Today, we wanted to go to the beach.
So we went with flip-flops and a small bag for the so-called small walk to Wizard Beach, which is the nearest not-too-touristic beach. We were told it was around 20 minutes to get there, just on the other side of the hill, and that is was sometimes muddy on the way down.
From the village, at first, it was all well signaled. Then it started to be less clear, but with last houses we could still ask for directions. Then it became a narrow path buried in the jungle, where, if you’re wearing flip-flops, you’re just a walking free-meal for every bug in the forest !
At the pass (well we have this notion of a pass with a view, but here in the forest, we couldn’t see much more than anywhere else…) we noticed that it was rapidly becoming very muddy. So we decided to redirect ourselves to a coffee shop higher up on the crest (again, this is not the Pyrénées, more like vegetation-covered hills) to ask them if we could go across.
Since the coffee shop is one of the tourist attractions of the village, it is quite well signaled, with flower-shaped beacons made out of plastic bottles hanging from the trees. We also noted a good use for the plastic beer crates to make stairs in the muddy slopes.
At the coffee shop, up in the hill, we talked with a german expat (it’s quite interesting to hear the point of view of a stranger living here) and with another french couple (for some more linguistic gymnastics 😉 ). And of course, we drank a nice fresh fruit juice to cool ourselves.
We also discovered that, in order to go down to the beach, we should have better equipment (not flip-flops and beach towels…) and that walking sticks were apparently useful to lean on in deep mud. So we decided to go to the beach another day and to go back with a shorter trail from the coffee shop to the village, much better than the one we had seen on the way up (all the pictures are from this one, we were too busy hunting mosquitoes and other bugs to take pictures on the way up !)
In the end, even if we didn’t get to the beach, we discovered the jungle at the center of Bastimentos island, and saw the simple but very efficient construction of a rain-water collector (at the top of a hill, so you get pressure in the pipes). We also got a nice sea-view on the way down to the village before cooking and eating.
After that, we decided to do like the local people and rested. It was way too hot to do anything away from a fan anyway 😉 We also were visited again by these famous tiny local red frogs, probably really interested in the next episode of Fringe.
Late in the afternoon, we took a boat to Bocas Town, the main city of the archipelago (on the biggest island, Isla Colon). We were warned that it was very different from the small village of Old Bank on Bastimentos, and it was : the island is bigger, so is the city, but mainly, it is more organized and built up. There is a ferry, which also means roads and vehicles (Bastimentos only has a pedestrian cement-way along the sea-side village). There are many more big hotels (sometimes with 4 floors, amazing !) and even more tour operates. And they have real supermarkets instead of grocery stores (even if they are also owned by Chinese people here).
Tonight is Halloween, so the party was slowly starting. We were impressed by the courage of tourists, going to great lengths to disguise themselves even when traveling.
We went to have some drinks by the sea, before caving in to the french restaurant next door (first french dining in 50 days of travels, second time eating bread that actually tastes like bread !). It was original and nice, with some tapas boards loaded with french-feeling stuff (and homemade bread !)
We didn’t stay too late at the Halloween party, but still went to have a beer long enough to listen to an eclectic music band (clearly, it was organized late with the people found around) with a very diverse repertoire (Eurythmics, James Brown, Bob Marley and Amy Winehouse in a few minutes !). It was nice, though.
Here we are for today (well, for yesterday, because I was too lazy to write this when we got back late in the evening !). More news in the next post !
P.S : Today’s game : find the frog !
Easy Level (2 frogs) :
Harder Level (1 frog) :