Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Long Update

So, I'm going to try and give a better, bigger, longer update!

I've been volunteering for a bit longer with the frog project as I love the people there so much (Angie!!) and looking after the frogs! I've taken some cool photos of the babies (soooooo cute!!), juveniles and adults.

Since leaving my flat in Gamboa I went to stay with my friend Angie, at her family home in Chorrera...a small town about an hour away from Panama City, also known as a sleeping town because most people commute from there to work each day and back again (so they just sleep there...)

OK, some things I have eaten whilst in Panama, Mondongo....this is beef stomach cut up into really small slices and "cooked" in vinegar and lemon (I think....) I had the Chinese version at a Chinese restuarent for breakfast, it was really nice, I could see the stomach "hairs"whilst I was eating it, but it was still super tasty!! During Chinese breakfast (which Angie took me for) I ate chicken feet, again, cooked in vinegar and a bit of chilli....although Angie normally has them hot with a sauce on, so these type of feet where first for us both, they tasted ok...the texture wasn't that great and I suppose is a bit like eating hard fat, just like the COWS FOOT I ate!!!! Also cooked in the same way but with cucumber, onion and chilli in the lemon juice (no vinegar) this tasted like eating fat...but a bit less chewy, I didn't finish it.

Ok, so back to the story, after spending a traditional Sunday with Angie's family, who, are all very very very nice and tight knit, eating the bestest food ever cooked by Angies mum (it was beef..although can't remember the particular dish name) and staying the night I went and helped out at the frog project on the Monday, and then in the evening got an overnight bus to David. The bus left at 12 MD and arrived in David at 6 AM, from David I got a bus towards Bocas and got off at the Lost and Found Hostel in the Fortuna Forest Reserve, I had to ask the bus driver to let me off on a winding road, where I was accosted by a dog. The scary dog. The dog looked pretty sweet, but was barking at me and wagging its tail and started coming towards me and then walking back a bit and so on....I was rather scared, but carried on walking at the winding road...but the dog kept on barking and was getting closer to me...some really nice locals (I'm not sure if they where the dog owners) threw some stones at the dog, but then when I got to the trail path, he reappeard!! AHHHHH. I had some fig rolls in my bag, so I fed him thoses and then we where friends, good old fig rolls. Everytime I saw the dog I fed him and I even started to like him.

The hostel is a 15 minute walk up a trail in the forest, it goes past some small streams and through the some beautiful trees and plants. The eco-resort itself is a really nice place, with incredible views, and really nice staff. I had a great time!! As soon as I got to the hostel I started to make myself some breakfast when two americans appeared in the communal area and said they where going on the treasure hunt hike and invited me along, I had 10 minutes to get ready, so I got ready, and we went on the hike.

Hiking was hard!!! A lot of the hike was steep up hill and down hill, but I saw some amazing sights, some from a look out point, and some across a river (which I tried to hike down, but I feel in so many times and got wet that I gave up and took the trail path), we also passed some amazing massive trees. I was absolutely knackered when I got home (we where hiking for about 6 hours), I had a home cooked dinner and went to bed early!!

After two nights at the hostel I made my way back to Panama City with the two Americans (Kyle and Alex) via bus...we where really lucky and managed to catch a bus from the road by the hostel all the way to Panama City!! It took about 6 hours and I sat next to a old guy from Bocas, he spoke English and he asked me what gravity was (because the film showing was about gravity), I tried to explain to him with the best of my ability, but not sure if I just confused him more or not!!

My plan was to meet Angie and go and stay at a friends house who works away during the week, I bought food so I could cook spaghetti bolognese for Angie (she cooked me amazing empanadas and a lentil and chorizo soup with patagonies, so I wanted to cook for her), we got to termial, and I waved the americans off thinking I had a good 45 minutes before my bus left, went and bought all the ingredients to make dinner (bar the spaghetti - oooops!), and then, I missed the bus!!!!!! I had to wait 2 and a half hours for the next one.....(I wish there was more buses!!!). We finally got to Gamboa, ate dinner and went to bed.

Angie and I went to work at the frog project on the Friday and then on Friday night we went back to hers...Saturday morning we had to get up at 4.30 AM to make it to BCI (Barro Colorado Island), which is an amazing Island in Panama Canal, that has a wealth of biodiversity and is fully protected so things cannot be taken to or from the island, with no eating whilst on the trails etc. As Angie is a guide there, I got to go for $6, but usually it costs $70 for the day!! Without Angie I wouldn't of been able to go, so big thanks Angie!! Angie was also my private guide for the Island!! So cool!! We saw howler monkeys, spider monkeys, loads of different ants and insects (including dung beetles, which are sooooo cool!!), frogs, and an amazing toad (which we filmed), bats, spiders, cool plants..., I had an great time and am so glad I got to go!

That night we went to a salsa club in Casjo Viejo, the dancing I saw was beautiful, but I was very tired from a packed week, so didn't do much myself!!

Sunday we went back to Angies, ate and rested (although our original plan was to try and get stuff organised so Angie could come to the San Blas Islands with me for a couple of days before my boat sailed, but we left everything a bit late!...). Yesterday I went and got my legs waxed ready for San Blas beach and Colombia beach fun...and today, I'm going to upload some photos, try and find skype to use, and pre-book some accommodation in Colombia.