Bastimentos Up In The Hill

It pours.  It stops.  It drizzles.

I rush to Bibi’s to get a grilled fish sandwich on a johnnycake to go. I inhale it ahead of an hour-long conference call on GoTo Meeting with the Fortune 100 client. Partner Chris skypes me: we’ve hired a new employee. Great!

From inside the house – come, we’re taking the boat to Basti.

It pours.  It stops.  It drizzles.

We take the boat to Bastimentos, across ocean more open than the quick shuttles to Bocas Town. Swells rise high to the sides of the boat. They push us sideways right, and as we roll over the swell left, we fall hard into the trench below. I’m comforted with the knowledge that I can swim.

Bastimentos is sunny, humid. We take the path up the hill, past barking dogs, past small homes with no windows, just bricks positioned to allow in a little light and some air. Laundry hangs between buildings, yellow buckets catch rainwater. We stop at Warrio’s family house. Sister, mother, grandmother scoop up baby Belo con besos y abrazos y canciones.

It pours.  It stops.  It drizzles.

Back on the path up the hill, Ali Sun and I slosh through mud in Keens, Heather goes barefoot. Where the path is improved, for three yards or maybe ten, rounded coconut husks and leaves are wedged between long stalks of bamboo. We reach the organic chocolate shop. A walk through the garden, reaching the main house, rinsing off muddy feet.

We are introduced to Javi and Jeannette. Ali Sun has tea. I have a wondrous café mocha with slightly granulated chocolate, not too sweet. Increíble. We split homemade cacao truffles rolled in toasted coconut. Yeah, that’s right.

The property is gorgeous, occupying the highest point on Isla Bastimentos. Shade and rain structures tuck into tropical fauna, splashes of bright flowers and colorful birds. Here is one with an elegant simplicity betraying a skilled craftsman with an aesthetic eye – waxed milk boxes, bamboo, a sheet of plastic over a picnic table. Dogs and chickens follow us.

It pours.  It stops.  It drizzles.

We dine at Roots on the Old Bank. Fresh filete de pescado in a coconut pepper sauce with coconut rice and patacones. Calypso Bob, a Basti native with an easy smile, busks at the restaurant tonight, also plays in a band with Warrio’s dad.

What you want to hear? Bob Marley? Yellowman? The Eagles? You know what the greatest nation on earth is? Donation, mon!

The boat ride back home is quicker and easier, like returning home always is. Warrio and I sit on the veranda, he tells jungle stories of vipers and scorpions. He makes sour sap milkshakes. Bedtime nears.

It pours.  It stops.  It drizzles.

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