Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 7 by Ivana Simpson



Ziplining through the forests in El Valle, horseback riding and mud baths. This was the best day ever!!

Ziplining was one of the best experiences I have had on this trip. Initially, I was not going to do it, but because I am only in Panama once and I had never done it before I decided to go. We drove up to the starting point of the mountain and listened to instructions from the facilitators and hiked our way to the ropes. We then took our first attempt. Everyone in the class was supportive and encouraging as we took pictures and cheered each other on. It was also very funny because I told the facilitator to make me go "rapidamente" and I went so fast I couldn't brake soon enough and I knocked the receiving facilitator over! It was so fun! The most beautiful view was the waterfall over which we were stopped and suspended over during the middle of our zipline course. The view of this waterfall and the butterflies and flora and fauna of the rainforest was a reminder of how incredible nature is.

After zip-lining we left to horseback riding.  Again because this was another adventure I had never done, I decided to go horseback riding. This was not my favorite activity, however I am glad I did it. We were able to ride through a town and see beautiful houses and gardens which is a different view compared to what we see in the city with high riser condos.

Next we went to the mud baths. Here we did clay facials, let them dry while we soaked our feet in the hot spring waters and then took a swim. As gross as it sounds the water is actually very warm and soft. The water is natural from hot springs and contains a blend of natural minerals and salts which makes the water therapeutic after soaking in it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 45.

Instead of going to the beach we ended up going to open market in El Valle, where they sold souvenirs and fruits. The crafts they sell amaze me because they typically make them from natural elements as well. I also bought some bananas for 40 cents! Its crazy because in the U.S. we are used to a small produce section or a little tiny farmers market with a large frozen food and past section, well in Panama it is the opposite. The access to and cost of fruits in Panama is much more convenient and at times it seems as the only way to eat.

Through zipling, horseback riding and mudbaths, this day reminded me of how centering nature is. All three of these activities involved components of nature, which we don’t usually get to do during the semester or in Florida at all. They were very relaxing experience that was the best planned and well needed day of this trip. These experiences gave me a greater appreciation for nature. 

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