Things have been.. different since we have moved from Bocas to Boquete. We arrived at our workaway to an owner who had absolutely no idea we were coming, the lady who coordinates volunteers is out of town, and the owner didn’t think it would be important to read his hostel emails. After scanning through our emails he informs us that he just gave our positions away, oopies. He quickly reassures us not to worry because he has this other hostel, well technically it’s still under construction so people aren’t supposed to be staying here, and we can work up there oh but there is just this one little thing.. One of us has to be there at all times and we can’t get the same days off. I stood there gaping while he went on and on in spanish and it took all of my energy not to start stomping my feet and screaming that this is not what I signed up for. Thank god for Eli, the ever calmer of us two, who just smiled and nodded while giving me the ¨don’t lose it¨eyes. So up we went Eli pleasantly chatting with Chino and I pouting.
Once we arrived we met this really nice Argentinian couple whose jobs we would be taking over. They filled us in on our tasks which are pretty simple: clean the bathroom and the kitchen, change the rooms, check people in, this is where the money goes, this is how you do that. Oh, and when the police come by looking for a bribe don´t tell them this is a hostel just tell them that you are friends looking over the place,and the owner can be found at the hostel down the road.
Our days here have been spent well, pretty much doing nothing. Some days it´s really nice and relaxing to lounge in the hammock reading books and being extremely lazy. Then others, especially the ones completely full of rain, are down right boring. Thank God for Netflix in Panama which literally has every and any movie one could ever dream of. All the Lord of the Rings, got it. Every Marvel movie, you betcha. Jurassic Park, of course. All seven of the Harry Potters, DUH!
I´ve really struggled with doing nothing all day every day. I mean we are in a foreign country I feel that we need to be out doing things and experiencing Panama and instead we are stuck in a beautiful jail. One can only lay around for so long. I´m trying to teach myself to be okay with doing nothing and to enjoy it. It´s worked some. I don’t feel like a caged animals as much as I did when we first arrived. Though after two weeks Eli and I are both ready to move on to our next adventure. Although the days are long and not full of much excitement we have enjoyed snuggling with the two cats Pelusa and Polilla. Pelusa is an attention whore and loves to tell Eli and I about his day. He sticks close to us and takes any opportunity to snuggle. Polilla is more shy though she is still sweet. We only see her in the morning and when we are cooking dinner. She comes out of nowhere and snuggles up with us for a little while and then disappears into the night. I think she forgets we are here until it’s dinner time and we are a pleasant surprise.
Though our days are as constant as the rain that starts every afternoon there have been three events that have thrown us off our lazy routine.
Event #1: The Boogeyman
I don’t sleep well in our little apartment. The wind and rain rattles the doors and shakes the roof. Something is always banging, clanging, and clattering to the ground. I constantly wake in the middle of the night thinking that the whispers made by nature are actually of someone in our house. Poor Eli, I wake him at least twice a night whispering about the boogeyman creeping around. One night I woke to really loud banging and what I thought sounded like yelling. I promptly woke Eli and as he is in the middle of telling me that once again it´s just the tree banging against the metal fence we hear it again, crazy loud banging and a man yelling in Spanish. I´ve always had a seriously irrational imagination when it comes to things that go bump in the night so automatically I jump to the worst conclusions: It´s a crazy drunk man coming to kill us with a machete or the police coming looking for a bribe (that one was Eli´s). The way that our apartment is set up is it´s connected to the other side of the hostel. There is a back door, that we enter through, that opens into a kitchen, bathroom on the right, that opens into the living room. There are two bedrooms, both on the right side, and the front door is at the end of the rectangle right by our room. This door isn’t used so it’s chained and padlocked shut from the inside. In our bedroom we also have a window that faces the front. So Eli and I are huddled together with the covers pulled tight and only our eyes showing because, as everyone knows, your covers always protect you from the Boogeyman. We hear banging coming from somewhere in or around the hostel. BANG BANG BANG then yelling in Spanish. There are three girls from Germany staying in the hostel and we are plotting a rescue mission. As we are quietly debating what to do we see a figure pass our window and our blood turns cold. He starts banging on the front door rattling the chains and shaking the house screaming something in Spanish that we can´t understand. At this point the banging and yelling has been going on for about thirty minutes and I’m two seconds from tears when the man stops and walks off. We lay in bed with the covers pulled completely over our heads not daring to speak or sit up to see what’s going on when we hear the door we enter the apartment through creak open. Someone whispers ¨Hola¨ and slowly walks in. At this point my imagination is running wild, He´s coming for us. We need to find a weapon or jump out the window. He begins going door to door banging and yelling. First the bathroom door, then bedroom number two, and then ours. Eli scrambles out of bed and flings open the door, maybe he´ll smack him in the face in the process, and the man immediately starts to apologize. Apparently there are some backpackers who arrived late and need a room and he brought them up from the other hostel. Seriously, there were so many better ways to go about this situation than go around banging and screaming. We walked over to the hostel to check the new guests in and to make sure that the girls from Germany hadn´t died of fear. They were just as scared as we were, the man had banged on their window, and one of them had come out with her head lamp on wielding a pocket knife screaming that this was not funny. Which she was right at the time it surely wasn´t. Though after everyone had settled in and in the light of day we were all able to laugh about it.
