No power, but a starfish

Trip Start Jun 27, 2009
Trip End Jul 09, 2009

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Where I stayed
Salt Creek, Bastimentos - Sal Si Puedes home

Flag of Panama  , Bocas del Toro,
Sunday, July 5, 2009

We left La Loma with the rest of our group as they were all heading to town or back to Panama City. We were running late and were about an hour and a half behind when we met up with Gregorio, the caretaker of the house we rented.  He wasn't especially welcoming, but we chalked it up to him having to wait so long at the dock for us.  We made it to the house, and we were greet by a local Ngobe woman who is the maid every other day or so.  She was friendly and a nice change from Gregorio.  The house (as most in this area) is completely off the grid.  All power comes from solar or a gas generator.....  hence the problems begin!  We lost power last night at around 9:30 which was followed by a long beeping sound from the solar batteries that lasted the entire night.  We were quite worried that we may lose the food that we brought as the fridge went without power for about 12 hours.  This could have been handled better by Gregorio as when we arrived at the house, he helped us unload and then pretty much disappeared until early this morning. 

To alleviate our worries about him departing so oddly, we hiked into the Ngobe village early this morning in an effort to find him.  I think we came close to actually finding his house, but after a while of stumbling through the language barrier not to mention all the mud, we turned back.  We figured that the sight of two Greengos walking through the village would filter back to him quickly and apparently it did, as he showed up around 9am and got the power back on.

As we walked through the village, we noticed the US Aid shelter, we assume for immunizations and medical attention.  We were literally walking through people's homes.  Laundry hanging, all the family members, looking out their casa’s to see who the white people are that are walking through their village.  There was a small church in the center and a small school, a restaurant and a market.  We met Alfredo along the way, a local Ngobe guide who offered to take us on an island hike.  We may take him up on it but after doing that a little bit already, we’re ready for some beach time. 

We also learned that there are a couple expat Americans who manage the houses near us for the out of country owners.  They were very helpful in putting us at ease about the situation with Gregorio and we didn't feel so much like pathetic Americanos who couldn't stand a night filled with beeps and no electricity. 

Today, Gregorio stuck around up until thus far.  There is a building in back that he stays in and we're hoping that he stays through the night tonight, just in case the same situation arises.  I think part of the problem was that we simply don't understand what kind of power is available to us and how little there actually is without the assistance of the generator.

We asked Gregorio to take us by boat out to the Zapatilla Islands today.  They are two islands that form a national park along the Caribbean coastline.  They are, from what we gathered, the location for one of the previous Survivor episodes.  The islands are quite pristine considering how much trash is around everywhere else.  He kindly drove the boat right up onto the beach and let us off with a cooler full of water and beer and then anchored offshore while we explored the coastline.  We came across a starfish about 8 inches across and I thought that Mel's head might explode from sheer excitement!  ;)  We both picked it up and spent some time with it before putting it back into the water.  Unfortunately, the water was quite cloudy from recent storms and the snorkeling was less than spectacular.  Using borrowed equipment from the house probably didn't help, as my mask was leaking quickly and we called it a day after a brief look at a sandy bottom of the ocean. 

Tomorrow we're planning on heading back to the Bocas town area to have a bite to eat and a little interaction with town folks.  We've heard a rumor about a small little place that has really good Thai, so I think that'll be the destination.  We'll be at this location until Wednesday morning when we fly to David and then drive (yikes!) to Boquete.

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ursula on

we're going to this house in Bastimentos in February, do you have anymore advise ??

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