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A gecko peed on me, square trees

PANAMA | Monday, 30 December 2013 | Views [349]

I am on my second and final month here in panama and it has been amazing. This place is really a great area to consider for a later in life retirement. It's not so different that your cultural views clash, but its just exotic enough that life is blissful and can be adventurous or serene with an hours drive to jungly mountains, or a few steps to the sea.

 

My friends here in gorgona, the expat military family, moved to a beautiful condo 30min stroll up the black sand beach of gorgona. I have walked there a few times to take a dip in their luxurious crystal clean pool. One day the beach dissapeared with the hight tide and I decided to cross some boulders which was a bad idea as the tide rose and I was thrust against the stones, cutting up my ankles, feet and knees. The I first swim in the ocean before the chlorine pool,,I didnt realize how rough the water was at the time as I plunged in. All I felt minutes later was a huge wave rush over top of me, ripping my swimsuit down to my knees, plunging saltwater in my nose and stinging my eyes. I gasped for air as I reached the surface and recollected myself. I am starting to see its possible for people to walk into the water, and never walk back out. Its the entrance of the water that is dangerous, in fact as soon as you are past the fall of the water, you can ride the waves as you bounce up and down in its belly further from shore. It makes me giggle as a child, to float in the large sea and feel its natural trampoline effect.

 

I have taken on the housekeeping job of the hostel so on top of volunteering, I am also a paid staff member of the hostel. This is all great except that I work very long hours. For example, raking our lawn takes upward of 4 hours, and now the northern winds push the leaves from the barrel before I can dump them, frustrating. I have a run in with a 4 inch black scorpian who I nearly swatted with a scooping motion of my hands. Scary

 

I have paint 3 rooms entirely and redorated and designed the walls, 2 of which are fully size murals, the others are designed patterns. I might need a painting brake. Overall I have painted for more that 100hours in this hostel. I love it but its a rough art to know how to do, very time consuming, and hard on the body I must say.

 

When the manager the hostel for 8 days while he travelled to Disney world with his family, I was happy him to take a break and relax without worrying, for a minute. The assistant manager and maid were in charge and I just assisted with computer work and marketing, organizing etc. But after day 2, all bets were off. The staff played beer pong and drank all day, parties were hosted where people barely paid for any alcohol or beverages, the assistant allowed people in the hostel who then entered and stole several things including our guests food and the maids expensive phone...oh and did I mention the orgy in the pool. I was soooooo mad. When the cats away, our mice did play. Luckily this put me in the position to step up and take control.

 

In fact sometimes stagnancy can only be disrupted by an extreme action. Well this poor behaviour was the action this hostel needed. When the manager returned, we did a whole new rework of the hostel, new rules, new organizational strategies, and overall rework of the business strategy. Now with the hostel in tip top shape, newly designed rooms, great new bar recipes and games this hostel is really rising to its potential. 

 

January is the month for most panamanians to take their 1 month leave from work, just like the maid did. It is also summer. So each weekend and many days the beaches are filled which means our hostel is filled. We host breakfast now from 8-11 so drunkies who have stayed on the beach partying all night, drag themselves to our hostel for a yummy bite to eat. Entire familes even rent every bed in the dorms to have family parties, birthday celebrations, reunions and we've had lots of kids running round smiling.

 

I love that this hostel is so locals friendly. Unlike many hostels I have stayed in...this is the first ever hostel which is owned or run by a local man which is great so that the locals themselves feel comfortable coming. Many hostels owned by foreigners often house a staff of caucasion expats who are overly drunk every day, pissed off at everying that happens, and the atmosphere is rather directed to backpackers. This is the same panamanian hostels, and every african hostel I stayed in. This is theee first time I have ever had such a great appreciation for the bright eyed smily manager and his wonderful attitude toward guests of every color.

 

A german woman came to visit and had a vehicle so we took the opportunity to head into the El Valle region. We took a stroll to a nice waterfall, nothing special, headed over to a mountain for a long walk to the unique grove of "cuarto arboles" square trees. The really were square, at the bottom anyway. The looked pretty unique and had some amazing growth on them. There was a trail of leaf cutter ants probably 50 feet long climbing the hil as we left..I still don't understand how they carry those things. Our final stop of the trip was to the hot springs..more like warm springs. I smothered myself in mud from head to tow. It felt soooo nutrifying, and our half our or so soak in body temp water was a delight. Not very hot water but the nutrients were just enough for me. My hair felt wonderful after.

