I just returned from a fantastic vacation with friends in Panama, Central America.
We stayed at the Royal Decameron, it was very nice, food was great and the drinks were spectacular. We had a beautiful view from our resort looking into the panama gulf.
We rented a car at the airport and drove to the resort. This was quite an interesting experience. You really gain perspective when you travel to a different place or unknown territory. We drove around in circles and could not find any helpful signs to get to the Panamerican bridge. It was mostly our fault considering we didn’t take more time to learn spanish. We finally met a guy that spoke some english and was able to point us in the right direction.
I had a blast learning some conversational spanish. I am so in love with this language that I would love to take classes to learn more. We had to order our drinks in spanish, say good morning and try to ask questions. It was a great experience.
We drove to Anton Valley which proved to be a spectacular drive with a picturesque view. We drove through a mountainous range where we stumbled across a little village with a craft market. We met Monika the local tamarind monkey and a local artisan jeweller that made sterling silver jewellery. He showed me some of his techniques which was so interesting.
We made it to the rainforest and to the El Chorro Macho Waterfalls. It was very beautiful to walk through the rainforest and admire this beauty created by nature. It was also interesting to see their conservation efforts.
We did a lot of things during our vacation. We drove to the town of Penonome. We visited Woody’s. Canadian Restaurant and Bar on the beach. We met Woody and partied with him. I will never forget hanging out there, drinking balboa & panama beer and singing away to Steve Miller and Neil Young with Lori. “I’ve had the time of my life……..and I never felt this way before”. Our theme song of the week.
We did an ATV tour through the back country, “Macano Trail”:
We also did a fishing charter. We caught five fish, everyone pulled in a fish, 2 bonita tuna and 3 spanish mackeral.
There were some things that were hard to see in Panama. While driving through small villages we came across armed guards with AK 47’s. Also, young girls carrying young babies and poverty. At times I felt guilty “living it up” in their beautiful country while it was obvious some families were struggling to survive. We learned that at the marina at our resort the guys working there made $12 American a day. We all tried to make up for it by tipping as much as we could for everything we did directly to the panamanian people. I’m not sure if we made a difference but our intentions were good. Also we met a young guy, maybe 13 or 14 at Woodys’ that Woody has taken in. He was full of smiles but could not hear and could not speak. I realized how much this country is still in a developing state and desperately needs infrastructure, social programs and an economic boost. They are focusing on tourism, they told us they will be building 30 more resorts and an airport 15 minutes from the resorts within the next 5 years. I was very disturbed to see their environmental abuse. We seen burning plastic everywhere, oil changes being dumped on the ground and just an overall disregard. In a way I understand their state of mind, if I was in a position to worry about putting food on my table, environmental efforts would not be a concern. I just hope that with development comes education. If they don’t protect their beautiful land, it will be destroyed and no one will want to visit Panama.
As the story goes, what happens in Panama stays in Panama. Perhaps with a few Balboas or Panama Ales I will open the vault 🙂 All I have to say is Team cobra was in covert operation, I have finally met the speedo amigos and something about a frenchman kissing the ashphalt payment…..long story. A few farallons, swim up bar and a canadian jack ass named Garyoso jumping off the bar, through the straw roof all to claim title of “cannonball”. Pyschic visions that I still haven’t come to terms with, and a very expensive tour to the YaYa’s, or should I say NoNo’s. Anyhoo, as time passes I’m sure these stories will leak.