December 10th, 2007 – by: AndySD
The airport, hotel, restaurant
After finally arriving following our toruous sailing trip, forever clinching the fact that I´ll never make my living working on the ocean, we are in the town of El Porvenir, the only link that the native Kuna people have to the outside world. The main town is on two islands while a third island has a small hotel/restaurant, an airport, and the immigrations and customs facilties. Electricity is only present during the day and early evening and is provided by the ever present noises of the generator which sounded like a lawnmower. The airport, if you could call it that, consists of a single strip of concrete which is about 100 yards long and 30 feet wide. The control tower is two stories tall and appears quite limited, surprisingly, there is cell phone service.
One of the San Blas Islands
When the planes land they come in so low that if you were to stand and the very end of the runway, which is about 30 feet from the water, and put your hand up, the planes would hit your hand, if not your head. There was nothing quite like the contrast of seeing a Kuna family paddle out in their hand-made canoe around a multi-million dollar yacht to come and try to sell us their crafts. From El Porvenir we sailed across the bay to a group of islands to a Kuna town called Chichime (probably spelled wrong). The islands were really the prototypical picture of paradise, nothing but sand palm trees, there was even one island that was only about 30 feet in diamter and had a single palm tree on it. The Kuna people live in thatched houses and fish and make traditional bracelets, woven tapestries, and shirts which they sell to tourists.
The Kuna kids looking at their picture
Really a simple life, no electricity and they basically bring in only water and few other things from the outside world. They were really nice to us as we walked around on the islands, and the kids were really intrigued by our cameras and seeing themselves in the pictures on the viewscreens. Strangely there were a few dogs on the island and one monkey which they had tied to a tree. Every so often the dogs would go crazy and try to attack the monkey, and the monkey would shriek and claw at them and run back up his tree, really a strange sight. It was fun spending a few days and relaxing on the islands, and preparing for the remaining part of the trip to Colombia, which I don´t think any of us were looking forward to.