That’s all folks.
I’ve been home for 6 days. I’ve never felt better. Panama was a great experience, but home is where the heart is.
I don’t know if I want to recap my last week in Panama.
I definitely am glad I went abroad and experienced Panama.
There are plenty of people I will miss and I’m glad to know that I have an amazing group of people to hit up whenever I am back in Panama.
For now… that’s it. Back to regular tumbling of cool photos and random things…
Do you remember in the 101 Dalmatians when Pongo, Perdita and the puppies are being chased by Cruella DeVille and her henchmen and they cover their paw prints in the snow by dragging some brush on the ground?
Nope? Well that’s alright.
I’ve been here in Panamá since January 4th 2012 and I really have enjoyed my time here. The Jaen Family, Mamá Cachi and Ciro Jaen have been amazing. (Almost) Everyone I’ve met in the house has been interesting and I’m glad I’ve met them. If you ever need a place to stay Hostel Jamraka by Tamburelli de Amador is a great place. Let me know if you need Ciro’s contact info. Ciro has definitely helped us experience some things in Panamá that I can say “you’d have to be there to understand.”
I’ve traveled all over Panamá and am content with everything I’ve seen. I would definitely comeback as tourist and explore this country some more with my girlfriend. I got to know the city life and been to so many islands and beaches that I’m worried that San Diego’s beaches wont be special anymore ( ahaha no way… never will happen).
I’ve learned a great deal of patience, especially dealing with public transportation here in Panamá. They say the buses will come every 30 minutes, but that’s a lie try 30+ a #. They’ll come whenever they want to. There will be 15 taxis on the road the one day you need a bus and vice versa when you need a taxi. Also, traffic sucks, but it sucks anywhere in the world.
Being in a group of 12 students from the US has taught me that small groups definitely have their pros and cons. You definitely have the potential for a real tight and close-knit group, but also you will always have your outliers who want to do their own thing. I thought it was important to be pretty comfortable with everyone with the group and definitely be friendly, but I’m not going to lie, I definitely wanted to travel with other groups of people, be on my own, or explore without the same people. At the end of the day this was the group you would always come back to, even after meeting your local friends.
Don’t get me started on local friends. There are definitely people here I would love to bring back to the states with me. I can’t believe that in 10 days I won’t be able to say, “yo! see you next week.” The people I’ve met here, played nba2k12 with, skated with, danced with, drank with, talked with, chilled , ran through fountains with,etc have been amazing. Panamá is a very multicultural/international country. I’ve met countless people from all over the world, so I’ve learned and heard so many different perspectives of people living in Panamá and each and everyone was valuable to me.
I have no clue how this transition back to the states will be. I’m assuming it’ll be smooth. There are something things I’m ready to have back. A car, good mexican food, my family, my guitar,my dogs, jasmine rice, filipino food, my girlfriend, my friends from home, quick and consistent wifi/internet. I’ll also be home in time to watch the NBA FINALS. Not all of that will be there when I get home ( my girlfriend), but soon enough everything will be back into place. I don’t imagine it’ll be tough
I think Ill miss using my spanglish everyday, eating lentils(but I can get this in the states), my family and friends here, drinking legally, and being able to get to island paradise for cheap. Finally, seeing some of the great friends I’ve made from the ISA program.
Ciro told me something on the lines of this : “You guys are here for 4 months, that’s nothing. I’ve been here all my life and Panamá is a small country, so to the people here I’m known as this, and this, and this. You guys are nobodies (That’s good) you don’t have a footprint here, you can do whatever you want, have as much fun as you want and then, Booom!, you’re gone”
I’ve walked many steps here in Panamá and I think I gave myself plenty of time to reflect even with 10 days left. I told someone I don’t want to go out with a bang and kind go out with a “pfttttt.” and disappear. I wanted to be like Pongo and Perdita and just cover up my foot prints, In all honestly, I don’t think that’s possible for me. I don’t think that’s possible ahha, even after they’re covered up they will always be there. With almost everyone and anyone I met here in Panamá.
They say it’s either go big or go home. Forget that. Go big and then go home. Cheers to 10 days in Panamá.
Everyone kept on asking me what I was going to do for Semana Santa ( Holy Week). I told them, “Yo I’m going to Quebro, it’s in the interior,” and every time I told someone that they said: “What, where’s that, I’ve never heard of that.”
