The Roasterie’s Travels: Destination Panama – Part 3

Day 6

Yesterday morning began bright and early with a wake up call to tour the farm Argovia with Bruno. It was a beautiful place that we were given the full tour of in an old, open sided, Jeep. We were driven up the mountain and saw all the coffee varieties they had; I even got to see my first robusta plant! After we were finished in the fields, we were taken to the farm’s school house where all the children ran out to greet us. They were very friendly and each one came up and hugged without reservations. We told them we had some schools supplies for them and the teacher was more than thrilled. After the visit to the school, we went back up the the house and had a great breakfast. We were in a slight hurry because we were to meet our body guards at the Guatemala boarder at noon and had a 90 minute drive to get there. Once we said our goodbyes we were off…followed by a short detour to a local cafe so Danny could load up on Mexican chocolates.

Once at the boarder everything was going great until we found out we needed to cancel our vehicle import sticker Nuevo Mexico, which was 30 minutes back into Mexico. So, we hired a little guide to get us there faster. He was a young man from Guatemala, who works on the boarder helping people get through faster and telling them what they need or are missing before they begin the customs process. Once we got back after canceling the permit, we were greeted by our 2 body guards, an older man who they called “Comendante” and a short rotund man who does not strike you as a bodyguard. After a little more hassle in getting our papers in order to import the car we were on our way; Following the older man’s car, while the short man rode with us. I started talking to him about his job, but he wasn’t really into making conversation. Until I pulled out a chocolate bar that is…then he automatically became my friend. He had been in the security business for 4 years after going through lots of training. He also said that he had never shot anyone but has had to pull his gun out a few times. During our conversation he received a phone call from Comandante, saying that there was a suspicious car following us and that we should pass him to see what the car would do. Once Danny heard this he took off like a bat out of hell, passing him and a bunch of other cars. For a short time it looked like we were being followed, as the other car kept up with us, but after a few minutes it turned off and I could once again breath easily. After this i was on my toes and every time our guy would turn around and look behind us, i would as well. He then told me that he was really nervous because he had left his gun in the other car and that when people see cars with U.S. license plates that’s when the trouble might start.

After continuing on the road to the farm we decided to stop for a late lunch. It was a butcher shop that would also cook the meat for you and man was it good. I was slightly skeptical because there were no freezers, ice or refrigerators and all the meat was hanging on hooks right in the open…but it was amazing. The torillas were made right there and the guacamole that came with it was incredible. After eating way more than we should have, we were again on our way. About 20 minutes after lunch we hit a long string of traffic. It was raining pretty hard and what we thought would be another hour to the farm turned into 2.5 hours. Finally arriving at the farm we met with Estuardo Erales, Juan Carlos Lantzendorffer and Mario Castillo, who all work for Cafcom. We then sat around and had a few drinks before having a great dinner of tortilla lasagna…which was followed by a few more drinks. Even though it was a slightly stressful day, it was an awesome adventure. How often are you going to have your own body guards and constantly worry you’re being followed?