In Spring of 2014, my kids and I decided that they would each choose a place to travel because their Spring breaks from school did not coincide. Greg chose Panama and Sierra chose Greece. Both excellent choices. I was living in Abu Dhabi, so first I met Sierra in Athens and then traveled back to Abu Dhabi. A week later, I traveled to Seattle to pick up Gregory Orion and then we flew off to Panama City via Los Angeles, California. Wild few weeks for me traveling but could not have been more fun and I don’t even recall being tired.
Gregory was in 10th grade and he had to march in the Daffodil Parade in the marching band the day we were leaving. He had been lost (literally) in the woods with his buddies the previous day and was exhausted due to the exertion of getting out ok. Then he had to march in cold rainy weather. So before we even started to the airport he was tired.
He and I always have a good time traveling. He is an easy guy to be around in such scenarios. He was getting very tired. I remember we had to pick up some new headphones for him because the dog had chewed up his other pair or something like that. We made it to Panama ok and he was completely exhausted. We had a good laugh trying to order breadsticks from Dominos pizza, which he ate before collapsing into sleep. My biological clock was different due to coming from Abu Dhabi and I was wide awake. It has always been very intense and emotional for me seeing my kids since I lived abroad. I want to absorb every moment with them because I love them so much. I remember that night feeling emotional watching him sleep.
In Panama City, we explored a bit. We of course went to the Panama Canal which truly is immense. What an undertaking that must have been . They have some shows going on there to explain everything, but the main thing is the size of the canal and the ships. In Panama City, although Americans have been gone for a while, there is a lot of reference to when the Americans were there and owned the canal.
We went to a mall and were shocked to find a $100 Lacoste t-shirt. We also went up to a hill in the city that gave us a great view of the city. One crazy thing we did was crossing a street that we probably shouldn’t have. There was a small barrier in the middle, but it looked like a mile in either direction for any kind of way to cross. We ran to the middle and got stuck there on the divider. There was too much traffic and it was incredibly close to the divider.
In addition to our time in the city, we decided to spend some days on an island. We ended up deciding upon Isla Contadora. A small slice of an island a short flight away from Panama City. It had a bit of a shady history with some narco traffickers and the Shah of Iran apparently hid out there for a while. We saw his old house. The beach we stayed by used to be a massive resort but it had disappeared. It was such a cool island. About a half dozen beautiful beaches. We would go from beach to beach to beach and let the days drift by. We rented a four wheel vehicle that was a blast to drive. It seemed like very few people were on the island. I believe it was Greg’s most significant driving experience at the time and he was ripping g around dirt, gravel and sand roads. It was fun stuff. It had a very responsive steering system. There was also a spooky ship on the beach that we entered a bit. On one beach, Greg put on a juggling show with coconuts before eventually breaking one open to eat with a rock. Talented guy!
The bed and breakfast we stayed in was special. It had all kinds of animals round. I have included a picture of a bird sitting on the back of a deer there. The breakfasts were excellent and we would spend time trying to take pictures of the nearby hummingbirds. Very relaxing place. We had a blast. One day, we rented a kayak and went out to a nearby island that nobody else was on. It was hot and exposed to the sun and the paddling was harder than we thought, but we made it. There were many types of birds on the island. Greg did a flip off of one of the cliffs into the sea. It was pretty sensational to be out there all alone.
We eventually flew back into Panama City. The small plane was fun in itself. Part of the fun in travelling is the different modes of transportation. On this trip, we used jets, cars, taxis, four wheel vehicles, small propeller planes and kayaks. We made our way back to Seattle via Los Angles and stayed with my parents to cap off the trip. Then it was back to school for him and back to Abu Dhabi for me. What an excellent trip it was.
I hope there are more trips in the future for us to enjoy. As life passes by, things like girlfriends, careers, wives, children and so on make it more difficult to arrange and as I am now almost 61, I worry about making such things happen again. How grateful I am that we went for it. We have been to Panama, Costa Rica, Iceland, Canada several times and Abu Dhabi together….and of course some places in the USA.