Hello One and All from Bocas del Toro, Panama on Day R-12 and Day 9 of the GREAT! We are on Isla Colon in the Province of Bocas del Toro in a housing development about 3 miles (5 km) from the city of Bocas del Toro. Just Bocas to the locals! We arrived from Cost Rica on Tuesday in the afternoon after flying a puddle jumper that for some reason needed 2 pilots. Not sure why!
Here are a few first impressions of Bocas up to this point. The people are very friendly! Both in CR and Panama and quite a few are ex-pats. Here in town the markets are known by their owners… there are 2 Chinese markets, an American market, and a gourmet American market; as well as a number of smaller local 7-11 type markets. Prices seem to be rather reasonable as we have already shopped twice! The first after we were picked up at the airport by our neighbors and then again yesterday when we walked into town. The “Super”markets are rather small but have a nice selection.
So far we have been fortunate, at least for us very white gringos, to have had moderate weather. It has been hot and humid, perfect weather, and today is rainy and a bit cold… at least cold if you are from Panama! The locals are in coats and we are in shorts with the AC on. Seems we have had a bit of everything… it rained rather hard last night; if the noise created from it hitting the metal roof is any indication!
Flora and Fauna
We have a number of pictures of both… I’m just not sure which is which! Sue is having a great time with her camera and we have a ton of pictures! I’m expecting she will be posting them to Picasa soon and I’ll add a link here when that happens. In the meantime you only get a few pics in here! I’m not much on the flora (I’m assuming that’s the flowery part) but I was a tiny bit surprised that the trees are not palm tree type but include a number of different small leaf variety trees. Lots of fancy colored birds. Right now my fave bird is all black with long bright yellow tail feathers. It doesn’t make a lot of noise but when it does, you know it! Sue calls them the upside down yellow tail noise maker as they will be on a branch and then go upside down and make their call on the way back up. It’s fun to watch!
We also saw 4 howler monkeys across the street from us on the first day but haven’t seen them since. They also make lots of noise! There are also trails of leaf-cutter ants marching back and forth and when I say trail that is exactly what it is. They have been at it long enough to have cut a trail about 3 inches wide in the grass.
Let me introduce you to my leetle friend…
I was lying in the hammock (I know that’s hard for you to believe!) when this little guy showed up on my chest. While Sue went scurrying to get the camera he scurried on up to my cheek. We have also seen a few of his big cousins, the iguanas!
Food and Drink
Thanks Cindy for asking! In CR, we tried a few different local beers, Imperial, Bavaria, and Pilsener; none of them outstanding. Here in Panama, we have tried the Balboa and Panama. Again, not memorable; but perhaps I have been spoiled by all of the microbrews back home. We are trying to eat “local” as part of our experience so naturally our first day in CR we had a cheeseburger! I know, I know… it was more of an experiment for me to see how it would compare. And it did, very good! But since then we have been much more diligent about trying the local fare and have been rewarded. From whole grilled red snapper and sea bass in white sauce to the fried plantains (like bananas) and ceviches, it has all been very good. On our last night in CR, the owner of the B&B took us out to a local restaurant where Sue had Jumbo shrimp in garlic and butter and I had a very tasty sea bass. Liquor is pretty cheap here with rum being the cheapest (imagine that!). Yesterday we had 4 beers with lunch; cost?… $5. I could get used to this!
Here in Bocas there are a number of different cuisines available from pizza and Mexican, to Chinese. Guess it takes a village to be diverse! We plan on trying a number of them over the next few weeks!
Christmas is only a few days away and the decorations here are… interesting… and out of place! Christmas trees show up in unusual spots and as you are walking down the street, with sweat pouring from every pore you stumble across a Xmas socking with Disney’s Goofy prominently displayed; but that is the only decoration! Enjoy your own christmas time!
Marty & Sue