Saturday, January 26, 2008
When we leave site we hike for 2 hours. It is about 45 minutes to the next town where we cross the river on foot. That part of the walk is hilly. About 15 minutes after the river you start to climb the mountain. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the top. From the top of the mountain there is an amazing view. On a clear day you can see the Carribean and the Pacific. On a clear night you can see the lights of Colo'n and they say you can see the lights of ships moving through the canal. On the other side they say you can see the lights of the Azuero (a peninsula to the south). The 3rd picture is one of the views from the top of the mountain. I think this was taken when we were hiking back in. Do you think we made it back before dark? Do you think we had our flashlights with us? .... No and no. It takes about 30 minutes to get down the mountain to the store where we catch our chiva. A few of our chivas are big and blue and from the back they are kind of pumpkin shaped. The first picture shows our chiva and our store. We usually hike out in knee high rubber boots and they let us leave them in a storage room at the tienda and pick them up on the way back through. The chiva ride can be anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. The road winds through the mountains and there are some amazing views. It takes longer when there are more people to pick up. There are chiva stops along the way but it also picks up people between stops if he sees them in time. The chiva arrives in our regional capital Penonome' which has hotels, restaurants, and internet. It is about a 2 and a half hour bus ride to the city (Panama City) which is huge and has everything you can imagine.
And that is the story of the chiva. I think chiva litterally means some kind of goat like animal but that is the word they use for some of the public transportation. There are buses and then their are chivas. A chiva can be a truck, a van, a small bus, or a flatbed truck with the back closed in, etc. And there is always room for one more person in the chiva...
This post was inspired by an e-mail from my favorite Frenchman in the world, Nicolas, and by a comment from Stephanie. Thanks for keeping up with us! And thanks to everyone who has commented or e-mailed about the blog. I finished my sentence on the pig post if you want to check that out.