Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 6- Human Playground Equipment

Farewell party in Mansucum

Yet more boating

The boat

We boarded our canoe early in the morning. The trip to the next town took only an hour, but it was long enough to deduce that eight hours of this kind of travel would be unbearable at best. In an open longboat, any bump in the water seems huge, and the swell today had us rollercoasting through the sea. I spent the best part of the trip on coconut duty, bailing water out of the bottom of the boat using a half-shell, while those in the front were thoroughly soaked by the spray off the bow. At Ustupu, it was discovered that if we pooled the money from el Capitaine, we could take a plane directly to Panama City, and it would only cost us a few more dollars each. Our flight was organised for the next day.

When you pull a camera out, the children strangle each other and then make hand gestures

The locals in Ustupu were incredibly welcoming. We had our passports checked, and then sat down for coffee and soft drinks with some of the local leaders. We had been in a constant state of exhaustion since the shipwreck, which wasn’t helped through living by the Kuna bodyclock, and we were quickly set up with accommodations so we could rest some more. We slept the afternoon away, before being given lunch by our minder for our stay, Toyo. After eating, Toyo took us on a tour of Ustupu, which was quite bit bigger than Mansucum, and more used to gringos. The children were utterly fearless, and used us as human jungle gyms and punching bags for as long as we could stand it. For the entire afternoon, at least one of us had at least one child hanging from our arms or necks as we wandered around town.

These ladies represent three generations of Kuna. The women wear traditional dress, but the men wear western clothes

These are the beads they wear on their legs

(Click to continue: Back to Reality)

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