Ok, this has officially been my most frustrating international travel experience ever so far.
I left LAX yesterday and got to Miami, so far so good. There was a thunderstorm in Miami which prevented the baggage handlers from unloading the bags from LA and reloading them to Panama. This delayed the flight 2 hours. I was on the same plane from LA to Miami as Miami to Panama and I actually saw them unload my bag. They never reloaded it. I assume they thought it was supposed to stay in Miami. That or someone took it at the Panama airport (my paranoid theory since there was a duffel left unclaimed that looked similar to mine). I leave the airport in Panama discouraged and tired. I got in a cab to Gamboa but stupidly forgot to print out a map. Once we arrived in Gamboa we spent a half hour looking for "house 119x" on a nameless street. You can guess how successful that was. We finally find the huse and, although I'm pissed about the bag and upset about keeping Anthony (the postdoc I was meeting), tomorrow is a new day.
I spent the morning until 10am (when the baggage guy said I should call) out in teh field with Shane and Kristen, two of the other field assistants. We went to this observation tower in the middle of the forest and from it you can see Lake Gaitun and the canal. We also released a gliding gecko from the top of the tower and watched it glide down the tower to a lower level. Pretty sweet.
I returned and tried to make a phone call only to find we have no phone in this house. Went down to the police station with anthony and was finally able to find a phone. We were told to call back later. We had to go to Panama City (40 minutes away) anyway to get me an ID from the Smithsonian (which runs the area we're in). The lady there helped us try to find the bag but the people were largely unhelpful. Finally we went to the airport and spoke to someone in person. My bag did not arrive on the afternoon flight as expected. They don't know where it is but it is presumably in Miami. They'll call when they find it. OH WAIT. We don't have a phone. This is a huge problem in addition because the airline won't deliver a bag without a phone number. So despite the fact that we gave them a map to the house with no street address, they won't deliver it. Guess we'll have to try to find a phone again to call tomorrow and check on the bag status. Very frustrating.
All of this cab driving all over the place is getting kind of pricey in addition. We tried 7 ATMs and none of them worked. Just our luck I guess.
Anyway, rant over. I hope all of you are doing well (or better than I am). Despite my ranting it is quite gorgeous and I'm having a good time. Kristen is a saint and has lent me a t-shirt and has promised to lend me her shampoo, etc. I was able to get a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant so I should be feeling more human soon.
- plane delayed, bag still lost and we lack the phone necessary to determine if the bag has arrived and to get us teh bag once it arrives
- I'm running out of cash and every ATM in Panama seems to be broken
- the jungle is gorgeous and I've seen some cool lizards (and many mosquitoes)