23 October 2007

Forays in the Panamanian Rainforest


We drove to Soberania National Park near Gamboa where the Pipeline Road is, it is said to have the highest concentration of different bird species in the world. But we had a lot of troubles finding the right trail and when we asked some Panamanian folk they talked us out of it completely, saying that it requires a guide. So on to the next, smaller trail then. By the time we got there, the rain was coming down so hard we could barely see across the street. Trying to wait it out was to no avail. So on to the zoo and botanical gardens then. But alas, the rain never relented. Eventually we packed it in, a little disappointed but it is the rainforest after all.

Our final attempt at communing with nature in the thick of it was in Park Nationiale, which is conveniently enough located right in the city. It was sunny and muggy as always and we looked forward to some time in the green shade, to see what we could see. With Spud on daddy's back, we started on the easiest trail. It's supposed to be flat and the loop takes about 45 minutes. Perfect. Well, actually a few minutes in, we realize that we most certainly should have brought the DEET! The three of went in with exposed legs and flip flops, if you can believe it. What a mistake! It doesn't matter how much travelling we do ... we still do embarrassingly dumb things.

At first I was in a bit of denial. "I'm a bit itchy, but maybe it's psychosomatic". I thought perhaps that if I walked faster, they wouldn't catch on. Nuh uh. But we really didn't want to give up. We took a photo. Admired some leaf cutter ants. And I was obsessing about these strange black bugs that kept getting between my toes and then resting on my flip flops. No amount of foot flinging would cause them to disembark. I was really feeling like a silly city girl at this point. And then, the evidence is there, a mozzy ... right on my leg ... "that's it, we have to high tail it out of here". I don't want to take Dengue fever home as a souvenir.

So do you have any dumb travel stories you'd care to share?