Sunday, May 27, 2007

Day 7

We had an early morning start with our day that consisted of visiting a quaint mountain village. The drive up to el Valle took two hours of snoozing away the miles. The highway from Panama City to the mountain village was flat and straight. When we entered the foot of the mountains, the roads changed from calm straight-away to a zigzagging, body shifting nightmarish drive with a beautiful backdrop of mountains with clouds melding with the peaks and forest covered mountain sides.
Our instructor had warned us not to expect too much of the hotel that we were suppose to stay over night. However, when we arrived at the hotel, it was much better than we expected. It was a three story building with vibrant colors and its own restaurant. The rooms were small, but decorated with the local artworks (tree trunks with pictures of birds in flight). Some rooms had two beds while others had a queen sized bed and a bunk bed that roomed three people. Located on the third floor was a rooftop patio, half-covered by a roof and the other half was open to the sky. Under the roof covered area were multicolored and very comfortable hammocks, hardwood tables and chairs. While standing on this rooftop patio, you can appreciate the full beauty of the small community within the mountains. You can almost feel the mountains looming above. One specific section of mountain peaks was a main topic by the people in el Valle. They say that the mountain peaks resembled a woman lying on her back with one arm resting on a side of the mountain and the other arm supporting her head on the ground. Some of us saw this woman, but others could not.
The village had many things that you could visit, for a cheap price. There was the zoo that contained many indigenous animals from panama; animals ranging from avian species, reptilian species, and some mammals…some of Panama’s flora were also included in the exhibits. The only disappointing thing about the zoo was that they advertised a golden frog, with all the walking we did that day throughout the zoo; we did not see a glimpse of this supposed golden frog. The admission cost for the zoo was only a dollar, which balanced out the disappointment from not viewing the golden frog.
Another activity we truly enjoyed while we visited el Valle was the zip line above the rain forest floor. Twelve of us decided that we would do the four lines, which were so high above the ground that we had to drive up the mountain and walk 10 minutes within the forest to reach the first pad and pay $47.50 to experience it. The scenery within the forest was surreal. We even saw those ants that chopped up leaves and carried them in this single filed line from a tree trunk across the path to another tree trunk. Amazing! Something that is usually seen on television came to life before our eyes during a great adventure within the forest. Another amazing event was the waterfall we were able to take pictures of while we hung hundreds of feet above the river bed below us. That was a truly breath taking view of the waterfall while exhilarated with adrenaline.
And then, the group was very excited to jump into the “hot springs” for some relaxation after the exciting flight through cable within the forest canopy. I must say that the best part of these hot springs were the volcanic face mask that cost a dollar, the .50 cent admission price, and leaving the hot springs! These springs were pools of dirty brown water layered with body gunk. You could not even view the bottom of these pools with the use of the Hubble telescope.
With that being said, our experience over all was great! After a full day of fun, we all sat down for a great dinner at the roof patio while accompanied with all the bugs of Panama. And tomorrow is another day of adventure and fun.

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