Set out to live a life

The shift happened largely without fanfare, although I imagine it will be memorable for having been (most likely) my only birthday in Panama.

Yo suis 23! (And the Franish continues)

The morning began by walking downstairs to the girls jumping out and saying “Surprise! Happy Birthday!” 🙂 We had my favorite breakfast (apple pancakes – although their resemblance to pancakes is limited), and the girls presented me with card and  lucky pennies. S gave me one of her Spanish books so that I could practice when I leave. They had even decorated a chair at the table for me:

After a leisurely morning, we headed out to Gamboa to visit the rainforest and have lunch. Pesto & tomato sea bass with roasted peppers – yum (if saturated in olive oil).

Then on to the rainforest! Even on the drive, I noted the thoroughness of the ground cover. Without a shoulder or sidewalk, the edge of the road disappeared into greenery.

As cool as it would have been to show you a picture of some exotic, tropical snake…we can all be thankful I did not encounter any. My intense fear/dislike of snakes seems to have gotten worse with the years, and while I maintained vigilance to identify roots and hanging vines as such, I was not looking for them among the undergrowth.

I did, however, see iguanas, butterflies, extremely diligent ants, and monkeys.

I climbed to the top of a steel tower (that swayed a bit…talk about vertigo on the way up) to look out over the canopy.

There were also interesting plants and a lake.

After the rainforest, back to the house for a shower. Then that evening I took a taxi (via a very circuitous rout to the Theater Guild of Ancon, which he couldn’t find at first) to see “Noises Off” – which a friend was performing in. While for language and adult themes, not a play I’d take children to, it was very well done and humorous. Ran into some other people I knew (kind of, haha), and thought about staying around for drinks, but due to several factors decided to head home.

The same taxi driver took me back and somewhat excessively charged $20 for the round-trip. With my limited Spanish and his lack of English, I didn’t want to go through the effort to express my annoyance at the high rate. Granted, the difficulty in getting to the theater took some time, and he had to wait maybe 5 minutes when picking me up, but all the same… It shouldn’t have been more than $10.

So, all told my first birthday overseas/away from home turned out well. Apart from the morning celebrations, it didn’t really feel like my birthday…but no biggie. Seeing friends and family when I get back to WA will be like a belated birthday present. 🙂

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