Sunday, November 14, 2010

Santa Catalina. October 28th - November 12th, 2010

Both Tom and I love the quiet little surf beach community of Santa Catalina. It is quite far from the beaten path and remarkably undeveloped. We set off fairly early for the 6 hour drive. In addition, we knew we needed to stop for groceries as the place we stay in Santa Catalina is remote, so for the duration of our stay which will be 2 weeks, we need to be self sufficient. The first part of the journey from Santa Clara to Santiago is fairly smooth going on the Panamericana and after a stop in Penenome for provisions we were making good time until....traffic police with a radar gun. Yep, my lead footed husband was speeding as the police was eager to tell us. We tried everything and he was remarkably undetered by our abysmal spanish and his little English. "Are you sorry" he asked, we both nodded. "Lo siento" Tom kept repeating. "I'm sorry". "Will you slow down and be carefully?" We both nodded again. "Very careful". Tom responded "and slow". The questions kept coming. He spotted a dictionary we carry and went through it, collecting various words and phrases. Where were we coming from, where were we going, how long were we staying in Panama. "I could give you a ticket and then you would have to go to David (which is really far) to pay it". We frowned. "So sorry" Tom kept repeating whilst I was beginning to think he would keep us there all day chatting. "What does he really want" I whispered to Tom. So far no money had been mentioned so we took matters into our own hands. "How much would a ticket be?" asked Tom. "Oh, I don't want to give you a ticket but you were going 90 kilometers in a 45 kilmeter zone". Tom took out his wallet and extracted a $20.00 bill, all the while checking out the policeman. He calmly folded it up and whilst taking back his license, shook the policeman's hand, pressing the folded bill between them. "Drive slowly, be careful, good luck, mi amigos" the policeman cheerfully. After a 30 minute stop we finally said our goodbyes and waved. Thank God and the speeding fine has only cost us $20.00, much cheaper than the United States! After Santiago, the going through the town of Sona and then to Santa Catalina was much slower. Narrow roads, less well maintained, lots of pot holes and, rain but we plodded on and finally arrived at the Rancho Cosa Mia by 5pm. The property is owned by Americans and managed by a Panamaian couple, Juventino and his wife Abby. They live on the property in a small house and then there is one cabin to rent and plenty of space for the RV. It is on a cliff, overlooking the beach and the access to the water is only a short 5 mins walk. They were not home when we arrived but we parked in the same spot as on our prior visit which is close to the bathroom, electricity and the deck with it's amazing views. By the time Juventino and Abby get home, we had even gotten our awning up. Since our automatic, custom installed awning had been torn off in Mexico (refer to Mexico blogs) we are reduced to a simple set up using ropes, stakes and cover but it works and gives some protection, even though it is quite cumbersome to set up. They were thrilled to see us again and volunteered to let us know when they would go to town so we could get fresh milk, produce and of course, freshly caught fish and prawns from the local fishermen. Abby also told me I could use her washing machine to do laundry. We will stay in this idyllic spot for 2 whole weeks. There is good surf here so Tom is thrilled, Winston is allowed to roam without restriction, so he is excited and me, well I'm glad because I can catch up on preparing the RV for export to Colombia, reading and long walks on the beach.

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