We are staying in the outer area of Panama city towards the countryside and it is time for us to enjoy some vacation days in Panama and explore and experience what is around us. Local luxury travel experts have already told us the places we can visit and the things we can see on this single parent travel experience. Family travel is always fun when you have an idea of the place visit and receive guidance from those who know it more than you.
Although we mainly focus on luxury travel, we have decided that it is important to give back to the community and to help others and so helping at the mission is something we want to do. Therefore our time in Central America might not have a luxury focus so much as an exploring focus.
Ladies are an attraction
When you visit Panama as a lady you might well find yourself being a local attraction. In Panama, it seems to be the land of girls wearing clothes that look like they have been spray painted on – jeans and tops so tight that I wonder how they can breathe. I also wonder how they do not pass out in the tropical heat.
If I walk down the road I get about 50 truck drivers leaning out the windows and leering and beeping as lust is in the air with the men. I turn from feeling like a tired 50-year-old woman to an object that is leered at. Maybe it is my red curly hair or my whiter skin. I am not sure but it doesn’t make me feel sexy for very long, it makes me feel exposed.
If it is time for you to experience the wildness of the local vintage buses, so brace yourself.
Your trip to Panama is not complete unless you ride a local bus – here’s why.
The music pumps so loudly I cannot hear my new friend yelling to me all about Panama. As we take the local bus to Panama City, we are semi-crushed in the aisle as we hold on and I hold Explorason tightly. Not only that but often the exhausts are smoky and loud as well.
Feathers decorate the transformed old school bus front windscreen interior and wave backward and forward with the jerky driving and breezes.
The bright exterior of buses
The exterior of many of the buses is airbrushed with vivid patterns.
Some patterns are scary. Others are highly religious. Yet most just seem strange to us but these make the buses so colorful!
There is always a woman’s name painted on the bus – may be a tribute to the owner’s dead mother, a sister or his beloved wife.
Helping At The Mission
Staying at a mission means and I found myself wanting to help, so my Random Acts of Kindness kicked in.
One of the leaders decided the men’s leaders dorm needed a woman’s touch – it was a disgrace and my motherly instinct kicks in. So I tidied, cleaned and re-arranged the bedroom. Then went to work in their kitchenette and bathroom – even the fridge. This took all day – but I felt good to be kind and is my random act of kindness.
These guys that are staying in this dorm were away helping to build a base in the Darién Province – the dangerous area of Panama. It was nice to be able to give them a clean home.
Visit a Panama Church
If you come to Panama can I suggest visiting a mission church? We decided to go to the local Gamboa Union mission church run by an American pastor. Here we were welcomed and met a lovely mix of people. Gamboa is right by the Panama Canal.
The church welcomes you as they have a heart for tourists, and we met and talked with all sorts of great people.
Meet the tribal Kuna ladies
Try to get a chance try and meet the local Kuna ladies if you can. We met many, but these two I met at church and asked permission to photograph them.
Here we do some hiking through the lush vegetation, and we needed to use mosquito spray on ourselves.
We discover trails of ants and have some education as we watch them carry pieces of leaves. These two boys are similar in age and get along well. I know people get concerned about children traveling, but so far my son is making friends easily.
In Wisconson, he had gone tobogganing and snowboarding (the ones you lie on) with family friends and he was surrounded by children most days.
Education also forms part of our travels in the form of world schooling, so the ants and waterfall today make up part of that time for Explorason.
Half the fun of hiking is the bridges you cross. They are wooden and sway and kids love them.
Slippery Paths and Rocks
My poor ol’ boy is tired. He falls over and skins his knee and shins on the slippery rocks until he is in tears.
Discovering the giant seed pods and marveling that some of them can be up to a meter in length is definitely something your kids will want to do. This one is held by our German friend and she is just as excited to find one as the boys are.
Wearing our swimming costumes, we are all prepared for a swim. I laugh with my son as he appears in his “budgie smuggler” Speedo’s. He is a good swimmer and can’t stand shorts around his legs when he swims. His white legs look so skinny.
Time to give up the hiking and head back to the pool area for the kids to swim.
The water is pretty murky and brown and I do wonder about germs. It’s not too deep but the locals are jumping off the rocks, so neither is it too shallow.
Returning to Home Base
Return to the mission base, things get worse as we prepare for dinner. Explorason has decided to be friends with the wild chickens. He has named the Mum “Flapper”, and the baby “Henry”. In trying to give them food, the Mamma attacks him on the leg.
From this day forward he has a phobia of chickens! It lasts for years.
That night as Explorason gets ready for bed I discover he has a temperature and a cough.
We have been from the snowy USA to the Panama tropics, and he is ill and as a mother, I had a gut-feeling today. His slipping and falling over, and the way he was acting and easily brought to tears and now I know why. It was evident that he was tired, but now I realize he was getting sick.
We carry a first aid kit and essential oils and I think they will be used over the coming days.
Questions and comments
What do you do if you or your family become ill on vacation?
Name some steps you take at the time to assist them with their illness?
Do you carry a first aid kit?
Have you enjoyed vacation days in Panama yourself and if so what did you get up to?
Tell us in the comments below and share it with our readers.