Sunday, September 5, 2010

Kuna Yala

It all started with waking up at 3:50 am for a bus that would arrive at 4:15 and leave at 4:30 for the airport. Ask anyone who knows me; me at 4:00 am = grumpy Lauren. I tried to just shut up until the sun at least woke up.
The plane was rather tiny. It had 20 seats squished together. All of us didn't even fit on one, we had to take two for everyone to fit. The airport we left from was sortof a joke. I walked through security with my phone, keys, and wallet in my pocket and no one noticed. It was all laid back, which was good, since it was 4am in the stinken morning.
Our landing strip. I have never been in a plane that stopped so fast upon touchdown. It was rough and loud. 
Neat landing though.
Yes, there are mountains in Panama. This was as we approached the coast there were some nice hills and a couple I would call mountains. I wish I could go hike there, but I couldn't see a single road so logistics may be a little difficult.
This is a Kuna community. Kuna Yala is an autonomous territory within Panama, sortof like the Indian Reservations in the states. The Kuna people speak their own language, although many also speak Spanish. They live in paradise in a way similar to how they did several hundred years ago. We as a group visited a Kuna villiage. I don't have any pictures from that as I I have a moral delimma with treating a culture as a tourist attraction. You can do a quick google search of Kuna Yala and see pictures of the beautiful dress characteristic of the culture.
A picture I took on the way from the airport to the island we would be staying. The Kuna Yala province is a popular destination for sailors. It is cheap, beautiful, and pristine. The only drawback is that the Kuna do not allow SCUBA diving in their waters. They survive off the ocean and they have always viewed it as a struggle between man and nature. To SCUBA would essentially be to cheat. This isn't so much in reference to fishing as crab and lobster hunting. Everynowandthen out here, you will see a dugout boat with one guy in it. If you look around the boat, you'll likely see a guy with a snorkel. They go out in pairs and dive for lobster using only a snorkel.

Up and coming are lots of pictures of the Island we were staying on. I'm not going to comment on them all because I think they speak for themselves. It was absolutely gorgeous.

 There's a storm brewing out there (above 3 pictures), but we didn't have a single day of rain. That's rare in the "rainy season". Lucky for us though, kept visibility high for snorkeling and kept humidity low.
 MY HAMMOCK!!!! I am so bringing a hammock back from Panama. I haven't found one for sale yet, but someone told me about a craft market where I could find them.
The view from my hammock
Our wonderful resident assistant Gary. Just for the record, Gary is much cooler than Eduardo, who went on vacation for the first 3 weeks we've been here.
A self portrait of me in my hammock.
Carolyn and I after snorkeling. Photo credit to Toe.
Carolyn acting like a monkey.
WHEEEE!!!! This swing was deceptively hard to get on. It's like 4 feet off the ground and spins in circles like crazy while you're trying to hop on the fat wet and slimy piece of wood. It was a good challenge
Some of my fellow study abroaders. These are mostly FYA (first year abroad) students. Quick input of my opinion: Take a bunch of 18 year olds who have never been away from home, send them to a country where a) the drinking age is 18 and b) there is really really really cheap alcohol, what do you think you'll end up with? Case in point, lets play Eye Spy. I spy with my little eye an empty bottle of vodka and an empty bottle of cranberry juice. The Island had little electricity (3 solar panels), but it did have an excellently stocked bar. I stuck to the Coca Cola :-)
 Me and a coconut tree aka palm tree
An island we went to to snorkel. There is a sunken boat out there (you can see it sticking up). It wasn't the best snorkeling spot in the world because there is a narrow channel between the island I'm on and the island you see. That results in a very strong current. The fish like it, but to stay near the boat, you have to be kicking hard with flippers on non-stop. This results in scared fish, which results in not great snorkeling. It was still very pretty though.
Looking up a Palm Tree. It was so bright this day that I just took random pictures like this and hoped some turned out. I couldn't see the picture on the camera screen for the life of me.
Waiting for the plane at the airport/landing strip. It was another 4 am morning, so I was just a little tired. I don't know why FSU likes these 6 am flights so much.
The radio control tower, powered by three solar panels.
The Bridge of the Americas  back in Panama City.

I hope you all enjoyed the post. There are more pictures Here on photobucket. I can only upload so many to a blog. Leave me comments! I would love to hear from all of you!!!


  1. Quit being lazy and carry your camera around. Think of it as documenting the culture if it makes you all morally bent out of shape...(btw - you ARE a tourist) or tell the truth your fellow study abroaders hid your camera because they didn't want any more documenting of their activities! hahaha
    looks like you are having a lot of fun! We miss you!

  2. Lol. I feel guilty ogling at them as it is. I bought some beautiful stuff I'll show you when I get back. I hear your shower will be happening soon. Sad to have to miss it :(