Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Panama Trip (Day 4)

Friday, December 29: Colon City + Agua Clara Locks + Monkey Island
I repeated my swim workout this morning and tossed my gear into my backpack to bring on board the bus since our other bags were loaded prior to breakfast. Mr. E procured our Starbucks this morning, and then a very kind and friendly server at the hotel made us special coffee drinks con leche and other flavorings (cranberry, mint). Not the greatest for our palate, but much better than the standard hotel coffee! We were still glad to have our Starbucks Americanos, though.

Our morning drive was across almost the entire isthmus from Panama City on the Pacific side to Colon on the Atlantic (aka Mediterranean) side. We entered into some heavy rainfall along that way, which continued for much of the morning and eventually lightened up around lunchtime. At our supermarket pit-stop, we bought some snacks and a single serve bottle of Seco with cranberry for me to try out later.

Traffic was too dense for us to try to do a short tour around Colon City, so we just went directly to the Agua Clara Visitor Center to see the new locks. The semi-covered viewing platform gave a great view of the sliding gates mechanism and the ginormous container ships traveling through the locks. I again attended a documentary in Spanish, and Mr. E joined the rest of the group for the English version.

With such a rainy day, getting a good photo that shows the fulls scope of the locks was tricky, so the lower two photos below are from other stock images to show how the sliding gates move as well as the full aerial perspective of the site:

Lunch was at the restaurant overlooking the canal, with more dancing as a post-meal entertainment. I skipped the show in favor of taking a stroll along the nature trail nearby. As I finished the walk, I noticed a long-tailed furry critter on the grass near the restaurant. The animal eventually got a handout from one of the kitchen staff and then scurried back into the underbrush clutching its lunchtime dinner roll. I learned later from Gerardo that the animal was a coatimundi, which looks like this:

From Agua Clara, we turned south back toward Gamboa, where we split into two groups for our small motorboat tour on the Chagres River into the Panama Canal and around Monkey Island. The ride was a bit choppy (and damp when light rain started up again), but eventually we slowed down as we approached the islands in order to search for wildlife. We first saw black howler monkeys way up in some trees and then got up close and personal with a clan of white-faced capucin monkeys who came up to the boats to eat the grapes that the crew were throwing. One of the monkeys took a grape right out of my hand, as did several others with another member of our group!

Our hotel, the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, was only about 5 minutes from the boat dock, and we were welcomed with fruity beverages and warm cloths and an incredible view out over the pool area and the Chagres River.

We got settled into our room and then explored the pool, which was actually a bit chilly after the rain. Once we got washed up afterwards, it was time for dinner and then post-meal drinks at the lobby Monkey Bar. I returned to the room to read and relax and get ready for the early morning tomorrow while Mr. E hung out in the bar and chatted with some of the other Caravan guests.


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