Nope! It wasn’t that I was exhausted that made the bed feel so nice. It WAS so nice. I slept like a baby! Yahoo!
*** AMAZING YELLOW FLOWER WITH ORANGE STUFFS ***
We rolled out of bed only because we were rumbly in our tumblies and went to the street level for breakfast. The menu looks awesome, so I just assume the portions will be awesome. Dream on, Kristin! Panamanians don’t eat – they nibble. My French toast breakfast came with 2 tiny pieces of French toast, 3 bites of pineapple, one of which had mold on it, 4 bites of papaya, and 1 shriveled up piece of bacon. I don’t know why I’m not losing weight. Truly I should be, considering that this is how we’ve been served in all but two restaurants I can think of. Getting over it… and eating a muffin I saved from Sugar & Spice when I get back to the room.
Out to explore the town is first on the agenda. We weren’t sure how far we were from any good swimming or snorkeling beaches, so we decided to set out on foot at first.
*** BOYS LOOKING IN WATER NEAR BENCH NEAR HOTEL ***
*** SHOPS IN BOCAS MAIN STREET ***
An oil-on-canvas stand across the street from our hotel.
***YELLOW N WHITE 2 STORY ***
A Bocas Town hostel.
*** VIEW DOWN MAIN ST ***
A view down Main Street in Bocas Town.
*** BOYS IN FRONT OF FIRE TRUCKS ***
Old, but in-use fire trucks.
*** BOCAS BLENDED PIC ***
Ooh! This is cute and we’re thirsty! It has a ladder up to the top deck and a pulley system for hoisting your food and drink to the top!
*** ORDERING FROM BUS ***
One Cacao Nib and Banana smoothie and 3 Tropical Fruit Punch smoothies, por favor!
Hot and sweaty, we decide that getting wet is in order.
The lighting in the bathroom at the Palma Royale is terrible for putting on makeup. El naturale it is! We’ve decided we’re going to the beach, anyway.
Yes! We’re going to the beach! But which beach and how will we get there? We left our car on the mainland, so it’s all taxis and water taxis for the next 10 days. The guidebook says that the northwest beach, Playa Bluff, is great for swimming and snorkeling. Not all beaches are ideal for those activities given the winds that hit the north and east sides of each island. The south sides are ideal in general, but the book says this one, so we take the author’s word for it, hail a cab, and we’re on our way!
Drive to Playa Bluff
It’s a 20-minute ride to that part of the island and we’re not sure why, until about 10 minutes in, when we ran out of road. But he didn’t stop. Onto the beach he drove. And drove, and drove, and drove. It was extremely bumpy, and I was strangely giddy about this adventure of driving around the island to our beach via the sand. We passed many beaches on the way: beaches with snorkelers, beaches with surfers… and then Playa Bluff.
*** KRISTIN ON PLAYA BLUFF ***
*** DOG ON PLAYA BLUFF ***
This dog found us on the beach and stayed with us until we left. He seemed to want to keep a protective eye on the kids and didn’t seem swayed in the least by our desire to show it affection.
Deserted. Pounding surf. Jungle as a background. This is it? Hmm… I thought this was supposed to be a popular beach. We thanked our driver and arranged for a 5pm pick-up. Five hours should be plenty of time to become cooked, sand-caked lobsters. Surely. I’m not sure why the book says that this beach is good for snorkeling. There isn’t a snorkeling spot in sight. Not only that, but the waves were scary – even just to stand in. They crashed with rage and were very loud.
*** KOLE SITTING ON PLAYA BLUFF ***
Sittin’ on Playa Bluff
*** KARTER PLAYING IN THE SAND ***
It took us a good 30 minutes to be brave enough to wander into them. But once in, we enjoyed the refreshment they offered. We still were cautious and stayed where we could see the sand end and the surf begin. There are plenty of rip tide areas nearby and we’re just not going to take any chances.
*** 3 PIC COLLAGE INCLUDING NONI & SWIM AT OWN RISK ***
Playa Bluff Warnings
Still, Kole and Kristian received their share of pounding and left with pockets full of sand, hair full of sand, ears full of sand, goatee full of sand… I’ll be trying to wash that stuff out for a week! Karter and I mostly played in the sand, though we did both get brave enough to get thrashed once or twice.
*** KOLE & KRISTIAN GETTING POUNDED ***
Playa Bluff Poundings!
