Wrapping It Up In Panama

My morpho!!
My morpho!!

Well, my time has come to a close here and I’ve spent the past few weeks seeing as much as I can.  My one accomplishment was being able to see my morphos I’ve raised from eggs to the butterfly stage.  The first one hatched from its pupae on April 3rd, but I wasn’t there to see it.  The next day, another emerged and I felt the desire to set it free, so I did.  There are a lot more on the way!  I’ve counted around 100 that have either already pupated, emerged or are still in the caterpillar stage from my first batch.

My morpho pupae
My morpho pupae

Oh, I forgot to share this photo of some brand new bananas forming in the yard.  If you’ve ever wondered why the bottom of a banana has that black part on it, it’s because that’s where the flower was!

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One weekend, Jackie, Linda and I went into the city to visit the Smithsonian’s research station on Barro Colorado Island.

P1050242 I got to ride on the Panama Canal and see those huge container ships right next to us!  The island itself was underwhelming and I was a bit disappointed with what little we saw.  There were a few troops of monkeys, a few birds, a poison dart frog and lots of ants.  We did come across some huge trees.

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We also HEARD the red capped manakin.  If only we could have seen the mating ritual.  This is that bird that moonwalks like Michael Jackson.  The footage was even taken at this research station.  We were told that the clicking sounds it made weren’t coming from its mouth, but from its wings!  They were able to slow down the footage enough to see that the wings moved so quickly together, they made that noise.

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Panama City

We spent the night in the city and ate a great dinner at the Spaghetteria called Pomodoro’s downtown which was awesome.  We hung out in the hot tub after that to soothe our sore bodies from the hike earlier and got in some shopping.  On the way back we stopped at this place that had a smoking pit going.  I had some pork and a thick corn tortilla made into a quesadilla. P1050270

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A few days later, I hiked India Dormida here in town.  I wasn’t sure what I was in for when Carlitos said, ‘This is the most demanding hike in El Valle.”  Well, NOW I KNOW!  Had I known what it was like before hand, I probably wouldn’t have gone.  Although, I’m glad I did.  India Dormida is called the Sleeping Girl because the mountains look like a woman lying down.

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On top of India Dormida overlooking El Valle

 

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If you recall, this is the top of the crater that comprises the only inhabited extinct volcano in the world.   It was pretty neat looking down on the town in which I’ve been living and overwhelming to me that I even hiked up that far!  It was a rough path with rocks and dirt.  We came back down into the park where I had been to before which has the petroglyphs.  This particular area we hiked was in the same section of mountain ranges that made up the Isthmus of Panama.  That’s some really interesting reading.  In a nutshell, when the continents of North and South America came together to form the land bridge, it changed the world as we know it.  It closed off the Atlantic from the Pacific (they used to flow freely together) and it created the gulf stream which in turn caused an ice age.  It was just a small section of land that caused all of this to happen.  It made the Atlantic saltier than the Pacific and it changed weather patterns all over the world.  In the big scheme of things it also influenced animals and how they adapted to the weather which means it’s also why humans are here today!  It made me feel so insignificant, yet amazed at how one little thing like closing off a section of ocean was responsible for me standing on this volcano!  Wow.

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I’ve also managed to get in a few good BBQ’s.  Jackie and I are a dangerous pair when it comes to food.  She’s a great cook!   I coaxed her into bringing over the two frozen steaks she had brought back from Florida.  She also made up a beautiful shrimp cocktail with homemade sauce.  She said, “I have real live horseradish at home!”  Boy…that stuff cleared our sinuses quickly!  AND she even made a key lime pie.  Wow.  I was super spoiled.  The next week, she bought a tenderloin at PriceSmart for all of $13 and I made a peach cobbler for dessert.  She sort of can’t wait for me to leave so she can lose some weight.

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We also threw a couple of parties at Candis’ place.  She’s a good ol Texas Girl too so we got along great!  She’s an Austinite as you may be able to tell and she’s keepin’ it weird which we all love about her.  She’s got a dog named Lila who gets her hair colored as well.  I absolutely love the photo over the fireplace!

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A trip into Penonome the other day had me laughing more than usual.  I was waiting in the car outside of the fire station for Jackie and I was watching these guys unload some cartons of milk out of this big truck.  I look on the side of the truck and a street name caught my eye.  I thought, ‘That’s a road in Virginia!?” and sure enough, the truck was from Woodbridge.  Had to take a picture or nobody would’ve believed me.  Truth is stranger than fiction.

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3 thoughts on “Wrapping It Up In Panama

  1. Alex De La Garza April 14, 2014 / 11:16 pm

    It’s good that you got to see your work all the way to the butterfly stage. Must make you feel like a mommy. It looked like you were standing next to a monster from out of space by that big tree. Glad you had some fun there at the end. Those Texas girls know how to party. There is a big butterfly exhibit in Scottsdale and a neat wildlife park we can visit.

  2. teresa April 15, 2014 / 8:39 am

    How fabulous. The food must be out of this world, you are eating well I see. So cool…..It’s Fiesta here in SA..

  3. teresa April 15, 2014 / 8:40 am

    PS I adore that poodle

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