Feb. 8, 2013

Here’s what it means to me to be in love with a gay, male, nerd:

~~No more worrying about looking, acting, being (what mainstream society defines as) sexy.

~~No more competing for a man’s love or sexual attentions.

~~No more pretending I have a totally “female brain.” All Aspies have a stronger “male brain,” and I certainly do.

~~I can be my REAL SELF with no regrets and no shame. Not only that, but I can also be proud of who I am. I can show that I’m smart; I don’t have to pretend to have all those dumb, “girlie” emotions and fears.

~~No more pretending I think breasts are cool (like everyone is supposed to think). I think they are bags of fat, and I am so glad I don’t have more than little fat bags.

~~No more having to perform sexually (i.e., having to be good in bed), meet a man’s “needs,” or “work on a relationship.” What bullshit!

Being in fantasy-love with a gay, male nerd solves SO many problems. It’s like I’ve moved to a different universe.

__________________________________________________________________

Feb. 8

Just got into Panama City (around 11 am), and now I’m at my Couchsurfing hosts’ house in a cool, working-class suburb of the city. The journey from Colombia to Panama took four days. Here’s my description of it:

Feb. 5-8, 2013

($1 US = c. 1,800 Colombian pesos)

1.)     Day 1: Got to Turbo on a Garcia & Hernandez bus from Monteria (30,000 pesos).

2.)     In Turbo, I got a ticket for the lancha (launch) at the Isla Galapagos office down at the port (puerto). (55,000 pesos)

3.)    Went across the street to a cheap (muy barato) hotel recommended by the lancha office guy. I forget the name of the hotel, but it’s immediately after the yellow bridge. (18,000 pesos)

4.)    Day 2: Lancha left at about 8 or 8:30 am (or 9). Be there about 7:30 am. Buy a heavy-duty bag for your pack; use their tape to put your name on bag.

5.)     2 1/2 hours to Capurgana on a boat. I took a seasickness pill–glad I did.

Capurgana: super-nice town; very touristy (about 20 hostels). Bought boat ticket to Puerto Obaldia for the next morning as soon as I got in town at the office on the corner (anyone can show you where it is). (25,000 pesos)

Get passport stamped at the Colombian immigration office up the street (again, anyone can show you where it is). Do this when you arrive in Capurgana; the next morning (or whatever day you leave), you won’t have time to do it.

6.)     Day 3: 8 am or so (be there at 7:40 am), small boat leaves for Puerto Obaldia. It takes about 1 hour to get there. I didn’t want to stay in PO, so I went right through immigration (have 3 copies of your passport [and don’t cut them down like I did; they have to be on full-sized paper]).

Have US dollars (you are in Panama now; they use US $$); you can’t get dollars in Puerto Obaldia, and neither can you change pesos into dollars there. (Chang your remaining pesos at Western Union or another money exchange in Panama CIty).

7.)  As soon as you arrive in Puerto Obaldia, ask at the dock if a boat is going to Carti (some people call it San Blas; the Kuna, whose land that is, call it by the original name: Carti). Go to the Maritime Office (next to the immigration office), and they will record your passport info for the trip. After I got into the boat, I paid them $100. It was a 16-seater.

Our boat left at about ten am. The crossing takes 7 hours (ours was longer because at one point the engine got too soaked with waves and stopped working; we sat about two or three miles offshore for half an hour or more and were planning to just drift into shore [which was just trees; I was thinking it might be fun]). We finally got going again. We stopped at one Kuna Yala village to get the engine fixed and at another for gasoline. We passed lots of small islands with Kuna settlements on them.

This was a VERY rough trip: I was totally soaked for the entire trip, wind-blown, and sunburned. The steady, hard bouncing and bashing against the waves made it certain that I won’t need a chiropractor for a long time! Again, very glad that I took seasickness pills (I took three over the course of this trip to Carti).

8.)     We got to Carti at sunset. If we had arrived earlier (as we would have if the engine hadn’t stopped), we could have taken a car into Panama City immediately. As it was, I am very glad we stayed overnight.

I was one of the last people to get a bed. There were no more beds at the hostel, so a young, Kuna guy took me to his aunt’s house. She made up the bed for me, and I stayed there for $10. It was a real Kuna village (not a tourist attraction though apparently scads of people visit there in the summer). I loved being there.

9.)     Day 4: I got up before dawn (as I often do), and I went out onto the dock with a guy I met outside the home I stayed in. He said (was it in English or Spanish? I forget) the boat would be going to the place where I could catch a car (caro) into Panama City.

The boat filled up with Kuna people, and, after ten minutes, we all got off at the place where the cars were. There was a restaurant there–almost totally dark (as these people are used to the dark)–and I had coffee (they put a thermos on the table), eggs and rolls. ($3.75)

9.)     As soon as I got to the place where the cars were (before I ate breakfast), I went into the building (more of a big shelter) where some Kuna guys checked my passport, put my name on a list*, and charged me $7.50 for the boat ride over. (*Turned out this was the list they used to load people into the cars to Panama City, and, since I was there really early, I got into one of the first cars to leave.)

9.)    Ivan, the Kuna driver (and an English teacher in Panama City), loaded me into the front seat so he could practiced his English. It took about an hour, maybe two (I don’t know), to get into Panama City. I paid him $25 (which a man at the “car place” said was good).

Ivan took me to the Kuna Transportation Center on 33rd St. in Caledonia (downtown Panama City).Kathy, the office manager, called my Couchsurfing host for me.

10.)    In Panama City, I went to a bank and used my ATM card. I went to a Western Union office and cashed in my Colombian pesos. Met my CS hosts; went to their house.

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