Who needs a car?

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hotel Tierra Verde

Flag of Panama  , Bocas del Toro,
Sunday, November 25, 2012

We drove up to the North along the only road to the Caribbean, so no chance of getting lost or having a row, entering rain forest and cloud forest whilst we went over the mountains. The indigenous people live in this area in little wooden huts carrying their goods by use of a strap around their heads. As most of Panama, the adult population live a rural life tending their animals, dressed accordingly, the most surprising thing is that the kids going to school, and they have to walk in some cases miles, are dressed in the smartest uniforms. The people obviously appreciate the value of education.

The roads in Panama are OK, but in places they can be very rutted and potholed, leading to rapid changes in speed and a degree of swerving required. Glenn, singing along as he drove totally miss judged a pot hole, he tried unsuccessfully to blame Carol but she was having none of it. The pot hole was hit and Glenn caught out of the side window of the car something passing them, It was one of the car's hub caps. Carol was instructed to retrieve the item ( in case there were any snakes) returning to the car with 2 hub caps and the question 'which one is ours?' Strangely, they both fitted and matched but we were only missing one, the other was put in the car 'for a rainy day'. The previous Toyota Yaris driver wasn't as observant when he hit the pothole as Glenn.  

In our dreams we see special places, to some the Caribbean is just such a place. Sophisticated, relaxed, full of the rich and famous. That probably describes the majority of the islands, but not Bocas del Toro, the Panamanian version. Panamanian islands are where people live and are not developed for many tourists. We were fortunate to book onto a small island off the main town, to which we travelled by boat, our island had no roads or pavements simply a walk along the beach to wherever you wanted to be. Truly relaxing.

Finding the way from the mainland town, to the boat dock which operated a shuttle boat service was an experience, but luckily a guy on a bike stopped us as we were in the totally wrong place, and said 'Taxi 25'. We followed him not quite sure what he was getting us into, but he simply knew that as, we think, he had taken all the signs down, he was on a little earner taking the lost to the boat.

Anyway we crowded onto a motor boat, wondering why there was a mad rush and no one wanted the back row, which is where we sat, the boat set off at a very leisurely pace, Glenn looked around and said, 'I don't know why they have got such big engines on this boat, if they opened them up, this boat would fly.' They opened them up and Glenn was right. Pinned back in our seats we experienced the fastest motor boat ride of our lives. Carol couldn't breathe for the initial acceleration, it was very apparent why the back row was occupied by tourists and not the locals, the sea spray drenched Glenn, Carol sheltered behind his still impressive frame (Glenn wrote this bit). She managed to stay dry!

Getting to the main island then led to another boat ride across to the smaller island we were to stay on. The hotel was made totally out of wood and only had a few rooms, It had its own boat dock, with the owner calling up for boat taxis if we wanted to change islands. We spent the majority of our time sat on the boat dock, which also had a shelter, a hammock and loungers, watching the sea, the pelicans which Carol called herons for the duration of our stay, and the fish, leaping. It was known for at least one of us to snooze (see video), although she denied going to sleep that afternoon until evidence was produced.

Going for our evening meal meant walking along the sandy path, Glenn was allowed to be in possesion of the torch, for the first night, but as he was fascinated by the turquoise crabs that were all over the path, leaving Carol to wander unlit into puddles and long grass, he was chastised and taken off the torch monitor duty from then on.

Because the weather was not as good as it could have been we didn't do any island hopping or tours but we are definitely going to go back at some time and see much more of this area.

We are now only one week away from returning to the USA for our cruise so there will be a blog next week, but the a two week absence whilst we are at sea.

We still intend to go to other countries if we can be bothered, but as we are so relaxed at present, the manana mantra has taken over, we'll see.

 Look after yourselves



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