May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Panama from Lima

Lima downtown edge
Feb 9-10—After getting a piece of cake for our receptionist, we went to the airport.  Eventually we found out that we were not 2 hours early, but four!  We returned to Suzie and Augusto’s in Lima.  Suzie was in class, so we shared a dinner (made by their housekeeper Mari) with Augusto.  The recipe was one that the indigenous people had been eating for centuries with squash as the main ingredient.
Old balcony
Lima fancy old home
The next day we went downtown before the scheduled demonstration by the indigenous people against the polluting mining companies who want to increase their mining sites.  There were riot police all around and they closed the streets to the main square.  Watching the changing of the guard, we saw one early protester being taken away.  Augusto showed us the oldest buildings in Lima, some very old balconies, a very fancy entranceway of a prominent family, and the street on which he was born in 1935. 
We met Suzie at my favorite cebiche place, and I tasted the best mixtures of seafood and limon.  That night we went down to the ocean, through Augusto’s fitness club where a graduation ceremony was going on, to the food court to eat Chinese food.  It was great walking around and looking way down at the sea and beaches below.

Best Friends:Beverly (Missy) and Mom
Colorful Mom

View from our room

Mom in Jacuzzi
Feb 11—our travel day to Panama!  Early again, we checked in at Copa airlines where others were unpacking and taking out heavy things so they could pass through.  Luckily our luggage is only around 12-13 Kilos (down from ~20 when I started).   When we arrived, the busses weren’t available, so we waited in the plane, then the line for immigration was about 200 people and took about an hour to get through, then the luggage hadn’t arrived yet, so I felt badly that Bev and Mom were waiting that long for us to emerge.  …BUT THERE THEY WERE!  My MOM is here in Panama!  It is so GREAT to see her, and her best friend Beverly and her husband Charlie.  We drove to a place near San Martin along the Pacific coast to their luxurious home with beautiful gardens, outdoor and indoor spaces mixing with doors and windows of glass, and the sound of the surf-the ocean is at the edge of their property.  It’s a pretty, well-appointed home, with a master closet that looks almost like store racks, a Jacuzzi and pool, beautiful arched structures to keep the rain off, and a DOG!

Missy is all smiles

Les at Carlos Lee's Home

Yummy Dinner made by Teresa
Fancy Restaurant.  Town is in the oldest crater.
 Missy is a soft-mouthed dainty lab mix who loves people and chasing birds on the beach.  Baseball player Carlos Lee, and the president of Panama have property here too.  Baseball fanatic Les is pretty excited about that!  I don’t see a lot of locals except those working or cleaning.  A wonderful woman named Teresa has been cooking and cleaning for Charlie since the early 1980’s.  She makes terrific arroz con pollo with lots of vegetables.  It was almost like paella!

Restaurant Door

Mom likes the market

New Watch: "Extremeness."  Are you Jealous?
 February 12-18—We went out to really nice places to eat while we were here.  There is a delicious local fish called corvina; I had mine rolled in coconut flakes and in ceviche.  At another place, way up in the crater of a volcano, we gathered in a luxurious home with a restaurant, pool and garden.   I had a Pisco Sour and scrumptious pork.  Mom enjoyed the little artisan market in that little town, and Bev ripped down the curvy roads in their SUV back to the home like a real local.

This building didn't look in focus when I first saw it
Panama Canal

Panama City right near the jungle

Les of the Jungle

Looking for Monkeys
One day Les and I went to Panama City with Charlie.  We replaced his dead watch and went hiking in the Municipal Natural Park.  It’s amazing that such a jungle environment can be so close to a big metropolis.  We saw titi monkeys and a big lizard, as well as a few tourists.  At the end of the hike was a nursery with a big collection of bonsai trees as well as the indigenous plants of the area.  We ended up in the old part of town, with narrow streets and an art gallery/café called the Pink Devil.  (Diablo Rossa.)  Soon we were on our way back to the villa.

Low tide with Les

Monument to student demonstrators
Nice place to catch up
Mother Daughter
Swimming with Les and Missy
Quiet helps the monkeys come back
Missy the dog gets a daily walk at low tide.  It’s fun to walk along the tan with big splotches of black sand.  She chases the little buggies that people drive on the beach. FAST! There’s a cool wet spot where all the hermit crabs gather for a festival; otherwise, they hunker down as we walk by.  The cliffs are eroding except for the places where they put big boulders to break up the waves at high tide.  Missy walks on the sand when going out, and chases birds out in the rocks and water--way out there--on the way back.  At high tide we swim in the area that is sandy right off the property.  The water is warm but refreshing, and it feels great to be lifted and moved from one part of the sand to another.  What luxury!

Evening Ritual: Champaign
Morning ritual: Crossword Puzzles

I wish I could take a picture of the night sky.  Wow, what a sight!  The Milky Way travels the whole middle, the big dipper is very low in the sky and the North Star is barely above the neighbor’s house.  Early in the morning you can see the Southern Cross rise up and ALL of Scorpio for a change.  There’s a very bright star as big as Sirius in the South that I need to look up.  It’s breathtaking, with the brisk wind blowing and all the lights out.

A Screw Loose?

February 19—We got up early to take Mom to the airport.  The
Les by old town
Helix Building Hat
sunrise/moonset was beautiful.  Bev took us to their city apartment that is a whole floor of a building that oversees the canal and most of the city buildings.  There is lots of glass on all sides.  I spent lots of time out on their veranda.  There was a beautiful wind and strong scent of flowers; ahhhh.  We bought some corn cakes and tamales at the grocery’s café, and later we went to the waterfront to check out the action at the carnival party.  It was really loud, so we took off in another direction.  Les ran the bases in one of the parks, we ate ice cream, and for dinner I made a sandwich and ate it watching the night scene of the city.
It was beautiful. I even caught the end of the fireworks!  Tomorrow we go to Nicaragua.  NORTH!


One of Les's favorite birds: Pelican
Where all the pelicans roost

Dinner Guests: Peter, Bev, Penny, Ruth, Mary, Charlie, Les

Lemon/Lime Pie made by Teresa
Puppy Guest

The middle building looks pixelated!

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