Monday, February 27, 2012

Surrounded By Panamanians.......And Lovin' It......

The little village of Las Uvas, which literally translates as "the grapes" is on the road leading to the more well known town of El Valle.  About a ten minute drive from the beach community of Coronado, we were in search of a swimming hole with a waterfall.  Known to the locals as El Chorro de Las Lajas, which translates as "waterfall of the sandstone or rocks."   Someone told our friend Daniel about this hidden gem, and he was determined to find it.  He stopped two young boys for directions, and the boy said "drive as far as you can go, then the rest is by foot."  The boy looked at Daniel like he was nuts to even consider visiting this hole in the ground, and we soon found out why.

He's taking the easy way down, we walked

Guess who?

The Happy Couple

Chatting with Daniel

It's a long way down!

The rocky, dirt road came to an end only because to drive any further would have meant driving over the edge of a cliff, straight down into the river below.  We could see the waterfall off to our right and local kids climbing onto cliffs to jump off.  Several showed off since both Daniel and Clyde pulled out cameras.  The three of us looked straight down over the edge, contemplating if we should attempt the trek.  Local families ran down the ledges barefoot, carrying babies, coolers, bags of food, and cans of open beer like it was nothing.

Local kids climbing up

Cute little Panameño girl

Notice the bare feet

The hills are alive with kiddos

Us three amigos descended the first set of rocks, taking some of it on our butts.  Looking skeptically over the next ledge, a young local boy ran up telling us exactly where to step to make it easier.  Apparently Panamanians are part monkey, or mountain goat since they ran up and down this ledge like a walk in the park.  Slowly and steadily, we all made it down to the river for a well deserved romp in the water.  Surrounded by fit, radiant brown skinned locals, we looked like the filling inside of an Oreo cookie.  But warm and friendly as always, the kids proudly posed for pictures, as the adults swim around us chatting to us in both Spanish and a few words of English.  Although we stand out like a snowman on the beach, we absolutely never feel unsafe or out of place when surrounded by Panamanians.
Coming up for air

It's a long way up to the high dive

Going up

Not a happy camper

After a few hours of cooling off in the river, we climbed back up the ledge.  I'm sure some of our moves back up made us look more like Three Stooges, rather than three amigos on an outing.  With short legs I had a tough time reaching up and over some of the ledge, and made some rather un-lady like moves.  But I'm sure it was an amusing show for the locals watching below since I was wearing a bikini and my butt was probably dangling over the edge.  Next time we head out to this swimming hole I'm sure it will be easier.  After all the sure footed locals have probably been climbing up and down that cliff since they first began to walk.

Unique water lily

Say "queso" and smile for the camera.  More local kids

Tranquil and serene

We spent the evening at Daniel's house eating home-made fish tacos, and beans with a few rum drinks.  He even threw in some "arroz con leche" or rice pudding as a local dessert treat.  A fun day in the sun and water, and good company with friends made for another enjoyable day in paradise.

This tree looked pregnant

A home-made sugar cane press. 
It can be operated
by hand power or horse power.
Just saw it while driving by.

Since Daniel lives in the same neighborhood where we're buying the house, we drove by the property.  Amazed to see hundreds of mangoes popping up on just one of our mango trees.  Still need some time to ripen before pickin', but should be ready by the time we close on the house. I've never been a big fan of mangoes when we lived in Texas, but I'm sure I'll get to love them here since they're free for the pickin'.

In a backyard not far from the house we're buying.  
An ostrich, goats, deer and more.
We think Old McDonald is our neighbor.

A deer in some one's backyard

Another amazing day of natural beauty, and being one with nature and the locals.  A bit of rock climbing, to discover new heights in Las Uvas, Panamá.....along the gringo trail.

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