Exciting Day Trip from Panama City, Panama to the Jungle

If you’re planning a trip to Panama City, Panama, it wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Jungle!  I found an excursion through a company called JungleLand Panama that picks you up at your hotel, drives you to a small boat for a transfer on the Panama Canal through Lake Gatun to a privately owned lake house, where a delicious lunch and cold beverages await!    After lunch, there were a variety of fun activities to choose from.  Jumping into an ice cold river, which by the way felt wonderful, on a hot day!

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Here are the others I brought on the trip…

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Laying around in hammocks relaxing…

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Here’s a view of the lake house from a kayak…

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On the boat ride to the lake house we stopped at various places to see alligators and monkeys.  Captain Carl (seen feeding a monkey here) gave everyone an un-shelled peanut and some banana to feed to the monkeys…

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Laguna de Apoyo

Laguna de Apoyo, located 15-30 minutes drive from Granada, Nicaragua (depending upon where you visit the lake) is as you can see, absolutely gorgeous!  For my second and final day in Granada, I decided to visit this magical lake.   After speaking with a local tour guide, she offered to take myself and one of the other ladies in my group to a couple of spots on the lake and also to the town of Catarina, where they make pottery.  The charge was $20 per person for a 4-5 hour day trip.

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After savoring the stunning beauty from the viewpoint, we made our way to the Laguna Beach Club for some relaxation and fun activities!  The entrance fee was covered by our tour guide and we were provided with a locker and key to store our things.  They have a restaurant and bar on the premises, along with swimming decks, kayaks, and lounge chairs.

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It was quite windy, but Jing and I took a kayak out for a while…

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In the town of Catarina, we stopped at a pottery studio and watched a man make his beautiful pieces of art.

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Kayaking in Florida

Mullock Creek Marina in Fort Myers, Florida is one of those places only the locals know about.  My friend who lives in Fort Myers hooked us up and we had a wonderful afternoon kayaking through an estuary (for those of you who don’t know exactly what that means…”An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea”).  It was a steal at $25 for an all day rental.   Partly cloudy skies and light winds made for a perfect afternoon.

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I took my camera in a large Ziploc bag to protect it.  Here are my friends…

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Here’s Wayne catching a large Tarpon fishy…

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Lee County Dog Park, Kayaking to Lovers Key State Park & Bicycling

If you live in Florida or travel with your dog…Lee County Dog Park next to Ft. Myers and Lovers Key State Park is a fun..fun place to take your dog!  We arrived about 7:30am to meet a friend who took us kayaking and checked out the Dog Park while we waited for him to arrive.

One of the dog owners told us that the place becomes quite busy with dogs and their owners on the weekends.  Depending on the tide…you may have to wade through a foot or two of water to get to the little island where the dogs are in the photo below.  It was a bit chilly this morning to do that…50 degrees.

I spotted this bird while we were watching the dogs…

I’m becoming obsessed with reflection shots…

I have my down jacket on for the beginning of the kayaking experience.  We paddled about three miles total and even ventured out into the Gulf from the coastal waterway.  We stopped at Lovers Key State Park and walked around.  I’ve only been kayaking once or twice before…so this was a lot of fun!  Thanks Wayne!!

Yesterday, the lumberjack and I went and bought a couple of used beach cruisers to leave for the family members that let us use their condos…and for anyone else that visits.  We purposely bought these type…you know…the old style where you push back on the pedals to stop and only one gear…forward!

We took a ride this afternoon.  Of course, the lumberjack would have to ride by me and screech his brakes really loudly to scare me…which worked…but also made me angry!  This was after the chain fell off…preventing me from being able to stop…which was scary!  But…I had fun!

We’re headed to have a drink at the small beach nearby and a bite to eat…while we watch the sunset.  Lovin’ Florida!!

Naked in the Airport!

Upon arrival in Hanoi, Vietnam from Vientiane, Laos, it seemed I had entered an alien land!  A city of concrete…jumbled wires…a sea of motor scooters blind to the traffic lights…mass chaos with purpose…face masks creating a barrier from the dusty city…an assault on the senses with smells and colors.  Pure insanity!!

The seven of us, on this tour through GAP Adventures, were instructed on how to cross the street.  To walk–not run–to keep walking–that the drivers would go around us.  I felt like a duck on a shooting range.  Luckily, I have a spiritual grounding and realize that there are some things I have very little control over.

After being separated from the group while shopping that evening, there was a moment of sheer panic!  I didn’t know the name of our hotel.  The Tour Guide had given the information to everyone–when I was in the restroom–so I didn’t receive it.  But I found my way to the meetup spot…whew!!

I made arrangements to spend the night on a boat on Halong Bay in the China Sea and said my “goodbyes” to the group!

At $68 for the entire excursion–it was a small price for such serenity and beauty!

I went kayaking…

 

Had a nice glass of vino!

Although I had a six hour layover in Nagoya, Japan‘s airport, on my way home to Cincinnati, I had plenty to keep myself occupied with there.  It was a destination onto itself, with over 60 shops and restaurants and a spa!

Upon arrival at the airport, I met a girl named Andrea who had been teaching English in Hanoi for four months and was so fearful of crossing the street that she decided to move back home to Canada.

We went to the Spa together.  The women had their own hot tub, cold dip, sauna, and steam room area with a view of planes landing and taking off.  We didn’t have our bathing suits, but the other women were naked so…when in Rome.  It makes for a great story…”Naked in the Airport”!

This is Andrea and I at the Airport in Japan.

I returned home on Christmas Eve.  I hope you had fun following my adventure!