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Tuesday
May032011

Last day in Panama

It is my last post from Panama. I have had a trip of a lifetime really. I got to experience so many wonderful new things, all by the seat of my pants. So far in 8 days I have taken 6 plane rides (not including getting here from NYC), 16 helicopter trips, 8 boats, and been in 3 different cities (Thanks MJ for doing the math). The planes were by far the scariest part, being old propeller planes that would have been retired in the States in the 1980s. Our flight into San Blas could only be performed by very small planes as the runway was very very short, from the tip of one small island to the other. Flying in the helicopter was one of the highlights, as I have never flown in one before it was a great new experience. The pilot was very experienced and gave us a few thrill rides we won't forget any time soon. The added bonus of staying on a research vessel where they made me, and one other person, special vegetarian meals every day was great. All of this, the abundance of helicopter rides, staying in Bocas del Toro, the research vessel were all a last minute itinerary change that went smoother than I could have hoped for. Meeting the indigenous Panamanians was a wonderful cultural experience. Seeing a woman in full traditional garb with ankles and wrists fully covered in intricate bead work pick up her cell phone on an island in the middle of absolute no where with a palm leaf hut being the most significant structure on the island was a sign of the times and a shock! Seeing the beautiful gold jewelry the women wore in their noses and the facial tattoos makes me want to study the Kuna tribe more. I have always been interested in other cultures, especially those indigenous to the places I am fortunate enough to travel to. A 5:30am helicopter ride taking off from the research vessel and landing on a Kuna island started my day. Don't think the Kuna are naive I paid $5 for the privilege of photographing the woman in the photos and her friend wanted $20! Sea way robbery! A shot of my office for the day and many shots of the cute island puppy who was just fine frolicking directly in front of us. The interior photo is my tiny room on the Proteus research vessel.

 

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