Monday, June 20, 2011

The Bocas "Scene"

From the Friday night "Hot Hot Hot" Floating Docs fundraiser to the Sunday afternoon bluegrass party at Rona Azuls, we've been taking in the local Bocas del Toro social scene. On Saturday, we pulled anchor and motored through several bays and around various islands to get to an area with multiple names (like most of the places around here). It is called the Dark Land, Tierra Oscura and Laguna Palos.

We anchored in the well protected bay that is surrounded by Panama mainland on one side, with its lovely green hills with a background of higher hills and mountains, and lots of mangrove islands on the other – some large and some tiny. There are several large (by local Panama standards) homes inhabited by ex-pats (US, Brits and other nationalities). There is a restaurant named Rana Azul nestled into the mainland behind a little mangrove island. The place has a few docks, one holding the owner's 41 foot Moody sailboat. The owner is Joseph, an Austrian. It is a lovely open-air restaurant with thatch roof and two large clay pizza ovens in back. The area is nicely landscaped. On Sunday, at noon, it is the weekly gathering place for all the local ex-pats in the area, boaters and a few Panamanian locals. This Sunday was extra-special because there would be bluegrass music. One of the ex-pats had guests who would perform – a father and son duo. The place was packed. We got picked up by Captain Ron who lives in a house nearby. There were launchas, pongas, dinghies and some bigger power boats four deep at the dock.

People packed onto long tables, squeezing in to make room. Beer is cheaper than soft drinks and the special was a beef stroganoff dinner. Having just had beef stroganoff on board Astarte this week, we opted for the pizza. Unfortunately the restaurant's sound system wasn't very good and with the huge crowd there, it was a bit noisy. But when you could hear them, the duo sounded pretty good.

We met lots of the ex-pat who call this area home. They are quite a group and were welcoming and fun to chat with. They offered lots of good information to us about how to get things, how to get around and names and prices of water taxis, land taxis etc. It was good to connect with many of the people who our friends Anna and Ian mentioned to us. Because we are leaving the boat here, its good to make the connections.

After the lunch event, we were invited to go swimming in front of Cindy's home, not far from where we are anchored. So we swam from the boat to the party which seemed to have moved to from Rana Azul to Cindy's house. It was a fun day and we continue to meet lots of new folks here.

It is nice here and we're hearing the howler monkeys on the mainland again which is nice. It is incredibly calm and quiet here compared to being anchored off Bocas Town. The birds sounds are wonderful and the views are magnificent. We'll probably stay here at least through today – perhaps a hike on land.

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