CHICHIME, SAN BLAS
Our time in the San Blas islands is finally coming to an end. We are booked to go through the Panama Canal on Thursday, 11th February; so we need to start heading back to Colon and start getting ready for our transit.
The last month here has been absolutely wonderful. We certainly understand why some cruising boats never leave. There is one American who has been living on his boat here for over 12 years. Part of his time is spent keeping one of the islands clear of rubbish and debris, and he gets quite upset if anybody messes up’ his’ territory.
Friends of ours from England, Barry and Kate, have been with us for the last week. They flew from Panama to San Blas islands. The aerodrome takes up the whole island, with a couple of admin huts located on the side of the runway. Because it was a small plane, baggage limit was 12 kilos per person, since they were carrying an alternator and several litres of wine for us, they where 26 kilos over the limit; not that it mattered as the total excess baggage cost was $14.43!!!
It has been 6 weeks since my skiing accident and it was time to remove my plastercast (which I don’t think I mentioned was fibre glass). The trouble was to get it taken off properly it would involve a flight to Panama City to one of the hospitals there.
We decided to have a go our selves so with a hacksaw, pliers and chicken scissors we managed to prise the cast off without drawing any blood!! Now all I need is some good physio.
Today we went ashore to one of the islands Chichime, where three families live. As usual they wanted to sell us their Molas they had made, unfortunately we didn’t have any money with us, but Penny had a large bag of goodies to give to the local kids so she ended up trading them for one of the molas she liked.
The kids were happy with colouring books, pencils, chalk and lollypops and the women were happy with make-up, nail polish and perfume. One of the Kuna women wanted to trade her sarong for Penny’s dress. The chief of the village was delighted with the pair of shorts we gave him and he sent one of the lads scurrying up a coconut tree for a coconut for each of us. It was a win win situation all round.
The Kuna Indians have such a simple beautiful way of life. Only about 15yrs ago they traded in coconuts and didn’t have a currency. When the Colombian trading ships come in the whole village turns out for the event. The large sacks of coconuts are weighed and clothes, toiletries and general supplies are handed out. Time doesn’t stay still and it looks as if there could be rapid change in their culture as they get mobile phones, electricity and TV,s.