In San Blas the time is a relative thing. I never looked at a watch because I don’t have one and the iPhone is of no use here and was left somewhere in the bag. The sunrise is the first event of the day, followed by the the boat leaving to bring the first people to mainland. Breakfast happens sometime after that and if you linger longer the boat comes back and eventually you may board it for a day trip. You don’t know at what hour you leave and when you come back except that the return is meant to be for lunch. If it happens to go again in the afternoon somewhere, you go with the people who are picked up latter in the day by car to be brought to Panama City and return by boat almost by night for dinner. All these events have no time stamps, they happen “organically” and they are taken like this by everybody in the camp, more difficult for the Germans who cannot take easily this “fluid” schedule.
In the morning the Robert and Tania left and after having breakfast with them we hanged out till the boat was back and we left on a very choppy sea to Isla Perro, a palm tree covered charming island with corals off shore and a long and picturesque strip of sand.
We hanged out there snorkeling till we were shuffled to another island, Isla Bundep were an open bar of free cerveza was offered to everybody. All these islands look the same, but they are beautiful in their similitude. It is so relaxing to visit them and lay on their sunny beaches or dip in the warm green crystal waters surrounding them.
The lunch of “mariscos” and “pescado” was waiting for us in Coco Blancos where we hooked up with many other who arrived. Always also looking for the desert seen above….
As Spanish is a second language in the island, Ligia speaks very clear comparable with the average Panamanians. At one point she mentioned that I can go in the village from where they come but I did not understand exactly how and when will be done. In the morning I was told that it cannot be done then but when the tourists will be brought late afternoon to the port they would take me to the harbor. Apparently nobody else was interested so after lunch we packed about 10 people with luggage in a boat and left on a very choppy sea to the harbor. The ride was scary, the boat swerving through the high surf just about 20 cm off water. Somehow we made it and after disembarking everybody we stopped in one of the Carti villages. Each of these villages, similar in look and very close together is located on a separate island very close to the mainland. They carry the name Carti and another name, the one we visited being Carti Sugpub. To walk the narrow streets guarded by straw houses is a very interesting experience. The church, the school, the medical center, the fiesta house and the Congress represent the main points of the community. The Kunas live a life in balance with nature that they try to respect each day. The balance is kept among their creators gods, the cosmos and the nature that surrounds them. Their legends talk about the Ibeorkun who came from the sky to teach them how to organize and lead their society. In their understanding this gave them the knowledge to obtain their current autonomous status. The community is organized around the Congress, named in Kuna language Ibeorkun and is ruled by three Chiefs elected from the locals. The Ibeorkun hall is sacred and is the only place that cannot be photographed. It consists of a large room with benches all oriented toward the middle where every evening heated discussion are held in regards to the day events, Like many Indigenous tribes the Kuna have their original religion and traditions but all are Christians of various denominations.
Older women still dress in traditional clothes surrounding the middle part of their body with a molla, a decorative cloth made from cut outs of various colors and their legs are wrapped in bands of beads. However young women, teenagers and men are dressed in modern clothing. Till late 90s the common currency of Kunas was the coconut, a fruit that grows in abundance and was exported in the entire region. However today the colorful molls became an appreciated object of commerce.
I spent about one hour in the village and boarded the boat very late getting in Coco Blanco almost at night on very high waves that Roberto was able to navigate deftly. Valentino was waiting a little worried for my late arrival and we continued the chat in the night, with him and some others who came during the day.