How quickly the time has gone! We've been here for a month now, and it will already be hard to go.
We went to Mireya's for lunch today and Mireya said (in Spanish), "Oh good! I was thinking you left the country already!"
She seemed happy that we were here for another month and we talked about our trip to Las Tablas. I don't want to talk much about the Great Panamanian Road Trip of 2008, since Todd is writing a post about it and I'm making a video about it (check back this weekend), but I will say this - it was great!
Last night we found ourselves in the covered walkway in front of our building with our security guard, an ex US Army officer, a midget (or at least close), a blind guy, and a large guy who kept hiding behind a column for some reason.
The blind guy had a guitar which he used to play "My Way" as sung by Frank Sinatra. He sang it beautifully in spanish. "Mi Manera". It was a surreal and magical scene.
Alex Shalman (alexshalman.com) came randomly to visit us for a few days, which was a lot of fun. He really inspired us to stop sitting on the couches working all day. I did an interview over at his site which you can check out.
Crossfit has been going well. We ran a 10K almost a week ago which totally wrecked me. 6.2 miles. I haven't run that much in forever, and my calves are still hurting. We ran into two guys starting a Crossfit here in Panama, but that will probably be covered in the Carnival post.
We had an awesome trip to the Panama Canal, but we're not writing about it or posting the video because we're arranging to go back and film a couple more things. The people there are great and the Canal is, of course, spectacular.
I guess that's it for now... just making sure I update this bad boy frequently!
Dam.. a whole month already. nice work.
By the way, when you have a link in your post why dont you get it to open in a new window?
Hey, guys! Glad to hear the crossfit is going well. We have hit a lull of sorts back in Austin. Morning crossfit has been canceled for Feb. due to lack of attendance and will start up in March as Pilates Bootcamp (still tbd what this means). Evening crossfit is surviving with the diehards, but sometimes there's only 3 folks there. We're not sure what to make of it. Anyway, you guys are certainly missed.
Oops... blind guy. Sorry! Still, if you really wanted to, I bet it would be possible to play the guitar.
Then again I'm not deaf and I don't play the guitar, so what do I know?
Todd: I am learning soooo much from you guys! What a fabulous adventure you are on and I am enjoying following in your steps.
I got an e-mail yesterday announcing the 2008 Winter Sale for an outdoor gear company.
"That's strange," I thought, "their e-mail software must have messed up. It's not even close to being winter."
I guess you could say that I've adapted to the eternal summer of Panama. In five days it will be time to adapt again, this time to people who speak the same language as me. Eight days after that it will be time to adapt to the polar opposite of Panama - Tokyo.
I walked into the airport in Seattle, ready to fly to San Francisco. I was checking in, and the kiosk I was using gave me the option to change my seat. I mostly fly on the East Coast, and really only on Airtran Airways, and on Airtran it costs money to change your seat. This time however, it was free, so I decided “What the hell” and hit the button. I immediately noticed I was in the back row, all the way on the left. There wasn't even a window, it was almost as if it used to be additional storage, but decided to put half a seat there to make an extra couple of dollars. There were two other seats open, one center seat about 3 rows from the back, and one in center of the very first row of coach. “Hot damn,” I thought, and I grabbed the seat at the front of coach.
I got onto my plane, and noticed there was no where in front of me to put my bag, and the flight attendant made me put it in overhead storage (which I hate using). The plane was about half filled when another guy who looked about my age (19) sat down in the window seat next to me. He had kind of scraggly, unkempt hair, and an earring that looked like (and probably was) just a woodchip through his left ear. He sat down next to me, and the flight attendant immediately yelled at him to put his bags up above. We exchanged grumblings about having to put our stuff up, and then we started talking.
“It's weird being in an airplane again,” Marty commented, looking around uncomfortably. “In fact it's kind of weird to be surrounded by people.” I asked if it was his first time flying, and he responded “No, I've just been... out of touch with the world for a while.” He then went on to tell me about how he had just spent the past four months by himself in a log cabin in the woods of Northern Minnesota, fifty miles from the nearest road. He told me about how he was in the backwater bar in Minnesota, talking to some loggers. This one logger was telling Marty about his grandfather had built a log cabin up north a long time ago, but no one had had time to go there in fifteen years. Marty thought about it for a second, and then asked the logger “How much?” The logger was a bit taken back, and replied cautiously “Nine hundred dollars?” Marty wrote him a check on the spot, and then met back up with the logger the next day for a topographical map. “It's the only way you can find it,” the logger said. Since it's so far from any roads, you have to find the right hills, follow streams and rivers, and take the correct forks. Marty got some equipment, and then headed off.
He arrived in the closest town (50 miles from the cabin) and proceeded to make three trips to the cabin. He was hiking the whole time, so he could only carry so much. He arrived towards the end of winter, and had some trouble the first month. He shot three bucks, but didn't preserve the meat of the first two correctly and the bodies were covered in flies and maggots within 45 minutes. The third one he did right, but had to dry the meat in a corner of his cabin for a month. He said “it smelled like a dead animal.” He paused, and then laughed and added “Well I guess it was a dead animal.” The cabin had a wood stove, a wooden desk, some candles, and not much else.
He spent a lot of time cleaning up the cabin and the surrounding area (no one had been there for 15 years), and spent the rest of his days hunting small game (rabbit, squirrel), fishing (in lakes so clear you could see 30 feet below the surface), and exploring. He told me about how he used a series of pink bandannas to tie around trees, so he could find his way home. When exploring, he'd tie them around trees as he was about to get out of sight of the previous one. On the way back home, he'd untie and collect them, leaving no trace he was ever there. When he arrived back home, he would sit at his desk and read books, write, and draw.