Panama: From Primitive to Pricy

Panama – February 15, 2017

Up early today—breakfast at 6:30. Met our driver, Raul, at 7:30. Another couple, Simon and Jenny, were already in the van. They were English (from Manchester), but had lived in Zurich for 20 years. We than picked up Bob and Sally, who live in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (but are from New Jersey).

We got to Gamboa Rainforest Resort at 8:30 and put on life vests to board the boat for the Lake Gatun Expedition. Basically, we just rode around on this huge man-made lake (part of the Canal) and looked for wildlife. We saw three species of monkeys: howlers, capuchins, and Geoffrey’s tamarins.

Next we visited some exhibits of tiny poisonous frogs, butterflies, and orchids. The bottle of water promised for this tour never materialized, but we were okay until lunch.

It was a decent buffet with iced tea and water, and the fish in seafood sauce was good (and didn’t make Lisa sick).

Next we did the aerial tram tour, which took us above the jungle canopy to a high platform just a short hike up the hill. The view was awesome—of both the Canal and the Chagres River, which feeds it. All we saw on the way up was one sloth, and a cuckoo bird at the top. On the way down, we saw the same sloth (he hadn’t moved)…nothing else. Kind of a fail wildlife-wise, but the tram ride was fun and it was nice to meet the other people.

After the 90-minute ride home (traffic in the city was heavy), we were tired and thirsty—that second bottle of water didn’t show up, either—so we settled for a cold beer and a nap back in the room.

Dinnertime came, and Lisa was in the mood for fish so I found a place around the block from Beirut called La Casa del Marisco. It was *very* fancy, and the priciest meal we’ve had here so far…but really good. And after last night’s dinner at La Casa del Mothball, I needed some pampering.

We started with a serving each of corvina ceviche, which was very good (and more than a little like pickled herring). There was no pinot noir by the glass, so we went with tempranillo, which was excellent.

For the entrée, Lisa had corvina “Vasca style”, which was in a sauce of garlic, parsley, and olive oil (but soupier than chimichurri). I had, for the first time in my life, squid in its own ink. Both dishes were fantastic, but mine was better…just amazingly, hauntingly good.

We were home around 10:00 and ready to chill out. Tomorrow should be relaxing by the pool and an afternoon at Casco Viejo.


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