Nov 17

JUNGLES OF PANAMA

by in Central America

Embera Village on the Chagres River

Embera Village on the Chagres River

The air is thick and steamy, sometimes making it hard to know whether it’s actually raining, or just feels like it should be.  There’s an air of adventure – steamy jungles, renegades and buccaneers, a melting pot of cultures and history – all crammed into this tiny sliver of Central America.

Tilapia & plantains in a leaf cone for lunch

Tilapia & plantains in a leaf cone for lunch

For us, it’s a day of tribal tradition.  Leaving the chaos of Panama City, we headed into the jungle to the Chagres River and the Embera Indians.  Gravel roads turn to mud tracks as we weaved and bobbed among the potholes, wild dogs and local children.  Crossing a riverbed in the pouring rain, I warily noted that our “bridge” seemed lost to the flowing waters.  Recalling the fine line between adventure and stupid, I fleetingly wondered if  we’d just crossed it.IMG_0799

Two tribesmen and their dugout canoe were waiting for us along the banks of the river.  The Emberas are an indigenous tribe still living in the jungles along the river, opting to continue their traditional lifestyle  (with a few modern conveniences, as evidenced by the outboard motor on the canoe).    Reminded that the rainy season is a serious deal in the jungle, we crawled into the canoe as the drizzle turned to a downpour and thunder rolled in the distance.

Welcoming us to their village with traditional drums and chants,  they share their culture, their foods, their art,  their ceremonial music and dance.  Under the thatched roofs, we’re treated to lunch,  warm and dry, while the rain pours and water cascades down the path through the village.   It’s pure magic, and we’re captivated by it.  Indeed, the world is an amazing place.

One Response to “JUNGLES OF PANAMA”

  1. From FSW:

    Neat stuff!

    Posted on November 18, 2009 at 8:06 pm #

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