I scribbled the following on the sick-bag in the plane ride back from Zurich:
(Yes, I went to Zurich)
(Yes, in Switzerland)
It was last summer when I decided to visit my parents' for the holidays in their new house in Boquete, in the Chiriqui Province in Panama. Now in order to guarantee sanity (or maybe insanity?) I also invited a few of my closest friends to come with me. It was particularly important to me that my friends met my parents, and that I got to share a bit of my culture with them. It is a side of me that doesn't show often but that I am very proud of. All in all, the house was beautiful, the food was superb and we have three really adorable neighbors that are 3, 5 and 7 years old and they say things like:
"My dog is a boy because he has a beard" and "No! you can tell he is a boy because his collar is blue"
I hope I speak for everyone when I say that we had a freaking blast. Panama is beautiful, there is lots of things to see and do. Overall my favorite was the unconditional hospitality and charm of Panamanian people. People that value and respect their land, their traditions. People that work hard and play hard. People that celebrate life for what it is and always carry a smile on their face.
To enumerate a few of the things we did in Boquete: swimming in waterfalls, relaxing in hot springs, dancing the old year off, rock climbing, hiking volcanoes, going to the beach, and there was a bit of drinking and dancing here and there to tie it all together. On the last day we also visited Panama City, the ruins of Panama Viejo, the Panama Canal and Las Bóvedas (el Casco Antiguo). Panama Viejo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, consists of the ruins left of the original Panama City, which survived earthquakes and fires but was ultimately sacked in the year 1671 by the pirate Henry Morgan. The Panama Canal has some very interesting history and I must encourage you to read it, it is truly an amazing engineering feat. El Casco Antiguo is where Panamanians relocated the city after the pirate attack. It is also now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and all the buildings are undergoing major renovations. Unfortunately, the renovations have driven a lot of Panamanians to relocate to government housing, but it has also brought in a lot of foreign investment and stimulus to the tourism and service insdustry. All the buildings in el Casco Antiguo have a colonial feeling to them and inside there are apartments, shops, art galleries, hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Do check Steve's photostream for some fun trip documentation. Parisa stayed on her own through the last weekend and visisted Bocas del Toro, something I would love to do next time. She also took lots of great shots of the vacation, to be checked out here.
Sigh... Back in Boulder. Back to work. Dealines soon. I am feeling depressed.