08 November 2023 Bocas del Toro
In search of a little Fokker
“Suppose that a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon. The surgeon would cut around the opening of the wound with a knife and then would probe for the arrow with a probe. He then would pull out the arrow and extract the poison, leaving no residue behind.”
“I have given this simile to convey a meaning. The meaning is this:
the wound stands for the six internal sense media;
the poison, for ignorance;
the arrow, for craving;
the probe, for mindfulness;
the knife, for noble discernment;
the surgeon, for the Tathagata (Buddha), worthy & rightly self-awakened.”Buddha
“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.”Iyanla Vanzant
Up at 5:45 am not because the alarm sounded but because of another bad tummy. It could be last night’s fish soup, or it could be something else. This recurring ‘traveller’s tummy’ is a pain in the bum. I have tried Imodium/Loperamide but there is no long term improvement. I don’t want to use ‘Norflox 400’ as I save that for the rare instances of serious vomiting and diarrhoea (as I experienced after a very expensive sushi dinner in Saigon last year). So I checked various articles and advice online. One thing that I noted for the first time was that taking antacid medications can leave you susceptible to stomach bugs that would normally be taken care of by the natural acids in the gut. So I am going to stop taking my acid reflux medication for as long as I can to see what happens.
I am on the move again today, so I make myself some coffee to drink as I am packing.
Around 11 am, I go out to buy a savoury pastry and a donut to eat once I get to Albrook Airport (PAC – the other Panama City airport). The Uber ride takes longer than expected due to heavy traffic but I don’t think it could be avoided, so I don’t complain about the fare increase.
Checked in with Air Panama then bought a very expensive coffee to go with my pastries… I think that airport coffee shops make the prices up as they go along.
Top Tip: I paid € 186 (US$ 203) for my return flights to Bocas del Toro as I booked three months in advance, but had I booked a little earlier I could have saved a few dollars.
Top Tip Too: If I were to undertake a similar trip in the future, I would perhaps fly into Bocas del Toro but leave the islands by boat and continue on to Costa Rica by bus.
I had seat 5A by the window on the Fokker 50 which was comfortable enough until a drip-drip-drip started to fall between my seat and seat 5B. Both myself and my fellow passenger were starting to get wet. I pressed the button for the stewardess who plugged the drip with serviettes which was a satisfactory makeshift solution but I will make sure not to choose seat 5A for the return journey.
It was exciting to land at ‘Bocas’ and I look forward to the next few days exploring the area. All checked baggage was unloaded and lined up outside the arrival hall – which was just a small room – while a ‘sniffer’ dog went to work ensuring that there were no drugs being taken on vacation. I eventually collected my backpack and walked for 10-minutes to my accommodation on the other side of the airport in ‘Bocas’ town.
The ‘Yellow House Duplex’ was listed as a two bedroom apartment plus sofa bed. The main bed was on a landing reached by ascending some rather dodgy stairs. The second bedroom was downstairs and more akin to a solitary confinement cell. The one and only bathroom was upstairs where you would have to walk past the main bed to use the facilities. But, no matter, it’s just me. I took the opportunity to organise a snorkelling trip for tomorrow and it felt good to have that under my belt.
It was now late afternoon by now and I took myself for a walk to the nearest public beach which was about 10-minutes away. It was nice enough but I would not be over keen to swim here. I returned to the Yellow House through a graveyard which always cheers me up as I remind myself “…and then you die”.
I stopped at the supermarket to buy pasta, a sauce, bread, tinned tina, cookies, bananas, water and ice-cream. I enjoyed cooking and the end result was quite good too.
Time for some laundry and then bed.
- Pastries € 2
- Uber ride to PAC € 4.50
- Coffee at airport € 3
- Air Panama: Albrook Airport (PAC) to Bocas del Toro (BOC) € 93 each way.
- Supermarket supplies € 12
- Yellow Houses Bocas 2 bedroom apartment booked through Booking.com € 47 per night.