October is Party Month in Bocas

Bocas Marina
Bocas del Toro, Panama

The second half of October was uneventful (save a couple of spectacular parties to be described later). We waited for parts. Ole has been down in the engine room dismantling the engine, cleaning up, and getting it ready for the hopefully soon arrival of a new manifold and adapter kit. I’ve been working on making new window covers for the outside of the pilot house, trying to protect the interior wood while providing much-needed shade. Thankfully there are just enough common sense fasteners to handle the just enough Sunbrella I have left.

Now to the parties:

Sharkey (the woman that runs the cantina here at the marina) suggested we all go over to a farewell party for one of the expats who’s been a realtor here for several years. The party was held at the house of a well-known local artist, on Marina Carenero just a few doors down from the marina. The instructions were that it was to be women-only until after 9:00 p.m., then the men were welcome to come. While I expressed discomfort at going to a party for someone who didn’t know me, especially one that called for “women only,” Kathy (from Attitude) and I shored each other up, and talked Ole and Neil into waiting for us at the Cosmic Crab (between the house and Marina Carenero) in case we wanted to leave early. Fat chance.

The reason the first half of the party was “women only” was that apparently Darion (an ex-Chippendale from South Africa who shares a boat here at Bocas Marina with Dyllan, an ex-figure skater) had been invited to “perform” for the guest of honor. Now as a grown woman, I have been not only around the block but around MANY blocks. And I can say, without equivocation, that Darian was the best male stripper I’ve ever seen! At the point where he got out the baby oil and flaming torches, Julie, the owner of the house, got up to get the fire extinguisher and sat clutching it to her chest with her mouth hanging open. The performance was cathartic, ending with twenty or thirty females screaming at a quite improbable retrieval of a dollar from the guest of honor’s teeth (let’s just say it involved an inward-facing handstand between the guest of honor’s legs). My oh my.

Well, after THAT, Kathy and I elected to run over to get Neil and Ole, and return to the party. English Bill, a cantankerous electric guitar player, was there, and with enough rum I can be persuaded to do a bit of Janis Joplin (the fans were screaming for more). Add an open bar, frustration over a broken engine, and the prospect of Neil and Kathy leaving soon, and the evening just got wilder and wilder, culminating in Sharkey opening the cantina bar at 2:00 a.m. for more drinking and disco exhibitions featuring Dillon, Darian, Kathy, Anne, Sharkey and me. I’m not entirely sure, but I think Ole and I carried each other home some time around 3:00 a.m., and didn’t speak for nearly 24 hours. It’s hell to get old.

More boat work, more waiting, more sewing later, and Halloween rolled around. As South Africans, Dyllan and Darion had never experienced it, so of course they were put in charge of decorating the cantina. As a costume minimalist, Ole wore a Wartisila diesel shirt and I put a dollar into each of my earrings (I’m a buck-an-ear…). Some folks went all-out, and it was hard to judge whose costume was best I was particularly fond of the carpenter who used foil-backed insulation to make himself into a dragon, but Darion’s “naked chef” was inspiring as well. When things wound down here at the cantina, a few of us opted to take a water taxi over to town to see what was cooking at the backpacker hangouts. It was pretty wild…and the local cops seemed mellow and amused.

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