Monday, July 13, 2009
Well it has been two-weeks since my sister was here visiting me in Panama, and although the time went by too quickly we had the opportunity to travel and experience a lot of Panama. Our trip started in Panama City, which we used as our hub traveling to Santiago and then the San Blas Islands of Kuna Yala. The whole trip was completed in 5-days, in which we covered distances on a bus, an airplane, and a boat. The first leg of our trip we visited Santiago, where I live and work. My sister got the chance to visit with my host family, meet some of my good friends, and saw the projects that I am currently working on in my community (a world map and community park renovation project). The second part of our trip was spent in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been the San Blas Islands of Kuna Yala.
Not having much time (1 day) in Santiago we were constantly in a rush going from once place to the other. We spent the first half of the day visiting with my host family and friends in my community. My sister got the chance to practice her Spanish with them, and converse. They were asking her questions like what her occupation was, and if she was studying at a university. My host family and friends were really happy to meet part of my family. They were joking with us that we looked a lot a like, and that my sister was much more prettier. The second half of that day was spent visiting some really good friends Rob, Adam, Logan, and Raquel, who are also Peace Corps volunteers. I introduced my sister to two of our favorite places to hangout, Dos Mares and Dayton’s, both excellent for drinking a beer and eating a great meal! That night we prepared to travel back to Panama City the next day, and spent the day resting in preparation for the next part of our trip to Kuna-Yala.
The San Blas Islands of Kuna –Yala are located on the Caribbean side of the country. Kuna-Yala is considered a sovereign nation made up of over 300 small islands. The islands are considers some of the most beautiful islands in the world by the people who have visited them over the years. To get there we took a 20-minute flight, and an hour boat ride. It was quite the adventure to get there since most of the Kuna -Yala islands are undeveloped. A perfect example of the undeveloped islands was the airport, which consisted of 2 workers and a dirt road landing strip. My sister and I stayed on Pelican Island with a side trip to Dog Island where there was a sunken ship, and excellent snorkeling. The trip to the Kuna-Yala Islands went quick, spending a day and a night on the post-card picture islands.
The last couple of days were spent in Panama City. Panama City can often be a confusing place to get around with different buses and taxis to take from one end to the other side of the city. The public transportation in Panama City consists of old school buses that are converted to red devils or diablos rojos. The Diablos rojos are a cultural symbol of Panama. They are often painted with vibrant colors and consist of pictures of family members, religious symbols, or popular culture such as Mickey Mouse. While in the city this is what we rode. Also while in the city we eat at popular Panamanian restaurants and drank beers at a bar in the nightclub district, calle Uruguay.
In all it was a great time, and a memorable experience shared with my sister. In the future I hope to have many more experiences similar to this one.