Another trip to Panama (or 90 more days in Costa Rica)

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As my 90 days Visa was coming to an end, I had to leave the country and went again for a weekend in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

I spent US$164.00, going by bus and sharing a cab for a part of the trip, a few boat rides between the islands, paying US$30.00 for two nights at a hostel and the food.

Luísa and I left at the 12:30 bus on Friday and arrived in Bastimentos island at about 5:30 pm local time.We didn´t stay in the hostel over the water (like in our first time there), that feels like being in Fidgi island, although I´ve never been to Fidgi.

We stayed at another hostel, where we had a tiny room with a bathroom (cold shower, obviously), but WI-FI included (I used it) and kitched (which I didn´t use).

Before getting there though, we saw the military marching with their machine guns, right after we crossed the border. What a contrast, coming from Costa Rica, where there is no military force.

Luísa asked if they were going to kill with those guns. I said that no, but yes, those guns were meant to kill.She asked why, I told her it made no sense to me either, but they use those in wars.

I asked her if she knew what a war was and she said no, so I told her that it´s when countries fight and they send soldiers with guns.

¨To kill? ¨

¨Well, yeah, to destroy. It´s really horrible, but it´s only in war, right now, they are just pretending, they won´t do anything besides that stupid walk.¨

¨What about children?  Do they kill children too?¨

Man, this dialogue was getting hard to bear. I had to lie:

¨No, not children. But let´s not think about this now, nothing will happen.¨

I regretted the way I carried the conversation, somehow expecting to help her hate war as much as I do (as if that´s needed), because before going to bed, she started asking about the guns and the soldiers again.

To finish the conversation I told her that ¨the wars are really far from us and we are safe here on this island, and where we live¨.

On Saturday, we went to Star Fish beach. The options to get there were on a boat tour that cost US$20.00 (only adults pay), and goes to 4 different beaches, leaving at 10am and returning at 4pm, or what we did, which was a bus ride that takes 45min to get there, leaves every two hours and costs US$5.00.

I didn´t want to go on the dolphin´s tour (also US$20.00), because back in Brazil we see dolphins all the time. We still got lucky enough to see a family passing by the Star Fish beach.

We had to walk 15 minutes from the bust stop to the beach where you see plenty of star fish in the shallow water.

We are not supposed to touch them, but Luísa did…

There were not many tourists there, just like 3 boats and the people that got there by bus and unfortunately, no children.

What a life!

Among the tourists, there was a couple with crazy tatoos on their chests. One day later, I recognized them in a friend´s blog (a single traveler dad) and found out they too are traveling and blogging about their journey. In fact, they are loaded with posts about Costa Rica with stunning pics. I wish we had met at the beach.

We spent 4 hours there and then went back. We chilled at the playground and had lunch in the main island before going back to Bastimentos island, where we watched a few cartoons on You tube (Pingo and Barbapapa). She chose to watch them in Italian.

The next morning, on Sunday, I told Luísa we could go on this walk up in the hill, to meet a family with children. It´s  a little store of organic coffee and chocolate and book exchange and local art crafts called ¨Up in the Hill¨.

I took the wrong route, I thought we needed to go around and walk like 15 minutes, which then became almost 30. But we could have taken a 5 minute path instead.

Luísa was great on the walk. I was a bit nervous because we had to go through mud and tall grass and I really wanted to avoid her complaining at all costs (to ensure my own good mood to persist) , so at the first sign of whinnying and asking to be carried in a piggy back horse, I gave her the option of not meeting the kids and just going back home immediately.

She preferred to keep going. After 2 days between just the two of us, the image of other kids to play was the hell of a good motivation.

We stayed at the place, the house of a Scotish woman with an Argentinean and 3 kids for about one hour. Luísa played nicely with the 3-year old boy and I read a magazine about surf in Costa Rica (hummm, didn´t I come back full of visions of surfing?).

On our way back, the owner explained me the direct path, it only takes 3 minutes down the hill. That´s when Luísa had a fit and cried the whole way, until we were at the hostel packing, and she was still mad that I didn´t carry her, because she was so tired. Sure, there were no kids at the end of that path.

We left the island and went back home. It took us 4 hours to get back to Puerto Viejo.

It was a very chilled weekend and I was even a bit bored. I wasn´t happy to spend all that money in two days, but that´s how it went.

I realized the reason of my boredom was that Luísa almost didn´t have another child to play for almost the whole time. And I´ve been really good since forever to always find little playmates. I didn´t have any meaningful conversation with another adult either – no playmates for any of us.

I discovered the secret to successful single motherhood: to have a playdate almost every single day.

You might have noticed that I´m running adds on the blog now. I just joined BlogHer network. These adds are somewhat customized to my preferences, so there shouldn´t be any product on that I don´t agree with.

Photo 1 Credit

Photo 2 Credit

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on November 8, 2011. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.


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