Shady Sunday in Bocastown

Saturday night might be a party night for the tourists that come into town looking for some drunken tomfoolery, but it isn’t just the young hostel goers that get into it. The house next to us seems to celebrate the entire weekend with music thumping all day and all night. First it was dogs barking and roosters crowing at all hours. Last night was the thumping bass stretching well into the wee hours of the morning.

We were still up at 8AM. Sleeping in wasn’t really an option. We could have laid there for a while, staring at the ceiling fan and its incessant clicking with each revolution…or we could get up and seek out something different for the day. Breakfast wasn’t all that much different as we have grown accustomed to the cinnamon spiced oatmeal paste that makes up our morning meal. The instant coffee I combined with a pack of finely ground coffee last night in poor lighting. This morning when adding some boiling water to the cup…the grittiness was a bit too much and we switched over to black tea. We can save the coffee for when we make it home.

Another overcast day today, with rain expected between noon and 2pm. That kind of put a damper on any kind of beach day plans…so we came up with an easy alternative. Drop by the Coconut Hostel again to arrange return travel to Puerto Viejo, then lunch over at the well reviewed Cosmic Crab. Not really adventurous plans for the day, but the pinkness of Melanie’s skin required a shadier day.

The return travel booking took all of 3 minutes. It was now 10:30…well before lunch and we had no need to cross over to Carenero any earlier than necessary. We stopped at a place called Be Nice for a morning beer, smoothie and fruit bowl. They had a nice little patio spot over the water with only a few people in there seeking breakfast. We parked ourselves for an hour, enjoyed our beverages and the view of birds diving for fish and scraps, then headed back to our room for a moment. No need to do lunch just yet.

When the peak of the rain was expected to hit, we ventured out. Not a sign of rain around, so maybe just enough time to catch a boat and park ourselves at the Cosmic Crab for a bite. We found a boat, enjoyed the 2 minute ride across the clear water and ended up on a dock in front of 4 little cabins. We walked up to the restaurant deck and grabbed a corner table in the empty restaurant, expecting big things. A super strong passion fruit margarita and beer started us off along with ceviche. We held off on ordering more food just to slow down the service… after all, this was the entire plan for the day. The wind would gust and nearly blow our drinks over. Menus would flip off the table and nearly into the ocean. The ceviche came, and it was average. We have had bigger and better…just on the other side of this island. On that note we wrapped up the bill, at which point the owner of the place mentioned they still had a Black Friday 25% off at their gift shop. We followed her to check it out.

There was no one around. I wondered how many guests she might have at any given time…and even now…but wasn’t going to pry. The gift shop is something Melanie and I are great at browsing, terrible at buying. We have seen a lot of crap offered for sale in many of these stores…and we aren’t about to burden friends and family with more unnecessary items. This lady didn’t know our views on gifts though, which is why she was eager to show us around. She stopped by the bar to grab a Miller Lite, then unlocked the door to a musty smelling room full of display cases full of handmade jewelry. Painted wood pieces, woven baskets, gemstones typically found at a mineral show, and stacks of watercolour prints. This might have been the most familiar looking gift shop we have seen in a while, and here she had it tucked away from the crowds…an island away from where her real customers might be. We hung out for a bit and chatted about the lack of local artisans, no encouragement of artistic talents among locals, and a general lack of motivation from those that live in the area. Originally from Florida, 12 years down here in Bocas del Toro may have made her a bit pessimistic.

We parted ways, grabbed a boat back to Bocastown and added a taco salad to our partially digested underwhelming ceviche. A good opportunity to reflect on what the Cosmic Crab lady had to say. On top of the corruption, systems that don’t appear to work and lack of local creativity it seems that spending significant amounts of time here could be frustrating. Again, reinforcing our thoughts that relocating somewhere that is regularly nice and warm probably is not in our near future. We departed and made our way back to the room through some back streets.

We passed by a three storey commercial market that we hadn’t seen before. Considering we had some time on our hands, we popped in to see what this store might offer. Here we found a smattering of everything from toilet paper to fan belts. An automotive section, a stroller and luggage area…as close as one might get to a department store, without any signage or escalators. This was a curious collection of items. Many of the small markets around town we have been to and found they sold a bunch of cheap Made in China bags, shirts and suitcases. This larger store carried all the same items, just now at a slightly higher price. We did also find some basic furniture at the back of the top level. A nice looking wood dresser and bed set for a decent price…but it was the only option. Not much for variety, displays, or customer service in this part of the world.

We headed back to the room for a pee break, then off to Casbah for dinner. The Swedish guy and Italian lady we met a few days ago recommended it, and after seeing them randomly yesterday out in Cayo Coral on a boat…we could do for a change in dining establishments. We made our way up the road to the north end of town only to find out it was closed. Doh! Sounds like we are headed back to one of our usual haunts for a bite to eat.

We selected La Bugita again, maybe for a tasty pair of fish tacos. As we walk in to find a table, there was that Swedish Italian couple and their boy. They had just sat down themselves and were only a sip into their first beer…so they invited us to join them. Why not? Another beverage and meal split between us over more conversation about the joys of living in Barcelona and Italy…then the little guy had to go. Parents know when that meltdown time is about to arrive, and with a quick exchange of facebook details…Jimmy and Martina departed. We too wrapped up our bill and headed back. This is Sunday night after all.

We are now back, enjoying the thumping bass from the place next door. It is a relief the dogs have stopped barking, but when the music stops they will likely be back into yipping and yapping throughout the night. Let’s try some earplugs.