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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Isla Blanca near Portobelo, Caribbean Coast, Panama

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Today we have been invited to join the team of Wisconsin folk to go to Portobello.
There are a few others from the base who also come along for the day.
The team have just come back from building a home in the jungle Darien for
Homes for Hope.  There was a flood and many lost their homes.
So these lovely people came all the way to help.
Mike is their leader.  He is amazing.
He has 16 kids and a kind heart.

We head off early - straight after breakfast.
It is a good hour or so.
It is Carnival weekend so the roads are pretty crazy - or is that normal?
As we drive along I realise some of these have never see the ocean.
To me who grew up with the sea, this is incredible.
The "ooohs" and "ahhhs" come from all inside the mini-van.
It really is a pretty area.
This is the Caribbean coast.
It is cleaner and nicer than Bocus del Toro.

Here the old fort ruins can be seen on both sides.
Mike negotiates with a translator what he has been told to pay per person.

This ends up being about $10 each.
But then they add a parking fee for the van.
Their team have stopped already and bought drinks and lunch to share.
We are going to take a boat to Playa Blanca - 
Playa is Beach, Blanca is White.

My son doesn't want to ear a life jacket, but I insist.
In fact we all have to in the end.

We are quite excited.
There are 16 of us.

Even though I don't know them well, these people are lovely.
They have also shared our building, and put up with me hogging
the bathroom when I was ill.

As we head out the waves are huge.
We are all drenched.
My son loves this.
But it is unsafe for him to stay on the front of the boat.
This is now a war to get him to move.
He is upset the rest of the trip.
He has no concept of danger.
We discuss obedience later......

We arrive and set up a volley ball game.
Boys against girls.
Dani tries to put up a coconut trunk as the half way line.
It didn't work!

We are glad we have a shady spot.
The beach is getting busy on this island.
We enjoy lunch.  
Thanks Andrea and Mike!
Most of these people have come from the snow one week ago.
There is a lot of white skin.

My son starts to play on the sand.
He is joined by his new friend.
They get along well, and have watched movies together the past few days 
when I have been ill - good ol' Mr. Bean!

Soon I look and the construction team are at work.
All the men have decided to make this a fort and a half.
The walls are being reinforced.
It cracks me up, but I appreciate the assistance they give him.
He loves it, and often needs male interaction.

Dani decides to serenade us with his ukulele.

The beach is gorgeous.
There are lovely flowers that fall from the trees.

You can see our boat in the distance.
With others around to watch my son, I get a chance for a walk alone along the shore.
My son has decided he is king, and is working on shooting little melons
like canon balls with the use of his goggle strap.

There are monkeys howling in the trees so we do a 5 minute walk into the jungle.
They are the crankiest I have ever heard.
I take a great movie but the pictures are not so flash.

He helps pull in the boat as we go to leave.

Fort San Lorenzo awaits us on our return.
Yeah - more pirate history.
He enjoys playing on the canons.

We have only 5 minutes, so we take a few quick photographs.

We love the cannons and race around.

Dani from Germany is just the funniest guy.
He has made today a real laugh.
He has a funny face page on Face book so we add this photo to his collection.

Mike tells us his team are going to pay for us for the day.
What a lovely and kind surprise.
I am very thankful!

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