We are on our way back from Technical Week. I was with nine other SAS (Sustainable Agriculture Systems) Trainies and we learned about all sorts of things. How to plant rice in tanks, make water pumps, agro-reforestation, biodigestors, fish patties, mud stoves, and duck and chicken production. I am sure there are some good stories that come out of this experience, but I haven´t had time to compose them.
We had one free day between Cultural Week and Technical week. Jeff and I spent most of it traveling from way down in the Darian to Pananome. We got a hotel room for $25, a huge splurge since Peace Corps only gave us $25 per person for food and lodging. We figured it would be our anniversary gift to ourselves. We had hot water, which was a wonderful novelty. I took two showers one at night and one in the morning. I´m kind of wish I had taken more advantage of the hot water and taken a shower every two hours or just slept under the nice warm water.
After Technical Week, we had a day off again. Jeff and I met up in Pananome again and from there traveled on to Playa de Palmar, a little beach town recommended to us by a current volunteer. It lived up to the description of ´a really chill surf town.´ We wondered in around noon and after discovering the hotel recommended would be $50 a night, we walked on and found a hostel called El Refugio and for $17.50 per person per night stayed in a beautiful beach side house with some really interesting people. There were three kids in port from Semester at Sea (the program where for a semester college students travel the world in a cruise ship.). Also there was an Australian and several other Panamanians in for the good surfing. The place was run by a guy who grew up with duel American-Panamanian citizenship and his son, who is also bilingual. The beach was a beautiful. Neither of us tried our hand at surfing, but we spent some time in the ocean and in the hostel´s pool. Our night stay included a meal of steak, corn on the cob, green salad and mashed potatoes and gravy. It was delicious. For the most part we hung out on the porch in the hammocks talking or reading or just listing to music. It was so nice to have music other than Typico Panama music. For anyone looking for an inviting place to stay that welcomes you like Family I would suggest El Refugio. Call this number 6605-5399 and ask to make reservations with Jake. Although walk-ins are frequent, if you want one of the private roms you should make a reservation.
Right now we are headed back to our host community for a week or so. Soon here we´ll get to visit our actual site and see where we´ll be living for the next two years.