Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Back from the Rainforest

Literally! I don't remember so much rain in Panama, or is it that after those years in dry Curaçao my mind has erased that? Anything is possible, and we do put unpleasant things out of our minds all the time. In any case, let me tell you........ it rains in Panama!!!! And it rains everyday in October. It comes down in sheets and everything turns damp and mildew grows everywhere. If you do laundry, you better have a drier.... if not clothes and linens take days to dry, and they never feel quite dry...ugh!

Now, if the sun shines after the rain..... the humidity rises along with the temperature. It's suffocating! On overcast days, though, when it seems like rain...but it doesn't, the temperature drops and there is some relief from the humidity. Those are my favorite days. Didn't have that many this time around!!!

In all this, there are bugs! If I thought Curaçao had them.... I had forgotten about Panama! From mosquitoes to flies to flying ants to sandflies, every bug in the world has a specie in the country. I was not safe from any of them: new blood, I guess.

On the good side, everything is green and lush, so many shades of green you can't imagine. That's it. Panama is a rainforest, maybe not as big as the Amazon's, but a rainforest none the less. So many crops, the abundance that the soil produces is amazing. Every piece of land along the country roads and highways is cultivated: corn, rice, fruits of all sorts. We could argue that all this is due to globalization...... that this is has been good because certain fruits and vegetables are grown for export only, and the quality is phenomenal....or that it has been bad because not everything good produced in the countryside stays in Panama for local consumption. What to do?

Comparing Panama to Curaçao, with no sources of fresh water, the rivers are a wonderful sight in the dry season: clear and clean running. They surprised me this time of the year, they were swollen and muddy. This is, amazingly enough, the time to go to the beach! Because of the Humboldt Current coming up from the South Pole, the ocean is clear and calmed. The temperature of the water is cooler than in the dry season and more pleasant. So if it's not raining, it's beach weather! Strange....

I was expecting more flowering plants, but didn't see many. Maybe I was in the wrong part of the country. Close to Panama City, I vaguely remember these plants on the side of the road in what used to be the Canal Zone..... a lifetime away. There were ginger plants, birds of paradise, orchids, and hundreds of other plants that flower in that humid climate with names I never learned. Too late now? not if I have to keep traveling there several times a year! an idea for my next trip....

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