David to Las Tablas Panama for Some R&R and Dentistry

After crossing the border into Panama I rode to the nearby city of David before riding to Las Tablas where I intended to spend a couple days of R&R and see if there was a dentist to clean my teeth.


When crossing a border you just don’t know how long it will take. Although generally I have been taking about two and a half hours to cross them. But just in case I usually book a hotel at a nearby city, yet away from the chaos of the border. For the crossing into Panama I picked David.

The hotel I booked was Hotel Alcala not too far from the center of town. Not a bad place and they had parking under a roof.

After arriving I went for a walk towards the main square called Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra Park.



Across from the park, as is the usual in latin american countries, was a Roman Catholic Church called Parroquia La Sagrada Familia.


I walked around a bit more but just wasn’t impressed with the city. At least this part of the city.


Just not much around. And certainly not the one thing I always look for and that is a restaurant or bar or coffee shop with a patio. Everyplace was the hole in the wall mom and pop restaurant, or a scuzzy looking bar. So I bought some snacks and spend the evening after dark in my room.

Las Tablas

I was asked by someone who follows me, “Why Las Tablas?” Great question! ha ha. I was looking for places to stay but soon found out that Panama is VERY expensive. Of course Costa Rica was as well. The cheapest place within a day’s ride away was Las Tablas. I was planning on riding to that little peninsula that juts out in Panama anyways. More specifically, Playa Venao. It looked like Las Tablas was a quiet little town and I had been riding for a few days so it was time for a break. So Las Tablas it was.

The place I booked in Las Tablas was Hostal Mansion Juliana run by an Italian family and with an Italian restaurant out back. I enjoyed some awesome Italian food there. Yup, in Las Tablas Panama.

The town of Las Tablas itself was nothing remarkable. Just the usual. Of course, my senses may be dulled after more than a year of travelling to various towns. You can judge for yourself through the pictures.







It was very hot during the day!



It had been over a year since I had my teeth cleaned. Back at home I try to get them cleaned every 3 months! So I was long overdue. I had tried to get them cleaned in Costa Rica but it didn’t work out.

I asked at my Hostal where I could get this done. The clerk said she had gone to the dentist down the street. Off I went and made an appointment for the next day.

Now dentist offices have not been my favorite place to go to. Although, I have to admit that over the past few years it has been good. Perhaps it is the new technology available that makes these visits a lot better. Given that, I was concerned about having my teeth cleaned at a small town, Panamanian dentist. Yikes!


OK, I thought… Dr. Ingrid … a female dentist. She will be gentle on me – I know … stereotyping. I waited in the waiting room for a long time which made me more anxious. Once in awhile I spoke to the receptionist and answered questions on forms which wasn’t easy. My Spanish gets me by for everyday situations but not for technical questions.

Finally I was escorted into the room. I didn’t like what I saw!! The dentist and assistant were dressed head to toe in blue garb. Over their head was a plastic hood and they were wearing masks. What did I get myself into!!!!. I wanted to leave. This wasn’t like the relaxed atmosphere at home. I pressed on and ended up having a bit of a debate with them over leaving my glasses on. Finally they relented. I wanted to see where I was going when I made my escape!

That feeling became even more intense when they brought out the drill! What a drill for teeth cleaning!!! Never had that before. Chips started flying from my teeth as he drilled my lower teeth. If this was going to happen for all my teeth I was going to bolt.

After he stopped a few times I sat up in the chair just to get my bearings together.

Strangely, and luckily I might add, he stopped the drilling after he did the bottom front teeth. After that he flossed all my teeth and polished them I had the fluoride treatment and that was it. Only 30 minutes.

There was no picking away at my other teeth, no water picking and no laser treatment like at home. At this point I wasn’t going to complain. I just wanted out of there. It cost me $40 US for the torture. Well, at least my teeth were cleaner I guess.

Perhaps I should have waited until I hit a major city.

