Loc: Isla Corgido
I was just up, as I saw already a local cayuco equipped with a sail heading to “my island” – already the first visitor? Sure the three guys were talking last night in Azucar, the mainland village, about my presence, and Alfredo, the true owner of this paradise island, decided to come over himself. He paddled one of the traditional dug out canoes, assisted with a small sail which I saw a lot paddling/ sailing in the distance up and down close to the coast. He was as friendly and welcoming as the guys yesterday, and we had a real conversation going in mixed Spanish/ English/ Kuna/ German…
I learned that each island is owned by a certain person, not by the Kuna community, and that it seems to be common habit to charge tourists to stay if they are here for holidays. many backpackers do so, stay in a palm tree hut sor a few weeks. But he said it would be two or three dollars per day, surely not ten like the other guy on the other island eventually decided to ask for. Fortunately I was not looked at as a typical “tourist”, and as he was one of the old style paddlers he knew what I had done and told me he’d charge nothing – thanks, Alfredo!…I think he is a bit sad about the young people only using engines by now…He collected a few coconuts, and transported them cleverly to his cayuco by cutting a small strip of the outer bark, knotted two together, and crossed two by two and even more over for easy handling. He said he would be back soon, as he would like to visit his other island across the water.
I went back to my tent fro breakfast and reading, and eventually fell asleep again. I woke by Alfredo standing suddenly in front of my tent again! Sure I heard no engine approaching…we had another nice long chat, and he cut me open a coconut for drinking. I searched in my bag for “dulces” and found some dried pineapple he liked very much. he was 53 years ol, had five daughters and one son, and even the Kuna kids are learning at school about computer in these days. The Indians here are not any more as “indigenous” as one may think, but seem to be going all right with modern times. I had cell phone reception from the village on the mainland, and they have also an airport there. No wonder no one likes to paddle an old style cayuco any more! The many many “rich people’s” yachts here may addt to “spoiling” the old style communities.
I also asked him if he knew about “Expedition Tropicales”, the only company allowed to guide kayak tourists in their area. Sure he knew Nemesio, the Kuna guide I actually would have been happy to meet some where, as I had been in touch with Vicky, the secretary of the company about some informations about this area prior to my start here. But communication was tough the last days, and Nemesio was somewhere out with a group, and I didn’t know where in this maze of islands! Shame we obviously missed each other!
I am hoping to get as friendly a welcome on the next islands as I got welcomed here! I relaxed the day, being not too hot, went snorkelling once again, and my skin recovered a little bit. Still many red open spots, heat pimples all over and itching – I am really looking UGLY! – and it hurts and itches…
Besides my campsite is an old fireplace leftover form some locals, as Alfredo said, and I decided to clean up the spot today from all those bottles and plastics collected during the years. I piled everything neatly up in a corner, hoping Alfredo may appreciate this work and one day he may bring a big trash bag and will dump the stuff somewhere reasonably on the mainland…now it’s a “real” almost virgin looking “Paradise Island”! Why don’t people take their trash out, not to talk about all those bottles floating on the water to the islands?