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The Smell of the Hojaldres


29th of June, 2023


Panama I

Travel Journal

Eight AM consisted of hojaldres and roosters. I awoke wrapped in both blankets and aromas, of the ocean, the humid island air, and, of course, the hojaldres. The smell of the hojaldres eventually pulled us out of our beds and down the stairs to where Louis was busy cooking. “My favorite breakfast” I commented, not to anyone in particular; however, Louis responded “You should have told me sooner! I would have made them more often.” After inhaling breakfast, thanking Louis, and saying “Ciao” to his knee-high granddaughter, we boarded our boat to Bocas. The dingy cut through glassy water to the little dock off of Bocas. We jumped off the boat and loaded into a van. Then we moved to the “centro de reciclaje”. After smashing some glass, we learned about the various ways of repurposing recyclable materials. Then, we bettered the world by picking up plastic on the beach. After a short trip into town for some drinks and, more importantly for most of us, air conditioning. Lunch was good, but not as good as the hojaldres. Our boats took us back to Bastimentos and Cristobol to hang out with the kids at the center. Because our attempts to organize games fell through, I ended up playing soccer with a lot of kids from the center. Don’t be fooled though: this was an extremely intense endeavor. Split into two teams of boys and girls ranging from the age of six to eighteen, we took the field. I spent most of my time defending the goal from competitive children, with a few breaks for face paint. At five, our time together ended and “Hasta Mañana”s filled the air. Many hugs later, we found ourselves sitting around our table (or rather three pushed together) reflecting on our time together. Tomorrow will be similar, I suppose, just without the “Hasta Mañana”s.

~Fallon Culley



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