My Route on September 25, 2017

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My Route on September 26, 2017

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My Route on September 27, 2017

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My Location on September 28 and 29, 2017

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Out of Sorts in Alajuela Costa Rica

After arriving back in Alajuela Costa Rica from my 2 week vacation in Vancouver to see my kids, I was feeling a bit out of sorts. My head felt like my brain had turned into cement. I’m not sure why. But these are some of the reasons I came up with:

  • I was suffering from another sinus infection.
  • After 2 weeks of being around my kids and grandkids almost 24/7 it was lonely back at my airbnb and not having people to talk to and play with.
  • I miss my kids and grandkids.
  • Vancouver Canada is beautiful and things are clean and orderly, whereas Alajuela lacks the charm and character of other places I have visited like Oaxaca Mexico, Antigua Guatemala, or Leon Nicaragua.
  • In Vancouver it was daylight until 9 pm. In Alajuela it gets dark at 6 pm.
  • I am getting tired of the rainy season.
  • 14 months of being a transient takes its toll.
  • Just a normal cycle.

I’m not really sure. Perhaps all of the above.


My Airbnb in Alajuela was pretty nice. It was also under my budget as I had booked it for a month.

outside 2 airbnb alajuela

outside airbnb alajuela

airbnb alajuela

I definitely got some exercise though. It was a 2 km walk up and down hills to get to Starbucks where I spent most of my days working on blogs. For the first few days I felt it in my calfs.


Yes I know …Starbucks Starbucks Starbucks ha ha. I fell in love with the chain back in 1993 when I was working in Vancouver. There was a Starbucks right below my office. A group of us would go there each morning for coffee. Back then it was a novelty and not the ubiquitous entity it is now. It was cool then. Now people like to put it down because it is a chain. But I don’t care. It is my home away from home. And free Wifi to do my blogs 🙂

The one in Alajuela is particularly nice, both the building and the staff.



Ever since the first day I arrived in Alajuela they remembered my name and greeted me with it as I walked in each day. It is the small things like that that make a solo traveler feel good.


I spent 2 weeks in Alajuela and developed a bit of a routine. First thing in the morning it was off to Starbucks for my morning coffee. I couldn’t leave too early though. Unlike Canada where Starbucks opens at 5 or 6 am to catch all those commuters needing their morning coffee on their way to work, here Starbucks didn’t open until 8:30 am on weekdays and 9:30 am on weekends.

I would work on my blogs until lunch time. Then I would head to a fast food place. Everything is soooooo expensive here and so to stay within budget, fast food is all I could afford. For example, a Starbucks Grande coffee and a blueberry muffin cost me $7:30 Canadian. A Big Mac Combo was $8.50.

After lunch I headed back to Starbucks to work some more. Then came the tricky part. Everyday, starting in the afternoon, there is a thunderstorm and torrential rains.

rain alajuela

The trick was to figure out if I should wait it out or head home before it started. I had to judge just how quickly the storm was developing.

Before walking back home I would stop at Subway to pick up a meal for dinner.


Another cheap eat for here anyways.

Yes, the mall where the Subway and Starbucks is is modern. A lot of cities in Mexico and Central America have a North American style mall somewhere to cater to the more well to do people. It certainly doesn’t represent the rest of Alajuela. Although, Costa Rica in general is a wealthy country compared to the other Central American countries I have visited so far.


There were a few things to take care of while I was here. I wanted to get my teeth cleaned. I made an appointment online. However, when I arrived I was met with a closed door.


Turned out they had moved from that location. They hadn’t updated their website or confirmation response.

My motorcycle needed cleaning too. Some people take pride in a bike covered in mud. I like to ride a clean motorcycle 🙂

car wash

car wash 2

It just seems to perform better when clean ha ha.

With that I was ready to leave Alajuela. Too long here.

My Location from August 14 to 16 and September 1 to 9, 2017

alajuela 2

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