After a month winding my way up and down the Trans-American highway to reach parts of Panama other musicians cannot reach, I conclude with the following:
- Three things I love about travelling in Panama
- The three best hostels I stayed in during the journey
- A special report on the return to Bocas, with music, sloths, and sunsets.
If that’s not enough for you, I don’t know what is. You obviously have some misguided sense of entitlement.
(Excuse the clunky links. Apparently WordPress doesn’t like posting nice clean hyperlinks at present. Anyone have a clue how to fix this?)
1. Old Men
Always immaculately turned out in checked shirts, smart, pressed jeans and the ubiquitous Panama hat dipped low over the eyes or with the rim turned up jauntily, the Panamanian old man is a pleasure to behold. Some have eyes buried in leathery wrinkles, but those eyes twinkle with memories of past mischief. Some are melancholy. Some have sparkling white smiles while others only have one brown tooth left in their mouth. But without exception, they always seem to have a smile for me, and they encapsulate the gentle, proud spirit of the people of Panama.
2. Nature ‘n’ stuff
Cows, horses, cowboys with lassoos riding horses, flowers, pastures, oversized moths, snakes, vultures, and fences made out of real living trees. That way, you don’t have to cut down trees to make fences. It’s genius. What an incredibly beautiful, lush country.
Wherever a bus was taking me, it was the same story. We slowed down on a country road to let someone off. Even before the bus had stopped you could glimpse young children, dogs and other family members running down the road to greet their relatives. As the bus pulled off, I watched through the back window as grandmas got smothered in bear hugs, fathers shook laughing toddlers off their legs and swept them into their arms, and dogs yipped in unbearable excitement around the ankles of their beloved owners. It never stopped being a beautiful sight.
MY THREE FAVOURITE HOSTELS IN PANAMA
1. Sueños del Rio, Boquete
Let Izza look after you in this cosy, immaculate hostel right on the river. I intend to make this place my second home.
2. Eco Venao, Venao
A combination of location, lovely staff and great accommodation make this the most relaxed place I stayed. The cabañas, buried in the jungle from where I watched caymans lurking in the river and made friends with a sociable dormouse, are a must-visit, and the moody, dark-sanded beach is a few minutes away.
3. Dim’s, Pedasí
It’s all about being made to feel at home, and the owner Mirta has this down to an art. Slightly more pricy than your average hostel but worth it with delicious breakfasts included and gorgeously comfortable rooms.
Back in Bocas, life at Red Frog Marina potters on, much like this sloth:
I brought back with me quite a formidable collection of friendship bands ready for sale:
And am once again enjoying incomparable Bocas sunsets:
I played a great acoustic gig here at the marina. We have some very musical sailors here and I’m looking forward to some marine musical magic in the weeks to come.
As you hopefully have come to expect a month’s adventuring has given birth to two new tunes which are on their way, and I am preparing a Panamanian folk song for https://emmajayashton.com/2014/08/18/the-rehearsal-room/
And if that’s not enough for you, I don’t know what is. You obviously have some misguided sense of entitlement.