Full circle

Posted on November 20, 2018


As I checked in for the fourth time back into my hostel in the old town of Panama City the staff greeted me like an old friend. “Hola Asha, how was your trip? We’ve saved you a bottom bunk bed!”.

God love the staff at Lunas Castle. I always request a lower bed, I don’t wanna be going up and down ladders at my age, throughout the night, half asleep. That’s a disaster waiting to happen.

In Santa Catalina I met a Swedish couple in their 60s. The woman ended up being my dive buddy while her husband was stranded on land. Why? Because he had fallen out of a top bunk bed on a liveaboard in Galapagos and split his forehead open. “He even managed to crack the door knob he hit, when he fell,” said his wife. His scar is awful and he’s had a few light-headed episodes since.

On my last night in that town I walked past a pizzeria and saw her but not him. Confused I peered closer. He was lay on the ground at the foot of their table with his legs lifted high onto a chair.

“What happened.” I urged as I rushed up the steps to them.

“He started feeling dizzy, so we are getting him to lie down,” she replied. “It’s ok, the staff are helping us to get home.” She continued.

A blow to the head is dangerous, I’ve been through the emotional trauma with my father over the last 15 years.

Their liveaboard accident ended their dive trip and for him, diving the rest of their travels. I certainly don’t want that to be me. Head butting the wall is painful enough.

After more than seven hours on the bus I was famished. A nice dinner was my only goal for the night. While in Honduras I met a lovely Colombian woman who booked fun dives with the school which I led. Her friend did a Discover Scuba course and Mr Flipflop taught him. I’d swapped numbers with her because she is now living in Panama and we agreed in theory to have dinner on my last night.

So as planned we met in one of the beautiful squares and ate alfresco and chatted and swapped stories until midnight. Her friend also came. He’s actually Honduran but flies over to Panama for work now and then. So it was a mini reunion. They wanted to hear my thoughts about Coiba and my next steps.

It was wonderful to eat dinner with them. They even bought me dinner. I was very overwhelmed by their kindness. That’s something I miss the most. Genuine, good company and conversation over dinner. They drank gin cocktails served up in glasses the size of fish bowls and I was on my faithful favourite – sparkling water.

We’ve agreed to rendezvous again for diving next year, if possible – where? Who knows. But definitely on another continent.