We sent more personal details about last week’s adventure in our email, The Trekker. If you missed that, let us know. But in the meantime, here are some photos of that trip:
The journey began with a long bus ride to the border of Panama.
And we quickly realized this would not be a difficult border-crossing, but a colorful one.
Our goal was to renew our visas and get our passports stamped, but a jungle adventure was in store for us.
When we couldn’t find a place to stay in town, Joel asked a woman sitting outside a local church if we could set up tents in their “yard.” (Imagine seeing this only in the dark. It looked a lot more sketchy to me than this at night, but we were happy for a (cheap) place to sleep.)
After waiting out the rain ….
… we caught a boat to a nearby island that the locals recommended for camping. And we hiked through the jungle to the beach.
….with the help of some friends.
We took these photos before we actually got dirty. Later, we were so muddy we couldn’t get the camera out to take more photos!
The locals seemed to get a big kick out of impressing us with their amazing bareback riding races on the beach.
We soon found out we were staying on an island inhabited by a number of indigenous people. Many still fish from dugout canoes to get food. They would leave the jungle path behind our campsite to come and stand around us, machetes in hand, watching intently at what we were doing, sometimes pointing and laughing at us.
The people were really beautiful, but, as in every place we’ve traveled, it’s always the children that capture your attention first.
They seemed to like the smell of the bug spray we had and sprayed it on themselves, as well. Still covered in bites even now, we wonder how they could walk every day through the muddy forest paths barefoot!
Our friend was really eager to have us take pictures of her family. She would stand about 12 inches away from me and wait for me to snap shots so she could look at herself.
Typical housing in the area. But some are not so fortunate to have a shelter this stable.
And then it was back to the border and the rickety bridge crossing. Notice the hanging rubber — that’s the “fumigating” area of the inspection process, but without any signs warning of this, we stood there watching until we started get sprayed….with pesticide!
Joel returned from the country with a pile of bananas the taxi driver’s friend had given us. With Chiquita being the employer of almost everyone in the area, bananas are apparently such a commonplace thing that everyone was laughing at us carrying them around. They couldn’t figure out why we would bother lugging around such a bulky piece of luggage when they’re practically free and you can get them everywhere.
Bananas were only one of the wonderful worthwhile souvenirs we brought home. We made new friends, had a great adventure, and saw an amazing part of God’s creation we only see on the National Geographic channel.