Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our Last Two days in Panama

Saturday, March 24, 2012:

We were indeed awake at 5:45 for a walk on the beach to watch the morning sun rise.  The interesting thing is that we are on the Pacific coast and watching the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean  I wouldn’t want to do that every morning but today was fine for this one morning.

After breakfast we drove to the town of El Valle – it is a town situated in an immense dormant volcano.  It is not an ordinary town – it is a place with lots of summer/vacation homes as well as permanent homes of the wealthy.  We also went to their artisan market for those who wanted to shop. 
Vegetables at the Market

Mola at the Market

Girls at the Market

The afternoon was spent here at the Resort – a nap and in the pool. Actually it was cooler today as the sky was cloudy.     

Not much has happened today and we decided to post this blog before we go to dinner tonight.  

Sunday March 25, 2012:

After a leisurely breakfast we said goodbye to the Royalton Resort on the Pacific Ocean.

We drove to a market place that specialized in Kura Indian crafts.  The Kura Indians use a sewing technique called mola.  Molas are designs depicting rain forest animals, flowers, birds and marine life that are sewn in layers – 2 to 7 layers of fabric.  We saw the native Kura ladies dressed in native attire actually sewing. 
Mola at the Market

Lady Making Mola

Lady in Native Dress

Lunch was at a Marina at the end of the Amador Causeway.  We had a beautiful view of the modern Panama City skyline. 

After leaving the Marina we visited a small museum dedicated to the beautiful national dresses of Panama, the Pollera. These dresses are made with yards of fabric plus hours of hand stitching – appliqué or embroidery.  They were beautiful dresses. This museum also had several buildings depicting a Panama village of the past.

We had several hours at the hotel in Panama City before our farewell dinner.  The location of the farewell dinner was not disclosed to us until we made the final turn, however due to the direction we were driving numerous of us had a sneaking suspicion it was at the Miraflores Locks.  Sure enough we had a lovely dinner overlooking the Miraflores Locks – the same place as we had our first lunch at the beginning of the tour. The sun was setting so we saw the locks and canal at nighttime.  It was light up! What a way to finish the tour.  Numerous ships went through the lock during the evening.  It was interesting to see on each ship their ‘country of origin’, and the type of cargo they were carrying.

We had a buffet dinner so between courses we would go out on the balcony to watch what was transpiring. At one point, those watching, saw a metal cable break, others saw a ship scrape the side of the locks. 

After dinner we watched a folk dance presentation by a Panama group who has won national competitions.  The women were wearing their national dresses – similar to the ones we saw at the museum this afternoon.  It was a lovely evening, and a fitting conclusion to our 8 days in Panama.  During the week there were several other dance performances, but we enjoyed this one the most.

Cal with One of the Dancers

Cal and Rachel Overlooking the Canal

Our month in Central America is over!  We have seen and experienced a lot!  Each country was a different experience.  Guatemala and the medical mission seem so long ago.  After the mission we enjoyed exploring on our own in Guatemala.  In Costa Rico we experience such diverse activities with Caravan tours – wildlife, rain forest and then the dry Pacific side of the Continental Divide.  In Panama we not only ‘saw’ but ‘felt’ the Panama Canal – considered the 8th wonder of the world. 

The Nova film we saw on the history of the Panama Canal is “A Man, a Plan, a Canal – Panama!”  This is the name of the movie we watched the night before we went on a cruise of the canal. The title can be said both backward and forward!  Interesting!

Monday, March 26, 2012:

The alarm was set and rang at 4:30am!!! Our flight was leaving Panama City at 7:00 am so we were on the 5:00 shuttle from the hotel to the airport.

Our flight home was via Miami, Chicago and Cedar Rapids.  All went very well and our daughter Cherie was there to meet us. It is always good to return home!