 

Oh yeah christmas is DEC 24th here. We celbrated christmas by eating taco buffet... I threw veggies into a tortilla and that was my meal. It was sweet to sit at a table with our staff though and share in the night.  The expats gave us a more traditional version hosted in their new condo on the 25th. Luckily I ate well with a big fruit salada, apple pie, and completely preservative enriched green bean casserole taste goode feels bad, it was so sweet with canned beans, loads of floury mix, and wow the sodium. Eh ya only live once right...it was nice of her to try and make me something veggie anyway. This marked the last day of my cooked food appetite. 

 

Dec 8th was my bday, I got the best present I have ever recieved which took me into uncontrollable tears as my father told me he has finally quit smoking after 40 years. I cannot express the joy I have for him and our family. What a hard battle, and he has succeeded. Way to go papa. 

 

I also made the decision to fly my parents out to Peru for machu pichu adventure. For parents who rarely travel outside of the western states, this is a huge leap and I cannot wait for april to come when we will unite in Peru! woooo hooo, Inca trail her comes the Heck family, watch out!

 

On the 26th day of DEC, I began my fruit only consumption plan. I am now on the 16th day, and I am down 8 lbs, my digestion is incredibly smooth, and I am absolutely never hungry. The philosophy stems from Dr. Doug Grahms 80 10 10 diet which I really want to try when I get back to the usa, but I am following a philosophy based on something called 30bad diet, or 30 bananas a day. The idea is to consume only fruits for most days, and sometimes add some leafy greens of low fat carbs. This includes all high carb food like raw fruit, and if needed a steamed potato. So far I have been feasting on approximately 15 bananas, 2 oranges, a kiwi or a peach, pineapple slices, half a cantaloupe and maybe a few dates, on a typical day. Now this may seem like a ton, however consider that this is only about 2000 calories, and digested with ease as all the carbohydrates are simple and water based. The idea of restricting calories, and cutting meals to me just seems so foolish now I cannot imagines going back to a life of restriction. The main difference is also that I am not shoving my face with high fat/protien items like nuts and seeds. These slow down the system, and conjest the cells, I never feel tired and I feel stronger and more lean. I am so excited. For now the fruitarian life is meant to be a month only cleanse, but I will absolutely continue if I decide this is the correct path for me, and at this point, it is!

New years was rather uneventful in Malibu Hostel. Of course we were packed full with guests but most people preferred the ocean waves and beachy celebration as fireworks blasted in all direction at the ding of 14. Our bar had a wonderful yell or two and rushed to the beach to catch the end of the show. This set off another 3 days of fireworks. In fact christmas music is still being played in stores while phone ringers still chant "jingle bells" and "white christmas"....even it's never been a white christmas here oh ya and its January 12th by now. 

 

Next week on wednesday, imagine me on a boat headed through the most native lands called the During gap between panama and colombia. The San Blas islands are inhabited by several tribes most of which are the Kuna community. People who live mostely from the land, and of course tourists. The people are of small stature wearing traditional garb called molas, or sewn paintings, the petite women dress their limbs with tightly strewn beads that wrap from wrist to ellow, ankle to knee. On the speedboat, I will island hop from one land to the next for 4 days until i finally reach the last town of panama before crossing to the land of Eldorado.

 

I will be lounging for about 10 days total from panama, to my next hostal. 4 days on the island, 2 on the boarder, and about 4 on a large tourist town called cartagena where the great walled citys exists. From there I will move to a Hostel called Nirvana Hostal in a town called Tanganga which is located appropriately on the carribean, but just minutes from the Sierra Nevada mountains.

 

please check out my photo album for pics of paintings i have done and some panama stuff !

 

i love you all happy yr of 2014, or as panamanians will say "feli ano"

 

 

 

 

Tags: gecko, gorgona, panama, san blas

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