had. Most of the roads in Costa Rica, except in San Jose, are just dirt or gravel . So these big, wide roads look strangely alien.
So I´m coming to Panama with a completely open mind. Don´t really know anything about it, or the people. So let´s see what it holds...........