Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Want to have an experience of a lifetime, see one of the world’s engineering wonders in action, tour a lovely old city, eat delicious food and be surrounded by warm and generous people? Then head to Panama!

We had a truly amazing time there this past weekend. Our day spent in the jungle with a tribe of Embera Indians will go down as one of our favorite memories of the year. Our tour guide was an American woman who had been in Panama working on a movie. Her husband was one of the Embera Indians being used in the film and she quickly fell in love and became a full-fledged member of the tribe.

After an hour car ride outside of the city we got in a canoe for another hour long trip up river to the village. We were welcomed by the majority of thee tribe which totals just at 120 people. We spent the day learning about their culture, crafts, and even got a lesson on medicinal plants from one of the elders of the village. After a traditional lunch of fish and plantains we were treated to music and dancing by the women, men and children of the tribe.

Just as we thought they were finished we were rushed by the children and invited to join. It was definitely one of those moments when I couldn’t help but pause and say to myself “Wow, I’m in Panama dancing in the middle of the jungle with a tribe of Indians- LIFE IS AMAZING!!”

These people, especially the children, showed us just how little is needed to be truly happy. Being welcomed into their village and learning about their way of life was so humbling. I feel honored to have spent time with them and will treasure my memories forever…

The name "Embera" translates literally to "Good Man", I don't think they could have a more fitting name.

The actual canal was really fascinating as well. We were amazed at the cost of crossing the canal which at the lowest is tens of thousands of dollars while the large cruise and cargo ships pay between $100-400,000!!

They had made $4 million just the morning we were there and that afternoon would more than double that when the ships would be coming in from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It really is a marvel of engineering and I’m glad we got to see it in action before the new locks open in 2014. Then they can double their capacity and I’m guessing double their tolls. Looking for a moneymaking idea? Build a canal that connects the Atlantic and Pacific. Wow!

Our guide on Saturday was telling us how Panama is trying to lure seniors from North America to retire there with tax and medical incentives. My advice is to encourage your grandparents and parents to make the move- you’re going to love visiting them!

1 comment:

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