But let me rewind a bit. I woke up before sunrise, as usual, and made myself some coffee. Excellent stuff in the room. Downed it and decided to go to the river and check it out. Pretty. And all to myself. I’d be lying if I didn’t think about the possibility of a jaguar watching me from the forest, though.
On the walk back up to the Inn to have breakfast, I mentally went through my checklist of stuff, and realized I didn’t specifically remember taking my passport out of my pocket and putting it with the rest of my stuff on the table in my room.
I got back and turned the place upside down. Once. Twice. No passport. I know had it on the bus from Panama City to Santiago, and I remember having it on the bus to Santa Fe, but I don’t specifically remember having it when I checked in at the Inn. It might still have been in my pocket, though. From the Inn, I had only gone to a local restaurant and collectivo. It could be in either of those places, but my gut feeling was it had slipped out of my pocket while on the bus from Santiago. Visions of — briefly — losing my phone from a pocket-slip in Thailand went through my head. Come to think of it, I was wearing the same shorts then, too.
My hosts, Celestino and Chaeli leapt into action. With what little information I could provide (the bus from Santiago was white (they all are), the driver wore a cap with “Colombia” on it, and my approximate departure time), Celestino was on the phone non-stop. Meanwhile, Chaeli was working the other end, helping me determine what and where I would need to go if worse came to worst.
Finally, all calls had been made. Connections reached. Feelers extended. Celestino discovered the driver was a substitute, and through contact after contact, he was able to contact the driver’s wife. She was going to contact him and we’d find out. It was the last gasp, I thought. Meanwhile, I couldn’t sit still, and since there was absolutely nothing I could do except fret. I went for a walk about town.
Upon my return, I had accepted what was the likely outcome and sat down to email the photo I had of my passport to Chaeli, so she could print it (BIG HINT - keep a photo on your phone or tablet or on an accessible website, if not a physical one).
I was waiting for the not-very-broadband connection to link me to my Google Docs when Celestino yelled to me from across the yard: my passport had been found and was waiting for me at the Santa Fe bus terminal.
Relief? You have no idea. Want to know what’s even more amazing than the simple fact I got my passport back after it slipped out of my pocket on a bus? I also got the cash that I had in the ziplock with it. I would have been happy to say buh-bye to the money just to get the passport and visa, but I got it all.
Folks, I can’t recommend Panama, its people, and my wonderful hosts here at the Coffee Mountain Inn enough. Come to Panama, it’s absolutely wonderful.
Te amo, Panama!