Up-On-The-Hill

On Sunday night in bar La Iguana, I was by myself which, as it normally does, led to meeting new people. When the DJ played reggae I was singing/dancing enthusiastically near a woman with bum-length dreadlocks and we got talking. She’s from Colombia but has lived in Bocas on and off for about 5 years. She was at the bar with her workmate, Pablo, from Bocas. The next day, Monday, was their day off so they invited me to go with them to Isla Bastimentos just to hang out. Alejandra (the rasta girl) used to live on Bastimentos but now lives in Bocas Town.

When we got there Alejandra suggested that we walked to an organic coffee and chocolate shop called Up-On-The-Hill because she knows the owner. There was a sign to it pointing up a little uphill path from the main path in Old Bank (the village in Bastimentos) and I mistakenly thought it would take about 5 minutes to get there.

It’s rainy season right now so the ground was muddy and some parts were quite steep. Wearing flip-flops wasn’t such a good idea. I don’t really know how long it took… maybe not that long, like 20 minutes, but I was really sweaty when we arrived. On the walk up, we passed some farms with chickens and there were some places where you could see the sea:

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We also passed some houses (the “path” which doesn’t really exist seemed to pass through their gardens, or at least very close to their front doors) playing loud music with old women sitting outside. I love how I can enjoy the music coming from other people’s houses here. We said good afternoon to all the old people chilling outside.

Finally we came to the sign that said welcome to Up-On-The-Hill and we walked through this arch to get to the entrance:

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Up-On-The-Hill is actually where the owners live. It’s a woman from Scotland who married a man from Colombia (I think… somewhere in Latin-America anyway), and their 3 little boys. The ground floor of their house is partly used as the kitchen for the cafe, and there are chairs for visitors in the garden. The shelves with the items for sale (home-made chocolate, coffee, coconut oil, coconut soap, jewellery etc) are also attached to the front of their house:

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This is what you can see of the house from where we were sitting in the garden:Image

The toilet was also an interesting experience. The walls were quite low and there was even a sign saying “enjoy the view”, so I guess it was on purpose so you don’t get bored in there. This is the view they’re talking about:

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The door would definitely not be effective if someone was standing on the other side of it, but thankfully it was kind of away from the shop/cafe:

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When we were there the owner’s kids were running around in the garden bare-foot looking for bananas or something and I was thinking how crazily different their life will be because their mum decided to move to Bastimentos from the UK. They say Bocas Town is like paradise but I think Up-On-The-Hill is a lot closer to most people’s definition of paradise.

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