A new chapter of my Panama life began when I moved from the crazy bustling city that I grew to love out to the peaceful jungle town, Gamboa. However, the day after I moved in, I had a mini vacation out to the beach town, Santa Catalina and up to the mountains in Boquete. In Santa Catalina we surfed one day and went on an amazing snorkeling tour around the island, Coiba which is not too far from the Galapagos! We swam with sharks and hundreds of rays and there were so many cool fish and corals, it was spectacular. Then we headed up to Boquete for some waterfalls, hot springs and the most fireflies I have ever seen in my life—it was magical. Walking down the street at night, the edges of the road and trees were lit up with thousands of twinkling fireflies, I will never forget that walk.
Of course, being Panama, getting back from Boquete was a major struggle involving a 2 hour walk in the middle of the night, a very nice family offering a ride to the bus station, missing the bus, and finally making the 8 hour trip back over night to arrive in the city only 2 hours before I needed to collect my snail samples. I cannot explain how difficult it is to get around here and how bad the traffic can be, it is unreal! But I am so grateful for the buses and how there is a way to get pretty much everywhere in Panama by bus no matter how long it takes!
I then returned back to my new home and explored the jungle there a bit (monkeys, agouties, koaties, sloths, frogs, fireflies!) and met some of the other interns who live and work in Gamboa. Although it is a little crazy getting to and from work now (2 hour commute each way between transferring buses, even though it’s only a 30 minute drive without traffic), it is worth it to come back to the night time noises of the jungle (I’m listening to the frogs, crickets, and other insect choruses right now) and my wonderful roommates. Although stressful at times, it’s been good to get a different view of living in Panama and meet some more amazing people.
In other news, I started taking Salsa classes and I LOVE it. First there’s a class for a few hours and then we go up to the roof top of the Hard Rock Hotel where there’s a live salsa band and all of the city lights surrounding below. Also, so many amazing dancers come here every week so it is so much fun just to watch them, and I have learned so much more from going! It is the best, I will definitely miss this back in the states but I hope I can find a place to take more classes. Night life may be the best thing about Panama City– there are so many options on things to do, so many fun people, music all the time, and it’s always warm outside.