Published: November 5th 2009November 5th 2009
I returned to the boat in Panama on September 30th after a 3 month stay in the U.S. and it didn't take long for me to settle down to the slower pace of everyday living on a sailboat. Soon after I returned we sailed to the San Blas Islands of Panama (Kuna Yala) an archipelago on Panama's Caribbean coast composed of 340 islands. We visited the Kuna village of Tupile where a young Kuna man befriended us and took us on a tour of the village. The Kunas live in houses with thatched roofs made from a special palm leaf, and walls made of cane. The floor is compacted sand and there is no furniture except hammocks which is where they sleep. This village has electricity in the evenings only from 6 pm to 11 pm. Most Kuna villages do not have electricity. The main income for the Kunas is the coconut trade but they also harvest bananas, other fruits, and sugarcane. Kunas are forbidden to marry non Kunas and violation of this rule results in expulsion from Kuna Yala. The Kunas have been able to maintain their traditional way of life better than most tribes in the Americas.
Castillo San Felipe
Located in Cartagena several blocks from the waterfront.
Kuna Yala we sailed to Cartagena, Colombia, a place I have dreamed of visiting ever since we started cruising. It is a vibrant, coastal city frequented by cruise ships and cruising boats. Due to the large amount of cruising boats here there are many social activities and it is really difficult to become bored. My favorite activity is the Ladies Lunch that we have every Friday. A different restaurant is visited each Friday and it is a time to dress up a bit and enjoy the company of other women boaters with no discussion of alternators, engines, or other boat repair topics that always come up when the men are around. Our husbands have become so jealous of our Ladies Lunches (because we have so much fun) that we are actually going to let the men come this Friday with the stipulation that they sit at another table!
We've visited the museums in El Centro also called "The Old City" or "Old Town." This historical section of Cartagena has been preserved for centuries and is very much intact and teeming with restaurants, shops, and museums. The most interesting museum to me is the Palace of the Inquisition. The priests
Beautiful Colombiana ninas having a good time.
lived in this beautiful old palace and unfortunately conducted the Inquisition trials here. It is hard to imagine the brutality that occurred as part of the Inquisition.
We've enjoyed the restaurants here more than any place we have visited. We've become addicted to the restaurant "Crepes and Waffles" at the local mall and I suppose I will go into ice cream withdrawal when we leave.
Right now we are waiting for our new dinghy to arrive that we ordered and then as soon as weather permits we will head north to spend the winter months in the Bay Islands of Honduras, the Rio Dulce of Guatemala, and the coastal areas of Belize and Mexico.
I'll see a few of you at Christmas in Texas. For now...