The Sounds Of Your Life In Bocas del Toro

By Kimberly Roberts

I was on the phone the other night, talking to one of my dear friends.  He was at his Indiana hometown grocery store getting stuff for his dinner.  I could hear in the background his banter with the cheerful clerk, and the rolling tune of ‘beep’ (pause), ‘beep’ (pause), ‘beep’…and so on.

It struck me that it has been almost a year since I’d heard the sounds of a modern day ‘checkout’ experience! A year!

This made me wonder what would be the sounds I now take for granted in my Bocas del Toro paradise, that I will later miss.

Let me share with you the list I came up with…

Water taxis…the best way I can describe them to you is to imagine lawn mower engines, but deeper.  And constant, but yet, not consistent.  This too is followed by the ‘thump-thump-thump’ you hear the fast ones make as they leap like the dolphins here, out of the water for a moment, before ‘thumping’ back down for their next bounce.  You will also find them to be wonderful weather tools too – just hearing them start up again in earnest after a rainfall and you’ll know that the rains have stopped; people are traversing the water again.

Coconuts on tin roofs…this one is easy to describe.  Imagine a bowling ball coming down on a tin roof. Yep – that’s it exactly.  Expect this during most rainfalls and with it, the yard cleanup that brings these treasures down. Find a local to help you with a machete and you are in for a treat!  Coconut milk, coconut oil to cook with or lather on you…truly paradise!

Birds…lots of ‘em too!  Picture yourself walking through the bird sanctuary at a zoo where the birds fly around freely, chatting up a storm because their visitors are bringing in Dixie cups filled with food they paid for as part of the experience.  Birds in Bocas are always chatty about something. Maybe its our amazing views or the abundance of fresh fruit that we have. Maybe it’s just because they are, like you and I, just so darn happy to live this life here!  Yes, you’ll hear or see your usual tropical birds…like parrots and hummingbirds, but you’ll also find some others that I sadly don’t know the names to but which have DISTINCT voices. There is one I call ‘the kitten’ bird – it makes a ‘mew-wing’ sound.  And then there is one that looks like an elegant crow with a distinct ‘squeak-squeak-squeak.’

‘Buenas’ and ‘Hola’…Wherever you travel in Bocas del Toro, you will meet some of the nicest people along the way.  Maybe it’s a national law – that it’s impolite to not address people you meet with a smile and a traditional greeting of either “Buenas” or “Hola”.  They are interchangeable – one less formal ‘hello’ and the other ‘good day.’  I KNOW I will definitely miss this!

Low flying prop planes…although they are modern versions, I can’t help but think of myself each day as Radar from the TV show M*A*S*H noting their impending arrivals, or maybe even Herve Villechaize from ‘Fantasy Island’ with his infamous “Da plane, da plane!”  I wish I could tell you they have an exact schedule.  Oh, don’t get me wrong – they are ‘supposed’ to, but as I’ve shared with you before – everything in Bocas goes on its own time.

Of course, lastly, I know one of the biggest sounds I will miss, is the constant crash of the Caribbean ocean waves; the very heartbeat of our life in our island paradise, Bocas del Toro.

Written by: International Speaker & Lifestyle Strategist, Kimberly Roberts is the Chief Rebel-rouser, founder of Rebel Livin’. In her 20+ years of corporate management, she saw too many punching in and out of life, so she made it her mission to influence others to live their ‘somedays’ TODAY!  Her adventures include holding an elected office at 16, going from fair queen to soldier, driving a CASCAR and IndyLite car, being featured on Vanity Fair – all to have kickass stories when she’s 90!  When not helping others with their adventures, this proud mom can be found tweeting @RebelLiveN and writing for HuffingtonPost.com.

Author: Anne-Michelle Wand

As a real estate consultant in Bocas del Toro, Panama, it is my goal to help people discover the possibilities of a new home on a tropical island.

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