I would like to tell you a tale of my 24 hours spent finding Limones — that is, finding my friends, Nadir and Tonguy, in Limones, Panama. Finding Limones was a quest best summed up by a few facts:
- A few days ago my phone stopped working
- I left Boquete to find my friends in Limones. With no phone, I only knew their approximate location and that they were staying with a “Rosa”
- I was eventually, on the 1st night, taken to a different Rosa, and the family living there graciously let me pitch my tent in front of their house
- Limones is a jungle
This is another fact: Two days ago, I was alone on the beach when a pig walked past me. We both rubbernecked.
Limones is a jungle paradise. It has very few tourists but is about to have many once they fix the road, I’m told.
Limones is the size and shape of Manhattan, but with only 1,000 people. And a thick jungle full of 3 species of monkeys, wild dogs, snakes, poisonous caterpillars, etc. Straight jungle. It’s bordered on one side by Costa Rica and on the opposite side by the Pacific Ocean.
I could tell you the story of those 24 hours, of my miscommunication with the final bus driver, of my awkward but very friendly interaction with the Wrong Rosas, of the woman at the little shop in Limones who knew about the two Gringos but when pressed could not estimate the distance to walk or how to recognize her house on the hill. But I’ll be brief; there are many hills and many hours of jungle to walk through in Limones. I saw many birds. A beehive the size of a pregnant woman’s belly, and not 5 feet off the ground.
Also, I met some people. I finally gave up searching, heavy with sweat and thirsty. I hitchhiked a ride with some local oil workers back to Armuelles. I found a pensión and booked a room for $10. I walked to the store for food, then sought an internet cafe. I found the internet cafe on the edge of town. As I entered the parking lot, I heard a voice behind me yell “Tom!” I turned, confused, to see a pickup truck with Nadir hanging out of it.
So, yes. All this time spent searching for my friends, and in the end they found me. The pickup truck was full of papaya, grapefruit, and platanos. Dozens and dozens and dozes of platanos.
I only meant to stay for 1 night but we are living off the land, making lemonade from limones, drinking coconuts to satiate our thirst, and buying fish from the guy on the beach to cook over an open fire at the rancho that does not have running water but does have a hilltop view of the Pacific Ocean and the Barú Volcano in the distance.
Tomorrow I leave Limones to hitchhike to Colombia via the San Blas islands. I’ve heard it is not easy to do.