Riding Through the Clouds

The bus inched upward, until it was evident that we were in a colossal cloud forest. The driver sped up, twisting and turning. We slowed down before crossing over a lagoon to the right and a gorgeous gorge on the left. The bus then puttered up again.

Before I knew it we were flying along the highway once more.

I noticed that we were about to pass a truck. The driver hit the brakes and quickly eased behind this vehicle. Immediately thereafter, another truck went by us in the opposite lane.

I thought: The driver is getting greedy with time on a two lane mountain road. Look on the bright side.  At least he possesses the motor skills to make accurate split decisions.  Still, we have all the time in the world. There’s no need to take risks only to save seconds.

Before I knew it we were ascending über-slowly yet again. I had lost track of the amount of inclines and declines. It wasn’t becoming monotonous to me but if I had been the bus driver then I would have been jaded.

Finally we were on level road. I felt that the speed had increased greatly at this stage.

I thought: Does the driver have an obsession with velocity?  Or maybe he’s being paid for the drive, not the time. Maybe he’s driving fast because time is money.

The sky consistently metamorphosed from gray to white and back again. The road wasn’t level anymore. We consistently twisted and turned, winding up and down.

In front and to my left, the open window provided fresh and stimulating cloud-forest air.

The rains came; then, as always on Panamanian buses, when it begins to rain, people scamper to get the windows shut. It’s as if they’ll melt from a little bit of tropical water. Instantly, thickly clogged air is the drawback to this collective endeavor.

I thought: Have the windows open a couple of cracks at least.

Soon thereafter the rain turned to mist. Windows were reopened, bringing in instantaneous refreshment.

During one upward stretch, we got stuck behind a crawling oil truck. Upon finally passing it we were in the clouds. Fortunately our driver had enough patience to overtake when the time was finally right.

Upon descending out of the clouds, I sat and watched the vegetation change before my eyes. We drove past two rivers that  intersected. The natural scenery was verdant and appealing.

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A four-hour bus ride from the city of David to Almirante cost $7.

The bus stopped at a roadside, Panamanian-Chinese, cafeteria-style restaurant for 25 minutes halfway through the journey.

Almirante is the Caribbean town where $4 per-person speedboats take 10 passengers to the ultra-touristy Isla Colón on the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama.

David is the hub city that requires a mandatory stopover or bus change for all routes that pass through western Panama.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Places that get lots of rain tend to be verdant.
    The bus rides must be more intense in Perú and other Andean lands as the mountains are higher than in Central America. Although, the mountains of Panama do reach well above 3,000 meters or over 10,000 feet. That’s still impressive.


  2. Posted by m-Seantonio Verde on April 11, 2011 at 14:03

    Your bus ride reminds me of my bus trip to and from Ica, Perú. It was the same situation – many attempted passes and brakes slamming, was a little scary at times.
    I just googled verdant, afterwards thinking: I should have known that, since I my name Verde sounds like verdant, not in the literal sense of course. 🙂


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