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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Boquete by foot and thumb

PANAMA | Tuesday, 9 November 2010 | Views [893] | Comments [1]

Five Ngöbe-Buglé children

Five Ngöbe-Buglé children

The weather is gorgeous today! Finally! At last! El sol! Today I was up very early; so early I was out and about getting photos of the sunrise. When I decided to walk up to the petrol station to get a cup of coffee it was too early; they weren't open yet. Ellen decided she didn't want to go into town and that she'd probably go in later, so I walked up to a little cafeteria where I got a filling breakfast of carne asada, pepper, potato pancakes, and coffee. Ellen refers to the owner as her "Panamanian aunt." At the petrol station I got a lift to Dolega and then another to Boquete. The buses are very cheap but I hitch for the sheer joy of it. It was a very beautiful, sunny day today and I wanted to make the most of it so after getting my usual morning coffee I walked as far north as possible. Further and further I walked until I soaked my shirt in a creek to let it keep my back cool. As I continued to walk uphill I photographed some basalt columns similar to what I saw in Iceland. It was one of those days where I didn't care about the destination; the journey is all that mattered. In the creek parallel to me, there were some Ngöbe-Buglé children playing. Colourfully dressed, playing harmoniously, I thought I'd go see what they were up to. They seemed to be interested in me; posing for photos, showing me their homes. They live in shacks and sleep in hammocks, and I thought when I turned a corner I'd see their parents, but I didn't. In a way it isn't fair that the baby-boomers live in (by Panamanian standards) luxurious homes and the Ngöbe-Buglé live in shacks and work a ton. Where I was really trying to get to was San Ramon waterfall, which the little boy told me was only a short distance ahead. My Spanish still isn't very good but I'm able to get by. One of these days I may become fluent; the more time I spend in Latin America the better my Spanish becomes. After spending some time cooling off at the waterfall, I managed a lift in the back of a ute about 2 km or so north. Now I was a far distance from Boquete (about 8-10 km or so) and if I got stranded I'd be out here for the night, but it was still pretty early in the day. It was a bumpy ride up a gravel road, and from where I was dropped off it was a steep walk. Really I didn't know where I was going. Ultimately I made it up to the path entrance of Volcán Barú. At 3,474 metres (11,398 feet) it is Panama's highest mountain. Climbs to the summit are routinely undertaken (which I would have loved to do) but the weather has been too foul and as a result there are mudslides. From the summit on a clear day you could see all the way to the Pacific. Hopefully next time the weather will be better, and I could walk up to the summit. A light drizzle fell from the heavens as I walked around with glee at the Parque Nacional Volcán Barú station. Already I must've walked 10 km or so today so my feet are tired. One of the rangers was heading back toward Boquete in about a half hour, so he said he'd give me a ride in the back of his ute. As we headed back toward town I was rained on a little but I didn't care, because I was content. By foot and thumb, it was a great journey. I was back in Boquete at around 2:00 PM or so and to rest I just relaxed for awhile. Then I picked up some postcards and stamps to send out to people on Postcrossing. For those of you who don't know about Postcrossing, it's a website where you can send postcards to random people and then you receive one randomly from someone else. At the store I picked up some fruit (papaya and pears) and stuff to make spaghetti. Shortly thereafter I felt like it was time to head back to Ellen's house. Walking a good distance out of Boquete, I got a really good photo of the town. My guidebook says it looks like something out of the Alps, but I liken it more to Fox Glacier. It's got the rain, the clouds, and the greenery, but not the glacier. Back at Ellen's house, she began whipping up another interesting concoction of spaghetti sauce, worcestershire sauce, garlic, and the whole lot. Dinner was going to be awhile but I could tell already it was going to be very tasty! This will be my third night here, but Ellen told me I couldn't stay tomorrow night because she has friends visiting. Lately I've been feeling like I'm in a "zone" where I just want to stay put. Boquete and Potrerillos Abajo are really lovely, and I'll miss these places. Maybe when it's time for me to retire I'll build my dream home here (although New Zealand is my first choice in that regard). My plans for tomorrow were to go to Chitré (about halfway between Boquete and Panama City), but Ellen keeps saying I should go to Bocas del Toro and then to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. I keep thinking Chitré becuase it's off the tourist track (and I have a CSer to stay with), but I've heard great stories about Bocas. As I was taking a shower I kept asking myself "Should I go to Chitré? or Bocas del Toro?" Our spaghetti for dinner was fantastic! And the sauce was especially delicious! For dessert, Ellen made a cotton-candy flavoured smoothie with papaya and limes. What a concoction! Interesting, interesting, interesting! That's Ellen in one word :). As a quiet night of chatter rolled on, I asked myself again "Should I go to Chitré? or Bocas del Toro?" It's a situation where you almost have to flip a coin; I don't have enough time to visit both places because they're in opposite directions. The main places for visitors in Panama are Panama City, Boquete, and Bocas del Toro, and I'd feel bad about spending all my time in only those places. Likely I won't decide until tomorrow which place I'll go. Ellen is my first CouchSurfing host in Panama, and I've now CouchSurfed in nine countries (Peru, Belgium, Luxembourg, Fiji, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Panama). Many more to go! After my first day of sun in Centroamerica, my face is burnt! Oy! Why me? I was very tired very a long day, and to unwind I listened to Bob Marley's "Is this love". It's definitely love I feel when I travel. Whilst I haven't spent much time on the internet on this journey, tonight I caught up a number of phone calls and touched base with some friends. Since I'll be back in Costa Rica in a few months, Ellen told me I'm more than welcome to visit again. As I lay down, Ellen was outside talking to her father on Skype, but I rested peacefully on this beautiful, starry night...

The next morning I ended up going to Bocas del Toro, and it was a great choice!




I like your picture of the Ngöbe Buglé kids. I went there last month and drove around and made some friends who let me take their pictures.

My blog post isn't as comprehensive as yours, but if you want to take a look: http://www.gennykothari.com/blog/2011/10/23/panama/ (It's a Chlidren's Photography blog normally, but it's a good home for the pictures). The main site is http://www.gennykothari.com/
- Genny

  Genny Kothari Oct 25, 2011 9:39 AM

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