Saturday, February 9, 2008
Panama City and Bocas del Toro
January 21, 2008 we hopped on a bus to Panama City. (Biking wasn't an option because we needed to meet the mission group on the 26th). The 18.5 hour trip only cost us $23.00 each and this time we had a bathroom, air conditioning and movies. After the 3rd Kung Fu movie on the bus, Jacky was ready to be Jacky Chan. Panama City was a great opportunity to see the huge surge in new construction and historic building restoration. From the Casco Viejo area of Panama City you could see at least 12 high rise construction cranes in use.
We spent one day at the Panama Canal - the Mirraflores Lock. I had dreamnt about going to the Panama Canal for the past 40 years...(I hope you realize Ward wrote this). It was worth it. The Panamanian Government took over the canal in 1999 and now they plan to expand the canal to handle more of today's ocean going vessels.
January 26, 2008 we met Pastor Bryan and a group from Decorah in Panama City, enroute to Bocas del Toro. We were going to help do mission work on some of the small islands. Our mission was to install water catchment systems so that the native indians would have clean drinking water. Our accomodations were like Gilligan's island...no roads, surrounded by water, solar collectors for electricity and mosquito nets at night a must. It was another great experience helping people.
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January 31, 2008 we headed back to Panama City where we would be departing for South America. We took in a little of the pre-Carnival excitement at this time as we observed artists designing and preparing their floats (photo above).
Recap of Central America: They revel in their loudness and artistic nature (see bus photo above). Both home and car stereos are constantly blairing and the automobiles run straight pipes with no mufflers to help increase the noise. Semis use their jake brakes constantly. Emission controls are non-existent and the cars and buses spew out black exhaust. The culture is alive and the constant temperature of 85-100 degrees makes outdoor life very easy.
January was a month of lots of work and great time spent with friends.