Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gerber for the Gringo...and canals and beaches too!

In the first days that I arrived in Panama, I mentioned to my family that I often ate oatmeal and apple sauce in the morning for breakfast. After a confusing conversation where I tried to explain what the heck apple sauce is, I finally realized that they say pureed apples instead of apple sauce (puré de manzana)...which they don't normally eat in Panama.
As part of my program my host parents, Toni who is a very friendly retired accountant and his wife, Emilsa who drives a school bus, serve me breakfast and dinner every day. I arrived at the table this morning to find a bowl containing an unknown substance. With a bit of a grin my host father told me to give it a try without telling me what it was. I tried a spoonful and excitedly said "puré de manzana!" Only then did he explain to me that it was Gerber brand baby food, which is the only way that Panamanians eat pureed apples. I think Toni thought it was pretty funny that he was serving me baby food. So don't worry Mom, I'm eating well, brand name baby food in fact! This isn't quite as bad as one of my classmates who mistakenly ate the dog food last week instead of the meal prepared by her host parents (in her defense, who gives cooks and shreds chicken for their dog, I mean seriously?).

I'm trying to keep things short here, but I'll share a slideshow from my visit to the Miraflores locks of the Panama Canal last Thursday and of my first swim in the Pacific at the Santa Clara beach last Saturday. I'll probably write more about the Panama Canal later, but in short the US gave control of the canal back to Panama in 1999, which means that the canal zone is a lot more open to the public now. It was pretty amazing seeing how little space is left between the large boats and the walls of the lock when the big boats pass through (Panama is currently constructing larger locks to stay competitive with the new generation of ever larger ships). On Saturday Courtney and I took a bus to Santa Clara (here's a video of what some of the houses/music that we encountered along the way). The bus driver rocked some nice salsa tunes during the 2 hour trip to the beach. We ended up having a bit of a cloudy day, which actually was pretty nice as both Courtney and I are not the tannest people in Panama.


Pam said...

Great pictures. Looks like you are enjoying the warm and sun. Loved the geology bit... 200 million year old volcanic drama ... couldn't quite read the last lines... animals at the time? Horses? Little, wee ones?

abbie said...

The intern who is working on my project with me eats baby food, it's her favorite thing to bring to the campo - I read your post for her, she's glad to know she's not alone.