Juany at Bocas del Drago

She’s the beautiful friend of my friend Anandita. They haven’t seen one another for years, so I sent her photo back to Anandita. Juany and her husband Willy own and operate Yasinori’s in Bocas del Drago: a seafood cafe right on the Caribbean. She couldn’t speak much English, and I, not much Spanish. So we smiled at each other, and I could see why the two women are friends. Sometimes you don’t need language to sense a person’s character. Steve and I flew to Bocas del Toro to stay for a few days. We met a local businessman named Ricky who drives a ┬átaxi across a hairpin jungle road at 60 mph, barely missing dogs, men, women, children. Over the course of our rides and chats with Ricky (who drives a cab and owns a bicycle business in Bocas), he told us about cock fights, how much he’d won from Barcelona’s soccer win, the jail term for harvesting turtles, how his mother made the most delicious turtle soup with coconut milk (when you could eat it), and basically what a perfect place is Panama. As we were driving slowly over one of Panama’s speed bumps, he told us that in Panama, they call them (translated) “dead cops”. Should’ve taken a photo of Ricky, but I was too busy hanging onto the strap in the backseat.

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