Unexpected hikes and such

Oh my goodness, too much to write. Since I last wrote, I have experienced more of La MICA bonding, night adventures in the forest, the beach and Chicha with the Kuna people, the Panama Canal, and now a lovely couple days in Boquete in the Chiriqui region.

La MICA and our daily ‘routine’ is wonderful. Julie, Pablo, Macedonio and all of the people working dawn till dusk to help us out, are amazing. I really don’t know how they manage to get so much done in a day. We love them.  🙂 It is really strange that this place is starting to feel like my home here, yet I am determined to pinch myself every once in a while to remember how incredible it is that I’m here. We are all still trying to find a way to make the  most of our time and balance school, cultural opportunities and a little relaxation and sleep every now and then. It was great to come back to some updates on the dorms and paths after being gone for a week. Part of the tarp between the boys and girls dorms has come down, sacrificing a little privacy for more airflow, and I’d say we’re definitely past the getting-to-know-you stage. Way past that. I am relieved that most people can have a sense of humour with the situations that arise in our close-living, and I’d say we’re doing very well for so many personalities in one cabin. I do predict that our touchy-feely check in sessions will become more and more entertaining…

Our week in Kuna Yala was incredible. Though my pale skin combined with doxycycline is not a match for the sun near the equator, I had a wonderful time. The water was clear blue and the people were so warm and welcoming. We were formally welcomed by the Kuna Congress and invited to participate in their Independence day festivities. It was so surreal to sit among the colorfully-dressed Kuna women, drinking Chicha and watching the ritual. Definitely once-in-a-lifetime experience. We also got to hear multiple versions of the history of their fight for independence, which definitely raised some perplexing questions about national heroes and perspective. I’m still not sure how to interpret it all. Also, we got to discuss this issue and others regarding indiginous identity in the modern world with a Kuna scholar. It was these things that took our trip way past merely a vacation on a ¨poopy beach,¨ as Marc would say.

We ended the week in Gamboa to see the Panama Canal, and it was cool, even if only due to the feeling that this is the one thing some tourists go to see in Panama. Watching the huge cargo ships fit through the locks was pretty amazing, though. We also got a tour of Panama City and some of the historical sites there. Definitely worth a return visit sometime.

After the week of traveling in a huge group, we were definitely ready to be back in Copé, where we get a little more control over our own schedule. We had a couple days to regroup and then head off to various places for our first set of freedays. I traveled Tuesday with Nancy, Denyse, Angie, Andrea and Kelly to Boquete. To say we had some complications on the way would be an understatement, but it all added to the adventure. Since it all ended with a 5 hour bus ride to David with an unexpected reunion with Paul, Cameron and Ethan, and a final bus ride into Boquete, I’d say it was a success. We stumbled upon a great hostel where Marc and Will were already staying that provides free ingredients for around-the-clock pancakes as merely one of its perks. After an accidental 5 mile hike in flip flops, bathing suits and with impractical hiking beverages and snacks to the ‘hot springs’, a delicious Mediterranean meal and an incredible canopy zipline tour, I am quite content with our choice of this touristy spot, and I am about ready to tackle schoolwork again. Just one more night on the town with our new Panamanian friends, and I’ll be ready to face the bus system again.

Till next time!

  1. #1 by lindsay smith on March 23, 2010 - 8:48 pm

    maeve! i miss you and i love reading your blog. i am so glad you’re loving it, it sounds absolutely incredible.

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