Since gossip traveled faster in Bocas then than the internet news travels today, I was eager to know what my landlord had to say to me. When I got there the man met me on his balcony before I could open my mouth to plead my case. Even before I said anything, he said to me, “ Juni, I see you trying to make it here and I just wanted to tell you to have James to take you over next to his place to stake out a piece of land and you just mark out a piece for yourself. You plant something for yourself… work the land.” I was taken aback by this sympathetic reception but, I remained silent. Continue reading
These are Pacific reef sharks like the ones that hunted me. Image.
During the next few daysI I found myself still laboring at the entrance to that small river bed where I had felled the giant tree. The trips in the loaded canoe with the cut up branches of the tree that had grown to cover the sky in the company of like trees of its size, made me more diligent in cleaning the large branches and cutting the wood that would feed the fire and make another mound of the precious coal used for cooking. All the time I pondered having the opportunity to have my own piece of land and being able to live in these beautiful woodlands, Continue reading
Image is from our friends at casabocas.com
Our first stop was an island where this man with a heavy Westindian accent landed us since he sat behind me steering the small craft around the watery road he seemed to know by heart. At first glance I could tell that it was his pet spot or his “money maker charcoal pit.” I discovered that he made money off making charcoal from the giant mangrove forests on these islands.
After landing he seemed to become a different person or someone that really did not want me to know him fully. His secretive actions made me become suspicious of his motives right away. Although I had not really seen anyone in Colon or in Panama make charcoal for cooking purposes, I had lived the early part of my young life close to a neighbor who bought the product to sell to the neighborhood. Continue reading
The abundant Yellow Jack fish off the waters of Bocas del Toro.
With the lack of communication between Pug and me regarding our feelings, or lack of feelings, for each other, I walked out of her Bocas family’s home to get to know that part of town we were in and, perhaps, take a little time to reflect quietly. As I walked I looked back to discover Pug following me down a street unknown to me. I was just making my way to the beach to sit and meditate and get my mind clear.
“Where you going Juni?” she asked as stepped up to me to continue walking in silence as I hesitated to answer her. I really didn’t know how to answer her as I didn’t know what my next move was going to be. “Look I’m looking for a room just in case,” I said rather evasively hoping to discourage her and prevent her from following me. But, she remained walking at my side. “Roberta says she wanted to talk to you,” she insisted. So, I stopped and turned back around to go see what Aunt Roberta had to say to me. Continue reading
Sixteen Tons album cover. Image thanks to wikipedia.
Suspicion followed me at home in Bocas Town for my recent habit of trying to stash away some money every week in order to have enough cash to contribute to Pug’s upkeep. Her Aunt and the rest of her family were imagining all sorts of things I figured , that I was doing with my money as there was a lot of prostitution going on in Baseline catering to the workforce. Continue reading
The mighty Changuinola River from the air. Image thanks to Burica.
Finally the train pulled out from in front of the Chinese Bar and Restaurant in Almirante headed for the last stop, a town by the name of Baseline. I had been apprehensive all the while since I knew nothing about traveling anywhere in the country of Panama. It was the fist time for me to really leave the urban areas of Panama and Colon to go anywhere in the world. As the train picked up speed and we sped through the lush jungle toward our destination, for some reason I envisioned that the jungle would one day try to reclaim the area of the rails upon which it was running. Continue reading