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Molas and Dugout Canoes

Islands of Panama


View 2008 Panama Canal on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Islands against the mountains

Islands against the mountains

Today we are to visit the San Blas Islands. They are an archipelago comprising approximately 365 islands and cays, of which only 49 are inhabited. They lie off the north coast of the Isthmus of Panama, east of the Panama Canal.

Breakfast specials were chocolate chip waffle, Scottish Egg Benedict (toasted bun with smoked salmon, poached eggs, Hollandaise and chopped chives), and pineapple pancake. I had the pineapple pancake.
Pineapple pancakes

Pineapple pancakes


After breakfast, I went out on deck to take some photos
4306940-Islands_from_Afar_Carti_Tupile.jpgFirst photos from the deck

First photos from the deck


Ship's tender being lowered

Ship's tender being lowered


4306935-Islands_from_Afar_Carti_Tupile.jpgOn side sunny - The other side Rainstorm - approaching or departing

On side sunny - The other side Rainstorm - approaching or departing


4306938-Islands_from_Afar_Carti_Tupile.jpg4306937-Islands_from_Afar_Carti_Tupile.jpg
4306941-Islands_from_Afar_Carti_Tupile.jpgIslands in the distance

Islands in the distance


Island

Island


4306848-Sanitation_Carti_Tupile.jpgregular motor boat

regular motor boat

dugout with a motor

dugout with a motor


4306936-Islands_from_Afar_Carti_Tupile.jpgIsland Architecture

Island Architecture


Cruise Ship Tender

Cruise Ship Tender


The Kuna Indians live there, and the islands are a part of the comarca (district) Guna Yala (also spelled Kuna Yala).The inhabitants live on very small low islands - just a small lump of mud with some palm trees and barely above the water level. Fortunately there's not much tide. There are thatched-roof huts bamboo homes with hammock beds. Bathrooms are small buildings that stick out over the water like a lighthouse outhouse. (The output is flushed away by the sea - or not.) (Which is one reason not to try to negotiate to snorkel from a log canoe like our dinner partner at Grand Turk said he would do here) Sometimes whole buildings are on stilts above the water. Notched log stairs are made with the most basic of tools. There is usually a main meeting house on each island. On some of the islands the kids can attend school. The islands are so small that you can't get very lost although you can get confused.
4306846-Sanitation_Carti_Tupile.jpg4306847-Sanitation_Carti_Tupile.jpg
Bob had not gone to the Port Lecture on the San Blas Islands. Since it was an island that we had to tender ashore and it was so very small, he didn't see any point in going. But I was determined to go. So about 11:30 I went up to the theatre and waited for a tender. I forgot my cane and it would have been handy for standing in line to take the tender back.
s100_2469.jpgIn the theatre

In the theatre


I took photos from the tender..
Cruise Ship Tender

Cruise Ship Tender


including of this man in the dugout canoe that approached the tender from the sea side
Man who has a big crab in the canoe

Man who has a big crab in the canoe


4306870-Cruise_Ship_Tender_Or_Dugout_Canoe.jpgCruise Ship and Dugout Canoe

Cruise Ship and Dugout Canoe


140526744306913-sailboat_by_..e_San_Blas.jpgSailing canoe

Sailing canoe


An Island Smaller than our ship

An Island Smaller than our ship


large_4305985-Closer_to_the_island_Carti_Suitupo.jpg
4306928-Island_Architecture.jpg4306929-Island_Architecture.jpglarge_4306926-Island_Architecture.jpg
We saw both dug-out canoes and sailing canoes when we visited the islands. Some of the canoes were paddled, but there were some with motors. There were also some of the sailboats with motors, but these were mostly not native boats but visiting sailors.
271246434306914-boat_near_th..e_San_Blas.jpgDugout Canoe

Dugout Canoe


Tender 'dock'

Tender 'dock'


Welcome Sign

Welcome Sign

The Kuna are famed for their molas. That was one reason I wanted to visit. Originally, the Kuna wore few clothes and decorated their bodies with colorful designs. When encouraged to wear clothes by the missionaries, they copied these designs in their molas, which they wore as clothing. Mola refers to women's waist length blouses which consist of two rectangular appliqued panels, one in front and one in back, with a combining yoke and short sleeves.
Molas for sale

Molas for sale


I first heard about molas when some friends of ours visited these islands on their own boat. The natives would come out to them in their canoes to sell them the molas. Because the sale of molas is about the only source of income, many people from other islands came with their wares to the one island where the tenders were putting us ashore. Before you go, you should familiarize yourself with the basic types.

The Kuna classify molas primarily on the basis of differences in the technical process.

