Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day Three: Adventures with Sharkie

Alright- so Day Three had us up at the crack of dawn because we'd ended up booking this tour that would take us to the island of Sanblas for some FUN in the SUN.

We should've known it was going to be a bad day when we awoke to nothing but clouds, clouds and more clouds. But we were with each other- how bad could a day actually be?

Enter: Sharkie. Sharkie turned out to be our driver/"tour guide" for the day. He was going to drive us two hours to this pier where we would take a boat to several different islands to see how the natives lived and to just enjoy some fun, relaxing beach time.

It all started out just fine and dandy. Sharkie's English was spot-on so it was much easier to make conversation with him than with some of the other cab drivers. And he was very... shall we say, chatty? At first, all was merry- he seemed entertaining enough. Two hours later... I can safely say our opinion of Sharkie took a significant 180. During the two hour drive to the pier, we quickly learned Sharkie's views on all KINDS of issues that are totally inappropriate to be bringing up with tourists (i.e. politics, religion, etc.).

Now here's the thing- I respect other people's opinions and insights to an extent; so long as you can support your statements, I'm happy enough, even if I don't agree with you. With Sharkie, though... well, I mean, let's just be honest- his views were just plain wrong. Within the two-hour drive, he managed to piss off all four of us (and we aren't exactly the hardest things to get along with!)... not only were his views so extreme that they were a little scary, he was so ADAMANT about his views that he would be making eye contact with Purvi (poor thing was sitting shotgun for that drive) for extended periods of time, trying to make his point VERY well-known, rather than keeping his eyes on the road. Considering we had to take all these super windy, hilly roads (since we were going through the mountains) the midst of torrential downpours... well, we can safely say that it was NOT the most pleasant of experiences.

Sigh. Once we reached the pier, the rain was still steadily falling and NONE of us was in the mood to board this boat to head across the water to the islands we were supposed to explore. We. Were. MAD!

Enter Allen.

Oh, dear Allen. He was the saving grace of our trip. Unfortunately, we were stuck with Sharkie for the rest of the day, but dear Allen greeted us at the pier and stuck with us as our "main" tour guide for the remainder of the trip. Allen turned out to only be the most adorable little man ever, who has grown up on the native islands his whole life, so his insight/perspective were so interesting to hear.

But first, we had to make it to the island. God, talk about a nightmare. After boarding this rickety little boat, we ended up on this island that was on the verge of flooding because of how much it had been raining that day. The four of us were reaching new levels of filth/drenched-ness, since we were all wearing flip flops and having to trudge through some flooded dirt pathways (I shudder to think what our feet were encountering) to get to the main part of the village.

Despite all that, I couldn't help but be amazed by this island (Kuna Ayla, I believe). I mean, the colors, the huts, the people, the SIMPLICITY. Visiting this community was seriously one of my favorite parts of this trip. It was such an educational experience... for instance, did you know that on this island, women are considered the leaders and don't do any of the community-style cooking?? Now that's my kinda island!!

Do you like how we didn't even bother to take off our life vests while traipsing about the island? Sigh, oh well.

After exploring Kuna Ayla for a bit, the skies had started to clear up so, by the time we started heading to the second island of Sanblas, we were in much better spirits (I mean, as good of spirits as we could be, considering Sharkie was STILL with us and would NOT stop TALKING). So, off to Sanblas we went!

There, we were greeted with island-y bliss. Beaches, palm trees, clear waters... you really couldn't lose.

Sigh. Inspite of the super rocky start, the day turned out to be a LOT of fun- in case you couldn't tell from the pictures. Our two-hour journey back to Panama City was relatively uneventful, given that most of us just fell asleep in the car (or pretended to fall asleep, so Sharkie wouldn't try to start talking to us). Once back at the hotel, we had big plans to get all dolled up to go out to dinner and then salsa dancing- it was Friday night after all!

Wellll... we DID end up going out to dinner at Tantalo's (the same place we'd been to the first night with the amazing rooftop bar)...

But after dinner, we were just ready to have (yet another) cozy night in. So in lieu of salsa dancing, we decided to head back to the hotel, get into our pajamas, and play a game that Rahima had brought (Cards Against Humanity) along.

Again, we were in bed and asleep by about midnight... are you noticing a trend here?

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