Today we were pretty lazy. It’s nice to have a down day. It is curious weather going on here. It is a nice temperature, I would guess in the low 20sC but the humidity is still quite high. Any light effort will produce a wet shirt. The sun comes and goes almost instantly as the clouds race across the sky. One minute you can’t see the next mountain and the next you can see Panama City. There is a light misty rain that comes and goes but never stays so we decided just to ignore it and continue whatever we are doing. The one constant is the breeze, which is a bit heavier and gusty today. All in all it’s the kind of weather that is not unpleasant and it wouldn’t stop you from doing anything but maybe sunbathing. I used to think that Calgary’s weather changed quickly but this is much quicker although not as wide a range of conditions.
Paul had told us that there are 2,800 lots, here in Cerro Azul. Of those, only about 500 have been sold and of those only around 100 are permanent residents. Most of the people here come only for the weekend and summer vacation. Today there was evidence of many more people being around than we noticed during the week. It is still not what you would call busy, due to the scale of this place, but there is a definitely noticeable difference on the weekend.
We loaded ourselves up into the Toyota for the 10 minute drive down to the Club to see if the Internet was fixed and to grab some breakfast. I had pancakes and bacon, which was done perfectly. Don’t anyone tell the girls at Ricky’s that I had something other than bacon and eggs for breakfast. They would never believe you! Well, there was a nice strong wireless network but it turns out it is secured and is a park administration network that they wouldn’t let me have access to. The tourist network is still not fixed! I think I will take a course on hacking wireless networks before our next trip!
This afternoon, we decided we had been here long enough and had not yet ventured into the jungle! It was one of the reasons why we came to this National Park. The trails are all pretty well marked at the trailheads with distances etc. but with limited Spanish it could be a toothpaste ad and we wouldn’t know the difference. We talked to one of our neighbors about safety and hiking and they said that we wouldn’t have any problems but to wear closed shoes as you could step on something nasty that might want to take offence. Off we went to a trailhead near the Club. The gate had been closed all week but today it was open so we drove right down to the river, about 500M or so. This place is set up better than some of our National Parks at home. Parking at the trailhead in a paved parking lot with lines. there is covered shelter if you have to wait in bad weather for someone to pick you up. We set off on one of the trails that takes you down to the Rio Las Cascades river. This is not a large river but I bet it is lots bigger than this during the rainy season (May – November). There is little danger of getting lost as all the trails are concrete walkways, about 18 inches wide and with a steel rail wherever you might need support. You could almost call this place wheelchair accessible, except for the stairs. The little concrete walkway tends to keep people on the trail and not wandering through the adjacent areas. It minimizes the environmental damage while not presenting too much of an intrusion on nature. I was surprised to find this level of infrastructure in place but I guess because it is within the housing development, they needed to do something. I’d be willing to bet that if you came into this park from the river side you wouldn’t find any infrastructure at all.
We enjoyed a nice walk in the jungle and were only accosted by one wild animal… a small (three-inch) lizard that was sunning himself on the walkway railing. Although it was touch and go for a few minutes, none of the combatants suffered any serious damage! Of particular surprise was the almost total lack of bugs. It makes for a very pleasant visit.
Tomorrow we will poke around this area a little more. You can turn down some of these little streets and often be surprised with what you will find!