The basic categories are:
ABINIGUAT : One-color; this term actually connotes one layer because the bottom layers is considered the base and not a color.
OBAGALET: Two colors; one layers sewn onto a base layer to form the design, with an extra layer (color) sewn onto the exposed base between the design element.
MOR-MARALET : Few colors; usually two overall layers above the base layer.
MORGONIKAT : Many color; two or more overall layers with many filler colors, embroidery, and possibly applique.
Further distinctions are made on the basic of thinness of line, the complexity of design, and the subject matter. The ship lecturer told us that we should bargain for the molas.
4306889-Bargain_For_Molas_Or_Other_Souvenirs.jpgBargain For Molas

Bargain For Molas


4306909-Bargain_For_Molas_Or_Other_Souvenirs.jpg
The local inhabitants discovered that people were taking their pictures and selling them to National Geographic and other markets and making money. So they decided that they needed to get money for their images. They started out at 25 cents, but now they are up to $1.00 per picture.
The women wrap their arms and legs with beads and material - thin arms and legs are considered beautiful.
4305975-un_aimed_photo_Comarca_de_San_Blas.jpg
Sign

Sign


The sign in the photo says

"Welcome to our
Island Carti Sugdup
We hope you'll have a
pleasure day here, and
also we'll appreciate
your Cooperation
Our children will
Thank's you
God Bless You!"

Bargain For  Souvenirs

Bargain For Souvenirs


I didn't pay for any pictures, but I did take about 12 on the island. What I did was take my camera and turn it on, and then press the shutter without looking like I was taking a picture. I didn't bring it up and look through the viewfinder or anything. I did get one picture of the street and a couple people's feet,
Main street of mud

Main street of mud


Mother feeding her child a Coke

Mother feeding her child a Coke


but most of the rest of them were pretty good. I'm not selling my photos and I just couldn't afford the total amount of money that it would have cost to pay each person in the picture $1.00. There were children there, and they had kittens and birds that they would pose with.
Children peek out from behind line of molas

Children peek out from behind line of molas


I bought some of their handiwork as gifts. I bought a pocketbook for about $12.00 - with a zipper.
Pocketbook

Pocketbook


Back of pocketbook

Back of pocketbook


I also got a couple of little change purses for my granddaughters for $4.50 each,
4306945-Bargain_For_Molas_Or_Other_Souvenirs.jpg
100_9818.jpgChange purses

Change purses


and T-shirts with a mola decoration. The price for the T-shirts depends on the size.
4306887-Bargain_For_Molas_Or_Other_Souvenirs.jpgApplique on T-shirts

Applique on T-shirts


4306898-Cold_Beer_Soda_and_Water_Carti_Tupile.jpgSign on the 'restaurant'

Sign on the 'restaurant'


Children by the tender dock

Children by the tender dock


Bathrooms

Bathrooms


Another tender behind us on the way back to the ship

Another tender behind us on the way back to the ship


8e2b87f0-4bed-11e8-a51a-479be0427b19.jpg4306849-Sanitation_Carti_Tupile.jpg
when I was on the tender, I took a picture of our Trivia partners which I later emailed to their daughter
Mike (cap and beard) and  Dolly (with the dark blue shirt) from Canada -Our trivia partners

Mike (cap and beard) and Dolly (with the dark blue shirt) from Canada -Our trivia partners


When I got back it was 1400 and I went up to the Lido which was still open (it was supposed to close at 1400), and had a plate of fried spaghetti with parmesan cheese. The guy didn't seem very surprised to be asked so I guess other people must have asked for it too.
Fried spaghetti

Fried spaghetti


In trivia I was able to contribute the sport with a penalty for submerging (water polo), the actress whose original name was Frances Gumm (Judy Garland), and the man who wrote "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" (Kinsey), but our partner insisted that a Dactylogram was NOT a fingerprint (which both his wife and I knew it was, but he was writing so he didn't write it down), and we didn't know what American City's bus terminal had the world's busiest pay phone (Chicago)

For dinner, Bob and I both had
Citrus Delight with Amaretto

Citrus Delight with Amaretto


and I had in addition the
Salad Caprese

Salad Caprese


which I had before. The salad was kind of wimpy for a Salad Caprese (which is tomatoes and mozzarella - when I've had it before there was little or no lettuce in it). Then we both had the
Roast turkey

Roast turkey


The dressing was pretty good for once. One of the couples at our table was celebrating their 40th anniversary so we had their cake for dessert.
Cake not on the menu

Cake not on the menu

Our towel animal this evening was a walrus (I think).
walrus?

walrus?


Tomorrow we go through the Panama Canal.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 19:20 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands

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Comments

I can't believe anyone would want to skip a visit to these fascinating islands! Good that you got a few photos, although in places like this I can't blame the locals for charging and I'm usually happy to pay for a few. The molas look lovely :)

by ToonSarah

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