This year our kiddos celebrated the season of Lent by giving up not seeing their Grandma and Grandpa. Whoopee!
Living in a traditionally Catholic country, we were given a week off for Carnavales, which was ample time to introduce Sarah's parents to both coasts of this small country.
We started smack dab in the middle, by exploring the flora and fauna around Lake Gatun.
As our boat was heading back to the dock the driver (captain?) noticed an iguana swimming nearby and we stopped for a closer look.
Another boat of tourists pulled up to take a look, and then the cap'n of that boat leaned over and grabbed the iguana!
He spoke with our captain and it was decided that the iguana would be put on our boat and released on land near the dock for its own safety from poachers, supposedly. They attempted to keep it under a plastic crate in the front of the boat, but three seconds later it escaped and hid in the crevice under the far front of the boat. It didn't bother anyone there for the five minutes it took to get back to the dock, but once everyone was off the boat, the captain tried to get it back on land and found that either it had already escaped, or was deep in some other nook or cranny on board and unable to be found.
I wouldn't want to be the next group using that boat. Luckily for us, it wasn't our problem. We had flowers and sloths to examine.
While the craziness of Carnavale isn't really our style, Pat and Carol were not about to come all the way to Central America and miss the whole thing. We decided the best time to check out the debauchery was at 10:00am on Monday morning, Mardi Gras Eve.
After dealing with a security checkpoint where Sarah was forced to turn over the variety of writing instruments she carries in case of documentation emergency, we walked along Avenida Balboa on Panama Bay and watched people setting things up or just waiting around. We decided against lining up for another security checkpoint to get access to the dance area, and instead chose to exit the Carnavale zone only to find out we had to go through another checkpoint to get back to our car. We felt very secure. We would have written the guards a thank you note, but they had confiscated all of our pencils.
Time to head to the Caribbean!
We rented a beachfront house an hour past Portobelo on the surprisingly chilly and rough Caribbean Sea.
Then we took a boat to the beach! But not the first beach we asked for because the sea was too choppy to get there, so we went to the other beach we asked for.
It rained on us en route!
We also got a quick tour of the mangroves.
The Little Lady and I got torn up by the coral attempting to use our boogie boards, so we all just lazed around in the water.
On the way home the Big O successfully conquered the old fort in Portobelo...
...as well as a plate of prawns back in town.
Next up was the obligatory wander around Casco Viejo.
Carol really wanted to capture the colorful houses that we see off the highway whenever we drive into town. I didn't think they'd turn out well, but she got some cool shots!
This last one looks like a tilt-shift shot. Impressive
We have been lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents visit us down here in the tropics. We miss you! Thanks for coming!