Blogs from Panama, Central America Caribbean

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Central America Caribbean » Panama April 1st 2020

Geo: 8.97, -79.53... read more

Central America Caribbean » Panama March 30th 2020

Sabbath 28 March – Panama We passed the temperate check – yay! We were given an afternoon slot for transfer and made our way across. We arrived at the Rotterdam and expected to be in our same room but were told we were given another room. It was still a balcony but it was a downgrade on what we had. For those in the know about cruise categories, we were in an A category and moved to a B category. This meant a smaller room at the back of the ship under the outdoor pool, as opposed to a lower deck in the middle. The thing I miss the most? The dividing curtain between the lounge area and bed is missing, and the bathroom is smaller and shorter, meaning Dwayne’s head sits on the bathroom roof ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama Canal February 3rd 2020

Very few free moments and pure exhaustion (plus deep depression: Lost Lulu) prevented me from keeping up with our blogs while cruising the high seas. Time passed so quickly. You have heard “How Time Flies When Having a Good Time”....right? Well, that was our circumstance. Plain & simple. Now, we are all back on good, old terra firma. Debarked our ship on Sunday, February 2nd: Super Bowl Sunday and Groundhog Day. Much going on this day. Only delay after we left the ship was Cory going through customs because he had to declare his casino winnings. Had to fill out more paperwork, etc. The security staff as well as the Custom Agents said they had never seen a win as big as this on the cruise ships! Just doesn’t happen! But Mr. Lucky did it.....lucky, luckeeeeee. ... read more
$1,000 winner! Mr.Lucky!
Cory playing craps
Back at Port Everglades

Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City October 8th 2019

The gateway into Panama is through Panama City and also conveniently located right next to the canal. Panama has always been close to the top of my bucket list and I just needed someone to tilt me in that southerly direction. So, I met a gal, Danielle, who told me she and her young family lived there on an island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago. I have always wanted to check out the Panama Canal. I know several folks who have sailed through the canal on a cruise and heard them preach about the beauty and engineering that went into its creation. But, I don't do cruises, except for the Alaska one I did a few years ago and that would be the last one. So, I told Danielle she might see the whites of ... read more
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Central America Caribbean » Panama » Panamá » Panama City August 17th 2019

I subscribe to the theory that says adventure can be found anywhere. I like the idea of choosing travel destinations by throwing darts at a map. I don't have darts, but a few months ago I saw the headline of a Trip Advisor article that listed Panama City as one of five underrated cities in Latin America. I didn't bother reading the article. I just bought a ticket, then called Jennifer in Texas and asked if she wanted to meet me there. "It won't involve mosquitos and camping in a jungle, will it?" she asked. "No," I lied. Going Native I found Anne on the Internet. A former Seattle zookeeper turned Hollywood animal trainer, she once wrangled jaguars for a film called End of the Spear, a true story about missionaries who tried to evangelize a ... read more
blowgun
Sloth
Curious


After a hearty breakfast aboard the Discovery, we all boarded small dinghies and headed to the nearby shore, docking at the Gatun Yacht Club. From there we got on a small van that drove us drove OVER the narrow lock (this road access is soon to be removed) to the Agua Clara Locks, the location of the new rolling gates on the Atlantic side. The Only other way to get to Agua Clara is via ferry or draw bridge. This over-lock opportunity will end soon but it was a great opportunity for us to get a perfect view of the operations along this very narrow access “road”. On January 19, 2015 eight mammoth gates, ranging in height from seven to nine stories were installed in the three concrete locking chambers. The locks were scheduled to open ... read more
The Third Set of Locks accomodates enormous ships
Explanation of the Rolling Gates Operation
Panama Hat Palm on the Tropical Trail


I was up by 6AM and was out and on a mission. I found Lake Gatun to be balmy, breezy and quiet except for the hum of the catamaran’s engine. No one was around. But I missed the southern cross. I later learned it is usually seen around 4AM. And sadly I couldn’t record the howler monkey’s morning calls, but the sunrise was spectacular. And the coffee and breakfast helped to ease the pain of my missed adventures. We cast off early in this sunny morning for our voyage on the open waters of Lake Gatun (and the Chagres River) crossing the division between the provinces of Colon and Panama, several times in fact. The Chagres River, marks the division between Panama and Colon provinces. It is the only river that flows into both oceans. We ... read more
Pilot Change in Gamboa
Gamboa is a busy place this morning
Gaillard Cut bisects the Continental Divide


After an early breakfast we toured the ship’s galley and said goodbye to the friendly crew and staff, then disembarked the Discovery to be rejoined with Roberto our jovial bus driver on Isla Amador. He drove us around Isla Amador passing the Smithsonian Tropical Institution on Isla Culebra where they have been measuring water accumulation in the region. From there we found the much anticipated Biomuseum designed by architect Frank Gherry whose wife, we are told, is from Panama. I am sure she had a great deal of influence on the design and installation of this amazing museum. The roof, with its many colorful tiles scattered about like piles of brightly colored leaves, makes this building stand out with a statement of its own. But under the roof it gets even better. As you get closer ... read more
View of the volcano from the Biomuseo
Giant sloth
the Great Biotic Interchange


This morning, our bus left the Holiday Inn in Clayton, and headed towards the Atlantic Ocean on Corridor Norte. While Roberto navigated our bus, Abdiel discussed Panama’s position on land preservation and environmental protection. He said that 42% of the land in Panama is protected by the government for green space allowing for water mitigation and natural flow to the canal. A portion of the same 42% of land is also used for parks where some of the protesting squatters live. He also informed us that Stanley Motta, who some may know from his calypso record label in Kingston, Jamaica, owns the Panamanian airline COPA (that some of us will use flying to Colombia). COPA makes up 14% of Panama’s GDP. Motta has become an extremely wealthy man and is very influential in Panamanian elections. Abdiel ... read more
Atlantic Bridge from the ferry
Toro Point Lighthouse in Shelter Bay
Howler monkey in San Lorenzo National Park


We left the Hotel Cubita at 9AM to visit Dario Lopez the renowned mask maker at his home on the northern edge of Chitre in the district of Parita, carnival mask headquarters. Mr Lopez demonstrated the creation of traditional Panamanian folkloric festival masks using clay, paper mache and forms that could be reused up to 30 times. He doesn’t use a base color but adds up to five colors as he creates his designs. A large mask can take about two to three days to build the form, letting it air dry and finally painting. Mr Lopez has been making these devil masks since the 1960s and now his family joins him in this tradition. Dario’s granddaughter Madeline (five years old) was very proud of her grandfather, taking photos and watching over him like a little ... read more
Dario Lopez, renowned mask maker
Horse-truck gas station stop... beer and gas for the truck, what's for the horse?
View of the Panama Canal from our hotel window




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