Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Glimpse Of The Past....An Embera Village

Last weekend we took a step back in time as we visited the little village of the Embera Drua.  One of the indigenous people of Panamá, this small community of 110 people live in thatched huts along the Chagres River.  Once we made our way to the boat dock, we joined our friends in authentic dug out canoes for the long trek up river.  Our canoe came equipped with two, young, Embera men dressed in traditional loin cloths exposing their "natural assets."  Although this is a part of the story my husband wishes I'd forget, it does tend to be a highlight for the ladies. 

Not even on the boat yet and
she has found some new "friends"

Our transportation awaits!

The hunky man in the rear of the boat manipulated the boat motor while the one in the front steered us through shallow waters.  He used his large, deep, dark, chocolate muscles to maneuver the boat through murky waters using a long piece of bamboo only. In the distance we spotted the thatched palm roofs that covered their homes as the children ran to meet us on the beach.  They welcomed us with drums, flutes and native dances as our boats made they're way onto shore.  And of course the hunky men helped us females out of the boat as we made our way into the village.

Terry's favorite View

Welcome to the Embera Drua

We are welcomed

We made our way up the long, steep path to the village from the waters edge only to realize that these people do this everyday.  The little village surrounded by tropical, lush, rain forest lies deep within the borders of Chagres National Park.  Within the village is a school house, church, telephone booth and large meeting house where we all gathered.  The women cooked us a lunch of tilapia (fish) and patacones (plantain chips) over an open fire.  The elders told stories of their tribal traditions, culture, and crafts.  The young men and women danced, sang and played instruments allowing us a glimpse into their world.  Our group was then encouraged to get up and boogie with the Embera as the men grabbed us ladies for a dance.  The young man that I danced with smelled fruity and sweet and I just had to tell him "usted huele bueno" which means "you smell good."  Ok I guess I should say that there were also some lovely ladies among the tribe dressed in traditional skirts and beaded tops.  Because if I don't mention this when my darling husband puts the photos in, he'll surely say something about it.  But rumor has it that during their everyday life the Embera women go topless, but since this tends to make the tourists uncomfortable they put on tops.  Clyde is not happy about this either, but perhaps it's what kept him from getting thrown out of their village?

I have to say, they seem happy!

Pretty young Embera Woman

Just chatting with each other

Putting on a show for us

Beautiful Waterfall

Another one of Terry's
"eyecandy friends"

After lunch and dancing we browsed through their village, and picked up a few native crafts.  Snapping lots of photos while asking questions along the way, we thanked them for their hospitality before we headed back to the boats.  Once back in the boats we were taken to another spot where we stopped for a walk alongside the river.  The long, steep, rocky walkway led us to a beautiful waterfall where we took the plunge and cooled off in the crisp, clear river.  After a while our guides told us it was time to go and we made our way back to the boats for our journey home.  We arrived back at the boat dock tired from a full day of exploring a civilization lost in time.  A journey back to a time when life was simple and there were no computers to blog about such adventures.....along the gringo trail.

Click below to view a video of our Embera Trip!

Video of our Embera Trip

1 comment:

  1. Just wondering, do you "reserve" space? (Do they know you are showing up on said day and time?). How long is the drive from, let's say, the El Rey in Coronado (or your house even)? Boy, those men sure do let it all hang out--no pun intended. This has been one cultural event I have put on list of things to do once retired in Panama--I wonder why ;)


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