Ritmo De La Vida

I fall asleep almost instantly despite a torrential downpour, the thump of a bar on the main island, the scuttling of foraging crabs in the rain and the house cat fending off a feral competitor.

Eleven hours later, I rouse from a deep sleep. We are on Eastern Standard Time, plenty of time to prep some analytics for a client. I dig in; the internet goes down. Routers are reset, plugs are unplugged and replugged, a call is made. Alas.

I hop on a water taxi. I have seventy five minutes to find wifi on a small remote island in a third world nation, create a report that takes me an hour and join a conference call with a Fortune 100 company.

The guy at the cell phone place pops his sim card into my old iPhone, which is jailbroken but apparently not unlocked. Claro, the shack with the USB sticks, keeps mysterious hours. The Hotel Laguna has a great router and terrible wifi. My only hope is Toro Loco. In this case, Obi Wan is a Panamanian sports bar with a penchant for Guns and Roses.

I order chicken tenders and a Balboa – a local lager that shares a name with the currency. The report is finished, uploading, uploading just fast enough – four minutes to spare. I hop on to GoToMeeting. All is right in the universe.

My call is complete. It’s 3pm. Ali Sun and Heather walk by pushing Belo in the stroller. I join them; we run errands, buy groceries, stop to say buenas to Heather’s many friends.

Back home on Isla Carenero, wildlife draws close. Sloths, geckos, green parrots, tiny crabs.

Warrio makes dinner. Chicken in a coconut and garlic stew, red beans and rice, fried plantains. He just might be the first Patois Chef on the Food Network.

The flower of Bocas Del Toro begins to open, beautiful, intoxicating.

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