In preparation for our Panama tour, Nancy and I have gotten the complete edition of the Rosetta Stone for Spanish, and we have been practicing daily. We have read every book we can get on the country - and tried to learn as much as we can about the culture of Panama. We are going to do our best to "fit in" and get in the "Panama Groove". Our plane leaves at 6:30 am tomorrow. Our good friend Jerry is going to oversee our current "World Headquarters" here on Whitmore Lake.
Panama seems like it has a lot to offer. Fantastic tropical rain forests run throughout the country. The world record for spotting the most species of birds in the shortest time was set there. There are an amazing number of monkeys, butterflies, and wildlife (probably more than I can explain). I am sure there are some snakes. The isthmus of Panama is a narrow strip of land that makes it possible for you to be on the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean, within a couple of hours. There is great fishing off both of the coasts, as well as diving and other water activities. The cost of living is low, by US standards. They have great health care facilities (including several branches of Johns Hopkins) and medical insurance is available for $600 per year to everyone.
Our trip will kind of take us on a triangular approach to Panama. We will begin in Panama City at 2:00 pm tomorrow and will explore the Panama Canal, the National Park at Gamboa, and the Casco Viejo - (the old city). From Panama City, we will fly to David (pronounced Dah Veed) in the Chiriqita region of the country. From there we will drive into the mountainous region in the northern and central part of Panama. Here the temperature fluctuates between 65 degrees and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the area we are most interested in - they say it is "spring time" year round. And if you want summertime - you can drive an 1 1/2 hours down to coast - where it is 80 - 90 degrees year round. Finally, we will drive to the Bocas del Toro (The Mouth of the Bull) to sample Panama's Caribbean aspects.
So as we get ready for this new "letting go" adventure, I want to give thanks for my blessings. I am very thankful for:
- My beautiful wife Nancy, who has the sense of adventure and courage to take off on this crazy adventure with me.
- My Mom, who if we make it down to Panama; will have her own hacienda and will stay as long as she likes.
- My Sister, who just makes me laugh - and I will never get to spend enough time with.
- The opportunity to work in Michigan this year, with some great people and some challenging projects.
- The ability to go on an adventure like this and visit another country.
- And by the way, God Bless Jerry Woods, for looking after our Schnauzers (Tita and Rose) and for overseeing the World Headquarters while we are away.
I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving. As Tiny Tim once said (no not the one who said "Tip Toe Through the Tulips"), the otherone who said "God Bless Us, Everyone!"
All the best,