Slow News Day ~ Being Tourist

I have some construction in the pipe, but it’s not yet ready to post. In the meantime, I was looking through some photos that our recent guest D and I took when she was visiting. A travel log of the area, this post is photos from her visit.

I’ve already posted about our visit to the pueblo of Chichi Bali.

Another road trip was to the annual celebration of Carnival in the town of Ocu’. Our guest really wanted to go, so I collected information from our Panamanian friends. Most had good memories of going to Ocu’ many years ago, so we headed out on Sunday morning for the two and a half hour drive. We made a pit stop at a gas station where D picked up a container of juice. She couldn’t stop laughing about the list of ingredients intended to be in both Spanish and in English. More prouf reading neded. Oops:

We had heard that Sunday was the day of Carnival that had the most traditional folk displays. But what we found was far from that. There was a mass of people gyrating in the street, with rock and heavy metal music blasting from closely-packed music venues. And between each venue was at least one boom truck (really, really big boom boxes on wheels), vibrating sheet metal bending to the thumping beats. Discerning one “song” from another was impossible, at least with our fingers firmly pushed into our ears.

The music was so loud that it vibrated internal organs, and with no folkloric events planned until later at night, we decided to leave. We just aren’t that young and that interested in sweaty dancing, drinking cheap beer all day, and being hosed down by fire trucks. Even 18-year-old Cedelinda thought it was all “tan mucho” (so much). The trip was worth the drive, though, and we had a good day when we weren’t around the boom business. On our way back to the car, I asked a jolly man if I could take a picture of him shucking yucca. He was delighted to oblige:

We also passed some floats. This one was asleep with eyes open, waiting for more nighttime revelry:

On the way home, we stopped at a beach-side restaurant for lunch. The road to the beach cuts through a wall of weather beaten sand or sandstone:

Two girls were enjoying the cool sand on a hot day:

Another day, I took D to the house of nearby friends. They have several watch dogs peacocks:

NBC peacock in the days of black and white TV?

And we went to the local frog sanctuary. Frogs are a big deal here, and they are in big trouble. Between losing habitat to human encroachment and a deadly fungal infection, the Golden Frog has been extinct in the wild since 2007. Because frogs are so important to the earth’s ecosystem, scientists say no frogs = no humans. Here are some frogs at the sanctuary:

Just hanging out on the front porch.

This is one of the few remaining golden frogs in the world.

If you take the main road into El Valle, then drive through town and out the other end, there is a recently improved back road going back up and out of the volcano and through the mountains to the city of Penonome’ about an hour away. Up on the rim there is a hill with two crosses that overlook the valley. One cross marks the spot where a young couple tragically took a wrong turn and careened off the mountain. I don’t know about the other cross. Here are two videos. The first one takes you through El Valle, and the second is the back road drive from El Valle to the crosses:

From our vantage we can see over the crater rim and down to the Pacific Ocean. Here is a panoramic photo looking down to El Valle in the crater:

Early one morning we went bird watching, or rather bird listening. The mountains were alive with the sound of birds, but their camouflage made them all but invisible. But it was a wonderful four hours in the wilderness, and luckily our guide knew where to take us to see a hummingbird feeding chicks in the nest:

An Oropendola sits on its nest, admiring the neighbor’s much better nest building skills:

And we went to the Canopy Adventure on the outskirts of town. This is an adventure where a guide hikes with you to the top of the mountain, pointing out flora and fauna along the way, then guides you on a zip line back down the mountain. It is a lot of fun. The highlight for me was crossing high over the big waterfall:

Here’s our guide zipping ahead to catch D when she arrived a few moments later:

And a nice walk back out to the road:

That’s all for now. More soon.




1 thought on “Slow News Day ~ Being Tourist

  1. Being a tourist with Fred and Cynthia is the best vacation a girl could wish for. The beauty of Panama, vistas, nature, cultural discoveries, are forever in my memory, although the pictures help :-). If you want to visit Panama, I suggest you learn some Spanish to let you get by, without it, or wonderful hosts like I had, you may be limited to cities.

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