Bemused in Bocas

As we’ve learned our way around Bocas Town and Isla Colon, we’ve come across a few things that made us say “hmmmm”. We thought you might enjoy hearing about the little idiosyncrasies of living on a little island in Panama.

Eating out:
We’ve decided there must be a napkin wrapping union somewhere that determines how to wrap a paper napkin around your dining utensils in such a way that you almost have to tear up the napkin to get to your fork! Seriously, we have watched the wrapping in action, and the waitress will take the knife, wrap the napkin once, then add the fork and wrap again, before folding the top of the napkin down and wetting the end to make it stick! We assume the purpose is to avoid having the napkin blow away, however it’s amazing how time consuming it is to do, especially considering when there is a napkin holder on each table!

Salt and pepper shakers – Don’t even bother trying to salt your food…the salt is all in one solid chunk!

Serving staffs here get a bit short-changed, in that bills arrive with a 10% service charge already added in. We usually toss in a little extra unless the server is grumpy, slow, or uninterested in dealing with Gringos (which surprisingly happens quite often). We have a few restaurants where we have gotten to know the staff so those are our “friendly” places.

Power Outages: Every month there is a scheduled four-hour electrical outage (in addition to lots of unscheduled ones), so that the power company can change the oil in the generators that power the town!

Coffee Enhancer: When making coffee in the morning, it’s not unusual for Gary or Gloria (our resident geckos) to come flying out when we pour the water into the coffee maker! It’s a little extra flavoring, along with a wake up call to start the day!

Speaking of geckos, there is a constant trail of gecko guano created as they wander wantonly over the fine furnishings.

ALTO: We have decided that the Alto signs (aka STOP signs) are not really intended to stop anyone, instead it’s “just a suggestion”. The running joke is that since “alto” also means “high”, that the sign is actually telling you to go high speed through the intersection!

Lights at night seem to be optional on water taxis that travel between the islands. It’s more unusual for a taxi to have lights than vice versa! On a dark night, when there are lots of taxis buzzing everywhere it can be a bit intimidating!

I particularly found the idea of a soccer/baseball field intriguing. Especially since it is at the end of the runway… wait for it… inside the airport fence!!

Ciao, Baby! The standard salutation for leaving is “ciao”… I don’t know about you, but that sounds Italian to me! And so we bid a fond “ciao” to Bocas and head for the mountain hideaway of Boquete. The modes of transportation will be a golf cart/”mule” to town, a water taxi/”bone jarring torture machine” to Almirante, a car taxi/”oh dear God, please slow down!!” to the bus depot, a bus to David, another car taxi to the David Airport where we will rent a car and steel our nerves to drive with the locals to our hotel in Boquete. Wish us luck!

On Wednesday we took a ride down the San San River… we have been having connection difficulties but that will be the next blog so please check back tomorrow and we hope to have a some great pics of sloths, toucans, and manatee snouts!

Marty & Sue

PS Having trouble loading pics! I couldn’t even get one “teaser” to load.