First Night Out In Bocas Del Toro

Last night I went out with some people I’d just met from my hostel (a girl from Iceland, a guy from there and some guys from Holland). They said we’re going to Ladies Night at Iguana Bar because it means girls get free drinks between 10 and 11pm. In the end we actually got there at 11 so couldn’t take advantage of that.

It was literally a 2 minute walk from the hostel and it had an inside part and an outside part which was literally built over the sea. There was an area where you could sit down and take your shoes off and put your feet in the sea! I’m sure some drunk people must have fallen in though.

There was a poster outside saying “reggae” etc so I was happy cos that’s the music I like. The dj, who had dreadlocks and was wearing a tshirt that said “POWER TO THE PLANET” did play it for the first like 20 minutes but then he switched to commercial to keep the travellers happy. About 75% of the people in there were backpackers/travellers (white), which to be honest I found quite annoying cos I’d rather experience something that’s actually panamanian.

The high amount of travellers also meant that half of the locals who were there were only there to sell drugs. For some reason it didn’t seem to be a problem for me and the other girl, but the guys in our group said they got asked if they needed cocaine every time they went to the bathroom, and one even got offered sex by a prostitute. Now I know if a local in a bar talks to me it might just be to sell me drugs, which is quite sad really.

Anyway at about half past midnight the dj switched back to dancehall and reggaeton music (after I requested some dancehall). I go crazy when my favourite songs come on, but it was so weird being out with people who had no idea what it was. I really need to find a dancehall buddy (hopefully someone local who’s not a drug dealer) for the time I’m gonna be here.

When reggaeton is played, girls and guys dance with each other a bit like salsa but closer, and one local guy decided to grab my hands so I danced with him but I didn’t really have a clue what I was supposed to do and he was singing the Spanish lyrics in my face but his breath stank!!! He kept telling me (in Spanish) “you know how to dance”, but I was giving him one of my unimpressed looks which normally makes guys go away but he carried on dancing with me for like 5 songs. I guess I should get used to it, and it was kind of fun.

All the bartenders in there spoke English and the signs with drinks prices were also in English (not helpful for me practicing Spanish) and they were way more expensive than I thought. A single (like rum and coke or whatever) is $4 and then a double is $8. I only had one drink cos I don’t care about alcohol when there’s music I like and to be honest I don’t know how safe I’d be as a drunk girl late at night here.

I was still having fun but the others weren’t feeling the reggaeton so we left at 1am (another reason why I need to find some locals to go out with). When we were walking home I heard another bar in the distance playing dancehall, so there is hope! Had I been with a friend from home who’s into that music we would have gone to find that bar, not gone home, but oh well.

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