Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Panama Adventure - Day 3

Ever since we decided to visit Panama, I had this vision of hiking in a rich rain forest. And today, that dream came true. We did a little over 6 miles of hiking in Soberania National Park.

We saw frogs, lizards, butterflies, spiders a couple of snakes and even a Spider Monkey perched high up in a tree. We caught a really good glimpse of one exotic (to us, anyway) bird. Though, by far the most impressive creatures we saw today were the ants. Specifically the Leafcutter ants. Our photos just don't these guys justice: imagine a 10+ foot line of ants, each one schlepping a neatly cut piece of leaf. It was almost like something out of a cartoon.

As our hike finished up, I remarked to Shira that it hadn't rained yet. And sure enough, within 10 minutes, the skies opened up and we got drenched. This actually completed the jungle experience nicely. As the rain was pounding down, there was thunder crashing and not too far off in the distance some howler monkeys were making a racket. At least I think they were howler monkeys. Whatever animal it was, it was loud and not pleased by the rain.

The tricky part of the day wasn't the hike; it was driving to and from the hike. Slowly but surely we're learning to traverse the streets of Panama. Shira has no problem with the traffic or roads, it's just that the maps in our GPS are woefully inaccurate, so it just can't give us sane instructions. It's constantly trying to persuade us to go right when there's no obvious road to turn right into. Add to this the lack of tourist (read: English) friendly signage, and it's not pretty. For example, it took us 3 attempts to pull into the grocery store that had construction surrounding it. At this point, what I'm craving is a high quality set of street maps, yet I've not been able to find them.

We finished up our afternoon with a dip in the pool and then on to dinner. We definitely had a unique and fun time today. And again, I'm proud to report that our 8 year old was a real trooper. 6 miles isn't a whole lot for Shira and myself, but for him to do all that without complaining is nothing short of amazing.

And here's a few sound clips from the jungle:

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