Panama: Crocodiles, Agoutis, and Monkeys, Oh My!

All sloths in Panama were in hiding today. I scanned he trees to and from the Gamboa Rainforest Resort this morning but didn't see any hanging around. I think this was my only shot at sloth watching, so I'll be leaving without achieving my personal goal.

However, while at Gamboa and taking a boat ride on the Panama Canal, I did see baby crocodiles, turtles, snail kites (birds that eat snails), capuchin monkeys, and basilisk lizards (also called Jesus Christ lizards because they can run on top of the water). Could not spot an iguana and a howler monkey that were far away even though I pretended I did because the guide tried really hard to point out exactly where they were. I wasn't too disappointed because I've seen plenty of iguanas in my life and I saw howler monkeys during a visit to Costa Rica many years ago.

The capuchin monkeys were very curious, but as soon as they realized we hadn't brought them any food, they lost interest and scurried away into the shadows of the rainforest.

Before the boat ride - taken with four German tourists -- I walked around Gamboa and saw beautiful yellow and black birds (no, they weren't goldfinches), parrots, and agoutis (long-legged rodents) that seemed to be as common as squirrels and rabbits are in Kentucky. The agoutis like to creep around among the bushes.

The weather was rainy, humid, and hot.

On the way back to Panama City, I watched a huge Carnival cruise ship go through a lock in the Panama Canal. I was joined by locals and other tourists in an area just past the lock. They gathered much as
spectators do at airports when they go see planes take off and land. There were benches to sit on and parking spaces behind them. The people on shore waved at the people gathered high up on the decks of the cruise ship. The ship was huge and the Canal isn't all that wide. A very impressive sight, but the process went very slowly because of the need to raise and lower the water level.

The quest for molas (panels of fabric) was successful during a quick visit to an artisans' center, so my family will be pleased. They wanted ones with animal themes, so they're going to get colorful fabric portraits of birds, fish, and beasts I couldn't recognize. Tagua nut carvings (from the artisans' center and the Gamboa resort gift shop) also went into my shopping bags along with some purchases I decline to identify because they are Christmas presents.

My first full day in Panama and I'm almost out of money. Fortunately, the Sheraton has ATMs, so I'm not going to be broke. Because dollars work here there is no need to do a currency exchange, which
makes everything much less confusing.

Tomorrow, I have to be ready to go at 4:30 a.m. for a trip to visit some Thoroughbred farms and won't get back until 5 p.m. I'll let you know as soon as I can what that was like. I'll be interested to see if
raising horses in Panama is much different from raising them Kentucky.

On Friday, a visit to the Laffit Pincay Jr. school for jockeys is scheduled and then there will be two days of racing. Can't wait.

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