Saturday, January 31, 2009

SCUBA certified

Yesterday I completed my SCUBA certification:

My instructor Ingvil (on the right) sent me this photo.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Bastimentos is beautiful. We´ve had some rainy days, but it usually doesn´t last more than a few hours. I´ve made it out to the beach a few more times and even decided to become a certified SCUBA diver. I had a trial run on Saturday and decided to certify immediately after. I loved it. Although the visibility was poor (according to my instructor, Ingvil), we still were able to see some beautiful coral and several brightly colored fish. One of my favorites was the trumpetfish...

(not my photo)

Tomorrow, I begin my confined water dive. And, near the end of the week I am diving with Ingvil to see a boat wreck.

Spanish is going well. Me gusta mucho hablar español, y despacio yo aprendo español. One of the employees of the hostel I am staying at, has decided to only speak to me in Spanish. It is helpful to have the practice in the evenings. Fortunately, my evenings are filled with other things in addition to studying. I have made some great friends down here. Two days ago, I met three park rangers from Southern Utah (finally someone who can hook me up). Although my days were busy, I spent the evenings with them, playing cards, walking along the sidewalk of Bastimentos and watching the local teenagers prepare for an upcoming festival, by dressing up as devils and chasing eachother around with wips. Unfortunately this was the end of their trip and they´ve left to return home to the states.

Tragically, my favorite friend also left today. He is a 60 year old man from Quebec who, for the last 30 years has taken off 5 months during the winter to travel. I am excited for him to continue his adventures in Nicaragua.

Even though I have met so many people, I can´t wait to meet up with Sasha in Guatemala. 2 more weeks :)

Friday, January 23, 2009


I´ve been reading several friends blogs about where they were during the inauguration, so I thought I would share my experience....

On January 20th 2009, I woke excited for the upcoming day. True, it was my second day of Spanish school, and although that was exciting I was even more excited about was the inauguration of Barack H. Obama. Around 10 am I took a boat from Bastimentos to Colon. I asked a fellow gringo where I might watch the inaugurations. He pointed me in the direction of an open air bar. When I arrived at 10:30, I was disappointed to find that I was the only person in the bar. I ordered a coke and started watching CNN. People gradually started to trickle in, and by 11:30 the place was packed. The ower started walking around the bar offering everybody a plastic cup and a small amount of wine, to toast to the new presidency. (I stuck with coke). The inauguration was amazing to watch, but it was even more fun to hear the cheers, the clapping, and the singing (dadadada, dadada, hey, hey, goodbye). That day, I couldn´t have bee prouder to be an American.

I felt even more blessed, when I saw everyone in DC with coats, hats, and gloves on. I couldn´t help but think of my friend Emily who was fortunate enough to get tickets to the event, I was so happy she was there to witness it for me, and send me pictures of how amazing it was. Once I am able to upload my photos, I will post pictures of what inaguration was like for me :)

I am so excited for the next four...eight years!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


It has been pouring rain the last few days. This morning however, the sun finally came out. In celebration, I decided to hike to the other side of the island Bastimentos, to see Wizard Beach. The beach is about a half hour hike through the mountains. Because it had been raining, it was a 45-min hike in the mud. In order to expidite the process, I decided to hike in my bare feet and carry my shoes to the beach. It would have been a good idea, if I didn´t slice my toe open.

The hike through the mud was well worth it. When I arrived the beach was nearly deserted. Check it out...

It was beautiful ! As I walked, I had clear blue ocean to my left and jungle to my right. In the jungle were ¨ruins¨ from Survivor Panama. Several huts were still partially intact. I was happy to see that the beach was so deserted. I hiked for nearly an hour a long the beach, and only saw four people. (If anyone is looking for a piece of land in panama, I saw one for sale along my hike ;)

Near the end of my hike there was a palm tree leaning out over the water and when I saw it, I thought...What would my nephew Kai do in this circumstance. So... I dropped my shoes and climbed to the top. I was sad no one was there to witness my success, but was glad that no one saw me fall on my bum in the water, when I jumped down.

I am hoping to make it back to Wizard beach soon! I wish you could all join me!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Panama Adventure


I made it to paradise...but what a trip it was. My first night in San Jose was pretty typical of a big city. The hostel I stayed at was next to the bus station. The location was perfect, but I had nightmares about sleeping in dirty beds. In the morning, by some miracle I found my bus, about fifteen minutes before it left from a side street near the bus station. The ride to panama was beautiful, and I made some friends along the way.

I landed on isla colon, and there was a poop load going on...get it...colon? The island which is sometimes refered to as a backpackers paradise, consisted of hundreds of backpackers and bars on every corner. After the first night, I was not sure if this was quite the soul searching adventure I was looking for. I considered moving on to another adventure. The following day my friends from the bus, and I headed to a neighboring island, Isla Bastimentos. The island is small and it's main road consists of a mile long sidewalk with houses and small businesses on either side.

I found a hostel there, and have set up shop. Most people who watched Survivor Panama will have seen the island. Despite being featured on network television, the island is still pretty isolated. In addition to the "town," there are several beautiful beaches, magnificent hikes, and a national park on the island. The hostel I am staying at is Hostel Bastimentos. Check out photos at: .

The greatest things about my adventure are:
1. Warmth
2. Magnificent views
3. Hammocks
4. Banana shakes at the Red Rooster
5. 2 dreams about Leonardo DiCaprio ;)