The lockdown hours are still in place but little by little the rules are relaxing. Surfing is now permitted so hopefully before too long we'll also be able to swim and snorkel. I can see why the process is slow here, if the beaches of Bocas were to suddenly open this could trigger a rush to the area from other parts of the country spreading the virus to the islands from the cities, just as has happened with beaches in England. People would post their beach photos on social media and some would certainly be tempted to find a way to reach the archipelago, which is still thankfully without any cases of the dreaded Covid 19.
When I took my trip to town to buy veggies last week, there were certainly a few more shops open, but no hardware stores, though I hear some opened yesterday. It'll be great to buy the materials I need to paint and make some necessary repairs to the house. I'm planning to take a trip over there tomorrow.
My friend Michelle dropped off a big bag of chaya leaves from her garden, a plant which tastes very much like spinach and is full of iron. It's the first time I've tried it, it needs to be simmered for 15-20 minutes and chopped before you can eat it but it's so worthwhile, it's been ages since I had spinach and it's going into almost everything I eat!
Many nutritious fruit and veg, such as plantain, banana, coconut and papaya grow well here as well as medicinal herbs. One that I have used is bitter melon or Sorosi, a yellow flowering climbing plant , which can be used to bring down fever and cure many ailments. It grows plentifully here and quite often the vines grow into my house. Noni is also common here, an unusual tasting fruit which boosts the immune system as well as soursop or guanabana which is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. It's juice and tea made from it's leaves is delicious.
I've been making ginger beer during quarantine, which I tried to make before but have not had the time to really concentrate and work out how to make it fizzy. The process starts with fermenting the ginger and sugar over 5 days to create the starter, though it is possible to skip this step and use instant yeast. The next step is to mix some of the starter with more sugar and ginger in an airtight container. In this climate it takes only 2 days. After that it needs to go into the fridge in a very airtight container to keep it carbonated. It's non-alcoholic but makes a great mixer for rum, to make a Jamaican Mule or a Dark n Stormy.