Friday, June 22, 2012

Destination: Panama

(Mostly) packed and ready to go!

In three hours - no, less, we will hit the road for foreign lands. Panama is calling this year, although I will admit that it played second fiddle to my dream of traipsing Iceland's rugged landscapes. But no matter, an adventure abroad is an adventure abroad. It still seems somewhat surreal, especially when one has to work up to the last minute, and two weeks will be scarcely enough to tame my wanderlust, but we will enjoy our return to Central America.

Nothing is booked beyond our first night in Panama City, and nothing set beyond a desire to scuba dive with brilliant Caribbean fish, hike jungle-clad and cloud-swathed volcanoes, spot resplendent quetzals and harpy eagles, wander coffee plantations and frolic by foaming waterfalls. And of course, eat a lot of good food.

What will the open road bring this year? We can only find out. On the list of potential stops are Panama City where we will definitely check out a famous canal, Bocas del Toro and Humedal de San San Pond Sak where I hope to spot nesting turtles and the reclusive manatee, and Boquete, which speaks of gourmet coffee, fresh mountain air, and...of course, the masochistic enterprise of hiking Panama's tallest peak, Volcan Baru.

Now we can only pray for smooth trails, and for Mother Nature to be kind and send us all the wildlife we could desire, and the most gorgeous of weather to grace our days.

I would also dearly like to hug a sloth, but my research has not been able to give me anything conclusive on the possibilities of doing so - if anyone can direct me into the embrace of a long-clawed, slow-moving friend, please let me know!

The more I settle into the rat race and the 40-hour workweek, the stronger the niggling feeling that I might begin to fear the unknown more and more. I hope this trip revives the thrill of diving into places not yet trodden, and keeps my faith strong in the beauty of the world.

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