02 April 2012

Happy Birthday Dude!

Sunday 1/4/ 2012  (Yes, Dude was born on April Fool´s Day)

Today is Dude´s 3rd birthday.   HAPPY BIRTHDAY DUDE!!!!!  When we woke up Zane and I sang him Happy Birthday in English and Spanish.  Zane added versions in Chinese and Japanese as a special gift just from him.  Conchita also made a big deal over Dude turning 3.  I swear FoxyMama must have put in a special order with the universe to send Dude a Panamanian grandma that would spoil him the way she would.

After breakfast we met up with my students at the school.  Our driver, Ricardo, picked us up and we headed to get the other students who live a little further away and the 3 teachers from the U.S. that arrived last night.  The students were ready but the teachers were not, so they decided to meet us at the Panama Canal, which was our first tour for the day. 

 Welcome to the Panama Canal

 A damn next to the canal.

The Canal is massive and amazing.   We saw a ship that was as large as a building moving through it.  We also went the the museum dedicated to its history and construction.  I searched in the canal´s construction workers data base for my grandfather´s name but I was unable to find it.  In retrospect I think I did something wrong and should have tried the search a different way.  I hate when that happens.  It´s OK though the canal was great and I learned a lot.

Mira Flores Visitors Center at te Panama Canal

Me (Echo), Zane, and Dude about to enter the Canal´s visitors center

The Panama Canal
You can see the water is high on one side of the lock 
and low on the other side

After the canal the teachers joined in our van and we headed on a 2- 2.5 hour drive to the Beach at Playa Gorgona on the Pacific Coast.  Woo-hoo!  Everyone seemed to love the feel of adventure.  Driving through an unfamliar land to a place you hadn´t heard of before.  Along the way we stopped, at what would be our version of a WalMart, for snacks and small forgotten items.  One of the teachers commented on how quiet everyone was and how patiently everyone waited in the long check-out lines.  I´d warned them to be aware of how loudly they were speaking in public and she says it immediately showed itself as good advice.

Once we got to the beach we were all very happy to be free.  We rented a $4 covered stand to put our stuff in while we swam.  Playa Gorgona had high strong waves and black sand.  We had so much fun getting knocked down by the waves, jumping the waves, and running from the waves.  Dude played in the sand with his Conway dump trucks and even made a couple of new friends.  Before we left the beach we ate from the beach restaurant,  fried red snapper with tostones, que rico!

Dude playing with his Conway trucks at Playa Gorgona

Dude and Zane enjoying the black sand at Playa Gorgona

Our feet (Echo, Zane, & Dude)

Dude is not appreciating mom being the paparazzi

We headed back home, another 2.5 hours and Conchita was up waiting for our arrival.  Dude slept the whole way back home, but was still exhausted when we arrived back in Panama City.  I think it´s safe to say that he had a good 3rd birthday.

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