PANAMA!!


We are in PANAMA!! It is beautiful here and warm, I love it. We have been very busy so far and lots of hiking/walking. La Mica Biological Station is about a quarter mile hike in from the road and El Cope is probably farther than that all uphill. I have a feeling I am going to be in pretty good shape when this is done. The shorts I put on this morning already don’t fit, I had to borrow Angie’s belt. Everywhere I go I want to take pictures because it’s so pretty and different than any place I’ve ever been but the pictures don’t capture how awesome it really is. I’m going to attempt to put some on facebook when I’m done writing this.
Our cabin is a tight fit, lots of mismatched bunks butted up against each other and we have a tarp separating the boy’s side from the girl’s side. We are contemplating moving the tarp farther over because the boys have way more room than us right now. Underneath our rooms is our kitchen/classroom. It looks like a porch with a very long table across it. It is in the open air and look out toward the river. Next to the cabin are 2 sinks and 2 showers. We were having a little problem with the water at first because the pipes kept bursting unless we left the water running at all times but now its fixed. The profs have their own cabin we call the “honeymoon suite” across from the showers. And down the hill there are 2 pit toilets. When we first arrived there were no trails to get from one place to another so it was a little hard to get around without sliding down the hill but yesterday the workers dug out some dirt so that we have “stairs”. We have a generator for electricity but we only use it after dinner when it gets dark and we turn it off when we go to bed.
It may seem like a rough living situation, but I actually feel very spoiled. A few of the locals have been hired to cook us food for every meal. They hike our meals to the station for us and then hike it back out along with our dirty dishes. The food is delicious! I am so grateful for this because I was a little nervous of how my stomach was going to react to it. The breakfast makes me laugh because it is not what I’m used to eating for breakfast. Yesterday I had beef with these fried corn thingys and today they had chicken and some other corn thing. We also have eaten lots of rice and wonderful fresh fruit. They make us fried plantains which are very sugary so of course I love them. We also had these sandwiches when they picked us up from the airport, they we tomatoes, cheese, and mustard… seemed like a weird combo but it may be my new favorite thing.
Our activities so far have consisted of a tour of El Cope where we met to police and checked out the chino mart. Everything is really cheap here. I’m currently sitting in an internet café in Penome and they have snacks for sale, a bag of chips is 35 cents and ice cream is 40 cents. After our tour of El Cope we got a ride in Cheevas to the National Park. It was about a 40 minute drive there and when we got to the top of the mountain we were in a cloud… I guess that’s why it’s considered a cloud forest. We saw a mommy sloth and a baby sloth up in one of the trees! Then we hiked around the manicured trail and then some of us took a harder trail down to the river (which looks more like a creek to me). This is where most of us will be doing our biology research projects. On our hike back it started to rain harder than it had been before and we were all unprepared. We got soaked. Once we got to the cabin I started to change clothes and realized how bad I smelled. So a group of us when down to the river by our cabin and took a swim and a bath (I have yet to use the shower). It was very refreshing, the water feels great.
Even though I haven’t officially started my research project we have already caught quite a few katydids just around the cabin. Last night Kelly and I were sitting in our beds under our mosquito nets and she said “what’s that green thing?” It was a katydid which made me laugh. It was my first catch. I think our project will be pretty easy to carry out since they are everywhere and very easy to catch.
Right now we took a bus ride to Penome which is a larger town outside of El Cope. We are using the internet café and buying a few things. I’m going to buy a cell phone and some minutes so I can call home every now and then. That’s all I have to say now! I’ll write again the next time I get a chance to!

  1. #1 by Aunt Kathy on February 18, 2010 - 10:05 am

    Andrea,

    Glad you made it to Panama safe! Sounds like you are already having fun. Be safe and enjoy the whole experience. St. Louis is supposed to have more snow this weekend – lucky us! Love you.

  2. #2 by shannon on February 18, 2010 - 11:47 am

    I like you having internet! Loving the updates. You’re a lovely blogger 🙂

  3. #3 by Greg on February 18, 2010 - 12:41 pm

    Nice update andrea, very informative, sounds awesome!

  4. #4 by Greg on February 18, 2010 - 12:42 pm

    also, apparently i have used a site like this before and got a smiley face icon as my picture, weird.

  5. #5 by kellie on February 18, 2010 - 3:25 pm

    ahhh, it sounds soo, sooo, SOOOOOOO wonderful. love ya

  6. #6 by Rachel on February 19, 2010 - 10:09 am

    Enjoying reading your blog :).

  7. #7 by Ellen on February 19, 2010 - 10:51 am

    “Yesterday I had beef with these fried corn thingys and today they had chicken and some other corn thing.”

    This made me laugh. I really like corn.

    Sounds like an awesome time!

  8. #8 by Missy on February 21, 2010 - 6:58 pm

    who would’ve thought you would be such a good blogger! sounds awesome i’m pretty jealous.. miss you!

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