I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rain forest

I'm staying in Gamboa, which is about an hour outside Panama City. (In the picture of the canal below, if you follow the bottom section of the canal up to where it branches out into a "Y" shape, that's where I am. Hi!)

I'd arranged an airport pickup from the resort where I'm staying, so I found Jose standing outside customs with a big sign with my name on it. His English was only slightly better than my Spanish, but somehow we managed to understand each other pretty well.

It wasn't completely dark when we left the airport, so I got to see a little of the Pacific coast, and the ships waiting to enter the canal. There were at least a dozen, stretching almost to the horizon, in a neat line like schoolchildren on a field trip. Then Panama City, brand new towers of office buildings and expensive hotels, many still under construction, giving way to grittier streets, traffic, and crowds coming from a holiday celebration -- one of Panama's many independence days. (Jose told me but I've forgotten; this one may have been for independence from Colombia.)

My fingers itched to take photos -- a truck piled high with drums, a supermarket with no front wall, stalls selling fruits and vegetables, rusty balconies hanging over narrow streets. After a week of birds and sea lions, it felt good to be in a city again, and such a photogenic city at that. Clearly, I will have to come back.

The last part of the road to Gamboa was along the canal, and that was even better: container ships looming high above us in the darkness, like a Surrealist's steampunk dreams.

So I didn't see the view from my room until this morning, when the thick mist instantly fogged my lenses. But you get the idea. It's stunningly beautiful here.

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