Saturday, I left my Sonoma routine, the rains, the predictable element of my daily existence to experience a foreign place wild and exotic, rich in history in southern Central America. I went to Panama. Few Americans speak or even know of her. I was one of them.
I knew of the Panama Canal which has been named one of the seven wonders of the modern world, heard of the underground drug trafficking of packaged cocaine and recall Noriega, the dictator, being overthrown during the U.S. invasion in 1989, but other than that, I knew very little of the real deal that makes up Panama.
We left Panama City with its touristy vibe this morning, and drove along miles and miles of lush jungle and shanty shacks that make up most of Panama. Or so I thought.
Within four hours of bumpy road trip driving, we came to the breathtaking, blue Azuero Peninsula that constitutes the other Panama, or perhaps the real Panama. Pedasi. This area of Panama was one of the first to be colonized by Spain. The colonial churches and historic town offer perfect backdrops for its frequent folk festivals and yearly carnival. The town is small and sleepy, yet alive with ease.
We came to Pedasi, a quiet beach and ranching community with plentiful gardens, and adobe homes to get away from it all. The crystal blue Pacific ocean is home to us alone. There is no one to ride the waves, pick up sea shells, or make castles in the sand, but my boys.
This part of Panama is paradise.