Backpacks are full and loaded in Ganymede’s dinghy. Ben volunteered to take us ashore so we can go explore a little more of Panama. A few steps in the heat and we are now at the bus stop to catch the local bus to downtown. The girls love this part! The buses are minivans and the driving is, normally, civilized in comparison with the other countries they have been in along this trip. Today was a little more on the edge, but still tolerable. We got even lucky with a Jehovah’s Witness lady riding along who shared her good words. It amazes me how they can talk without getting nervous or sound incoherent. If it was me I would probably get whistled out of the bus for annoying. She didn’t. She did great! I even found inspiration in her speech! We got off the bus at the bus terminal where we found the school bus that would take us to Boquete for only 2.90 for all of us!! Wow! Panama is cheap! In the bus, I am excited to enjoy the view, play games with the kids and relax.
I just happened to sit right behind a friendly Panamanian who decided we were in need of help and he was the right person to offer it. Well… by the end of the bus ride he had a whole plan and I didn’t have the guts to turn him down. First, he took us to his mother’s house where he wanted us to spend the night, but we did manage to politely decline, he showered us with presents; crafts, flags, newspapers, pictures of him. He gave us a couple of necklaces made by the Kuna Indians in the San Blas islands that are supposed to protect us from “mal de ojos”, literally translates as “the evil of the eyes”. In other words, it will protect us from any bad wishes, envy and jealousy. However, he then charged us $20 for them… ok, we couldn’t back off the deal, I guess we can spare that money despite our priorities. We invited them for ice cream and later took our friend to lunch as a token of appreciation. Although, I was starting to regret I spoke such a good Spanish that made him so comfortable with us. Right after lunch he had to catch a bus so he left us!... Now we can relax a little, but wait.. he forgot something… oh nooo!! He has more presents… typical Indian dresses for the girls, little purses, and a few bracelets. He then says; just give me $50 for it. At that point… Matt was annoyed, we explained to him that we didn’t need those things, he shouldn’t have taken the liberty to just make purchases for us. He then says, ok just give me $30. Oh well! lesson learned.. if a stranger comes and gives you flowers… ruuuuuunn!!