. YUM!!!! So good and perfect after a long hike up the hill. Then Scott and I ordered Green Currie (pad ped) and Teriyaki Chicken with Cashews to split. It was ridiculously good, we had been craving it since we heard about it and it made us smile with bellies fulll. We spent quite a while talking to Nui. She is Thai, she met her first husband online and after meeting her twice proposed, and she said yes. She left her business, home and family in Thailand and moved to America, to Oregon specifically (funny how this just keeps coming up). Well, he turned out to be a real jerk. The stories she told, says he was an awful person. Now she is engaged to another American, and they have this place in Panama together. She wants desperately to move back to Thailand, and she will be in March. We were glad we caught her before she left.
After lunch we went further up the hill to Pure Tree Gift Shop. This is the actual shop of some of the natural products we’ve been using since we found them in Casco Viejo. The shop and home of the owner is situated on the top of the hill with views of Wizard Beach below. Wizard Beach has been known to have quite a bit of crime, but is supposedly getting better. Leave your valuables behind if you go. The owner is Scottish, moved her family of two young boys, two dogs and a cat here and just couldn't be happier. She really promotes the Ngobe goods and all of her products from lip balm to insect repellent are completely natural
. I love them!!! She also makes some remarkable chocolate from the local grown cacoa beans and she gave us a sampling of "honeymoon" truffles to share whilst sipping some fresh squeezed lemonade. We got some dog and cat time in as well, before taking the back way down the hill, through the free range chicken fields, then through the neighborhoods. What was interesting to me is that this was the first time we saw people with dogs on leashes. I was happy to see this.
People live in quite a bit of filth and have very little here. Most of the inhabitants in Old Bank seems to be of black carribean descent rather than central american or ngobe. There was a marked change in the demeanor as well, a bit more stern and gruff rather than smiles and hola's. I suppose when living conditions are what we saw, it would be tough to see two gringos and greet them with smiles.
On our way out of town, we noticed that this is where the huts on the water lodge was that we were considering staying at, glad we didn't. They stared right at the town of Bastimentos and would be just another hotel rather than the remote oasis we've been staying in.
We headed next to Crawl Cay, to do some snorkeling
. Gregorio anchored the boat and we jumped out with fins and snorkel to explore. There were some fish, not a lot. We saw some colorful tube coral and lots of green coral and fan coral. A few sponges, lots of jellyfish and some anenomes. Scott and I are a bit spoiled with our diving/snorkeling experiences, and have both experienced places where there's tons of everything all lumped together. This place you had to work a little harder to find the good stuff. Sort of like Panama in general. There's a lot of beauty here, but it's not the type of vacation where it comes to you all in one spot. We've been loving it, and think some of you would too, but just like all inclusive resorts aren't for everyone, neither is Panama.
Today we woke up to not a cloud in the sky, big blue sky with the sun beating down. We decided to make a day of exploring with Thai holding a big spot on the itinerary. We had heard about this little place called Island Time Thai, the only Thai in PANAMA, and delicious!!! Well, it didn't disappoint. Gregorio took us to "Bastimentos" which is called Old Bank to us non locals. This is kind of the “city” on Isla Bastimentos. It’s got music thumping all the live long day and night, a lot of poverty and a lot of trash. BUT…in all of this, if you make your way “up in the hill” you find beauty, solitude and THAI!!!! So, that’s what we did, we walked about a third of a mile up. It started us walking through the neighborhood, then through a little park, then through the jungle. When we arrived we found these beautiful little bungalows, clustered together with Island Thai in the middle. Nui, our host was eager to share with us the “magic drink”, a concoction of dark rum, coconut rum, orange and pina juice