Bocas del Toro, Believe It or Not!

Wednesday, December 10 2008 @ 04:15 PM EST

Contributed by: Anonymous

By DON KING for - The Caribbean town of Bocas del Toro, Panama is unique in many interesting ways. First of course is the name Bocas del Toro or “Mouth of the Bull.” We residents have to be glad that Panama is a Spanish-speaking country and not English-speaking. It doesn’t really ring romantic on the lips to say it in English, “I live in the Mouth of the Bull.” Bocas Town is quite ahead of its time in space management and utilization. Only in Bocas can you land at the International Airport, while a soccer game is in full swing at the end of the runway. The runway after hours is used by power walkers, joggers, and young lovers (the end of the field terminates at the ocean’s edge and faces the setting sun). Bocas not only attracts the eclectic expats, but also breeds some of its own. One young man builds fairly exact replicas of modern jets from all types of discarded items. Then at night on weekends only, he pulls his three-to-five foot aircraft down the main street of Bocas on a rope. He will then begin to run down the street and the aircraft will lift off and glide for as longs he can run. We like to kid new people and tell them he works for the airlines. We later let them know he is not a pilot, but only works at the ticket counter. (more)

There was also the expat “bird lady”, whose bicycle had so many parrots on the handle bars, that when she came downtown it looked as though she may take off at any moment. Apparently she did and now lives elsewhere. Another fellow we call Senior Perro. Not that he is in any way like a dog, but that is his primary function. He takes care of the dog for a local family. I’m not sure if he is any good at the job though. I have noticed the family dog has been replaced three times in five years and when I ask him where the other dog is, he always replies, “it died.”

Wildlife is another thing we have plenty of. We have a huge assortment of tropical birds in Bocas. You can just about bet that on every tour boat some guy will yell out, “look at the boobies”. Meaning of course, the large, aquatic sea bird, the Blue-footed Booby. In Bocas, I have either met the slowest person on the planet or seen the fastest sloth. This lady was actually grabbed by a sloth and bitten on the arm. Sounds like a sloth for the Guinness Book to me! Fish-eating bats skim over the ocean at night behind our house and often fly in through the kitchen window for a look around.

Bocas Town is a small, quaint town of only about 8 by 12 city blocks. The pace is slow and bicycles and walking are still primary means of transportation here. In fact, people here will often step out in front of your car or bike and then always have a look of amazement to see a car or bike on the street. We have no traffic lights in Bocas, which evens out I guess, since no other island in the archipelago has a road.

Our Bocas developers are famous for their ability to find just the right name for branding their projects. For instance, Draffe Beach is now known as The World Famous Red Frog Beach (even in the Panama Monopoly game). Draffe sounded too similar to Daffy I think. A proposed development on Paunch Beach was to be called The Paunch Beach Resort. The developer realized that buyers would be thinking of some middle age guy with a beer gut, so they changed the project name to something like Banana Heights Village instead. There is one other beach area, which has had no developments brave enough to start there, and that is Puss Head Beach. It has nothing to do with a pimple and everything to do with a point of land resembling a cat’s head (Puss Head). But how do you write an advertising brochure with that explanation in it?

We do hope you will come and visit us and go away with some of your own unique stories about Bocas. And remember, Columbus did sleep here.

Copyright 2008 by Don King for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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