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Left High and Dry at the Dock

PANAMA | Sunday, 21 October 2007 | Views [869]

Today's our seventh wedding anniversary, and I've booked two nights for us at "Al Natural," an all inclusive ecolodge on Bastiamento Island, with really cool open air bungalows set amongst the jungle and overlooking the sea and pristine beach.  Yes, it will be a splurge that will seriously overrun our budget, but we have to live a little, right?  We came up a day early to make sure we could get an early start and transfer to our romantic rustic getaway.  We have the cell number of a woman from the ecolodge in Bocas Town to call to let her know we're ready for the boat transfer.  We've been calling the number all morning, but no answer.  We decide to finally check out of the surf camp and wait near the office and dock for Al Natural, as it was on the other side of town.  We waited from 9:30 to 1:30 sitting on the ground in front of the office... there was not even a place to sit.  We call every 15 minutes from a pay phone, and Darrin makes trips to the only available internet in a local bar in town to email the owners to ask what's up.  As Darrin's sitting doing internet, two little Panamanian boys come up to sit next to him and check out what he's doing.  One looks up at him, points at him and says, "Jesus!"  Darrin smiles, chuckles, and says, "si."  They boys excitedly leave the bar as Darrin heads back to see if the boat has arrived.  I'm busy playing with the "street children," two little girls, sisters, who look like they haven't showered in months.  At first they were playing in a deserted foam cooler that they converted to a mini floatable boat.  They then moved alongside the public ferry dock, in the sludgy water, where a ton of trash had collected.  I sit and chat with them now for hours in Spanish, teaching them yoga poses.  Darrin arrives, and they ask me who he is... I say, it's my esposo, "Jesus."  They laugh and say "si," indicating he does in fact resemble Jesus.  

It's just after 1:30 p.m., and now it's starting to rain.  With the office closed, there's no place to seek cover and so we finally decide to head back to town to find another hotel for our special night- we don't think anyone is coming to pick us up, despite trying to remain positive.  After walking around for an hour in the rain, Darrin finally returns with several options, all a bit more than we had hoped to spend for a non-ecolodge type of place.  We elect to stay at a new place, Lula's B&B, owned by a couple from Atlanta.  They had decided to sell their homes and buy a little venture on the island. They're redone the place beautifully, and they are so hospitable and welcoming... at least we're someplace where the owners truly want us, and are happy to have us there.  After having wasted our entire day at the "closed" Al Natural office, Lula's hospitality is just what we needed to take the edge off our extreme disappointment.  We never heard another world from the owners of Al Natural until the following day.  At $200/night, you would have though they'd be a little more attentive to guest relations.  Apparently they said the boat came to the doc at 2:00, and waited until 5:00.  Poor communications on their part.  Had they only checked their email they would have seen our email telling them we were waiting, and our other email at 3:00 p.m. letting them know we found another place because we figured they weren't coming for us.  They asked if we still wanted to come that following day, a bit anticlimactic after our anniversary had passed... we had been willing to splurge for our big night, but after having been left at the doc, we preferred to spend the time at the less expensive, but extremely friendly Lula's B&B.  We had a great anniversary seafood dinner at a cool little "on the water" restaurant called Lemongrass... an Asian fusion restaurant.  A good ending to what was a disappointing day.

Tags: Misadventures


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