It was wonderfully relaxing, but quite strange, travelling without children, now that we're so used to always being with them. We were the oldest people staying at the hostels, and generally the only couple. In the eyes of the locals we were just another pair of tourists(which we were). Although we did meet people from all over North America, Europe, and Australia in the hostels and we also met quite a few local people, especially on the smaller island that we stayed at, we distinctly felt that we would have made better connections if we'd had our children with us. They are the icebreakers. Our identity revolves so directly around them now. Who are we without them? And yet, it was so good to have so much time together to ourselves.
I did find that knitting, itself, was conversation starter, across cultures and languages. People, both men and women, sometimes took notice when they'd see me knitting, asked what I was making, and found out that we had children back at home. This in turn led to talk of their families and their own lives. Some people told me that they too knew how to knit or crochet, or that their mother or grandmother did. Although we never exchanged words, an older woman who sat across the aisle from us and I shared smiles and a departing "Buenos noches" at the end of our 10 hour bus ride back to Panama city. She had been eyeing me knitting during the wait at the bus stop early that morning and along the way.
I had promised R and E some rainbow socks from the leftover yarnof the socks that I knit while we were all in Mexico together last November. The pair on the left, above, I finished up under the shade of a tree at the beach pictured above them. The pair on the right, I finished on that bus ride over the rugged mountainous jungle pictured above them.
There were a handful of young guys selling their jewelry and crocheted hats on the street in the town of Bocas, sitting behind their tables under an eave crocheting all throughout the day and evening. The bags that our groceries were bagged in were quite sturdy and came in all these bright colors and more! We protected anything paper such as our identification and books, and the camera and batteries and charger, inside these bags during the entire rainy trip. We even had to buy a few big black plastic bags to wrap our backpacks and ourselves in..so fashionable! Next time we go, I might consider just taking a crochet hook and making a bag from the plastic bags that groceries were bagged in there, or maybe even some of these! Or knitting needles could do the job instead. It would lighten the load, not having to pack all that yarn that I knit so little of, anyways.