See how good I am at the Spanish? OK so I've been back from Panama for a couple weeks and I kept meaning to post pictures and tell stories but it just felt like such a large task that I was dragging my feet. (Literally I hurt one of my feet working out this weekend and have been shuffling around. Literal foot dragging.)
I want to skip any travel advice or yada yada because you can find that anywhere on the Internets. All I want to do is simply tell you my 5 favorite parts of my first time traveling to Latin America, and then I'm going to give you pictures. And thus, a memory is successfully recorded :) Here we go!
My 5 Favorite Pana-Memories
(in no particular order)
1. Snorkeling in Bocas del Toro. Think island chain. Think a girl who gets very nervous about sea creatures and underwater mysteries. But put me over a shallow coral reef and let me work my way into it.....sold. Love me some starfish and coral and little schools of tiny fish. Plus wearing flippers is fun. Happy happy.
2. I drank straight from a coconut. With a straw. A woman hacked it open for me with a machete. It cost $1.
3. The infamous muddy bicycle ride. For those of you familiar with The Neverending Story, I refer to this wayward adventure as The Artax & Atreyu Remembrance Tour. Basically we were told by the owners of our jungle bungalow (jungalow?) (is that an exotic male escort?) that we could rent bikes and go on a leisurely ride up the island to a picturesque blue lagoon. In reality, we slogged through some mud up to our knees and never made it to the lagoon and it was pretttyyy funny. And sweaty. But you can't hate any activity that ends with cleaning yourself up in the ocean. People pay a lot of money for that kind of mud spa experience.
4. Casco Viejo. Aka, the historic district of Panama City. The rest of PC was just...a city...for me. But THIS area...special piece of my heart. It was very European, with narrow streets and balconies and tiny cars and plazas strung with lights and new buildings mingling with old buildings and crumbling churches and lilting street music (I heard a local boy band play "Bailando" by Enrique, my life is complete)....all on a small peninsula surrounded by the ocean. If I had a home in Panama, it'd be here. I'd also have to pay my left arm for it. It's fine.
5. Fireworks on the islands. My favorite memories always have to include fireworks, and this trip was no exception. Rather than boating in the dark over to the main island in the Bocas archipelago for the NYE festivities (see: drunken fiestas that would have been great in their own way), we opted to stay over on our more Caribbean island (Bastimento) and just play it cool. And literally, I think we were the only non-locals around. We had a leisurely dinner taking shelter from the rain, line-danced with some local teenage girls, then watched the random fireworks pop up all over the islands across the water (and some really close to us). The fireworks were followed promptly by a torrential downpour.
The end! Honorary mention to all the lovely ceviche I ate (notably at Las Clementinas, if you're ever in Casco Viejo -- eat the ceviche and also eat breakfast there!) and also honorable mention to a great tan in the middle of winter. And to seeing a giant ship go through the Miraflores locks at the Panama Canal because whoa.
Saludos amigos! Esta bien!