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The Panama Canal & Pedasi

Week 2

sunny 28 °C
View Panama City - Pedasi on -inge-'s travel map.

Wow, I can´t believe yet another week has passed! Time seems to move quicker here... or I guess its just a sign that I´m enjoying myself, right? :-)

Okay, so here´s for the update since last week....

The Panamá Canal was really impressive! I didn´t think I´d enjoy it as much as I did. It is just incredible that people created it (it took over 30 years to complete) and its HUGE -as are the ships that pass through it. The canal is basically a ship passage way connecting the Caribbean sea and the Pacific Ocean and loads (+/- 27,500 people) died making it- mainly from yellow fever and malaria. It now takes about 8 hours for a ship to pass through the canal and they are currently building a 2nd and 3rd lock in order to let wider ships pass through it (currently, the width is 28,5m and they want to make it 36m). When the ships pass through the canal (we were viewing from the ´Miraflores lock´ on the Pacific side), ´mullas´ (little train-like carts) assist it along the canal, making sure the vessels never collide with the sides of the canal (they are so precise, the distance can be as little as 3mm)...just very impressive...

....Okay, I will stop being geeky now, I just found it very impressive :-) ....

After the canal, museum and film-showing, we went to the Gamboa rainforest about 15 minutes from the Miraflores Locks. It was beautiful there- we saw loads of different types of birds (geeky note: Panamá has one of the largest varieties (+560 species) of birds in the world- Panamá even translates as ¨country of the abundant fish and butterflies¨), a turtle and 2 crocodiles! Was really nice and we had a quick look around the Gamboa Hotel as well, wow! Schnazzy! I just liked the fact they offered monkey-watching tours :-) Next time, next time...

The next day, Maudy and I spent the day in the mall. As you do in Panamá City...
I bought some nice clothes and we spent the rest of the time eating a ridiculous amount of sushi with ´Ice Age 3´ McFlurry as desert :-) Then, Julio picked us up (he´d been at the airport all morning, waiting for his cousin to arrive from America) and we drove to his aunt´s house, only to be given a second lunch: lasagne. FACT: Panamá will make me obese. I mean, it would be rude not to eat it...right? ;-)
In the evening, we went out for drinks with his cousin and wife. The first stop was in Casco Viejo (Old town Panama), at a Cuban bar. Ahhh, the memories! Buena Vista Social Club in the background, photos of the Malecon... it actually really made me miss Cuba. The next bar was ´Casablanca´ on the main square, and we then drove to the Causeway and bought a bucket of iced Balboa beer... we ended up getting home at 2am.

The next day, we drove to Pedasi- the town where Maudy and Julio live. The trip took about 4 hours and the dogs were happy to see them again (= understatement). Maudy showed me around Pedasi in her golf cart (my new favourite form of transportation) and we had dinner at ´Pasta e Vino´, an amazing Italian restaurant by the town square (owned by 2 good friends of Maudy´s). Great food, all home-made- even the ice-cream :-)
The day after, Maudy and I took the dogs to ´Playa el Toro´ (in golf cart terms, about a 15 minute drive away). We spent an hour or two there, then made our way back, eating some flan and ´chicheme´ (a corn-based drink, with sugar and milk) on the way :-) Maudy then had to go round to a friends place (who owns a hotel which does Friday-night sushi every week) to take photos of a yellow-finned tuna he had to prepare for dinner. The tuna was massive and after he´d prepared it for the meal, he made us some amaaaaazing sashimi and ´poke´ (a Hawaiian recipe). I...want...Maudy´s... neighbours!!!

We made our way to Playa Venao early the next morning, but by the time we arrived (having been delayed by the car not starting & having to jump start it), it was raining A LOT. After waiting half an hour, we decided to go back and I walked around Pedasi for a bit, taking photos. In the afternoon, we drove to Julio´s plot of land, saw their horses and walked on the beach for a while, collecting drift wood and shells (Maudy makes gorgeous mobiles with them). In the evening, we went back to the Italian for yet another amazing meal- pesto & green bean linguine and tiramisu.... ahhh, my blog seems to only be about food, hehe...

After a failed attempt the previous day, we spent the whole of the next day at Playa Venao with perfect weather- sunbathing, reading and surfing (if 10 minutes counts).

I finally got to see ´Don´t mess with the Zohan´ the next day (loved it!) and Maudy and I then cycled to Playa el Toro. On the way back, we joined the Italian couple at the Pedasi surf & juice bar and they invited us round for a private dinner in the evening (private because they´re usually closed on Monday´s). oh. my. god. The food...was delicious! They´d just bought a huge mahi-mahi (dolphin fish) so we had fish soup as a starter, then sashimi with pesto and an avocado + lemon dip, fried potatoes & fish as main course and fish ice-cream... nah, not really- chocolate ice-cream for dessert. It was heaven...

After the last few days of eating as though I was training for a marathon, I decided to be good and go for a jog the next day (yesterday). Pedasi´s actually a really nice little town to jog around and it was nice to do some exercise for a change. After a shower and breakfast, we then made our way to Las Tablas as Julio had to go to the bank there and we had a supermarket-stop. We then drove to Chitré and by 4pm we were back in Pedasi.
Maudy and I decided to collect all the ripe mangoes (her garden´s full of them) and cut them up & freeze them to make smoothies :-) Later some friends of theirs came round and we made Smoothie cocktails con ron :-) Maudy then got called by the guy that owns the sushi-hotel place, saying he had loads of sashimi left over if we wanted it... needless to say, the answer was yes... So we had sashimi for dinner, with fried potatoes and an Israeli cabbage & sesame-seed salad... deeeeeeeelicious! :-)

Today, Maudy and I went over to some plots of land (by the sea) that she had to take photos of. Once we got home, the contractor called her to come back quickly as there were orcas and humpback whales in the sea! We raced back, but unfortunately they were really far out, so we only saw the water squirts from their blow holes in the far distance. Apparently whale season has only just started though (it lasts till October) so hopefully there will be more opportunities to see the whales later *fingers crossed* We spent the rest of the day with some friends of Maudy (she´s going to start tutoring their daughter next month) and tonight (as I like to talk about food) we´re having grilled red snapper!!! I love living by the sea! hehe... Life is good.

Tomorrow, Julio´s driving back to Panamá City (to spend more time with his cousin) and he´ll drop Maudy and I off in Santiago, where we´ll get on the coach to Costa Rica. The plan is to spend 3 days (2 nights) there and then work our way back to Pedasi via Bocas del Toro. In Costa Rica, we´ll be staying in Puerto Viejo- at some crazy hippyish campsite/hostel (google: ´Rockin J´s´) where you can rent hammocks/tents/rooms for the night. It looks great and is apparently backpacker-central, so hopefully we´ll get to meet some interesting people too :-)

I can´t wait!!!

Hope you all have a great weekend and update me on what´s going on with you!!! I now have Internet access again, so I promise to reply... :-)

¡Buen fin de semana!

Posted by -inge- 02:32 Archived in Panama Tagged backpacking

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