We’ve moved to the rain forest, an area known as Gamboa. Our hotel is a golf resort and we don’t really play golf but are having fun putting around. The views are spectacular and we hear amazing animal and birds sounds at night from our balcony.
The first day we met Carlos, a very friendly hotel employee who was showing us around. He was explaining all the animals we might see and mentioned our favorite Panamanian animal, the Capybara. Seeing our excitement, he said meet me in the lobby at 6:00 p.m. and I will take you to where the capybaras gather. We met him at the appointed time and took a golf cart to a very specific spot on the course near a water-filled ditch. There they were, not the same ones we thought were capybara on Ancon Hill and turned out to be agouti, but the genuine enormous capybara who had captured our hearts through pictures and you-tube videos. Wow! amazing! What a great way to start off at our new rainforest location.
Monkeys were our next photographic prey. Panama is great because of the many types of animals and colorful birds that call this great country home. So, we went on an excursion with the Disney-sounding name of Jungleland. We met at the dock and boarded beat-up Panamanian style boats. We traveled the Panama Canal shipping lane to a floating lodge deep in the rainforest. Along the way we spotted many ships, tug boats, mechanical equipment, the largest (until recently) crane in the world. We even saw the Panama Express train filled with containers running alongside the Canal.
We stopped along the way to see heron, harpy eagles, egrets, crocodiles, iguana. Soon, Captain Carl said we were pulling into a cove where we may be boarded by pirates. The kids squealed in excitement and, truth be told, I squealed a bit myself. Armed with peanuts, we waited as a group of capuchin monkeys boarded our boat by jumping on the roof. We waited and soon we saw a little face peek out from over the roof. I held out my treat and he grabbed it and ran. We also saw howler monkeys, tamarands too. We loved every minute of it.
We soon arrived at the floating lodge and were treated to a delicious Panamanian meal, rice, chicken, steak, tamale, cinamon bananas. Yum.
Then we were asked if we wanted to go fishing. Si, por favor! A expert Panamanian fisherman Ruben took us out to his favorite spot. I had never fished before and was happy to hear Ruben would bait our hooks with minnows. No sooner had I dipped my line in, I caught my first fish. Sam and I both caught many. Most were throw backs, a service also provided by Ruben. One was a keeper and I am pretty sure it was Rubens dinner. Such a great experience.
So, back at the hotel, we tried the golfing thing had lots of fun but more practice is necessary. I dearly love doing things I have never done before. Panama has been an amazing experience of “firsts”.