The Shallow End
We knew we were going to have to; meet up with a brother we didn't know, in a town we had never been to, in a country where we don't speak the language. Our misadventure with the pay phone had shown us we needed a better way to call people if need be. So we asked if we could go to town with a brother to get a pre-paid cell phone. They arranged for us to go to town with a couple of brothers because one was needing to go to the doctor for a minute to get some medicine. We found out the brother driving was also the one that would take us to the bus stop the next day. We also discovered that he doesn't speak English, even less than our Spanish.
Somehow we got across what we wanted and Michelle was able to express about how much we wanted to spend. Once the brother was done at the doctor we went to a store to get the cell phone. The brother who was the driver (the one to take us to the bus later) got out with us and went inside. This was the 1st Panamanian store we had been to since arriving in Panama. It reminded me of a hardware/electronics/pawn shop store. There were lots of old used cell phones and electronics, tools, bike parts and almost anything else you can think of to sell. The brother took us to the spot where the pre-paid cells were at (all new phones) and once we pointed out what we wanted he set it all up for us.
I will also say that I have never had my credit card, driver's license, and signature more closely examined than I did at this store. But now we had a cell phone, all in Spanish!
The Deep End
The next day we packed up all 4 of our suitcases (5 if you count my laptop backpack). We had managed to cram all of our possessions in 4 bags since we no longer had to worry about weight limits, even getting the 5th bag into a larger suitcase.
The Brother met us at 7:30 so we could get to the bus stop for the 8:00 bus. Once we were at the stop we went in to pay for the tickets for the Express Bus from Panama City to David. But, we heard whistling and looked over to see a man standing next to the Express Bus waving for us to come over. Seeing that we were just standing there he came over grabbed one of our bags and headed for the bus. So we snagged the rest of our luggage and chased after him. He was putting tags on our luggage and handing me a copy as he threw them into the compartment in the bottom of the bus.
We tried to ask in our poor Spanish where to get tickets but he just kept motioning for us to get on the bus. We just kind of stood there for a minute looking at the brother. He asked the helper (each bus has a driver and a helper) a question and then pointed to the bus. So we said our goodbye to the brother and boarded the bus. There were no seats together on the bus so we had to sit next to other people. Michelle sat in front of me and I sat in the last row right in front of the bathroom in the back of the bus.
So now we are alone, heading deeper into the country. We haven't paid for the bus, we don't know when to pay for the bus or what is going on. About the only thing that we knew for sure was that it was going to David and would be there in about 5-6 hours.