Back maybe in February when I committed to myself that I was going to leave the world as I knew it and travel far afield, I realised there may be some things i’ll mis out on doing at home. Seeing friends on a regular basis, christmas and my 30th birthday.
I’ve never been one to really be bothered about my own birthday, I tend to sometimes go above and beyond to make others birthdays special though. When I decided I was going to head off I resided myself to the fait of possible experiencing my 30th birthday alone, and in some far away hostel on the other side of the world. Boy was I wrong.
In the last week the group that I’ve been travelling with have dwindled down to just Jac and myself. Lonnie and Chantelle headed off inland to Panama as they had a shorted time scale. Pam although she wasn’t due home till july decided after over 6 months of travelling she was ready to go home so headed on back to canned. An even ryan, A guy I meet at the Panama border all headed off.
I had no real idea what I wanted to do for my birthday as always. I thought maybe about lying in all morning then spending the day eating and drinking our way through town before collapsing on a hammock. Jac on the other hand had other plans.
I was told that for the 17th and 18th I was to have my bag packed as the 2 of us were heading off to a near by island of Bastimentos. I’d never even really heard of the island even though we had past it many times on boat trips and days scuba diving.
We got dropped off on a tiny little dock pocking out into the ocean and had to make our way between and under houses to find the main road of the island. I use the word “road” lightly as it was about 3 feet wide and filled with holes. On the whole island there aren’t and cars or vehicles bigger than a push bike.
We made our way on between houses rolling a sign for a place called “firefly” an appropriate name as Jac and I had spent many a night back on the yoga deck on our retreat watching the fireflies above. As we walked along the coast front between palm trees and sandy beaches we found the hotel at the end of the path. It slept only 10 people and was amazing!! so far from the hostels we had been sleeping in for the las month. It even had hot showers!!
We spent the rest of the day exploring the new island and town we landed on. It was mostly stretched along the coast line and being off season we were pretty much the only tourists around to be found. Unlike the busy town of Bocos Del Toro this island was filled with women and children playing in the streets and fields between and around the houses.
After exploring for the day we headed back to the hotel, jumped in the pool then showered and changed ready to head off to dinner. We had been recommend by someone who ran the hotel to try and small place called Chavela, we didn’t realise just how small until we found it.
Wedged between houses along the street up a unlit muddy path sat a bar with a kitchen and maybe 4 tables. Jac simply lead the way and walked off into the darkness to lead the way as if shed been there dozens of times.
Once we got there we couldn’t decide what to eat so as a standard fallback that I have in these situations we simply ordered all 3 we were trying to choose between. We had tune, barracuda and a awesome home made burger all washed down with cold beer. We both sat after with massive food babies growing within us.
We very slowly, Caribbean style walked back to the hotel and passed out asleep after watching a episode of suits on the laptop.
The next day was the 18th and my 30th birthday. Being 6 hours behind the UK and all my friends and family meant I woke to find a whole host of messages from back home. A morning Skype call with my parents was great and also the first opportunity in a while to catch them up to date with possible planes for the next couple of months.
We then went and sat out on the deck and enjoyed a fresh homemade breakfast completed with fluffy banana pancakes
After scoffing ourselves we set off to find a chocolate and permaculture farm with organic cafe that we had read about. A sign on the high street pointed on up a hill and we began in mid day heat a walk up a hill and through a forrest to a unknown place.
We did after about a half hours walk find the gates to the hidden to cafe. It was nestled on a hill top far away from any others properties and was a beautiful quite little spot. We were greeted by a Scottish women who own the place and quickly dropped our bags from the hike up the hill. We sat and drank fresh smoothies and ate home made brownies whilst the cool breeze cooled us both down.
Now one thing I should mention about Bastimentos is it has a reputation for red poison frogs. When we were back in Costa rica we had spotted a bright green frog and for days I had been trying to spot one of these illusive little red frogs. There not that easy to find as there no bigger than the end of your finger tip. But hear sat on the mountain top wedged between plants I saw some of them. I carefully caught one and then spent my time trying to photograph these tiny little frogs with what camera equipment we had. Luckily Jac has a really good camera as I’d left mine at home after discovering a problem with it.
When I had finished playing with the frogs we made our way back down the hill. Not before Jac slipped on a piece of wood and fell flat into some mud mind! The walk back was easier as the mid day sun had passed and we settled in for the afternoon to enjoy our hotel. We sat and watched as the sunset in front of us.
We got ready for dinner and for only the second time since I left home I put a shirt on!! the meal was a mix of local cuisine and Thai and once again we couldn’t decide what to eat. We asked Ryan our host to simply bring his favourite and we gorged ourselves on local fish whilst we drank a few bottles of nice red Chilean wine. I wish I had taken more photos but I just wanted to sit and enjoy the dinner and the company for the evening so this is the only one I took.
The next day after waking up with a slight hangover we checked out and headed back to a house on Bocos for the next few nights.
It was an amazing birthday and one I will never forget. Jac and I are building a habit of having great birthdays together. Hers was during our last week at Anamaya and that one also stays fresh in my mind but thats a story for only us to share.
The next week will be a mix of things but I’l try and keep this up to date .