08:00 – The Shuttle to Bocas del Toro is already waiting at the Mamallena hostel. It seems we have to first head south again towards David and make a detour to get to Isla Colon by driving over the mountains. As we ascend to a Bosque nublado – cloud forrest, the fog obscures the view of the bus driver almost completely. Strange how he manages to get us safely along the serpentine road. The higher we get, the less actual houses are along the road and the amount of more simple huts increases. The majority of the inhabitants of the mountains seem to be of the indigenous population, having lots of “molas”, traditional stiched clothing hung at the front walls.
Bocas del Toro –
The bus get exchanged for a water taxi – and the operators are insisting in everyone wearing lifejackets. Oh well… I wonder what happened before causing this. As we head into the direction of Isla Colon we pass a large Chiquita Banana freighter. During our ride we get to talk to a Canadian who has already been on the islands several times. He was done some dives with most of the dive operators there, yet his first pick is “La Buga”.
The rickety panga skids across the ocean
and enters a tunnel of mangroves.
Islands appear on the pane of blue glass
each a unique treasure to behold.
Clapboard houses painted pastel hues
sit on stilts on docks over the turquoise bay
faded and weathered I wonder
if Bocas is a ghetto fabulous Nantucket.
On the main drag you’ll find
tour desks restaurants and dive shops.
A traveler with some cash
can have whatever he wants.
American expats, drunken sailors,
backpackers, drug dealers, and dancing queens
drink and dance until dawn.
Bocas feeds party fiends.Camille Willemain