I’ve learned that about 1% of Panameños have been to Quebro. Quebro is located in Herrera and all I can tell you about Herrera is that Seco, the national drank(ahah) of Panamá, is made in this area.
I have failed as a photo-blogger and at keeping my camera with me in these areas, but let me describe Quebro for you. This is the land of the farms, the mountains, and the beach. The paved, asphalt roads end and the dirt paths begin. It pays to have a 4 wheel drive, but Mama Cachi faired well enough with her 5-speed Toyota Rav-4.
The vegetation is dense in some areas and there are tons of farm animals: deer, cow, horses, chickens and more. You can pick cashew fruit right from the trees and mango is abundant.
My housemate Gary and I were a little overwhelmed at first when we arrived in Quebro. We were on a farm with a huge group of people that spoke very little english (that part didn’t freak us out), but we were so used to city life that we really had to figure out what we wanted to do. That wasn’t too hard, we learned quickly that they weren’t just going to let us wander around the farm and be bored. This Semana Santa from Good Friday (April 6,2012)-Sunday (April 8,2012) turned out to be one of my favorite weekends here in Panamá
I’m writing my next post about Panamá, but I just wanted to reblog this photoset my tumblrsister posted with our new dog Beanie…. I haven’t met him yet, so he’s probably going to freak out when he meets me, but he loks awesome.
Chihuahuas, they just love their sun wherever they can find it. I just couldn’t get Beanie to leave from this one spot. Oh Mr. Beans how I adore you.
There were so many people there celebrating Semana Santa (Holy Week) with us in Quebro. Here are some of the people we spent it with after we “caught the pig” for supper. The person in the center of the photo wearing the brown is Ciro, my
Gary and I( he’s wearing blue and Im wearing red) were invited out with our
hostFAMILY to celebrate this time. We were a little overwhelmed at first, but at the end of the weekend it was hard to leave.
Another island conquered. Isla Grande.
Sorry there aren’t more photos, but this is what I have to offer.
I visited Isla Grande with 4 friends from my ISA - Panamá program and we stayed the night. We all wanted to get out of the city, but we weren’t ready to plan a big trip.
I’ve heard Isla Grande was a huge tourist spot, but we arrived their there were very few people. The water was clear and everything was muy tranquilo ( very chill). We all were worried about rain, but mother nature moved the clouds along and nosotros tomamos buco sol ( we tanned a lot ). Isla Grande is on the Caribbean side of Panamá. Total cost of travel for one way to Isla Grande is $8.65 departing from Panamá city: Two buses and one boat. Vuelta (returning) the prices very, but won’t be more than $10.00
We stayed in Hotel Villa en Sueño ( The villa dream hotel) and 4 people for $50 bucks a night wasn’t too bad, especially with two beds and air conditioning. We checked out two other places, a man offered us a two bed room for 20 bucks a night, which wasn’t too shabby, but we would have stayed in someones house, so it was a little unofficial. If we needed to spread our dollar a little more, we definitely would have stayed. We also checked out El Hotel Sistermoon, which was 100 dollars for 4 people, it was a little more classy. It was matched with a beautiful view of the windward side of Isla Grande. Seeing the waves crash onto the shore was amazing.
A few things I can say:
Bring repelente de insectos ( bug repelent)
yo recibé un beso de mosquito ( I received a kiss from a mosquito)
Also, explore your options for dinner. A few of us decided to eat at the restaurant by out hotel and it was a little pricey and the food was just ok.
A plate of bistec picado ( spiced steak) was $9.00 + $3.00 with a gatorade.
My good fiend Jenn bought two pieces of fried chicken and patacones (fried plantains) for 5.50 at another restaurant called the Congo Bar, which was a short walk from where we stayed.
For breakfast 2 of my friends and I decided to try bistec de caballo ( steak of horse). It was served with a side of eggs and tortillas/hojaldre. All that with a cup of nesquik hot chocolate added up to be 4.75.
IF you’re wondering why the tortilla looks a little bit like a waffle, it’s ok. The Panamanian tortilla is very different from the ones you might be accustomed to. They’re great because they have an awesome crunchy texture. They’re are perfect when served with meats or chease.
Short story even shorter, it had good flavor, but it was a little chewy and might even taste a little better if served in a different way. A photo is posted above.
Isla Grande was an amazing overnight trip for us, especially since we were tired of hanging out in all the same places in Panamá city.
Take we’re running out of time here in Panamá, less than one month.
We’re going to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
Next stop: Bocas Del Toro.