Life in Panama very much reminds me of the movie life from Texas in the US, likely due to the front porches. The material was the sort of wood you saw flying around after Hurricane Katrina. With the reclaimed ownership of the 77km long Panama canal in 2014, one would assume to find a wealthy country. However, as the disparities in the world increase, the same pattern is observable in Panama. Now dive into a few thoughts on Bocas de Toro and more.
Bocas de Toro
Two young boys, maybe 7 or 8, are ripping styrofoam into tiny pieces with their teeth. Are they eating it? A woman from the bar stops by and explains that they get paid so they then form chairs from the little pieces. Is this child labor?
People watch football, Venezuela is playing. Not sure about the score, a bunch of guys linger outside of one of these American front porch houses. A dog from the street managed to sneak out a carpet from one of the shops having so much fun ripping it apart, giving in to his instincts.
Children are playing in the streets, dogs are sleeping at the pier curiously looking at strangers. Someone is doing the dishes in a kitchen, a real fisherman. A boat is going out into the bay, its white sail is glowing in the light of the setting sun. The sound of a scooter comes closer. Big pick up trucks are rolling down the street and black men from Jamaica with golden necklaces sell bus rides to the beach. It is pure and truthful, not one of the touristy places.
A local guy walks down the street, circle sunglasses on his nose, long indie hair. We connect then and there, strolling the streets, really small town, island life. We have some cold drinks at the backyard of his place right at the water, then walk to an unknown, non-touristy beach.
The sky looks rough. There is a footbridge and I just keep walking towards a dog who seemed to be waiting for us, belonging to no one. I just stand there for a while, feeling the breeze on my skin. We share a coke at his friend’s beach restaurant when he tells me his stories.
Originally from the eastern Caribbean coast of Panama, he left his family and vegetable farm behind to now sell his own jewellery in the mountain town of Boquette. I’m fascinated to hear about his ancestors and how he is sure they have given our generation a specific energy, manifested in the material world. He speaks how galaxies exists out there and is amazed by the energy of the universe and how in the end all the energy is found in one’s very own nature.
The speedboat takes a couple of turns and soon disappears between some small tropical islands. It starts raining as we reached a small restaurant, the prices are ridiculous: 24$ for a fish? I discover some tasty homemade buns from the house next door. It feels like an eternity that we are waiting to for the tour to continue, for the rain to pass.
Sitting on the boat, I get into some sort of meditative state with the bumps of the waves. I am protecting my spine and have all my gravity focused on my seating bones, thinking about the life metaphor of a boat just like this dashing though life. Eventually it was time, we were asked to take our cloths off in order to get ready for the water. Brrr. What a unexpected Caribbean experience!
The blue shoreline of some island comes into view. What beautiful waves! In awe I see the turquoise water, the white sand, the beautiful palm trees coming closer into perspective. It is deserted, there is nothing but nature and it is still raining. The German couple takes nothing but a bottle of rum. I pretend to be a doctor,umped into the knee-deep water wearing a transparent white raincoat.
The rain is dripping down as I held on to my camera, but I walk barefoot through the palm forest to the other side of the island. I find a swing under a tree and am rocking back and forth for a little eternity.