A Travellerspoint blog

Catholic boarding school in Panama

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We arrived at the monastery in the late afternoon. I expected a sort of Middle Age monastery with monks in a green grassland but instead it was a Catholic boarding school filled with boys age 15 - 18 trying to learning about agriculture.

The Catholic Boarding School - Panama

The Catholic Boarding School - Panama

I think all the boys had near to nothing at home and most of them were also far from home. When walking around with our huge hiking bags and our PDA's I felt sort of guilty. Also when I saw the beds I thought to myself "how can you sleep on such a bed almost a whole year around!", well I can tell you how: with two or three mattresses! The first afternoon we didn't really do anything and the second day we got a tour of the boarding school. They get normal classes but also special ones focused on agriculture and they also have to take care of the cows, chicken, plants (from mango trees to bean bushes), and pigs. Also the "starter" of the boarding school came to tell us about the history and about his life story. He was Dutch, but kind of lost his Dutch since he hasn't been in Holland for 40 years. Also, he remind to thank god everyday. Which was kind of funny to us since we are almost all atheist.
After dinner on the 24th each of us got to know one of the boys out of the sixth form (last year). We taught them a bit of English and they taught us some Spanish. Also, we made a decision on where to meet the next day because I was going to spend almost the entire day with this guy.
On the 25th I spent the morning talking to the guy. Most of us School at Sea-ers were working hard; milking cows, feeding chicken, picking tomatoes, but apparently his work wasn't much so we just sat and talked the whole morning. In his almost non-existent English and my pocito bit of Spanish we still managed to have a conversation. In the afternoon we harvested some beans and peeled them and in the evening we again gave English class. After this we said goodbye since we were leaving for Bocas the next day!
Amen.

Posted by meimeilin 21:42 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Planning, planning, planning

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On the morning of the 21st we heard in which groups we were traveling from Santiago to Bocas del Toro. I quite like my group. Well the next two days we mainly planned our whole trip from hostels, to route, to transport, to money. There is a certain budget per person and with this we can do what ever we went for the trip. Anyway, I won't spoil what we are doing on this five day trip because you will hear about it then. But first we are off to some monastery / boarding school.

Posted by meimeilin 21:38 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Ruins of Panama City and Albrook Mall

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From the greenery of the jungle to the skyscrapers of the city was quite a difference.
The first part of the day we spent viewing the ruins of Panama City. There wasn't much still standing. Only a couple of alone standing walls and one tower. But it was impressive to read how and what was destroyed.
But after the ruins we finally got to be superficial because we were going to a mall. Albrook mall was enormous and didn't have a single map. We lunched and then shopped for about 3 hours. Then we went back to our hostel where we ate dinner and laid back for the rest of the evening.
Further, nothing much.
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 22:36 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Panama's Jungle

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Well, I must say the 19th was not my favorite day in Panama.
The day started early, very early. At six we were woken and at seven we were on a path just outside of the jungle to look at birds. Bird watching in Panama is not exactly my favorite sport because it requires a lot of patience. We walked 2 km in about an hour. Nonetheless, bird watching in Panama is quite interesting. I swear we saw every color and size of bird. Further down the path we saw monkeys! Not two or three monkeys, no like 15 or even more. That was really cool to see. One monkey even had a baby. At the end of the path when the owner of the hostel, who is a biologist, was giving a talk about the birds of Panama we saw a sloth!

Panama Jungle

Panama Jungle

We walked the path back we went to the hostel for lunch and then went to a botanical garden / zoo called Summit. After being in the jungle this wasn't really impressive. It wasn't really a zoo but it wasn't really a botanical garden either.
Finally we came back to the hostel, where we chilled (internet-ed) till dinner and went to bed early. It was a tiring day.

Posted by meimeilin 21:34 Archived in Panama Comments (0)

Panama City

Panama Canal and the old town

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Hey everyone!
On the day of the 18th we were woken at around 7.30 in the morning. The hostel is located in Gamboa, a little town next to the Panama Canal, a half an hour outside of Panama City, and almost in the jungle. At breakfast there were monkeys in the garden, hummingbirds around the trees, and many more birds. It was like a mini zoo! What was even better was that for breakfast we got American pancakes, omelets, and fresh fruit.
The plan for the rest of the day was first visiting the old town of Panama City and then visiting the Panama Canal.
The old town of Panama City was in a process of gentrification. Old buildings, which were falling apart, were being renovated and rebuilt. Parts of the old town already looked really fancy, but other parts still looked like it could fall apart any moment. Also at the north border of old town there was a dangerous neighborhood. The difference between the rich and the poor is really evident in Panama.
After looking around in old town and eating lunch we went off to the Panama Canal which is probably the best known canal in the world. If you visit Panama seeing the canal is a must, thus you would think it is THE most impressive canal in the world, but to be honest I was slightly disappointed. It was impressive how the huge cruise ships and container ships passed through the Miraflores lock (water transport), but the museum by the canal was really nothing. It was quite big and modern but had no content. We also watched a documentary, which obviously an American movie because it left out all the horrible things that happened during the building of the canal and the freedom of Panama. Still when visiting the Panama the canal is a must, but don't expect too much.
After seeing the canal, we were received by the Dutch embassy. However, I missed this because I was going to meet my friend who lives in Panama!
I saw her house and we went for dinner in Multiplaza. It was really cool to see someone I know since my childhood and of course it felt great to speak English for a bit. Together with her mum and sister, she brought me back to Gamboa.
Definitely not a bad day!
- Meilin

Posted by meimeilin 23:31 Archived in Panama Tagged panama gamboa Comments (0)

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