Monday, July 10, 2006

World Cup in Pixvae

To watch the World Cup in a Latin country is something special. To watch it in a third world Latin country in REALLY something special. We watched the first half yesterday in a school and the second half under a tin roof while the generator rattled in the shed next door. The kids sat on coconuts and the rest of us on plank benches. Everyone took turns walking to the bar and buying the big whale beers to share. This was some family’s backyard. It's against the law to drink in the school building so backyard TV's with generators allowed imbibing while watching. It was a rich experience.

Here's how the Hispanics pick a team to support:
1.) Their own country
2.) The next closest country
3.) Any country that speaks Spanish
4.) Any country that speaks Portuguese.

After that they don't much care.

Pixvae is a great example of unspoiled Central America and how poor yet happy a people can be. Tourism doesn't exist here. The islands get all the top billing so the crowds skip this little pueblo. There are no restaurants. You just mention that you're hungry and soon someone finds someone who is willing to cook for you for a couple bucks. You get a couple starches and there is always fish but rarely carne, and of course it's all fried. The real treat is being invited into their house to eat at their table. There aren't any real shops to buy provisions from but someone always knows someone who sells canned goods and maybe drinks out of their house.

The beach and bay are gorgeous from a distance but once upon it the plastic pollution is overwhelming. They just can't stop littering or showing cruelty towards animals. It's really hard to muster sympathy when you see that on a daily basis, and from people who have otherwise proved themselves to be proud and loving.

These island chains just keep getting better. Parida was amazing. The Secas are an underwater dream (we touched bottom and had a bit of excitement at 3 in the morning as we ditched the anchor to head for deep water. We returned later in the light of day and retrieved it). Isla Brincanco in the Contreras group had the clearest water I've yet seen on this trip and 7 waterfalls. Colin paddled through one into a cave that was behind it. I chickened out. We are now underway for Bahia Honda which has an island smack in the middle with 3 cantinas, should be another fun night. After that it's Coiba. Look it up. So far, Panama is shaping up to be my fav.

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