Posts Tagged ‘panama’

My parents decided to come to Panama to a) take a Caravan Tour of the Panama Canal and b) See me! I’ve missed them, so I was delighted when they informed me that I’m also going on the tour. (Read: I’ve been sleeping in hotels for a week instead of hostels, which is a great comfort, seeing that the last hostel I stayed at I got stung by a scorpion in a very uncomfortable spot…….)




On the second day we were told that our bags had to be out by 7am to be picked up and put on the bus. For some reason my alarm never went off and I woke up at 7:10. Now would be a great time to mention that I sleep naked when I get to sleep in luxurious hotel rooms with a thread count of anything higher than 6. So- in a panic I packed my shit haphazardly (in my new backpack… I down-graded to a smaller/much easier to manipulate bag), threw on a towel and threw my bag out to be picked up. Right as I turned around– I heard the “click” of the door closing/locking behind me….


Awesome. It’s 7am, I haven’t had coffee and I’m locked out of my room wearing nothing but a towel and maybe some embarrassment  So I run through the halls to my parent’s room. The first person I pass is Brian and Lisa’s stepfather who doesn’t even blink or think anything of this situation. He actually couldn’t have given me a better response. He nods and says “good morning”– looking almost as dead as I felt just 20 minutes earlier. Then I pass Brian and Lisa where they say “WELL GOOD MORNING TO YOU!” and “I think you forgot something.”

I pass some other travelers who are (of course) all UP and TOTALLY READY and PACKED and DRESSED (in clothes) and probably had a cup of coffee or 3 before 6am.

I knock on my parent’s door.

My mom answers…. She’s kinda shocked to see me in the state that I am in. I ease myself into the door and explain the situation. A call to the receptionist is made and a key is being sent up. In the meantime I make myself a cup of

Needless to say that the rest of the trip, I made sure to NOT lock myself out of the room (oh. and to wear AT LEAST put on SOMETHING before even opening the door.


Tonight was the last night of the tour. It was actually a really nice tour. I learned a crap-ton about the Panama Canal:

  • It was started by the French and they failed.
  • The US bailed them out and finished before schedule and (this is the miraculous part) UNDER BUDGET!
  • A crap-ton of people died because of malaria.
  • Panama now doesn’t really have a problem with mosquitos because they spent about 10$ (back in 1903) per mosquito in pesticides and other crap to kill off all the crap that could carry yellow-fever and malaria.
  • They saved over 500K$ just by “shaking the cement bags” towards the end of the project.
  • The only structure that has used MORE cement is Hoover Dam.
  • The Panama Canal uses locks to lift ships up 85 ft to a man-made lake (50miles long) to the other set of locks. The locks use gravity. (the coolest part is that these locks are still functional and still work today. Very little modification has been done).
  • 1998 is when the US finally stopped “owning” the Canal and turned it over to the Panamanian government.
  • The most expensive toll was something like 220K. the cheapest was 36cents- (a man swimming the canal).
  • Nicaragua’s topography would have been a better place/easier to build a canal.
  • The canal makes about 4 billion a year in tolls.

But at dinner tonight the question of “What was your favorite part” was asked. A lot of people said the canal, the beaches (Oh… the glorious beaches…), the monkeys, some said the awesome people that we met…


Russ, this ex-dairy farmer from Minnesota said to another guy “I really liked the first hotel that we stayed at– except their towels were too big.”


I’m going to miss this group.


Dear Cristi

Posted: January 23, 2013 in ADVENTURE STORIES!, Hope, Ramblings, TRAVEL
Tags: , , ,

A brilliant guy told me to write TO people if I wanted to improve my writing- so this is my attempt.

Dear Cristi,

You wrote me an email, after reading some of my recent blog entries, and asked me if I was still sad. Honestly, I had to think back to what you were referring to- then I remembered my <last blog entry>.

To be honest, these moments happen rarely now. I remember when I was living in Seattle/Edmonton/Madison (and sometimes even Baltimore) where I would get depressed and mull over these feelings and dwell and sink lower into my depression like a sand pit on a golf course. Each stroke I would take to get myself out of the pit (of despair) would dig me deeper- farther from the glorious sunshine (or happiness.. whichever).

But here- there’s too much new-ness. Too much awesomeness that I can’t dwell and sink. There’s “too much muchness” (as an aussie said to me the other day) to even be bothered on the small stuff/annoyances that later turn into depression.

How could I dwell on depression? How could I even THINK of sad things? All I felt was that I’m going to Panama, I SHOULD HAPPY! so I’m going to be (damnit!)

I don’t necessarily have the answer to depression. Someone much wiser than me (Suzanne, I’m looking at you!) said there is a trifecta of solutions:

1)   diet

2)   exercise

3)   being social.

For me- #3 is traveling… or doing something that I haven’t done before… or doing stuff that scares me. Because when you’re scared, you’re learning. And when you’re learning, you’re growing. And when you’re growing- you are enjoying yourself because everyone likes to grow/advance/Level UP! So therefore- when you’re doing something you enjoy, you are rarely depressed.

So – no. I’m not sad. 🙂 I’m traveling.