Steve & Carol
Wed 30 Jan 2019 19:06
We had an early start to avoid the wind which increases later in the day and motor / motor sail to Ustupu - the largest Kuna settlement. When we arrived Sisu, Mora, Annalena and Pisces were here, Schloss Ort was just leaving, we saw Numa and Q4 heading off as we approached. We went ashore as a group for a walk around, we paid the $15 here and went for a walk, we soon found a bakery selling excellent Kuna rolls - 10 for $ still steaming hot – yummy.
Ustupu is where the Kuna revolution began in 1925
We met 3 army chaps who stopped to chat and took pictures of us with them, they were rather overdressed for the climate! We then met an older man who spoke some English - he said he had been a paratrooper - (the only Kuna one ever) with the Panamanian army and that’s how he learned some English. As we walked further we found Nick who had also served in an attachment to the USA army and spoke excellent English - he is on the island receiving traditional medicine from the shaman for a knee injury, while here he is acting as a hairdresser - everyone gets the standard US army style - ladies included! At his family compound they bake bread and I bought 4 lbs of flour for making bread on board, Nick was very interesting to talk to, he told us some of the history of the island and it’s politics and traditions, the island seemed quite quiet, there weren't many people walking about, apparently many of the younger Kuna are leaving the island to work in Panama City. We asked which was the correct spelling, as Kuna or Guna is seen in both pilot books etc? Nick told us that the Panamanian government changed Kuna to Guna 6 years ago - he calls himself Kuna and said that is how they like it to be said and not Guna.
The town had some more advanced buildings than the previous two e had visited this is the Catholic Church which apparently is still used although it is in a derelict state – the concrete has not weathered well!
as well as the more traditional style buildings and the only shop selling tinned food we have seen.
Numbers written numerically, in Kuna, English and Kuna symbols for the numbers in the school playground
There are two towns on the island, politically and physically they are separated, this bridge leads to the other town – apparently you get charged more there so we didn't visit!
Walking around the town we found a few stores, we noticed a couple of albino children – it’s quite common amongst the islanders and is a result of their strict marriage rules - Kunas can only marry another Kuna and can’t marry a non Kuna without being expelled from the Kuna Yala. We found a place to get a drink and later found a restaurant recommended by some of the others in the group where Steve had Chicken and chips - the only thing on the menu and cooked especially for Steve, Tom, Sabrina, Chris and Sharon! We purchased some eggs and some bread rolls before heading back to the boat.