Posted by: luisabaldwin | August 21, 2009

BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA

AS TIME TURNS INTO NOTHING

You know things have slowed down when the big decision of the day is discovering a new restaurant or deciding which beach to go to.

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And it’s just what the doctor ordered after the ordeal of closing down the house and preparing for an international move.  Actually, just sitting on your deck and watching life go by seems satisfying.  You can go out for breakfast at ten in the morning and not get back to the hotel until two in the afternoon.  Fellow travelers have lots of interesting stories to tell and we’ve met some great people.  For the moment, we don’t want any schedules.

As the backpackers slept in after a Saturday night of partying, Sunday ushered in church bells and the sounds of a Catholic Church service.  The pews were packed with families dressed in their Sunday best.  After their church service, we heard the sound of drums and wandered over to the plaza to check it out.  Headed by a police car announcing the parade on his loudspeaker, and followed by the walking drummers, a parade of local villagers carrying signs was making its way down the main street.  The signs read slogans against drugs.  One in particular said, “Say yes to life and no to drugs” in Spanish.

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Yes, the village was, once again, protecting their children and their culture against the tides of change.  There don’t seem to be a lot of rules and regulations in Bocas but there is one that stands out.  By 9 P.M. the children must be home and off the streets to do their studies.  If they are caught out, the police will pick them up and put them in the poke.  Mom’s are then contacted and wait angrily outside the police station to pay their $50.00 (a staggering amount by Panamanian standards) to get their children out of detention and give the policeman a piece of their mind..  Once the child is eighteen years of age, they’re free to “corrupt” themselves. Oh and yes, I forgot the other rule.  You can’t walk topless on the streets.  Even the men have to put on their t-shirts!
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As the water taxi glided through the dark mangroves to dock at the little island of Carneros, our new adventure produced these pictures. The sloths in the Isla Carneros mangrove were, however, on vacation and nowhere to be seen.  I’m sure we’ll encounter some in the future. Sometimes the prettiest things are to be found in the tiniest creatures or by jumping inside a flower.

This bright lime green and black spotted frog is tiny – really tiny.  But as beautiful as any small creature could be.

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Some of you may know that I used to create greeting cards with my macro-photography of flowers and sold them to flower shops and gift shops in Arizona and California.  Too bad I don’t still have that business.

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Panama is a treasure-cove for the photographer.  Here’s one for the books.

Another adventure took us on a forty-five minute bus ride to the northern part of the island.  The ginger plants were flowering and their aroma filled the bus with a sweet and clean smell.  Although the road was not paved, the driver drove it all day long every day and knew exactly where the potholes were.  You know, “the road less traveled”.

The bumpy ride was worth it though and we were rewarded with this delightful little monkey playing with some fishing line at Playa Bocas del Drago.  As with most days on this island, the weather was very kind to us.

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Sunny in the morning while it was cool and cloudy in the afternoon when it would have otherwise gotten very hot.  The water was nothing more than a slice of heaven – the perfect temperature to frolic around in the calm lagoon.

This Lahaina, Maui like island brings back many memories.  Island life here is imminently safe with the locals living in harmony with the tourists.  Some of you have wanted to know what the temperature is.  Well the highs are 85 degrees with humidity running about the same.  Sometimes in the morning, the temperature is just about ideal.  But on a sunny afternoon it can get downright brutal.

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It’s been great being on and in the water.  For both of us it’s been a long time since we have been on a beach. The last time Jim was on the beach was on the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean and for me, it was Bali, Indonesia.

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That was some forty years ago and we’ve both been working since.  We have definitely slowed down for now.  Soon we take off for Boquete in the mountains for a different kind of experience.  Boquete is the heartland of Panama’s coffee growing plantations and you know my love of coffee.  It’s also the flower capital of the country – so stay tuned.

Photography by:
Luisa Baldwin
© All rights reserved

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Responses

  1. Still looking fantastic….doing cards again…hmm, just an idea ..worth pursuing?

    • Well Rondi, I suppose I could! But at the moment we’re just looking around and having fun. I have another opportunity for work here and I may explore that in more depth just as soon as we settle.

  2. Really enjoy these updates, especially the pictures, keep it up!

  3. Thanks for the pictures and for all of the updates of your travels. Everything is going well at the cottage and I’ve the named the cottage “Whisper Wood”. All of the morning glories are in bloom on the water tower and the birds are glorious. We’ve become great friends! The season is beginning to change (I’m sensitive to it) and the leaves will start to turn soon. I’ve become friends with Maryse (she is so genuine and nice). We will enjoy gardening together in the spring. I’ve go a rototiller and we’ll be turning the ground after the first rain in October. Your writing is so descriptive, I feel as if I’m right there with you two on the adventure.


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