Five days earlier, at a Friday night dinner at the Panama City Chabad, where, as newlyweds, we were literally serenaded, we met an Israeli traveler who told us about a tour guide who we needed to meet. Jeep tours, horseback riding, getting to see the real Panama, etc–all the for low price of $50 a day. Plus, this included an unbelievable Israeli breakfast–salads, eggs, bread, cheeses… To be fair, that might be what ultimately sold us.
At first, things really were amazing. When we arrived at his house, the tour guide invited us to sit at a table outside while his girlfriend proceeded to bring us dish after dish. We were told that first we should eat and relax and then we could decide if we wanted to hire him for the day. How could we say no?
That day, we saw waterfalls and pineapple fields, drank delicious sugarcane water, immersed ourselves in hot springs, skipped along rocks against cold rapids, rode horses through stony paths and then under the stars, stood on a bull, and experienced the advances of a real-live cowboy who knew a spattering of Hebrew. We returned to our guide’s home for a kosher meat dinner (!) and decided to spend the night. It was the perfect adventure; we’d broken our plans for a new opportunity that proved to be totally worth it.
And then Ben started throwing up. And the next night I was the one throwing up. We delayed our flight to Costa Rica and spent the next few days in bed, staying away from food–eating it, speaking about it, thinking about it…
We lost five days to food poisoning, but I don’t really remember this regretfully. Mostly what I remember from this time is waking up after I’d spent the night with my head over the toilet to hear Ben on the phone. He was canceling the flights. He was canceling our hotel reservation in Costa Rica. He was taking care of everything. I drifted back to sleep.