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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 Advisorarticle 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 remote ... read more
blowgun
Sloth
Curious

Central America Caribbean » Aruba August 10th 2019

This entry comes from our sister island Aruba, located about 80km west-northwest of Curaçao with about 110.000 inhabitants. Aruba was the first destination I ever visited in 1991, when I left Curaçao and flew for the first time. As a little boy back I found it very exciting of course! Like Curaçao, in Aruba they also speak Papiamentu although the accent and writing is different. In 2017 I went twice to Aruba and those were my 7th and 8th time to the island respectively. Even though Aruba is small, a little less than half the size of Curaçao, I still visited new places or attractions. I find Aruba a nice place to be, also because I have some friends and acquaintances there. My visit in May 2017 was for four days and I went for a ... read more
Plaza Daniel Leo and the tram in Oranjestad
Arashi beach
With nephew and niece at Philip's Animal Garden


Saturday August 3 - I woke up before 6am, thought about going back to bed, and then remembered that I could check-in for my flight at 6:20. I decided to do that to make sure I could get the best seat for my flights tomorrow. After that, there was definitely no going back to sleep. It was also raining, and I had seen that today was likely the rainiest of the days I would be here. We were supposed to leave at 9am, but postponed until 10am to see what happened with the weather. Luckily it got better and we decided to leave at 10am. Our first stop was Mt St Benedict’s Monastery. It has good views, and was interesting to see, but I’m glad I didn’t make a whole day trip of it on my ... read more
Mt St Benedict's Monastery
Mt St Benedict's Monastery
Mt St Benedict's Monastery


Friday August 2 - It is so hot here. Sometimes I forget - like when I’m in the shower - but I am quickly reminded. I am always sweating, just existing, and it is so uncomfortable. Today I followed my original plan from yesterday, visiting Pitch Lake. I started out with a chat to Jeroen and then had breakfast before getting everything ready for the day. Ally left me a note to bring her old boots, so I didn’t get my shoes dirty. I did, and brought my bathing suit as well, just in case. I left around 8:45 and walked over to city gate. I had not been there before, but I had been nearby, so I had an idea of where I was headed. I think it’s an old train station, from before the ... read more
Our guide Beverly
This asphalt is from the lake
Asphalt


Wednesday July 31 - I went to bed too late last night, chatting with my friend Niki, and did not sleep well all night. I finally got up at 6:30, despite setting my alarm for 7:00. I had breakfast, chatted with Jeroen and got ready for the day. Ally and I were supposed to leave at 8:00 but she was running a bit behind and we left at 8:30. We drove up to Asa Wright Nature Center, and on the way Ally showed me where I’ll need to get out of the bus when I head to another destination on my own in the near future, which was really handy. It took a while to drive there, and we had a good chat along the way. When we arrived, we both changed our shoes, and I ... read more
Asa Wright Nature Center
White-necked Jacobin
White-necked Jacobin


Tuesday July 30* - It started to rain just before we were about to leave, and we waited for the downpour to end before heading out to Caroni Bird Sanctuary. We left at 3pm and it only took about 15 minutes to get there. But Ally said if we had left 15 minutes later, we might have been caught up in some serious traffic. The main thing to do at Caroni is to take a boat ride/tour out to see the Scarlet Ibis, who come in to roost for the night. There are about 20,000 of them in this mangrove swamp, but this is their breeding season, so most of the birds are paired up and nesting in other parts of the swamp. We were taken around many parts of the swamp for a couple of ... read more
Yellow-headed Caracara
Boat getting ready to leave
Me and Ally


Monday July 29 - The flight to Trinidad was only 30 minutes, so I barely got any reading done. Immigration was fast and then I had to walk to baggage claim. This is the largest airport I’ve been in in the Caribbean. I stopped to change money, but felt their rate was crap, so skipped it for a future date with an ATM. I also stopped in a bathroom, and by the time I got to baggage claim, I figured I’d still have to wait a bit, since the conveyor belt wasn’t moving. But then I noticed there was no one standing around, and then I saw my bag sitting next to the conveyor belt. That must have come out lightning quick. The customs line was a bit long, but it went quickly. Then I was ... read more
I never want to fill one of these out again. I've lost track how many there were this summer...
Grenada
Trinidad


Friday July 26 - As we pulled in, it seemed that St. George's may be the nicest looking city I’ve seen in the Caribbean. I do have a bad memory and haven’t yet walked around it, but it looks really pretty and well organized. Khalidah had written earlier to say her and a friend would pick me up, but she wasn’t there. I started to get a little nervous and decided I would get on a bus at 6pm if she wasn’t there by then - half an hour seemed like enough time to wait. I had no way to contact her, and perhaps she had to cancel. But with five minutes to go, they arrived. They were in a bus - I didn’t know her friend was a bus driver - but he wasn’t working, ... read more
Booby
Booby
St George's


Thursday July 25 - I got up at 5:00, after a poor night of sleep. I was pretty exhausted yesterday from the time in the sun, and went to bed early. At 10:30pm, my neighbor came home and I could hear her on the phone, packing, etc. The walls are so thin, and it was just me and her on that floor. Shame we happened to be in rooms next to each other and not more spread out. There was also a crash around 1:00 that woke me up and scared the crap out of me, and I thought it was her, but in the morning I realized that my laptop had fallen off the chair it was on. Probably not good. I did my packing, watched some clips from last night’s late shows, ate my ... read more
Union Island
Ashton, Union Island
Lady JJ, my boat to Carriacou


Wednesday July 24 - The boat came at 9:30, but it was not the boat I expected, and we did not leave until 10:00. I always rely on someone else to book things, since that’s kind of the usual here, but I never get the details, also the usual. I thought Troy said he booked a water taxi to do the tour, and that a few other people would be there. But the boat that came was actually a taxi boat to take me to nearby Palm Island, which is a gorgeous island owned by the Palm Island Resort. The whole thing is just for this amazing all-inclusive, perhaps the only one I would consider staying at after seeing it (except it is mega expensive, like $600+ per night). The taxi boat was ferrying me and ... read more
Palm Island
Palm Island
Palm Island




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