*** 2 PIC COLLAGE OF POUNDING ***
The whole time we were there, Kristian and I kept one eye on our belongings up by the edge, where the sand meets the jungle. Theft is a huge problem on the islands. Not so much this island, but it does happen. Bastimentos is the worst one of all, so we’ve heard. We’ll probably leave the DSLR camera and cell phones in the hotel for our beach excursions there.
Alright, it’s about 2:30 and I’m hungry. I manage to convince everyone else that they’re hungry too, and we pack up and head to the Playa Beach Lounge, which we assume is close by given there’s a cute, little, wooden sign pointing down the road. Right? We’ve already driven quite a ways to get to this beach, so surely it’s just around the corner. Why have we not learned that we should never assume? Our poor children will never believe a word we say again. Just another 100 steps. Just another 100 steps. Just… another 1000 meters? Oh gracious…
*** KRISTIAN & THE BOYS WALKING DOWN THE PATH ***
We’re ravenous when we arrive, but realize that cash is running low and what we’ve discovered is that while the mainland widely accepts credit cards, the islands rarely do. So we do some quick math and decide to share 2 orders of catch-of-the-day fish and chips and drink from the 1 gallon jug of water we’ve been dragging around with us all day. Unfortunately, nothing has changed in the last couple of hours and portions are still tiny. So we order 2 desserts, too. Tiny. A third dessert with the last of our money. Tiny. *sigh* We’re losing.
The Playa Beach Lounge is part of the Playa Beach Lodge… and it has a pool for it’s guests that is connected to the restaurant. The sign says that we may use it for $3 a person, but to our delight, our waiter says we can jump in for free! Win! While we were paddling around in a 3-foot deep, above-ground pool, we met a nice couple from San Diego. We had a really nice time sharing some of our experiences from the other area of Panama that we and they have visited. They are going to central Panama, where we’ve already been, and we’re going to Isla Bastimentos where they just came from! So we each had something to contribute to each other’s future travels. Love that.
*** PICS OF BOYS AND MAMA IN THE POOL ***
We decided to spend the last half hour of our beach trip strolling back to the beach where our driver dropped us off. We weren’t sure if our driver would find us at the restaurant. About 1/4 mile until we would have been back, we saw him driving our direction! The forlorn 4 hopped in and we were headed home. Tired. Happy.
Eating out is getting old, not just because of the food, but because of the wait! We spend three times as long waiting for everything than we do eating. Our fast-paced lifestyle is an old habit that’s not dying very quickly. Instead of going straight to our room, we hit up The Super Gourmet again for a simple “snacky” dinner. Cheese, deli meat, and crackers! Perfect. We haven’t had real cheese since we left the states and it goes down real good. The pastrami we bought is the best I’ve had. There was something about the appearance and texture that made it stand out. It was almost like prosciutto. And the jalapeno cheese we got was the real deal, too. Mmmm…
Let’s talk internet. Everywhere in Panama, the hotels advertise high speed internet. I don’t know what the deal is exactly, but the internet over here is not up to par with the rest of the high tech world. It’s nearly all satellite internet, which means if it’s raining, the signal goes MIA or it’s like dial-up at best. It’s also not consistent. Yesterday when we arrived at the Palma Royale, which supposedly is one of the nicer hotels on Isla Colon (we got a killer deal through a hook-up,) we had a fast connection. Five bars. Perfect. Today? Nothing. We haven’t been able to use the internet all day unless we leave our room and go down the hall. The front desk is always clueless as to what the problem is. I’m currently typing this post in Notepad to upload at a later time. I hope that means later tonight. This is not the first time this has happened. It happened back in Panama City, too. Boquete has been the most consistent, even when we were staying in a little hostel in the back of a bakery. But it rains there a lot which means dial-up quality for several hours a day. But when it’s good, it’s great.
OK, I’m done ranting. I’ll end this post with a funny story. Funny because this type of thing never happens to me. This afternoon, I decided to sit out on the balcony to type this blog post. At one point, I glanced down at the street to notice 4 or 5 men staring up at me. They smiled and started waving. I thought I’d be friendly and wave back, knowing that they were flirting, but again, this kind of thing never happens to me… and I was safe on the 3rd floor! As soon as I gave them my attention, they started blowing kisses! I thought that was hilarious. I turned my head back to my work and they left.
So looking forward to tomorrow! We’re talking about renting ATV’s to explore the island!