The San Blas aquarian lodging
The hotel was charming. Shaped like a capital L, it was two stories high, with a palm-thatched roof, and the entire building was made from bamboos lashed intricately together with a sort of raffia. A double veranda ran the full length of the L, and from it on the ground floor and the first floor doorways led into what we presumed were bedrooms. The whole thing was perched over a deep cement pool in which a myriad of coloured fish swam, accompanied by two portly turtles. Next to the hotel was another lopsided bamboo-and-palm-leaf structure with a battered sign saying 'Bar'. interspersed with all these were tall palm trees curved like bows, rubbing their dark-green leaves together, whispering to the breeze. A riot of hibiscus and other tropical bushes were in full flower. The whole thing in the most brilliant sunshine had an air of unreality. It looked exactly like a Hollywood film-set for a great South Sea epic. One expected ( and looked for in vain ) a sour-faced Somerset Maugham in immaculate white ducks descending the rickety bamboo stairs. But the closest you got to it were the two turtles whose expressions of disdain were remarkably similar.