Monday, August 30, 2010

Futbol y Cena

We've been playing a lot of soccer recently.

We've also been cooking a lot. It's much cheaper to cook Panamanian than it is American, so we've been trying out local dishes and going to local markets. They have supermarkets, but open air ones are a lot cheaper.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

First full week

This week's pretty much been devoted to class. I'm taking International Law, International Security Risks, American Foreign Policy, History of South America, and Spanish I, and they're all insanely easy for upper level classes. The "campus" consists of one 5 story building, which includes classrooms, administrative offices, and a total floor devoted to computers, a ping pong table, a pool table, and a TV. There's a small library in the next building. It's a really small school, everyone literally knows just about everyone. My biggest class has about 15 people in it because most of the local students don't take upper level classes, rather, they transfer to FSU Tallahassee for their BAs.

Last night we had dinner at a local restaurant. This place was probably the equivalent to a 3 or 4 star restaurant in the states. After dinner they had a show, with musicians and dancers.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My Dorm

Actually, it's more of a house, loads bigger than my last dorm. Kind of bland looking though, not gonna lie.

148A, what up! We have some guys to the right, they're super chill. Played soccer with them yesterday and ran with them this morning.

This is my room. I put some pictures up, but it's still super boring. I'll spice it up as the semester progresses.

We're living in a good sized house. I expected much smaller, so no complaints here. I'll take pictures of my roommates later, but this is essentially the house. Don't plan on spending a terrible amount of time here b/c I like being out exploring.

Day 4: Long but Epic

Yesterday was crazy busy, that's why I didn't post this then. We went on a nature tour, and saw MONKEYS!!!!! haha I'm just going to post a bunch of pictures. The top are going to be around the locks and on the tour, but the bottom are from the Expo-Carnaval, so whatever you're interested in.

We were actually in the canal, like right next to a bunch of boats. Not in the lock portion, there's a river on either side of the locks.

That's a tree. Growing through a building. FTW The rain forests here are still a little untouched so stuff like this happens. We hiked through an area of old military base camps from way back in the day that have since been abandoned, and now all kind of look like this- totally overrun by the jungle. Nature is so powerful.
So a lot of the local flora have like a thousand defense mechanisms. Our tour guide, Patricio, was saying it was safer to sit on the ground and get dirty than to try and lean against a tree. Some of them are poisonous, some of them are like this one and covered in thorns (pointing down so nothing can climb up) but everything in the forest is competing.

This monkey was literally eating food out of our hands, it was right by our boat. Fun fact though, these aren't native to the region, they're pets that people had and couldn't control. They dropped them in the woods and they started mating and now there are a bunch of random monkeys that are fed by tourists because they're already domesticated and can't really fend for themselves. 
This is just a cool pic of a passageway we drove through. I may not come home. This place is so beautiful, I'll just stay here and conduct boat tours for tourists so I get to spend all day in the woods and on the water.

This is so crazy. This guy set up a competing tourist attraction in the canal, which is legit b/c there are several (yay capitalism) but the crazy part is he put rocks around this waterfall and a dropped a bunch of plants in the water to hide the entrance, and now he's calling it his. There's no way to own any of this, but Panamanians aren't very confrontational, so they avoid him. They're sneaking though, they just come back when he's not here. That's how we went- our tour guide took us back here :)
This was definitely the best part of yesterday. We climbed part of the waterfall and took turns jumping off and messing around. I almost didn't go because I packed a swim suit but wasn't wearing it, but I'm soooo glad I did.
This is Sara. She's cool. She's just here for the semester as well. Super chill. Obviously I took this picture after we swam in the waterfall.
This is the first of several Carnaval pictures. I can spell "carnival", this is just espanol. With ~.

This guy was supposed to be some kind of devil. There were about 5 running around, didn't catch the significance, but we saw a dance where they were attacking a women, who was being protected by guys in raggedy costumes. I'll post those further down.

So yeah. Carnaval. It's an Expo because it's actually a preview of the week long Carnaval they throw at Mardi Gras. Essentially it's one big party that happens all over Panama.

I'm super tired b/c it's midnight and I have to get up early, so I'll summarize today really quick b/c I know a few people wanted to know about church. Church was really cool, there are a little over 30 people at the congregation, it's pretty much all Spanish speaking, but a handful are bilingual. Thankfully, the guy next to me was, and when he realized I wasn't understanding he translated the lesson for me. They have a Spanish hymnal and an English one, so if they have the same song in both languages, they'll sing it first in English, and then in Spanish. It was really cool though because even the people who didn't know English would come up and shake my hand and say "God bless you," and then have their friends translate for us for the rest. It's a church of Christ. It was started by a military guy who loved the area and moved back when he retired, but he was sick, so we'll meet him next week. After church we bought more stuff for the dorm, then I went for a run on campus. There's a park with a dog trail and some soccer fields. My friends were going to play soccer as I was coming back, so I joined and some of the locals actually complimented my playing. That makes me Latino-approved FTW. My other roommate moved back in today. She's Nicaraguan, really cool. We met her friends and introduced her to a bunch of the IP students, that's why I'm posting this so late. Now I'm crashing because I'm meeting some people to run at 7:30. I don't have class until 4, but they have early so we're braving it :P Exhausted, so I'm peacing out. If you read this far, I love you lol.