Planet Hiker
2004-08-19 Drunken poolmaster at Bocas del Toro, Panama


My last week in Costa Rica was spent in Puerto Viejo, where I blend into the scenery just perfectly when riding one of those classic "banana" bicycles and carrying a surf board. I noticed that as long as there is surf, my days flow quickly, even when the waves aren't as good. In Puerto Viejo there was an added bonus of having free movies every night. Well OK, they weren't really free - there is a restaurant called "Hot Rocks Cafe" that would show free movies. But I would usually at least buy a fruit shake. Never the less, it's hard to beat an open air movie theater where they serve fresh made passion-fruit smoothies.

Before the routine of eating-surfing-watching movies set in, I mixed things up by heading for Panama. At the moment I am in "Bocas Del Torro" - an area in the Caribbean full of densely grown little islands, where it's still possible to witness giant leather-back turtles nesting on the beach. Actually, I tried to do just that last night, but the whole experience amounted to a looooong walk on the beach, with occasional bursts of unsubstantiated excitement when the flashlight would shine over something that resembled turtle tracks.

It's worth mentioning that locals here tend to be really good pool players. Seriously, I guess because there is nothing else here to do at night, all the "cool kids" hang out at this really shabby pool hall. I was just there, playing in partnership with an utterly drunk Panamanian who kept making ridiculously chancy combinations. After wards, as I was walking back to my hostel, he kept trying to show me his generosity by sharing oranges that we would purchase from every fruit stand on the road. He was also telling me about something very important and wonderful, something that I would appreciate immensely if only the concept is put into wards. It was all good but I could not understand a word he was "saying". In the end, instead of trying to understand anything, I would just reply "uuhmmmaaa" with a matching tonality. That seemed to make him think that the idea got across and he'd continue his mumbling with renewed interest. Fortunately, there was an Internet cafe on the road where I am taking haven at this very moment.