Monday, July 23, 2012

Panama - Four Places

We left Santa Catalina. The swell wasn't looking amazing and we had an itch to see the Caribbean. El Valle seemed like a good place to stop for a night on the way. Small mountain town with a nice climate and sweet views all around. Our hostel was also an Orchid nursery.

On the Caribbean side we checked out Isla Grande, an island that attracts vacationing Panamanians from the city. Sjef was one of them. He'd been coming to the island on weekends since he bought two hundred coconut trees twenty years ago. The coconut trees mark the boundary of his land where he built a house from scratch using bamboo and mahogany. He invited us to spend the night with him, fed us rum and coke, and told stories of working around the world for the UN Department of Fisheries.

Not wanting to overstay our welcome with Sjef, we missioned it to the city. We explored the zone near our hostel by foot for a couple days before the fellas flew home. Solo, I caught a bus to Bocas del Toro, an island archipelago on the Caribbean. A bit of surfing, a bit of party, and a week later I flew home. Thanks for the good times, Panama.

On the crown of El Valle. Pacific Ocean in the background.

Flowers at the Orchid nursery.

Forbidden City.

Accommodations for the night, Isla Grande. 

Sjef being a good host.

Sjef van Eijs, Dutchmen turned tropical.

At the mall in Panama City. Food court. Apple Store. Are we in America?

Old Spanish building. Needs a bit of renovating.

Shipping vessels waiting to make their passage through the canal.

Found some acrobats on the beach.

Bus station or mall?

Bocas del Toro.

Bocas gas station.

Last cup of ceviche.