For a Gringa navigating David is very hard. David is a sprawling cow town and the second largest city in Panama. I don't think it is very big, it looks quite small from the air, but on the ground it is complex. That said, the rewards for being able to find things here are great. It is much bigger and more prosperous than Boquete. Almost everything you could ever want, and many things you would never want, are available here somewhere.
There are a number of reasons why it took me 2 months to make the trip. David is hellish hot and one of the ugliest towns I have ever known. No land marks that stick up in the sky, not even a church spire, big potholes in the road where you least expect and driving that makes London look tame. There are landmarks in the middle of the soup, like the startlingly red David Hotel, but I still have to drive around in circles sweeping the general area to find them. The best advice I received was to take a tranquilizer a nice bottle of wine and hire a taxi to do the driving for you. The trouble with this is there is only so much stuff you can fit in a little yellow taxi.
So off Beatrice and I went, with a very long list and a whole day at our disposal. We started cleaning out the shelves of cascade gel tablets in El Rey one of the big super markets and the replacement mop sponges in Novey, a sort of household' bed bath and beyond' kind of place. If you see something you absolutely need, stockpile, you never know when you might see it again. We had lived without cascade dishwasher tablets for 2 months. Lets just say, after some trial and error, Tide Ultra works but is probably not very good for the machine.
We had an excellent lunch at Cuatro. It was all delicious. However, for me the most impressive was the macaroni cheese for Beatrice on the children's menu. It was homemade, beautifully put together and she loved it. Rare on a children's menu.
Fortified by lunch and a glass of wine or two it was time to find the French bakery. I had left about 2 hours for this, I knew it would be challenging. The staff in the restaurant had given me directions, it was about 1/2 a mile away maybe 10 mins. One hour later I had found the local University, American store, a huge taxi stand and, voila, a French bakery. Unfortunately, not the French bakery I needed, a whole sale place that made long French like sticks of bread, probably open all night but by 2.30pm in the afternoon it was shut. Oh well, not one to be defeated............
After stopping some likely looking women a new set of directions emerged. Beatrice was becoming sceptical and name calling the kind people giving us directions 'liar liar pants on fire' (hopefully no one understood her speaking English). 30 mins later we found Marapan the bakery I had been searching for for months and got our pastries and Beatrice had a meringue shaped like a catapillar. Then spent the next 40 mins making sure I could find it again by not making any turns until I got to the Inter-American highway. Not an efficient strategy but a fool proof one.
Came out on inter-American half way to Pricesmart so decided to go and see what I could find there. Fairly pleased to find minced chicken meat, agave syrup and the 6 buck 12 yr old rum in a nice box. Also, stocked up on Barilla pasta. Until living in Panama I had not realized that pasta varied so much in quality. Humbling actually, as I had always considered any pasta to be a fairly in-expensive food. Here, I have learnt that Barilla is the only brand on the shelves that for me is worth cooking sauce for and I am very grateful I can afford it.
Next stop, the wholesale fish market on the way to the airport. This is relatively very easy to find for a Gringa. All Gringos know one route in David and that is the way to the airport, anything en route to the airport is a relative breeze. The fish market is easy to find just about 500 yds on from the Prison which is hard to miss with all the barbed wire. They have great fish here at terrific prices, I was told about this place by my Spanish teacher. Good find. Nice men too, they showed Beatrice a sharks jaw with all 7 layers of teeth, she was impressed and asked how the shark could manage without its teeth...Time to go before she asks in Spanish.
Homeward bound, just needed some fruit. Mostly some yellow pineapples that are actually ready to eat. Very tricky most are sold quite green and take fore ever to ripen. Boquete is full of green pineapples or somewhat yellow ones going brown on the bottom. As luck would have it spotted a yellow taxi with a boot/trunk stuffed full of beautiful golden pineapples. We laid chase to the taxi and followed it to the fruit stand he was planning to unload and sell to, and purchased a couple.
Home again. More action than I like in a day. If we are careful, maybe I can last another couple of months before going foraging again in David.