Getting to Boquete was not that easy. I elected to take the overnight bus ride instead of the plane because 1, it was cheaper and 2, small planes frighten me.
At the bus station in Panama City, I looked for the terminal to David. I was already given some instructions on what to do when I got there, so I felt fairly comfortable. In hindsight if I was in a similar place in the US I wouldn’t have been so calm (picture a Greyhound station at 12am in Philadelphia, except you don’t understand what anyone is saying). I kept my street smarts about me and went about my business like I knew what I was doing.
I nervously watched my luggage be hauled under the bus, and worried it would be stolen. I convinced myself that the luggage locks I had bought from Wal-mart would protect my belongings and boarded the bus, looking for a window seat.
I drifted off to sleep sometime during the ride. I woke up to the voice of a man in a uniform that boarded the bus with a flashlight. He went around to different passengers asking to see identification (I assume, I had no idea what he was actually saying). Terrified he would come to my row, I quickly located my passport. I tried hard to listen to him so I would be prepared if he came to me, but waking up in the middle of the night didn’t prime my brain well for speaking another language. Luckily, he had accomplished whatever he set out to do and left the bus.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I fell back to sleep and woke up in David. There, a driver was waiting for me. He located my luggage and we departed the busy bus station for Boquete.
Still drowsy from the overnight bus ride, the scenery along the way and the comfort of being able to speak English again quickly awakened me. The driver told me about the family I was going to stay with, and a little about life in Panama.
When I arrived in Boquete, I went to take a stroll to take in the sights. I immediately started taking picture after picture. Just walking along the streets there were streams, waterfalls, and beautiful flowers.
I then went back to the house where I’d be staying for the week and met with the director of the school where I’d be taking Spanish lessons. She explained that I’d begin with an assessment the next morning, and that the school was in walking distance.
The next day I would find out exactly where my Spanish level stood, and just how far I had to go.