Sunday, November 14, 2010

Moldy House

This is NOT what you want to see when you get back to your house at 2:00 am after a 7 hour bus ride.
What we arrived home to. All the pillows, blanket, couches and soft surfaces looked about like this. Not cool.
 Carolyn and I in our tent. We set it up so our computer cords could reach all the way into the house to a plug. We were both laying in the tent on our computers. We got decent internet from our front yard, due to being closer to the house next door.
 Middle-of-the-night bleach run plus three amazing friends and two desperate roommates equals one shiny clean house. I called my mom and she told me to scrub the walls with bleach water, wash everything soft that would fit in the washer, and lysol all the soft things that wouldn't fit into the washer. We had already spent the entire day doing laundry, so we called a taxi and went to Rey at midnight to get bleach. We came back home and 3 friends (Left to right, Gracie, Caitlin, and Sara) came over for a cleaning party. We then spent the night over at the FYA (First Year Abroad) girls house, where there was an extra room. Carolyn and I squeezed into a twin bed for the night, and this morning when we went back to our house to get dressed, we could actually enter without feeling like we needed HEPA masks.

I am now sitting in my bed typing this, and I am not dead, thanks to the amazing people here.Quick thank you to those who helped clean, who let me sleep in their house, and who let me steal their internet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Misc Pictures From Cerro Punta and Vicinity

Just some random pictures. Most of these need explanation, which will be added over the next couple of days :)

So, Cerro Punta is in the mountains of Panama and is a bit cold. Carolyn apparently doesn't like the cold. Just like most of Panama is yet to learn of AC, they also haven't learned about central heat. Didn't bug me, but Carolyn froze the entire week.

Geese. Enough said.

Humming birds were like flies at this place, and they were a hazard. You would be walking and one would just randomly zoom 2 inches in front of your face. That said, they are impossible to get pictures of. They move way too stinken fast.

We toured a coffee estate. I stupidly didn't take any pictures of the coffee (it's not that exciting), but I did take a picture of these plants that were growing randomly at the estate. Oh, and I drank my first cup of coffee in a very long time. I still hate it.

Close up of the above flowers. They were very garnet and gold - FSU flowers!

Carolyn learning about horses. It was an adventure.

Me on Diego. He was a sweetie.

Diego again.

Carolyn with her horse. Don't know his name, but he was a good first horse for her.

So, most days it was raining. It's Panama. It rains like nobody's business here. BUT, I woke up one day and looked out my window to see this. Yes, this is the view looking straight out of my window at the place we were staying. Stinken gorgeous.
All that really exists in Cerro Punta is the farms. They are set on the slopes of the mountains, some of them at impossible angles. The women walking in the picture are most likely Ngobe Bugle.

This is me with Negro (inventive name, huh?) He was a good boy, but also the horse whose saddle broke, resulting in me falling. Fun day, but not a fun experience.

Negro in front of some cascading water. I'm holding his head up right here. He really wanted a snack and it was making this picture difficult.
The view from the bus stop in Cerro Punta. In the distance on the left there is a brown wood sign. That is the sign for the hotel where we stayed. This was taken when we were leaving to go back to the city :(

Haras de Cerro Punta

I took a visit to a racing horse stud farm in Cerro Punta. They breed some of the fastest (and most expensive) horses in the world. Although they wouldn't let me rent any of there $300,000+ horses, the farm itself was beautiful, I got to practice my Spanish, learn about how racing horses are bred and raised, and take a short ride on a Clydesdale.

More Commentary Later!!!

Sendero Cascada - Parque Internacional de la Amistad (PILA)

A good, although brutal, hike. It was 9,000-10,000 feet and altitude just kicks my butt. Still though, great hike and lots of fun. I'll post more commentary later :)

Sendero de los Quetzales - Cerro Punta to Boquete

Rodrigo and I hiked Sendero de los Quetzales the first day we were in Cerro Punta. It was raining a cold, but still a very nice hike. The hike started in Cerro Punta and ended in Boquete. Due to the lack of a road between those to spots, its either a 6 hour hike or a three hour drive. That made logistics a bit complicated, but it all worked out. Enjoy the pretty pictures :)

I got to the rangers station, checked in, and asked for a map. They proceeded to show me this. Doesn't show elevation, doesn't have grid lines, doesn't do much of anything actually.
So, we were about 30 minutes into our hike and I heard something big move. I timidly look around the corner and see these guys looking at me. We weren't on the trail yet, but the hike started with an one hour walk up the side of a mountain along a road only passable by an ATV.

Our trail was comparable to a slow running stream.
MUD!!!! Love my boots though :)
Lunch Anyone?
Landslide that had occurred recently. Saw it in the middle of the hike, but heard about it in the beginning. It knocked out a road further down the mountain and made it a little complicated to get to the trail head.

Everything in the jungle here will either bite you, sting you, or prick you. I had to get used to that. I had never seen thorns on the bottom of a leaf before. I fell a few times (have I mentioned that there was lots of mud?). The first time I tried to grab onto a tree and ended up with a few thorns in my hand. The times after that, I just went with it.

More poky things.

In a taxi in Boquete!!! Made it out alive :-) We had a really nice taxi driver pick us up at the ranger station. He made a few stops on the way back to Cerro Punta to show us some stuff. The rest of the pics are from the trip back after the hike.