Monday, 15 December 2008

The Mission

I now have a mission. I don’t know why but having a seemingly insurmountable feat to perform gives shape to our days. I think we’re conditioned to think that life is about solving problems, beating this, winning at that, achieving the other… I think it will take a few more days for me to stop ‘needing’ these missions.
Anyway, my mission is this; I need to get some cash from the ATM.

It’s tougher than it sounds. I’m in Santa Catalina, Panama’s surf city, so you would imagine it would be geared to getting & keeping the surfers balboa (dollar), but this place is remote, really remote. As I write this on the porch of my concrete cabana on Playa Estero beach I am a 30 minute walk — across a river mouth which at high tide you have to wade through neck deep — from the centre of Santa Catalina. The centre has a restaurant, a small barely stocked shop, a couple of hostels, 2 scuba diving shacks, 1 telephone box (the only international call place in town) and a bus stop. The bus can take you the 2.5 hours over roads which are 3 parts pot-hole to 1 part road up to Soná, the local conurbation, which has 1 internet computer (the nearest to us here), 1 ATM, a couple of shops and a bus stop. Luckily my mobile phone doesn’t work in Panama (it seems all European ones don’t) and with a stroke of sheer good fortune my bank stopped my card as I tried to get money out in Panama City.

Still, I have money enough for a couple more days, the beach is on my doorstep, the waters warm, my board — the Green Godess — is waxed, finned, leashed and built for fun, the food is good, the beer is cheap and having ditched the penny-pinching dreary career-backpackers I accidently fell in with on the bus ride over here I’ve found good company in the Brits, Spanish, American, Canadian & Israeli folk that I’ve been hanging out with. The surf is small and weak, but that will change, the sun I shining, the landscape and beachscape is heart-achingly beautiful — I sometimes have to add a little skip to my step as a surge of excitement runs through me at how god damn incredible life is!

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