So here I am sitting at home listening and watching the rain coming down in buckets. We really need it here in Pedasí. It has been an extremely dry rainy season which usually ends in December. Not much more time to catch up with enough rain to get us through the dry season. Here we welcome any rain we can get. It certainly saves me from watering the plants in the garden. I do like receiving the $1.42 water bill for the past month that was appropriately placed on my outside gate during the rainstorm. It will dry out quickly. As I am enjoying loud patter of rainfall on my roof, I remanence about last weeks’s business trip back to Boquete and start to laugh. No matter what we do or where we go, we experience a new adventure. Thought this trip would be somewhat uneventful since we had been to Boquete for the Tuesday Morning Market before. Boy was I wrong. Mikkel had found an offer for a different hotel than where we usually stay, The Stone Cabins. We got a late start leaving Pedasí, having again rented a car for the trip. Arriving at about 6:30pm that evening, we found the hotel office was closed; only an old man sitting nearby trying to speak to us in rapid Spanish. I found 2 phone numbers to call on our printed reservation; one there was no answer, the other one actually called the old man who had gone inside and picked up the phone in the back office. He then took us around to bar in the rear where I again tried to explain to the bartender in Spanish that we had reservations for 2 nights. He tried to call different phone numbers, but could not get anyone to answer. Mikkel then called again and left a very harsh message that this was unacceptable and he went back to the car ready to try to find another place to stay for the night. (This reminded us of another hotel experience when we went to Portobello where the hotel office was locked up and again we could not contact anyone for several hours.) The bartender asked me to wait about 15 minutes more. Sure enough, he came to our car and apparently had reached someone who instructed him to get the keys and show us to our room. Problem solved, tranquilo returned. And the room actually a spacious two bedroom apartment with kitchen and huge living room located next to a fast-running stream. Later, after we had returned from dinner, the bartender knocked at the door with a bottle of wine, corkscrew, two wine glasses, and an apology from the hotel management.
So off to the Tuesday Morning Market early the next morning after a complementary full breakfast at the hotel. It turned out to be a very nice morning and successful business day, but as the day went on, the clouds rolled in and usual buckets of water fell from the sky just as we were packing up. Mikkel takes the first load out to the car, returning and asking me what I had done to the car since I was the last one to lock it up. The key fob remote would not open any door. I showed him the hidden key inside the fob and we were able to unlock and enter the car, but it would not start. Previously, I had had a difficult time even locking the doors, and buzzers kept going off randomly. Also, we had noticed while driving up to Boquete that the AC had stopped blowing real cold air as before. The fan worked and being that we were in the mountains, we weren’t too concern. So now we were sitting inside a rental car, rain pouring outside, and can’t get it to start. Fortunately we rented from Thrifty car rental, a nationwide franchise. So the obvious thing would be to call the Thrifty agent in Boquete. Although someone answered the phone, the office was closed for the national holiday-“Shout of Las Villa, Los Santos”. I was directed to call the David office. They were not closed and after looking up our rental agreement from the Pedasí office, another car was on it’s way. But due to the rain and distance, we waited in the car in the parking lot for almost 2 hours. When the other car arrived, the driver helped switch out all our belongings and then fill out all the paperwork for the exchange. He was able to start the original car up with another battery he had brought so he could return to David, but not before we were instructed to follow him to the gas station to fill up, meeting the rental agreement terms. Only then did the rain subside. Another problem solved, stress averted, other business plans for the afternoon postponed or cancelled. But we were very satisfied with the service we received from the car rental company. The next day we headed to Boca Chica after stopping in David to do some shopping at PriceSmart and have lunch. We had another coupon offer to stay at Seagull Cove Lodge, where we enjoyed staying before. We originally planned to stay there on our last trip to Boquete, but they were closed for the month of October. This time we just stayed one night for a little non-business relaxation before heading home, enjoying a lovely sunny afternoon down at the beach.
After breakfast and spending a little time at the pool the next day, we headed on home. One would think with a new rental car, we had enough adventures for the trip and nothing would go wrong. This is where we start to laugh. Mikkel again took what is considered the bypass around the worst part of the construction of the PanAmerican highway widening. About 5 kilometers after passing through Soná, the rear left tire blew. Outside from civilization in the jungle, Mikkel slowly navigated to a stop. (We’ve been in this situation before almost 2 years ago.) The road was lined with a large ditch, so we were blocking the road. But God is good! A truck was parked on the other side; a young Panamanian man jumped out of the cab and ran over to our car, directing with his hand to his two other companions to follow him. Without hesitation, they unloaded our trunk, took out the spare, put up the reflector emergency triangle to direct approaching cars to go around, jacked up the wheel with both our car’s jack and their truck’s, replaced the tire with the spare and put everything back in the trunk. Of course it started raining during all this; Mikkel held the umbrella over them as they worked. I stood out in the rain watching and being so grateful for the assistance. It only took about 15 minutes, and we were back on the road. We have been offered help so many times by strangers and neighbors here in Panama, something that is not so prevalent back in California. Although Mikkel could have changed the tire himself, I thank God for sending angels again to rescue us. But I am starting to think that maybe our luck is running out on having a car as our mode of transportation, renting or owning. Yet my bicycle won’t get me very far; definitely not ready for the long-haul, only short jaunts across town.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and we did return safely home after stopping in Santiago and Chitré for lunch and more shopping. The next day we returned the car to the rental agent who enjoyed our story of the car problems and how we were able just to laugh about it. Again, we choose to see things as adventures now instead of bad experiences. Now that I am retired, life is too short to do otherwise.