Event #2: That really awkward time we ran a brothel
Okay, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration. It was a really lovely day, the sun was shining and the birds were chirping. Eli and I were trying to clean the rooms as quickly as we could so we could lay in the hammocks before it started to rain. While we were cleaning this old man, around late 50s, appeared in the doorway asking if we were apartments or a hostel. Eli and I are always a little skeptical when people show up without backpacks asking if we are a hostel because of that small, little technicality that we aren’t actually supposed to be renting rooms. We say yes we are renting rooms and he says that he would like to rent one. When we ask for how many nights he assures us that don´t worry he only needs it for 2 to 3 hours. Warning bells our going off in our heads. He definitely wants this room to bring a lady friend back and we definitely don’t feel comfortable with it. We try to explain this to him in broken spanish that is made worse by how uncomfortable we are but he wouldn’t leave. He just kept staring at us and then walks off to sit in a chair outside. We aren’t worried though we have a foolproof plan. We´ll go get the owner who will surely say no and send the man on his way. At first the owner is totally against this idea. He too knows that he wants to bring a girl back and that is shady business to conduct in a hostel and he doesn’t have that kind of a permit.. So up we go back to the hostel to tell him to leave.. or so I thought.. After talking with the man the owner feels bad for him because he is old and apparently the old owner used to let this guy bring girls back. So he tells us to give him a room. Flustered and feeling way out of our comfort zone Eli and I show him his room and accept his money. As many of you know I am a nosey. My uncle used to call me radar when I was little because as soon as people would start to whisper my head would pop up and I would try to listen in. Of course I can’t resist seeing what this woman looks like. That thought is absurd. There are two ways to enter the hostel. The front door, which is usually closed, and walking up through the backyard, patio and kitchen area (this is the way most people enter). As soon as he left I quickly locked the front door and posted up in the kitchen ¨reading¨ patiently waiting for them to return. He must of known what we were up to and definitely didn’t want anyone seeing because he snuck her through the front door. Eli and I felt totally grossed out and seedy as we gingerly changed the sheets desperately trying not to touch anything. Every once in awhile he stops by and Eli and I scatter and hide until he finally wanders away. When we see him around town we are quickly immersed in the sidewalk hoping he won’t notice us and come ask for a room.
Event #3: Just hold the cat like this while I shove this thermometer up his butt. It’ll be fine.
When we first arrived, a little less than two weeks ago, we noticed that Pelusa´s eye was looking a little swollen. The couple who had been looking after him thought that it was from him just getting his balls chopped off the day before. So we ignored it thinking it would heal itself. A few days ago we noticed that it had gotten really bad. He could barely open his eye and it was really leaky. We called the vet and he arrived within the hour with his box full of supplies. This was probably the most we have practiced our spanish since we have been here. We told him what was going on, how long his eye had been like that, and that we thought he got in a fight with Polilla. After examining Pelusa´s eye he quickly wrapped him in a towel and handed him to Eli who had no idea what was coming. Out came the thermometer and Eli tried to cling to Pelu as he yowled and attempted claw his way out. It was quiet the chaotic sight. Eli trying to hold onto the cat while he climbed up his arm at the same time the vet shoving the thermometer up his butt. Once his temperature was taken, he did have a fever, Eli decided that he had enough and passed Pelu off to me. We rewrapped him and I held on tight while the vet gave him drops in his eye and a shot on the bum. We thought that it was really cool that the vet just came right to our door. After a rough morning for Pelu the vet gave us a prescription and was on his way. Eli and I have found that we are not the best medicine givers. Every day twice a day we hunker down with Pelu to give him his medicine. We try to catch him off guard and give it to him during a nap. We approach with promises of snuggles and sweet words while one of us prys his mouth open and the other squirts the medicine in. We suck at it. Most of the time the medicine goes everywhere but down his throat. All over the floor, the couch, our clothes. Yesterday it went in Eli´s eye. Honestly, I think he has barely gotten any medicine since we have start but Eli and I have strategized and brought out the towel to wrap him up hoping that we will get better with practice.
So those are our three most adventurous days since we have been in Boquete. We’ve decided to leave our workaway a little early and in two days we will be heading out to our next adventure. We are planning to make our way up to Nicaragua stopping at beaches and rainforests along the way.