winding down…

November 23, 2009

On Monday morning before class, we went to a place called Jardin Paraiso (Paradise Garden). It is a wildlife rescue center and it was one of my favorite places yet. They had tons of beautiful exotic birds and monkeys. We were able to get in the cage with the squirrel monkeys and they climbed all over us!

We saw one type of monkey that we had never seen before…and we hope to never see again. Is this not the creepiest face you’ve ever seen?

The rest of the week wasn’t terribly eventful. It rained most of the mornings and we had school in the afternoons. We took a few walks in the rain to some different places: a whimsical garden, a cemetery, a look out point. The most interesting of these turned out to be the lookout point. We weren’t totally sure how to get to the lookput point, but after following a few of the wrong roads, we finally found the one that led to the trail. We climbed up the steep narrow trail and when we got to the top, there was a lady standing there holding an armful of magazines. When I first saw the woman, she took me by surprise. I thought that she was crying…she looked distressed. As we got closer, she looked at us and smiled a bit. But, it was kind of a strange smile…one that I couldn’t really read. There was a dog standing behind her, and as soon as he saw us, he started barking like crazy. And it wasn’t a “hey, look…there’s people!” kind of bark. It was a “I’m going to rip your faces off” kind of bark. The dog stayed behind the lady, but she never told him to stop, or swatted him back….she never acknowledged him at all. She just started talking to us in spanish very quickly and quietly. She talked for a minute or so, and Scott and I just stood there nervously watching the dog that was barking ferciously and inching ever so slightly toward us. The lady stopped speaking and looked at us as though she was waiting for a response. I’m not sure if it was because she was talking so fast or if it because she was so quiet, or if it was because I couldn’t take my eyes off the dog, but I didn’t understand a word she said. So, I was honest and told her that we didn’t understand. She continued to talk for another minute or so, without changing her pace or volume, while the dog continued to threaten us. This time when she stopped, Scott and I looked at each other with a “let’s get away from this insane dog” look, said goodbye to the kind-of odd lady and I turned and sped-walked back down the trail. I don’t think a dog has ever made me more nervous than this one did. And the fact that the lady didn’t do anything about it, and that we didn’t understand what she was saying (which could have been “watch out for this dog…it will rip your face off”) didn’t make me feel much better. After all of this, I still wasn’t quite sure if we made it to the look out point. The place where we were stopped by the lady and the dog had sort of a view…but it seemed like the trail may have gone on further. I wasn’t willing to walk past the dog to find out.

I had a one fairly eventful night. I came back to the room alone while Scott was using the computer in the common area. I walked around in our room for a while, before noticing this big ass spider (which I had walked by barefoot several times)….

This is the dead version, of course.  When I saw it, it was alive and well.

We bought a strange banana at the grocery store.

Does it look like a long, skinny butt to anyone else? There were actually two individual bananas inside. And we only paid for one….

 Our spanish classes are over now and I am kind of sad about it. Not that it was all that fun being back in school again (I don’t know why I keep making myself go back to school after I think that I am finally finished). But, our teacher was so great and fun and I am going to miss seeing her every day. I wish we could bring her back home with us. We also learned a ton, so it would be great to keep learning spanish and getting better at it. We liked the school…we met great people there: staff members, teachers, other students. And I miss the town already.

Here’s us with our teacher, Arelis, and fellow classmate, Katie.

On our last day in Boquete, we went white water rafting. I loved it. (Did you hear that Ken? I loved it!! It was a little more exciting than the infamous float trip of my teenage years…) Just like most of the things we’ve done here, getting to the destination was part of the adventure. The river was about two hours from Boquete. After riding in a van for most of the way, we hopped out and climbed into the back of a pick-up truck. We proceeded to drive up and down the steepest roads I’ve ever seen. They are in the process of constructing a huge new dam in the river and we splashed and sloshed through the muddy construction site on the way to the spot where we were going to start.

The river was perfect for rafting. It had lots of rapids, to keep things interesting, and during the short lulls in between rapids we just admired how beautiful everything was. We passed countless waterfalls and rock beds, beautiful flowers and the greenest trees and plants you’ve ever seen. The weather was perfect. And we loved our guide. He was Panamanian and only spoke a little English. He told us to call him Pepito. He had a great sense of humor and an even better sense of the river. He was amazing at maneuvering the raft. We probably could have made it the whole way without a hitch, but that wouldn’t have been much fun. Instead, he got us into spins, took us through holes where water would fill up the boat, turned us around backwards, had us run over some big rocks and tried to get us as wet as possible. It was a blast.


Now we are back in Bocas del Toro (the islands that we visited just before coming to Boquete). Today Scott is diving. My ears are so bad that I decided it probably wasn’t a great idea for me to try.
We’ve had an amazing trip.  But, I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed that things didn’t really work out the way we hoped. We still really want to live abroad and we’ve decided that we’re not going to give up after one try. So, that’s the first thing we will start to figure out when we get home….where we can go next. We want to do it differently this time. We want to have jobs lined up before we go. We’re thinking that teaching English in Asia might be the way to go…..



2 Responses to “winding down…”

  1. Laurie Says:

    I don’t think your spider could hold a candle to my tarantula. We will have to compare notes when you are here. But any spider is pretty creepy and the bigger the creepier. And, I never saw mine alive, he was dead when I saw him. And that monkey looks like he is daring you to come any closer. I’m guessing you didn’t. I’m sure that mean dog scared you, remember after you saw Kujo and I had to sleep with you that night? haha Leave it to you two to find a banana that looks like a butt! I hope you got through your list of things to do in Boquete. I’m glad you enjoyed your time there. Thanks for doing such a good job keeping us informed on your blog. I’m happy you are slowly working your way back to the States. I’m thrilled I will see you soon. I’m so happy you had this adventure and hope you will be able to make the next one work out.

  2. Julie V Says:

    You and your mom and GIANT SPIDERS in your houses! What’s up with that!? You are so funny, Cassie. The butt banana… classic.

    Sounds like more fun times!!! Woo hoo for a great trip!!!!!!!

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