Bastimentos Island

Trip Notes: Polo’s Beach, Panamá

One day while staying on Bastimentos Island in the Bocas del Toro area of Panamà, Julie and I set out in search of a local legend. We’d heard about a man named Polo who had staked out an area now know as Polo Beach for 65 years. He lived alone but welcomed company and would prepare a meal for anyone who happened to be by (and had $5 to spare). The hike from our tent lodge was pleasant though long and scorching hot. We traipsed along the beach and through jungly brush not really knowing if we’d find anything, until we spotted a sun-bleached sign tacked to a coconut tree “polo bihe [sic] / agua de coco / comida / cerveza”. Yes.

Once we arrived we were in for an experience. Polo ranted in a thick Patois and waved us over with a smile. He showed us his make-shift beach kitchen, wooden hut, lime-soaked sanitation system and huge pile of coconuts. In no time we were licking our fingers, nibbling on freshly caught blue-boned needlefish and sipping coconut water with a straw.

Stories about Polo swirl—he left civilization behind when he was 10—he sold part of the island for $1.5 million—but all I can be sure of is that it doesn’t take much to be happy on an island as beautiful and plentiful as this.

FYI: We subsequently found out that the walk from Red Frog Beach to Polo’s can be dangerous, particularly for women alone. Tourists have been mugged by thugs, though no one was seriously hurt. I’d say go, but be cautious and leave anything worth stealing behind.

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Polo at Polo Beach, Bastimentos

Polo in his element

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Nothing here is wasted, Polo even melts used straws into a paste that keeps ants away

Nothing here is wasted, Polo even melts used straws into a paste that keeps ants away

Lunch at Polo Beach, Bastimentos Island

An unlikely gourmand in his kitchen

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A meal of needle fish, rice 'n' beans and fried bread, washed down with a pipa

A meal of needle fish, rice ‘n’ beans and fried bread, washed down with a “pipa” from the tree

Before leaving, we scrubbed our tin plates the natural way, with sand in the sea, and dumped them into a bucket of lime water

Before leaving, we scrubbed our tin plates the natural way, with sand in the sea, and dumped them into a bucket of lime water

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An enviable way to live. Thanks for lunch and the lesson in self sufficiency Polo!

An enviable way to live. Polo, thank you for lunch and a lesson in self-sufficiency!

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boat to bastimentos

Trip Notes: Bocas del Toro, Panamá (Part 1)

I have a thing for islands. There is something about the isolation that preserves a sort of microcosm, in a way the mainland cannot. The Bocas del Toro archipelago sounded like the ideal place to taste Panamanian island life. The flavour is a melange of Caribbean, native and Panamanian with a good dose of adventurous backpacker mixed in. Much of the action as you might imagine centres around the water taxi stations where wobbly colourful boats zip in and out, and between the scattered islands at surprising speeds. Read more…

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Horse back riding in bouquet, panama

Trip Notes: Boquete, Panamá

My best girl, Julie, was spending some quality time in Central America so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to join her (plus we’ve never travelled together, whaaa?). We met at the surprisingly elegant hostel Casa Colon in San José, Costa Rica. After a quick beer and sleep that felt more like a nap we headed straight for Panamá. Read more…

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Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan

Guest Post: Baku, Azerbaijan

From my friend Clint who brought us Yes, you can be a tourist in Afghanistan comes another destination less traveled—Azerbaijan.

“Conceived by Zaha Hadid Architects, the elegant Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan has been awarded Design of the Year by the London Design Museum. That makes Hadid the first woman and the first architect to win the award. Read more…

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new york park, sprinkler

Trip Notes: NYC Weekend

Another hot, extra-long weekend in NYC! Here’s the run down of what we did with recommendations that can (for the most part) be enjoyed all summer long: Read more…

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Matching book to outfit, eleisha, bookshop

The Book Shop

The Book Shop in Oakland, California. Pretty much the best place, except I’ve never been there.

They carry vintage and rare publications (like Petite Planète!), and have a penchant for beautiful objects and furnishings. Read more…

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Smitty Award for Let's Get Lost blog

A Smitty for Let’s Get Lost!

I’m really honoured to announce that Let’s Get Lost is a runner-up in the Independent Travel Photo Journalist/Videographer category at the 2014 Smitty Awards by Travel + Leisure magazine, among some inspiring travel-loving individuals and businesses leading the way online.

Ken and I are off to New York for the awards next week, so I’ll tweet and post some party pics soon.

Most importantly, thank you guys for loving and supporting this little, wanderlusty corner of the internet. Heart is feeling full.

Aaaaand… Happy Canada Day & World Pride. Lots to celebrate.

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Live from Belgrade Transit

Live from Belgrade Transit

I’ve long been getting a laugh (and the occasional face palm) from the Facebook account Live from Belgrade Transit. Riders submit photos from their daily commutes bringing to life many of the city’s urban legends, while also poignantly underscoring some of the social issues that face Belgrade today.

The added bonus are the hilarious/philosophical/offensive comments that accompany each image—that is if you speak Serbian.

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