It would appear that the only time you can't get food in Colon is lunchtime. Unless you want icecream. Tonnes and tonnes of icecream.
I felt like yelling "Open a lunch cafe - there's no competition!"
For dinner on the 27th we decided to go to that cafe again. We sat down. Maho attracted my attention. It was the same waiter again! I waved in a grand way to embarrass him. He hesitantly waved in acknowledgement with a half smile.
The chef WAS there this time. I ordered dos carne empanada. Maho ordered a burger. The waiter asked a question. Well, she didn't want to accidentally order me something again so Maho looked politely blank.
"Sandwich?" he asked
"Yes" replied Maho.
AHA!! You DO speak English, you cunning bastard!
I recall reading that South American machismo dictates that men shouldn't embarrass themselves by speaking English badly. Better to pretend that you don't speak it at all. That would explain the waiter's and Dario's original reticence.
On the third day we were simply wandering around and passed 'our' cafe again. Maho nudged me. Our waiter was waving at us through the glass.
We waved enthusiastically back and I laughed like a drain.
We caught the bus back to Santiago by the dick of the Napoleon of bees. This was after I'd assured Maho we had plenty of time to walk to the hotel from the boat to meet the taxi I'd booked for 5.45. We were passed by the taxi when we were within sight of the hotel. He hung around long enough for me to have to run to flag him down. We begged a toilet break from the manager who seemed so extremely sad he'd allowed tourists into his hotel, grabbed our bags and piled into the cab. We were the last on the bus and had to get them to reopen the luggage compartment.
Leaving the manager to philosophise over the obvious folly of running a hotel, I pondered how buses always leave on the dot, yet the journey can take an extra hour or so longer than anticipated. Oh well. Maho's faith in me was only slightly shaken by this. Luckily I only got us lost twice in Santiago.
Final Colon scorecard:
Arse demon: 3
Long suffering Maho: -3