I want to extend an open invitation to anyone who wants to visit us here. We would absolutely love to see our friends and family. But there are some things to keep in mind.
This place we're living is most definitely different than any other place I've lived. Well, maybe when I went to camp in 5th grade. It's somewhat similar to that.
We're in a cabin of wood. Yes, there's running water, electricity and a sewer system. Not all houses in Panama are so blessed.
But there are certain things you have to get used to here, things that would be considered completely unacceptable in Brooklyn or Atlanta, unless, of course, you're going camping. There are sandflies in the afternoon. We close up the windows and doors then and wait them out. Or we just go into Bocas Town for a couple hours. We also share our living space with geckos. Personally, I like them. They eat the insects. I see very few around the place. I know there's at least one that visits by the kitchen window because I can hear him there. They make this kissy-kissy sound. Tim, our upstairs neighbor, does a perfect impression of them.
Tim, by the way, is another really interesting Bocas del Toro character. He used to be a professional surfer. He's unbelievably well read and when we talk, I realize how little i actually know. He came down here last night to let us know about the lunar eclipse. We all watched from the front deck, although at the last minute a huge cloud cover entered and obscured the moon completely, eclipse and all.
There are also, ahem, please don't be concerned, it's really not that big of deal, fruit rats about. They'll eat anything you leave out. Bananas, milk containers, tofu and even books. But not to worry, they're terrified of people and skedaddle quickly without leaving even a dropping behind. But because of them and the geckos, you have to be sure to clean up well. Not leave dishes in the sink. No food on the counters. Everything stored safely in the refridgerator. (Which, another by the way, in order to close the refridgerator properly, you have to give it a quick kick on the bottom left corner as it's closing. Otherwise, it doesn't seal properly and the butter melts.)
I won't even tell you about the termite eggs. Suffice it to say, they don't get in the way and aren't much of a problem. Besides, to quote Rodrigo, a friend from Panama City, it's the beachfront property that's so prized. Even if the buildings on the land are completely eaten, you haven't lost much in value. I didn't understand why he would say that until a couple days ago.
Supplies are also somewhat limited. No one starves, don't get me wrong. But it's not always so easy to find fresh fruit and vegetables. Some days, there's not a banana or pineapple to be found in town. AND THEY GROW THEM HERE! And sometimes, on the same days, you won't find a banana, but you'll find tofu and matza ball mix. (Last night, we made chicken soup with matza balls). I never did find chocolate chips in town. We brought some back from Panama City on our visit this past weekend. But now we're stocked, and Lila and I will be making cookies the next time it's too rainy to go outside. Which of course could be any moment without warning. We are, after all, on an island, and weather is impossible to predict.
Still, cookies, boat rides, nearby beaches and the calming view of the bay. Right off the dock we see all kinds of fish. Yellow and black ones. There are long, green and blue ones, we've named Carmine. I've heard you can find all sorts of antique bottles and boxes buried in the sand just steps off the short.
No, it's not for everyone. But right now, it's most definitely for us.