Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In the Kuna Yala of Panama

We have been here a while but have our first Internet access since Cartagena. We can post from the Kindle, but even cell signals are hard to find and very slow so we are living without email or the internet out here. Imagine. All is well here for us in the Kuna indigenous people's homeland (Kuna Yala aka the San Blas Islands). Although there are about 150 cruising boats here, it is still very remote as you must travel between the islands by boat. The Kuna travel primarily in small dug-out canoes (some with sails and some use bigger launchas with outboards, but most just use a paddle). Their homes are bamboo huts with dirt floors. We are just down the coast from the Darien Gap and it feels like the edge of both time and space. Locals still wear traditional garb and often sport facial tattoos such as decorative lines down the ridge of the nose.

We get visits periodically from a "veggie" boat or a boat with pollo (head and feet still on, of course), but there are no stores or any other modern conveniences here other than this one wifi signal which is associated with a school. There are also Kuna boats that come by to sell molas (traditional fabric crafts - the Fishwines have one on their wall I think) or traditional beeded jewelry. We all communicate in Spanish, which is the Kuna's second language, but typically only the men learn and speak Spanish.

We will try to post pictures soon, but it is hard to find time to download and sort pictures as we have a very long list of boat projects and the kids continue to demand pretty much 24/7 attention. So for now, Happy New Year (or "eva beerguy neweddy" - the phonetic spelling of happy new year in Kuna) from Kuna Yala.

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